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Radio Nowhere at San Francisco School of the Arts

Radio Nowhere at SOTA

I’m always on the lookout for radio-themed events and was super excited to find out this week about something happening right in my backyard. The San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA) is having an event this Friday called Radio Nowhere. Students from the public creative arts high school’s creative writing program will be on stage reading poetry and prose. Between the readings, students will also be performing radio-themed skits and participating in a radio/decades-themed costume contest (which is also open to audience members).

Yesterday I got the opportunity to sit in on a rehearsal for Friday’s Radio Nowhere event. Not only was I impressed by the talent and poise of the creative writing students, but I was also excited to see them playing around with the concept of radio in the staging of their fall reading event.

Heather Woodward, Program Director of SOTA’s Creative Writing program told me that the radio theme came about somewhat randomly after an initial concept was rejected by the school’s administration. She said, “It’s just a loose theme with a few silly skits interspersed among the students’ work, work that has nothing to do with radio, I’m afraid. We have a tradition of making our October reading something with narrative or thematic structure (last year it was Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”) to get kids interested in coming to their first reading–and we have a related costume contest.”

During yesterday’s rehearsal I spoke with SOTA Creative Writing student Sayre Quevedo about the event. I was particularly excited to talk to Sayre because he works for Youth Radio as a journalist and had his own radio show called “Blank Canvas Radio,” in which he featured local artists and performances. He told me that the radio theme for the SOTA event this week was generated by students and that they decided to weave it into the structure of Radio Nowhere through skits focused on particular eras, from the 1920s through the 1990s. In terms of portraying the idea of Radio Nowhere, Sayre said, “I think that radio is a very timeless thing…that’s kind of what we’re playing with right now with doing radio through the decades. In the same way that writing kind of transcends time, radio tends to transcend time…[although] the format changes…and the way it’s perceived [changes].”

Rehearsal for Radio Nowhere

Sayre’s own experiences with radio also speak to the changing format of radio, as he initially got into “doing” radio after hooking up with Youth Radio in order to learn more about producing podcasts for the Creative Writing department. From there he ended up becoming a journalist, doing his own radio show, working in the radio journalism program for Outloud Radio, and is also broadcasting at SOTA doing the morning announcements.

If you want to attend Radio Nowhere and participate in the radio-themed costume contest, the event is being held tomorrow night, Friday, October 8, 2010 at 7:30pm at San Francisco School of the Arts on the SOTA Mainstage, 555 Portola Drive at O’Shaughnessy in San Francisco.

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