Our Summer of Listening

07/29/2014 12:01 AM

07/27/2014 10:28 PM

My kids love listening to WUNC, our local NPR channel, as much as I do. We often keep on driving around to listen to the end of shows. My son Cole is great at whistling and got called out by his teacher for whistling the NPR theme tune - she recognized it!  


On our way home from DC a few weeks ago, we tuned into a Washington-area NPR channel and listened to a 1948 recording of a popular radio sitcom show. My dad was with us, and the four boys in the car with me were fascinated to think that they were listening to some radio entertainment just like "Bobby" would have back in the day. I was amazed at how enthralled they were with this medium, the car was quiet for two hours. No one was sleeping; they were all listening, intently.


When I heard Frank Stasio, host of WUNC's State of Things, interview the creators of Audio Under the Stars, Jenny Morgan and Elizabeth Friend, the other week, I knew that their idea for an "outdoor listening party of pre-recorded stories" was right up our alley! So we headed to Spectre Arts (on the beautifully named Morning Glory Avenue in Durham) to join the fun!


What an urban oasis they have created in the walled courtyard at Spectre Arts! It’s complete with overhead night lights, cute Southwestern blankets, and best of all a very hospitable and relaxed environment that makes you feel welcome immediately. We grabbed some dinner from Dang Good Dogs, who had set up outside, and got comfortable on our blankets and pillows. You can bring your own food, chairs and blankets and they also supply some there.


The theme for the evening's stories was "Fish Out of Water: Stories of Misfits, Oddballs, Mariners and Real Fish." We loved every minute of listening to the variety of stories with the perfect accompaniment of summer evening sounds in the background. My two boys loved the art on display in the gallery at Spectre Arts as much as they loved the "listening party."  


The final installment of this summers Audio Under the Stars series takes place on Friday, Aug. 15, at Spectre Arts, gates open from 6pm, the "Listening Party" starts at dusk. The theme will be "Feast or Famine." Admission is free, donations are accepted, a wonderful evening is guaranteed. 


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