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Podcast Prowler: Heights of WFMU; Hamlet in prison; Caine mutinies again

For once, I wish that I still lived in Washington Heights, Manhattan. My favorite free form radio station, WFMU-FM of New Jersey, is holding a Listener Meetup Group literary reading in that lovely neighborhood on Monday July 11 at the Word Up community bookshop.

Scheduled readers include WFMU DJs/fiction writers Kurt Gottschalk, Amanda Nazario, and Bronwyn Carlton. Plus various authors published by the Kaboom! Press and Fractious Press will deliver words, among them Kaboom’s Mike Diana, Carlo Quispe, Caitriona Ni Threasaigh, and Joakim Saflund. Fractious writers include Buzz Poole, poet/tinselartist K. Abigail Walthausen, and poets Steve Hann, Thera Webb, and Nikkiesha N. McLeod.

The reading starts at 5 PM. Were I there, after the event I would saunter over to Fairview Avenue, where I used to rent a five room apartment in the early 1970s for $175 a month. Yes. Weep.

This listener meeting thing is a nice idea. The last one was in Coney Island, another place I haven’t been in a while.

Meanwhile, WBEZ’s This American Life has repodcasted its feature about small crew of prisoners at Missouri Eastern Correctional Center rehearsing for a rendition of Act Five of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. These guys are serving hard time for very hard crimes, and thus Act V, with its grimly humorous clown burial scene, seems appropriate.

Hamlet approaches one of the clown grave diggers:

HAMLET I will speak to this fellow. Whose grave’s this, sirrah?

First Clown

Mine, sir.


O, a pit of clay for to be made

For such a guest is meet.


I think it be thine, indeed; for thou liest in’t.

First Clown

You lie out on’t, sir, and therefore it is not yours: for my part, I do not lie in’t, and yet it is mine.


‘Thou dost lie in’t, to be in’t and say it is thine:

’tis for the dead, not for the quick; therefore thou liest.

First Clown

‘Tis a quick lie, sir; ’twill away gain, from me to you.


What man dost thou dig it for?

First Clown

For no man, sir.


What woman, then?

First Clown

For none, neither.


Who is to be buried in’t?

First Clown

One that was a woman, sir; but, rest her soul, she’s dead.

Finally, the LA Theater Works has an awesome podcast of Herman Wouk’s novel Caine Mutiny (part one here; part two here). Nice to see this being rolled out again in some broadcast form. When the movie version was released in 1954, the government got its knickers in a twist over the production, even though as historian Stephen Whitfield points out in The Culture of the Cold War, Wouk basically wrote the thing as “a valentine to the navy.”

In the end, Whitfield writes, “The Caine Mutiny implies that losing the ship in a typhoon is better than challenging a skipper whose powers of command have failed.” Great stuff.

The Podcast Prowler keeps up with interesting podcast/radio doings as a matter of policy and pleasure. If you’ve got something you want included in one of The Prowler’s updates, send it over here.

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