Waste Radio: Richard Dreyfest Interviews Richard Dreyfuss

August 7, 2017

We’ve got a lot to share with you about the 5th annual, all-ages, D-I-Y Richard Dreyfest, August 11th and 12th at eight venues across Downtown Billings.

In this episode, you’ll hear interviews with some of the Montana-based and out-of-state musicians, visual artists, poets, and comedians performing at this 2-day event, along with an extra deluxe, super coveted interview with the man himself.

We’re also gonna be sharing samples of the artist’s work, little vignettes of what life’s like for them in the days leading up to the festival, and more.

For more information on Richard Dreyfest, visit waste-division.org, where you can find artist interviews, discounted presale tix ($15!), and schedule information.

 

Produced by Brie Ripley.

Music:

"Do the Nelz" by Idaho Green

"Daydream" by Bull Market

"New Day Shine" by Noise Noise Noise

"Prairie is an Island" by Megagiant

 

"Pretty Well and Waisted" by Tiny Plastic Stars

"We Were Young" by Parker Brown

"AFK Pretty Girls" by Silverbow Society

"Barney's Theme" by Snow Bored

"Snow Boogie" by Snow Bored

 

Backseat Sessions: 

"I am a Stranger" by Ty Herman

"Bully Pulpit" by Maddie Alpert

"Life" by Alex Michaels

 

Other stuff:

"Make Something Beautiful Before You Are Dead" by Steve Roggenbuck

"Serenade" by Edgar Allen Poe

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Waste Radio: Richard Dreyfest Interviews Richard Dreyfuss (Teaser)

August 4, 2017

This Sunday, we’ve got a podcast coming out that will feature interviews with bands, comedians, visual artists, and poets who are part of the upcoming, 5th annual Richard Dreyfest.

We’re sharing tracks from some of the three dozen bands playing this two-dayall-ages, DIY event.

Those tracks will be available for you to stream, or download so that you can start getting hyped for the fest, which is taking place August 11th and 12th in 8 venues across Downtown Billings.

We’ll also be sharing a very special interview…

We’ll have that podcast available for you to stream on Waste-Division dot org, and ready for you to download on iTunes, podbean, or wherever you get your podcasts, this Sunday.

For more information, visit our website, www.waste-division.org.

Produced by Brie Ripley.

Music:

"Do the Nelz" by Idaho Green

"Daydream" by Bull Market

"New Day Shine" By Noise Noise Noise

"Prairie is an Island" by Megagiant

 

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Waste Books Ep. 5 - A Wild Sheep Chase

June 19, 2017

In this episode we talk about Haruki Murakami's novel, A Wild Sheep Chase.

Overview

“The thing is you’re looking for something two-dimensional and not quite real. It never lasts. But you can’t expect something unreal to last anyway, can you?” The ordinary, desultory, and nameless protagonist of Haruki Murakami’s A Wild Sheep Chase is not the character one immediately wants to identify with. At times incorrigible, mostly helpless, and constantly at a loss for understanding his farrago of a life, Murakami throws our “hero” out of his mundane Tokyo life and into a phantasmagoric raft of characters, situations, and – sheep.

Accompanied by his newfound girlfriend (endowed with supernatural ears), the hapless lead meets with a nefarious rightwing organization demanding that a certain oddly marked sheep be found – or else. More schlemiel than samurai, the two then embark across the country, finding a conspiracy worth of secrets that align the sheep’s history with Japan’s checkered past. With the protagonist’s anxieties with direction and certainty, his quest for the sheep slowly becomes even more problematic and less coincidental then thought, something destined – and all in a world seemingly meaningless.

Murakami’s work grapples with fate and knowing, plumbing depths that never seem to have a tangible bottom, yet can’t help but be explored with a child’s bungling wonder. This fiction’s lack of character names and cultureless settings provide a Kafkaesque backdrop for raising universal questions about the human condition, about what it means to know someone, and if our fantasies are more real than humdrum banality.

Murakami’s tone is fitting then. His writing only reifies enough to depict surreal conversations without the specificity of most novelist’s minutia. Unpretentious and lean, the prose suits a journey one part philosophical feint into the abyss, and two parts deadpan comedy. We find a narrative replete with nuggets of the uncanny and memories of the mundane that define living’s splendor and significance.

Entrancing and attention-grabbing, A Wild Sheep Chase retains its literary quality without implementing beguiling references or long-winded descriptions. In short, it does what the novel is meant to do -  utilizing the vehicle of story to foist insoluble riddles, only to toy around with the answers. Wacky and hard-boiled, comedic yet forlorn, A Wild Sheep Chase tries to mystify the demystified and concoct meaning in contradictions of the determined and happenstance. We discover a wonder embedded in Murakami’s mediocrity, but a wonder that only arrives after we count sheep and fall into a deep slumber traced by dreams. 

 -Jordan Finn

This episode's music features a track called "CNG" by wastoids Halfway Killed.

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Waste Books Ep. 4 - Watt

May 20, 2017

In this episode we discuss Samuel Beckett's oddball novel, Watt.

Overview

Be prepared for Watt. Few novelists find the ability (or gall) to include the syncopated musical notation of three croaking frogs or a two-page description of the twenty ways four objects in a room are positioned. There are sentences written backwards, a man who eats the same meal every day, and an unseen dog that has its origins explained for longer than any other scene in the novel. This unseen dog’s story begins to feel more real than most of the surreal novel, and these moments clarify that amidst the abysmal tones and purgatorial drudgery, Beckett is trying to tell you the most important fact about life.

The story about the peculiar protagonist, Watt, is not a direct one. All that can be said of the plot is that our Watt ventures to a manor in the Irish countryside where he works for an obscure duration for obscure reasons, eventually leaving having learned nothing. Watt works for a Mr. Knott, even more enigmatic than our “hero” whose quotidian tasks epitomize the banal and tedious. The details surrounding Watt and his environs do nothing less than chronicle a prevailing sense of absurd purpose. The characters are ugly, their treatment of each other inhumane, and those considered the most sane are more vapid than the universe the audience is forced to recognize.

Heralded as the last modernist, Beckett stretches the movement to its disintegration point and exhausts the function of the narrative. He sequences the story out of order, distorts the events, enumerates catalogues worth of permutations resembling either pretzel logic or the most precise and thus insane depictions of analysis. Always, the metaphorical specter of death looms over the characters, influencing their nonsensical behaviors, the few most resistant to its terror are those most aware of the beckoning soil beneath their feet.

The mirror that Beckett lifts to our face through Watt is of an unmistakable absurdity in something unmistakably familiar, the two contingent on the other, the familiar birthing the absurd. As hopeless as Watt or Beckett appear, the two find a way to reconcile truth and existence, a means to abide with honesty and selflessness. Watt finds a way to speak of our eventual absence in the only thing more real, our presence: “For the only one can speak of nothing is to speak of it as though it were something…” the darkest iteration of affirmation in our modern times.

-Jordan Finn

Further Reading

Here's a review of Watt from the New York Times:
 
 
Here's an interview with some shitbird whose favorite book is Watt:
 
 
Here's an article about a gathering celebrating Beckett's death:
 
 
Here's a longer piece about Beckett as a whole:
 
Here's a long piece on Watt by some bum:
 
 
This episode's music is a track called "Levees" by Waste buddy Parker Brown.
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Waste Books Ep. 3 - No Country for Old Men

April 4, 2017

In this episode we talk about Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men, relating it to the Coen Brothers' film rendition and existentialism.

Overview

The highway that is No Country for Old Men gets you lost even though the two-lane blacktop never deviates in direction. It’s just that that first wrong turn screwed everything up and turning back now is as impossible as turning back time itself.

For those who’ve seen the Coen Brothers film, the novel No Country for Old Men is just as blood-soaked and cerebral as the silver screen ever portrayed it. Only a novelist as commanding as Cormac McCarthy can juxtapose sobering meditations on determinism and entropic decay with brutal tableaus of grisly violence along with their lurid aftermath on the body and soul. Because McCarthy is such a deliberate writer, aiming for palpable precision over entertainment, the violence he depicts is rendered all the more visual, all the more real in its considerations to weighing each word in measurements of time and mass. Violence here is not the murders of a few men, it’s the medical examination of death with the reader bearing witness as if you were pumping gas across the street, the bitter taste of iron in your mouth.

Unlike the film, the novel underscores the loneliness of characters like the desperado Llewellyn Moss or the anachronous sheriff Bell ruefully looking back at his past as the future comes slamming at him. These existentialist undercurrents rise up like oceanic groundswells in the hushed moments of a firefight – a Kierkegaardian angst where a bullet between the eyes signifies more than just the end of one’s life. And then there’s the isolated terror of the film’s central antagonist, Chigurh: an entirely human force with an inhuman drive as inexorable as fate itself, whipping between the Texan counties as a sort of grim reaper hellbent on quashing man’s attempts to break away from a system of a demented (or natural) order of power, domination, and inevitability.

Perhaps the highlight of the work is McCarthy’s adroit handling of the prose. It’s as if the man is not writing a novel but crafting some sort of austere furnishing for a friend, planing and sanding the wood with a carpenter’s finesse. The words are active and direct, the sentences laid bare as sun-streaked bones, paragraphs with such a strong physical sense they feel as if one can lift them out of the page and place them on a table.

As dark as the mood and themes may be, everything is exposed and nothing is hidden, reminding one of what Stephen King once said about horror being a substitute for a far greater horror: the lack of meaning in the everyday. What’s truly frightening about NCFOM is how McCarthy redlines inhumanity not in Vietnam or Darfur but in the mid-afternoon sun of the American Heartland, the perfect setting for a case study in fate, violence, and meaning for our time.

-Jordan Finn

Further reading/listening

Partially Examined Life podcast

http://partiallyexaminedlife.com/2012/09/21/ep63-cormac-mccarthy/

New York Times review

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/24/books/review/no-country-for-old-men-texas-noir.html?_r=0

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Waste Books Ep. 2 - Sabbath’s Theater

February 24, 2017

This month we discussed the novel Sabbath's Theater by Philip Roth, the account of a lecherous old man grappling with his past.

An overview of the book:

“Sabbath did not care to make people suffer beyond the point that he wanted them to suffer; he certainly didn’t want to make them suffer any more than made him happy.” At 64 years old, the Mickey Sabbath of Philip Roth’s Sabbath’s Theater lusts for female flesh as if (and maybe it does) his life depends on it. The master puppeteer who once used his finger puppets as a dignified career is now riddled with the aches of osteoarthritis and finds old friends and a laundry list of lovers as his remaining fodder fora relentless and hilarious week of manipulation and shameless seduction.

A man with no credo, Sabbath finds his only purpose in life cheating on his wife with the voluptuous and equally prurient Drenka Balich, who at the novel’s beginning, succumbs unexpectedly from ovarian cancer leaving Sabbath with only memories of a sordid lifetime to parse. A man in bed with the days of youthful philandering in the merchant navy and ‘60s free love, Sabbath flees his unhappy New England home forNew York City and confronts the realization that at the end of the century nothing is left for him but a tête-à- tête with a haunted history of death and trauma.

Roth’s writing is that of a craftsmen, presenting characters and situations with a relaxed grace that embodies the loquacious confessions of a protagonist spilling his guts, but without even a paucity of contrition. He fleshes out Sabbath’s saga by providing rich flashbacks, initially overloading readers with a dense history of references to Sabbath’s terrible losses, but slowly unraveling who his disappeared Nikki is, how he lost his credibility with the off-off- Broadway crowd in the ‘70s, and why Drenka’s highway patrolmen of a son has it out for ol’ Mickey. The writing is informal but wise, tight but loose – like Mickey – the narrator delving into decades old anecdotes, ribald fantasies that are confused with reality, and a twenty-one- page footnote-cum- phone sex transcript. In other words, it’s an accessible yet serious novel and gets the blood flowing in all sorts of organs.

And yet, Sabbath isn’t merely a lecherous pervert nor a villain. Our anti-hero bears much more resemblance to a Falstaffian anti-hero, a doggedly resilient man who refuses to move on or grow up, a quality both redemptive and damning. The freedom he showcases is a guiltless one: a liberation driven by his guile, lust for life, and independence. And while his obdurate isolation may appear as a shortcoming, he understands that “it’s the best preparation I know of for death,” the central preoccupation of the novel. Touché Sabbath. We’ll see you in hell.

-Jordan Finn

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Waste Books Ep. 1 - Jernigan

January 12, 2017

Join us this month as we discuss David Gates' novel, Jernigan, a dark tale of a man way too smart for his own good.

An overview of the book:

Reading Jernigan is like stepping into the mind of a middle-aged man fraught in a tunneling psychosis so abysmally dark, that even the most enthusiastic PTA members would start wishing the titular Jernigan would do more than entertain his self-destruction and snuff out his candles burning at both ends. The protagonist Jernigan fathers, drinks, lusts, maims, remembers, drinks, fucks, hates, forgets and drinks his days away, not so found about the past or the future or – really anything at all.

David Gates’ novel climbs into late Reagan era America and manhandles the reigns of the period, limning a mal de siècle vibe that adroitly fits accessible reading with the sort of lofty postmodern malaise you expect from the involuted phrasing of a Beckett or Burroughs. You’ll often get subtle nods to figures like Pound and Eliot, but the modernist canon is never a prerequisite for comprehension and serves as a bonus for discovering Jernigan’s attachment to the suffering that art invariably entails. Jernigan is a page-turner and while clocking in at 240 pages, the six-month timespan of the novel reads like the study of a polaroid or a lost and crackly VHS tape, the one where you see your dad as the barely contained manic-depressant, only kept from a nervous breakdown thanks to an interminable supply of 7-Elven beer and belts of Canadian whisky.

The zeitgeist is not too far from our own and the deluge of motifs ranging from prescription drugs, alcohol, guns, infidelity, xenophobia, sexual abuse, and consumerism frames the American Dream as a mere chimera, its obtainment only made possible through rose-colored glasses or a detested safe and stable upbringing that would only make you another asshole in Jernigan’s eyes. Much of the story plays into our fate as not just people, but as Americans, as consumers, as the sons and daughters of our father and the mothers or fathers of our children. Jernigan seems to be looking for a way out of the karmic cycle, but it’s hard to say how hard and if there’s something to be valorized in his pure nihilism and dissatisfaction with living in the Greatest Country in the World.

Whether you can’t manage to get out of bed due to a quotidian micro-existential crisis, or find yourself so deeply addicted to something that functionality is impossible without it, Jernigan will intone a dark message of empathy. For the arty, the depressed, or the bored, the narrative takes readers into the dark heart of a plasticized culture unwilling to speak what it feels and opens the scar tissue of wounds we sometimes forget in order to survive but need exposed in order to live. 

-Jordan Finn

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