creativity

JoyProject podcast: The Joy of Old Time Radio Shows with Zachary Lennon-Simon

The Joy of Old Time Radio Show with Zachary Lennon-Simon

Travel back in time with JoyProject as we delve into the world of Old Time Radio Shows, a form of entertainment from the 1920s to the 1960s that had families and friends gathered around the radio to tune into their favorite mysteries, drama, and comedies. Zachary Lennon-Simon, a comedian and storyteller in Brooklyn, New York, is our guide through this delightful and light-hearted audio-forward history for the latest episode of the JoyProject podcast—The Joy of Old Time Radio Shows.

At the end of the podcast, I share something that brought me joy this week related to the episode. I found a bunch of free online resources where you can tune into all kinds of old time radio shows with just a few taps on your computer or phone. I also share my two favorite apps where you can access thousands of free audiobooks through your local public library.

Topics discussed in this episode:
– How Zach discovered old time radio shows as a kid and rediscovered them after college
– Zach’s favorite shows and where to find them today
– The differences between old time radio shows, audiobooks, and narrative podcasts, and some good ones to check out
– The importance of sound design in old time radio
– Stars who made old time radio popular

Links to resources:
– Zach on Instagram – @lennonhyphensimon
– Zach on Twitter – @zachlennonsimon
– Zach’s short film, frantic delicate summer – https://vimeo.com/63383000
– Christa on Twitter – @christanyc
– Christa on Instagram – @christarosenyc
– Christa’s website – ChristaAvampato.com
– Old Time Radio Archive – https://www.youtube.com/c/OldTimeRadioArchive
– Old Time Radio Shows – https://www.youtube.com/c/OldTimeRadioShowsOnline
– MakeUsOf article – https://www.makeuseof.com/listen-old-time-radio-shows-online/
– Internet Archive – https://archive.org
– Relic Radio – https://www.relicradio.com/otr/
– RockIt Radio – https://rokitradio.com/
– Internet Radio – https://www.internet-radio.com/search/?radio=old+time+radio
– Pumpkin FM – https://pumpkinfm.com/
– RUSC – https://www.rusc.com/
– Libby App for free audiobooks – https://libbyapp.com/
– Cloud Library for free audiobooks – https://www.yourcloudlibrary.com/

A little bit about Zach:
Zach Lennon-Simon is a filmmaker and storyteller who was born & raised in Brooklyn, NY. He has told stories for many different shows such as Kvetching & Kvelling, Everything is Bad, Beaver Helmet, and The Teacher’s Lounge. In his spare time, he tries his best to sing both parts of Judy & Babs’ “Get Happy/Happy Days Are Here Again” medley. 

creativity

The Rising—Scenes from the Roe vs. Wade Protest in NYC

My friend, Ashley, in NYC. Photo by Christa Avampato.

Yesterday we witnessed a horrific historic moment in the U.S. A majority of the SCOTUS decided guns and zygotes have more rights than women.

We lose 68,000 women every year to abortions that have been forced underground for those who have no access to safe clinics and hospitals.

My friend, Ashley, dressed as a handmaid for the protests at Washington Square Park and Union Square here in New York City. People were amused. They shouldn’t be. This is not a joke. This is not a drill.

Thousands of people flooded New York City’s streets to demand justice for women. My friend Kelly and I were both proud and devastated to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our neighbors.

We are now at the point of revolution. We must be. This attack on women cannot stand. Not now. Not ever. We will be as relentless as those who mean to send us back into the shadows.

This is not the end. This is The Rising.

Scenes from the New York City protests on June 24, 2022. All photos taken by Christa Avampato.

creativity

The start of summer has me thinking about travel and writing

This week was the official start of summer, and that has me thinking about travel and writing. It also has me thinking about all of the wisdom around joy and travel that writer Felicia Sabartinelli packed into The Joy of Airports episode on the JoyProject podcast. Here are some of my favorite quotes. Listen to our conversation at https://christaavampato.com/the-joy-of-airports-with-felicia-sabartinelli-june-14-2022/ and wherever you get your podcasts.

creativity

I can’t stop thinking about Yellowstone

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

On Sunday night, I sat down to work on my novel-in-progress. All I could think about was the devastation in Yellowstone that could take years to restore and cost billions of dollars. You’ve got to write what’s in your heart and on your mind. This is what poured out of me:

Many of us are watching the recent flooding in Yellowstone National Park with horror, and rightly so. To see whole structures carried away as if they were weightless is terrifying. What struck me is how quickly the devastation came and went from the top headlines. Did any of us change anything about the way we live after seeing the footage? Very few, if any. The reason, unfortunately, is science. 

Though scientists across the globe have largely rallied around data that supports the impacts of climate change on our planet and the rapidly closing window of time left to truly stave off the worst consequences, scientists have also been reluctant to draw direct connections between catastrophic events like Yellowstone’s flooding and climate change. Their reluctance is so common that media articles and reports often reference it in environmental coverage. 

For example, in a recent New York Times article, the reporters say this in the opening: “It is difficult to directly connect the damage in Yellowstone to a rapidly warming climate — rivers have flooded for millenniums …”

With sweeping statements like that, the well-intentioned reporters have given climate deniers all the fuel they need to shrug their shoulders and go about their day exactly as they have every other day. Or worse—this is a simple explanation they use to convince others that scientists have no idea what they’re talking about and that everything is just fine. This behavior is destroying the planet and will ultimately destroy us.

Our hand-wringing about “direct connections” is going to cost us our lives and livelihoods. It’s time for us to get off the sidelines and stop taking the role of being our own worst enemies. Climate scientists can look to other areas of science to see how to inspire action, namely medicine. 

Very little in the field of medicine is certain. A lot of medicine is educated guessing. Standards of care often read something akin to “given your situation and what we have observed with those who we believe are similar to you, we believe this course of treatment may help.” I know this first-hand because I’m currently taking a medication after beating early-stage breast cancer that is still experimental with some studies showing that it has a possible chance of reducing the risk of recurrence for someone like me. 

There are caveats all over that statement, but you know what? If it can’t hurt, might help, and my insurance covers it, I’m taking it. I want to live a long, healthy life. Most of us do. For that singular reason we exercise, eat healthy food, try to manage our stress level, don’t smoke, limit (or eliminate) alcohol, go to the doctor for check-ups and exams, and take medications that could help us. Is any of that advice perfect? No. Are we guaranteed a specific outcome if we do all those things? No. But why not give ourselves every possible advantage we can, right?

Climate scientists could model their approach on medicine. Even if they can’t make a perfect case for cause and effect between climate change and a single catastrophe like Yellowstone flooding, does it seem likely that the two are related? Yes. Could an increase in wildfires, droughts, and more severe storms be related to a warming planet? Yes. Could an acceleration of species extinction be driven by deforestation and the pollution of our air, oceans, and water ways? Yes. Could the continuous and increasing supply of greenhouse gases being pumped into the air be destabilizing our atmosphere? Yes. Then why not do everything possible to mitigate the impacts that could have such dire consequences on the life of every living being on the planet?

We want to live long, healthy lives so we do everything we can to try to make that possible. Why not do the same for the planet that we all need? Even if you and I do everything right when it comes to the health of our bodies and minds, if the health of the planet as a whole suffers, what we do for our own individual health will be for naught. 

The planet needs a standard of care—limit or eliminate pollution in all its forms; reduce, reuse, and recycle; replace fossil fuel consumption with clean, renewable sources of energy; stop food waste; stop deforestation and replenish the forests we’ve lost. 

None of these changes will be simple nor pain-free. We have to reinvent how we live and the systems that make our lives and economies function. The transition will be difficult, expensive, and, for a while, inconvenient. But you know what’s more difficult, expensive, and inconvenient? Having a planet that’s in such poor health that it can no longer sustain life—ours or anyone else’s. Why take that risk when there is another way? Why not give ourselves and all those who (hopefully) come after us the best chance to live and live well?

We don’t need certainty and one-to-one causations for climate action. If a high probability and correlation is good enough for the science we use to sustain our bodies, then it’s good enough for the science to sustain our planet. By the time we have inarguable certainty, it will be too late for all of us. That’s a risk none of us should willingly take. 

creativity

JoyProject podcast: Joyful News 6.14.22—the dinosaur edition

Joyful News 6.14.22 – the dinosaur edition

Joyful News is a set of stories I’ve gathered from around the world that spark joy. This week’s stories are all about dinosaurs:

Available everywhere you get your podcasts and at this link where you can also read a transcript.

creativity

JoyProject podcast: The Joy of Airports with Felicia Sabartinelli

Felicia Sabartinelli

The latest episode of the JoyProject podcast is live—The Joy of Airports with Felicia Sabartinelli!

Think you can’t find joy in an airport? Think again! Felicia Sabartinelli is a seasoned world traveler and once you hear her wax poetic about airports, you’ll see them and experience them differently. She explains that airports are the rarest of gems that help us to discover “a state of childlike wonderment.”

At the end of the podcast, I share something that brought me joy this week. It was a stressful and frightening one for me, and I say a heartfelt and grateful thank you to the Animal Medical Center of New York doctors and staff who saved my dog’s life when I was afraid I may have to say goodbye to him too soon.

The Joy of Airports with Felicia Sabartinelli

Topics discussed in this episode:
– Felicia’s definition of joy
– The importance of finding joy during the most challenging times
– All the places to find and experience joy in an airport
– How airports are becoming a destination
– Felicia’s travels to Spain, Turkey, Iceland, Sweden, China, Alaska, Finland, Mexico, Jamaica, and Austria
– Her upcoming book, Good Girl
– Writing while traveling
– The Denver airport and the mysteries it holds
– The art of the Seattle airport
– Her upcoming Masters program in the UK
– How the joy of musicals found their footing in society after WWII

Links to resources:
– Felicia’s website – https://www.feliciasabartinelli.com
– Felicia on Instagram – @Sabartinelli
– Felicia on TikTok – @Sabartinelli
– Christa on Twitter – @christanyc
– Christa on Instagram – @christarosenyc
– Christa’s website – ChristaAvampato.com
– The Animal Medical Center of NY

A little bit about Felicia:
Felicia Sabartinelli is a fifth-generation Coloradoan whose poetry and personal essays have been published in major magazines, newspapers, and anthologies. Many of her personal essays are still in wide circulation today like, My Miscarriages Ruined My MarriageThe Invisible Hierarchy of Grief which recently won a Writer’s Digest award, and I’m So Allergic, Event Fruits and Veggies Can Kill Me.  When she is not writing, you can find her acting, painting, traveling the world, binge-watching her favorite TV shows, or speaking on the topics of creativity and self-realization.

creativity

How research helps writers get unstuck

Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash

Have you ever been in the messy middle of a writing project? It’s the point where you’re not quite sure how to get from the middle of the narrative to the satisfying conclusion you have planned. It feels like you’re in quicksand, unable to clearly see the path forward. Your characters look to you for guidance, you look to them for guidance, and none of you have any answers so you just spin place, or worse—you abandon the project altogether. 

The wisdom and guidance you need to get out of the messy middle is research. Right now I’m working on a historical fiction novel. The main tentpoles of the plot have remained the same but I’ve brought in many new details to make the script come alive. It’s set in an Italian bakery in New York City in 1910, a dynamic and wild time in the city, country, and world. A myriad of historical events would have had an outsized impact on my characters so I have to research that time to get the details just right. It’s a heavy lift, and ultimately worth the time and attention.

I got myself out of that messy middle by digging into The New York Times archive for specific dates and events that figure prominently into the lives of my characters. In that research I found a plethora of information, and that information created the map I needed to find my way to the conclusion. 

If you’re in the messy middle now and ready to throw in the towel out of frustration, take a deep breath and go to the archives. Let history be your guide. Research your way across the channel to safely emerge on shore on the other side. It’s only a matter of time. The world needs your story.

creativity

JoyProject podcast episode: Joyful News 5.31.22

Joyful News 5.31.22

Put some joyful news in your day!

Joyful News is a set of stories I’ve gathered from around the world that spark joy. In this episode I share these joyful news stories about books, exercise, meditation, food, and travel:

Listen here https://christaavampato.com/joyful-news-5-31-22/ and wherever you get your podcasts.

creativity

JoyProject podcast: The Joy of Travel Planning with Edith Gonzalez

The Joy of Travel Planning with Dr. Edith Gonzalez

Are you eager to get back out there on the open road and travel? Memorial Day marks the start of the summer travel season. Now with prices and demand high and the COVID-19 virus still circulating with shifting travel rules, travel requires more planning than ever before. This week on the JoyProject podcast, Dr. Edith Gonzalez, an anthropologist, professor, and expert travel planner is here to help us with tips, ideas, and experiences to make our travel easier and more joyful. Listen here and wherever you get your podcasts. The website for the episode also has a transcript of the episode and photos from Edith.

At the end of the podcast, I share something that brought me joy this week related to the episode. This week, I tell you about the Netflix food travel series Somebody Feed Phil and the free app, Word of Mouth, an independent restaurant guide powered by a global community of culinary experts.

Topics discussed in this episode:
– Our mutual love of spreadsheets and maps
– How to optimize your packing
– Trip planning research
– Traveling with kids
– Traveling as a food lover and taste testing food specialties wherever we travel
– Bullet journals
– The wonder of Google maps and guide books
– Having a schedule versus winging it versus the happy medium
– Edith’s travels to the U.K., Venice, New Orleans, and Cuba
– A special shout-out to Phil Rosenthal, Somebody Feed Phil, and the Word of Mouth restaurant guide app

Links to resources:
Edith’s website – https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Edith-Gonzalez-3
Edith on Instagram – @egon.the.great
Christa on Twitter – @christanyc
Christa on Instagram – @christarosenyc
Christa’s website – ChristaAvampato.com
Somebody Feed Phil on Netflix
Word of Mouth app

creativity

Milan’s Vertical Forest

Milan’s Vertical Forest

The Vertical Forest in the Porta Nuova area of Milan is an understated marvel and an innovative prototype for how modern cities with deep historical roots can help humans, animals, and plants cohabitate for everyone’s benefit.

The two residential buildings create space for 800 trees, 15,000 plants, and 5,000 shrubs. This is the same number of plants you’d find on ~90,000 square feet of woodland on just ~9,000 square meters of urban space. The Vertical Forest reduces heat when it’s warm, regulates humidity, provides insulation when it’s cold, and cleans the air. And by the way, plants help humans by lowering our stress and anxiety. This greenery has provided a home for 1,600 species of butterflies and birds. An added bonus—if we building our cities vertically, we prevent them from sprawling horizontally which saves more land and the species that call that land home.

This kind of living architecture is a financial and health win for people and nature, and one we cannot afford to ignore. Cities across the world can adopt the ethos of the Vertical Forest and we will all benefit.