A proud native of the Second City, producer Jenny Lawton joined Studio 360 in 2007. Since then, she's produced the show's American Icons specials on the Disney parks and I Love Lucy, lots of stories in the Aha Moments series, and a portrait of the Japanese tea ceremony from Kyoto. She also serves as the managing editor of studio360.org and coordinates the show's internship program. Jenny started recording interviews as a Watson Fellow in India and Spain, researching the origins of flamenco dance. She cut her teeth in journalism at Chicago Public Radio, where she filed stories on culture, politics, technology, and the environment for WBEZ as well as NPR's Morning Edition and PRI's The World, among other programs. Jenny was awarded a USC-Annenberg/NEA Arts Journalism Fellowship, and lectures about radio and sound design at NYU and her alma mater, Kenyon College.
On the Road With the Friedlanders
Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - 10:29 AM
In the 1960s and 70s, the photographer Lee Friedlander took his family on summer road trips. Along the way, he took pictures that established him as one of the most acute, celebrated, modern chroniclers of America. He captured vast swaths of the American landscape, lonely billboards, drive-thru kitch in stark black and white.
Forty+ years later, he's still at it — and these new images feel just as remote and nostalgic, maybe more so. “Lee Friedlander: America By Car” (featuring work from 1995-2009) is on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, through Sunday November 28.
For those initial expeditions, Friedlander’s young son Erik was sitting in the back seat. He grew up to be an innovative cellist — and he made an entire album of music inspired by those trips, all performed on solo cello: Block Ice and Propane. The tracks recall Erik’s summers on the road: picking up big blocks of ice to keep the food fresh; sitting above the cab with his sister, watching the stars as his father drove through the night. It’s a quiet, varied album ranging from rootsy Americana to tracks that sound dissonant and modern. Much of the music was generated while improvising in the studio.
Back in 2007, Kurt asked him to improvise in our studio. We were working on an episode around the theme of “On the Road” (it was the 50th anniversary of Jack Kerouac’s novel). When Erik came by to talk about his album, Kurt asked him to riff on a passage from Kerouac’s travelogue. The result was pretty terrific:
(Kurt reads the passage at 8:30, followed by Erik’s response at 9:25)