We’ve gone a little Christmas crazy, but of course, on the Next Big Thing, that means Christmas with a twist. We visit with Quebecois tree-sellers, a Brooklyn video store proprietor and a crowd of boombox carolers. Also, new music by jazz pianist Jason Moran, and an investigation into poetry’s new status as a millionaire’s business. And tales of attraction from our Department of Transportation.
It’s late at night, verging on early in the morning. The commuter train’s crowded. The passenger sitting next to you keeps â€œaccidentallyâ€ touching your hand. What to do? A true train story from PATH train rider Jay Brenneman.
The Singles Car
It’s a well-circulated urban legend: they say the first subway car on every line is the â€œpick upâ€ car. Not in a position to find out for yourself? Not to worry. The Next Big Thing’s Department of Transportation offers this investigative report by author Jonathan Ames. What it lacks in scientific method it makes up for inâ€¦ well, you’ll see.
NoÃ«l in a Foreign Land
We all have our particular rituals around the holidays. For Next Big Thing producer and Canadian ex-pat Amanda Aronczyk, December means time to hit the streets and chat up â€“ in Quebecois - the guys selling Christmas trees. Sure they’re busy, but they don’t seem to mind the company.
Every year, at Christmas time, Lormet Video in Brooklyn puts out their collection of nearly 60 Christmas movies, most of which you’ve probably never even heard of. Proprietor Anthony Viola takes us on a tour of his collection of forgotten â€“ and in some cases, forgettable â€“ films.
All or No TV
For nearly twenty years, Jon Nichols has made the same New Year’s resolution: to turn on, or turn off, the TV, depending on which year it is. Host Dean Olsher asks Nichols to explain the ins and outs of this alternative lifestyle.
One of the strangest news stories of this year has to be the announcement that Poetry Magazine is the proud recipient of a $100 million bequest. We’re left wonderingâ€¦ what on earth are they going to do with $100 million? Next Big Thing contributor Sean Cole trails poet Jim Behrle as he attempts to live the life of a poet and a millionaire for a day. For more on Behrle, go to his website.
Heard on the streetâ€¦ the 10th annual â€œUnsilent Night.â€ It’s a composition by the event’s organizer, Phil Kline, and it’s played simultaneously on hundreds of boomboxes by any and all who show up in Washington Square Park on a wintry Saturday night. Produced by Amy Farley.
There is an obsessive quality to a lot of the music that jazz musician and composer Jason Moran plays. This makes him particularly suited to his latest project, which involves the painstaking transcription, into music, of people speaking â€“ in Turkish, or Mandarin, or the language of his grandparents. Moran stops by the studio to play from that suite, â€œWord,â€ and to give his fresh take on an old standard.
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