Saturday, December 09, 2006

passionate premiere

To the Youth Noise Networkers:

This is the third year in which I've had the honor of working as a work-study student with the Youth Noise Network crew. And geez, I don't think I've ever been so blown away and deeply impressed by you all. I've heard some amazing pieces from YNN in the past, but I think seeing and hearing your work today was definitely something new and something special.

I am kind of amused when I think about what I'm saying, because I remember the beginning of last year when the whole PCP was introduced, and I was definitely just as skeptical as all of you were about the prospect of doing an intense and serious work that had to fit someone else's guidelines. But I have to admit that some of what was successful about today's premiere had to do with those grant guidelines. The idea of focus, having a theme, being more rigorous, gathering people and actually presenting to a live audience (as opposed to broadcasting to an anonymous crowd over the radio) all had a lot to do with the impact of your pieces as a cohesive whole.

But all of that stuff aside, what made me really smile was the fact that even given these elements, you guys still found a way to make it your own. From Manny and Anya's awesome introduction to the humorous spins and the personal perspectives you put in your pieces, the little bit of satirical wit reminds us of the presumptuous tendency of some of this stuff. Bring it back down to earth. Remind us that even these "passionate citizens" are just people. Go ahead and admit your own fear of your interviewee. You're people too.

Hopefully you got a sense of the impact of what you do from some of the audience's feedback. I think that's a really important element to your empowerment and the realization that this is about community and "civic engagement" and things that are larger than yourselves even though it is also very much about yourselves and your perspectives.

Ultimately, I don't want to say that I am "proud" of you all because that's a probably too patronizing for what little I contributed. But I am definitely really amazed, and I am thrilled to be working with you.