Podding in the Vale

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By Claire Dietz

Claire-dietz@uiowa.edu

This weekend, Englert audiences will sing their praises to a giant, glowing cloud. But don’t worry, it’s all a part of the show.

On Saturday, the Englert will host the popular podcast “Welcome to Night Vale.” The podcast revolves around a small-town community radio and all the strange events that unfold on what seems to be a daily basis.

The podcast, which began in June 2012, is written by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. However, one of the most readily recognizable aspects of the podcast is the baritone narrator-turned-radio host Cecil Baldwin.

The podcast world is seemingly relentless; Cranor and Fink write and produce two full podcasts a month. Cranor’s work with the Neo-Futurists in New York, a type of theater focusing on the aspect of continually pumping out content and potentially failing, seems to be the best prep.

“[We were] working nonstop and moving on to the next thing instead of working with one thing and constantly reworking it,” he said. “It was a really strong influence on me as a writer; it taught me not sitting on things and moving forward.”

For those hesitant about where to begin with a show that is almost 5 years old, don’t worry. If you know nothing about this strange thing called the Glow Cloud for the live show, you’ll be OK A quick Google search couldn’t hurt.

The live show centers on the sentient, omnipresent Glow Cloud, who drops dead animals anytime it rolls into town, controls people’s thoughts, and is also the president of the local school board.

“We wanted to do a show that would take on a popular character and flesh it out,” Cranor said. “We also want people to be chanting praise out loud.”

He also talked about the interesting phenomenon of getting caught up in podcasts. He compared it to moving to a new town. When you arrive to a new town and watch the news or listen to the radio, you wonder who these people are. However, after a few times, you begin to recognize these people in a sense.

Cranor offered some advice for listening to the podcast, whether you start listening before or after the show.

“You can start anywhere in the line of the podcast,” he said. “There might be some episodes that stand alone and make sense on its own, but others are dependent on the story lines you’ve heard before … You could start at Episode 1 like a lot of people,” he said. “But you could start at 106 and go from there.”

 

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Englert, 221 E. Washington

Cost: $27.50

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