Someone was stabbed outside the bookstore window when I was working there years ago at Queen and Sherborne.
This was the first radio doc I ever made, and WOOOOH, was it a ride. Funny to listen to it now. CBC Radio OUT FRONT (which I went on to work for as Associate Producer, a couple of years later) wanted the teller of the story to be very present in the piece. I like the other voices SO much, I wish mine wasn’t so ‘present’. What amazing strangers I met wandering Queen Street while working at the bookstore. My greatest mentor to date, Steve Wadhmans, radio doc producer extraordinaire, held my hand for the editing process and taught me all about sound pictures and scenes. Greatest sound storyteller ever… from CBC, now retired and singing tenor in Victoria, BC.
This Radio Doc, made by myself and pal Marion Gruner was a popular feature documentary on CBC Radio. It features former foundry workers from the long defunct and now contaminated IMICO foundry in Guelph, Ontario, artists who squatted there, and the famous Reverend Wally Tucker who bought the land for a dollar to establish his Church of the Universe (The church uses marijuana as a sacrament and promotes nudity as a demonstration of human honesty).
I also made a fast short film with the audio from the interviews with the old foundry workers for Hidden Histories with the Guelph Film Festival. See here: Ghost: IMICO
I produced this radio doc on a Queen East art book store where I worked… all about the characters in the hood. Too much of my voice in it, in my opinion. But that was the style of OUTFRONT, a really fun show I ended up working for.
I had re-ignited my interest in Radio Doc with my broadcast of Allen in the summer (‘Who Is Allen’ on CBC)
Started listening to old CBC Docs and came upon one Marion Gruner and I made years ago– so many GUELPH voices, and on land that has STILL never been developed and still contaminated: IMICO, in the ward.
So many reincarnations and creative use: Hempire Village, the most imaginative– Good old Wally Tucker and the Church of the Universe.
And voices long gone of foundry workers.
I’ve taken some of the audio to remix into a short film screening with Hidden Histories/ Guelph Film Festival but the audio from it is still so precious.
Here is info on the remixed film screenings in NOVEMBER in Guelph as part of The Guelph Film Festival: Hidden Histories
And here is the radio piece- definitely worth a listen.
Who is Allan, a radio documentary I produced for CBC Radio kicked off the summer season a couple years ago on Canada Day. It tells the story of the stories people made up about a man they didn’t understand: Allan, a seemingly educated, sophisticated man who appears homeless, well-known to many in his community of Guelph, Ontario. What’s his real story? And what are all the myths?
“Since fear and social norms often forbid us to ask a stranger questions, people have made up stories to try to understand how Allan came to be. Often great big dramatic stories! In this doc, I seek out those stories, then ask Allen himself for his ‘real’ story.”
And Here’s a little blurb the local paper wrote:
CBC Radio to feature Guelph producer’s documentary on Canada Day
By Mercury staff
GUELPH — A radio documentary by multimedia journalist Dawn Matheson will bring a story about Guelph to people across the country on Canada Day.
The story of a longtime Guelph character known as Allen will kick off CBC’s national Summer Radio Season on Canada Day as part of a new program called The Doc Project.
Matheson’s radio documentary, titled “Who is Allen?,” will air on Canada Day, July 1 at 7:30 p.m. and be repeated Thursday at 9:30 a.m. on CBC Radio One.
Matheson was one of about 20 producers chosen in a countrywide call to create radio documentary for CBC in a ‘boot camp’ held in Toronto over the past winter.
The documentary, featuring dozens of Guelph residents and Allen himself, explores the nature of story creation, Matheson says.
“Allen is a well-known figure on Guelph’s streets for the past 35 years, but most don’t really know him,” she says. “He appears to be a lonely mystery with a long tangled beard and torn clothing happily reading the New York Times at Guelph’s Welcome In drop-in centre, park benches throughout downtown and many cafes.
“Many Guelphites assume he is homeless, or that a tragedy has struck him to put him out on the streets. Others say the very literate Allen is a professor performing an elaborate social experiment. Nonetheless, he has fascinated the townsfolk for years, including me,” Matheson says.
“Since fear and social norms often forbid us to ask a stranger questions, people have made up stories to try to understand how Allen came to be. Often great big dramatic stories! In this doc, I seek out those stories, then ask Allen himself for his ‘real’ story.”