Get Into The Tune of the Radio Picture Show

0 Comments 06 July 2015

radio picture show

Lauren Cook, Shauna McGarry, and DJ Marion Hodges bring a monthly storytelling series inspired by songs and images.

by Daniel Barron


You like music. You like hearing feeling things. You even like moving your butt! Hosts Lauren Cook and Shauna McGarry, along with DJ Marion Hodges, hear you. That’s why they’re offering ONE STOP SHOPPING with their monthly storytelling series The Radio Picture Show, which occurs every second Wednesday of the month at the Virgil Bar in Silverlake. Comedians, writers, actors, and more tell real-life stories while incorporating sound, image, or even a creative stir-fry of the three! The trio took the time with Yay! LA to tell us all about what attendees can expect, how to stay hip, and the dance moves that will save your life.


radio picture show

Elevator pitch for The Radio Picture Show. Go.

Marion Hodges: Radio Picture Show features comedians, writers, actors, musicians, artists and other awesome creative types telling true stories inspired by a song, a picture, or both!
Shauna McGarry: Radio Picture Show is a storytelling show we’ve been producing for two years in Silverlake at The Virgil. Instead of asking performers to tell a story based off a theme, like shows like The Moth do, we ask that all stories be inspired by a picture or a song that we feature with the help of our DJ Marion Hodges and co-producer, Erik Fink. These constraints lead to some unique multimedia performances, and a lot of original pieces written specifically for our show.
Lauren Cook: It’s a storytelling show with music and a slideshow. It’s like the Moth, but less I-have-to-moan-cry.


radio picture show

Part of the enjoyment of a storytelling series such is the Moth is the constant change in tempo. A raw account of someone overcoming deep trauma can be followed by a light anecdote involving someone shitting their pants. Was the Radio Picture Show conceived primarily as a comedy series or does it sometimes “get real”?
Cook: We are in full support of GOING THERE. A diverse mix of highs and lows is a successful show for us. The majority of our guests are comedians or comic writers, but that doesn’t mean their stories don’t have stakes. They just tend to make us laugh before and after making us feel feelings.
Hodges: Radio Picture Show wasn’t necessarily conceived as a comedy show, but since we tend to book people from the comedy world, the stories are often pretty hilarious. It has definitely gotten real in the past, and we certainly welcome our performers to tell whatever story is on their mind. I think the overall vibe of our show is pretty fun and loose so it’s possible that that cosmically attracts stories that are on the funnier side.
McGarry: We think a good story encompasses all the feelings, sad to hilarious, but we do often showcase comedians and generally funny people so our stories tend to lean light. That doesn’t mean I haven’t cried at a story at every one of our shows. Because I have. But when you add in an embarrassing picture, and someone telling a whole story around an Indigo Girls song, the mood can never get too dark. Hopefully, we’re like a mellow, hip record party where all the guests just happen to be great storytellers.


radio picture show

What are some of the most surprising/ambitious song or image integrations in memory? I understand that some people choose to involve both?

Cook: Yes, great point. Some guests use a song AND a picture, or, some people use several songs or several pictures. Some even perform their song live or invite a guest on stage to perform their song, live… you get it. The more creative a storyteller gets, the more theatrical and memorable the story. We had Cyrus Ghahremani on and he used a modulator to imitate the voice of a neighbor in his story, with dark creepy music in the background. He also showed drawings. I loved that story.
McGarry: My favorite story involving a picture will always be Tim Bagley’s story about delivering Poinsettia plants to a convalescent hospital on his holiday visit back home. He showed only one picture, a snapshot of himself, his mom and his sister, all smiling the same hopeful smile, all holding big pots of red flowers. Even as their do-gooder mission devolved into a sordid chaos, these warm smiles stayed projected on screen, a reminder of how far reality can stray from the best intentions.
As far as a unique use of song, Lisa Marr and Paolo Davanzo, directors of the Echo Park Film Center, and members of the band The Here and Now, told a travel story about being in Detroit during a power outage. Lisa lost her phone which led to a dark night (literally) of adventure and discovery as they tried to retrieve it. They wrote an original song to go with their story.
Hodges: Beowolf Jones detailed his love of George Michael by showcasing various Wham! songs that were most important to his coming of age. That was great. But, my favorite song integration though, remains Laura Krafft telling a story about how “She’s Crafty” by the Beastie Boys was always her theme song until she became neighbors with Ad-Rock and had so many awkward encounters with him she had to retire the song. She gave me carte blanche to interrupt her story with the song whenever. I snuck it in at one point right at the line “The girl is crafty like ice is cold.” and she had a spontaneous dance break on stage. It was amazing!


radip picture show

 This show obviously grows out of a love of music. What’s everyone first album that they purchased and concert? Cool answers not acceptable.
McGarry: I bought cassette tapes! And I distinctly remember buying the Empire Records soundtrack and singing “Ready, Steady, Go” by Billy Idol at the top of my lungs while dancing and making my bed one morning with my Precious Moments blanket and sheets. That blanket was thrown away soon after.
Cook: A CD from The Party (GREAT BAND NAME.) It was a group made up of kids from The Mickey Mouse Club, but not the ones who went on to be wildly successful. First concert was either The Indigo Girls or Tim McGraw. I was all over the place.
Hodges: My answers are absolutely not cool! My first album, which was of course on a CD was from Paula Abdul – the one that came out in the early 90s and had “Rush Rush” on it. My first concert was Amy Grant.


lauren cook shauna mcgarry


A new online study posits that most people stop picking up new music at age 33? I used to think I would always be current and rad but I’m a few years short of the benchmark and it now looks increasingly likely that I’ll be telling a bunch of snotty, indifferent teenagers that “you had to be there” for The Strokes. Do you all stay in the know or just “play the hits”?
McGarry: I just tell everyone I like Beck. I figure as long as he keeps reinventing himself, I’m safe. Beck and James Taylor never say die!
Cook: That study is extremely depressing because it’s so accurate. I’ve been a serious Florence and the Machine fan for a long time. She just released an album so that’s my honor badge of currency.

Hodges: Well, it’s my job to keep up with new music, but I do get where you’re coming from. Especially now that there are sooooo many avenues for music discovery. I’m constantly scouring Soundcloud and Bandcamp for new sounds, and since I DJ weddings and what not, I use record pools to get all of the current top 40 stuff, EDM, hip-hop, etc. I have to admit that I really don’t understand the appeal of most of it, but I play it and it makes people dance and appear happy so what do I know.
I did just have a gig that I booked through KCRW where I was able to play the kind of stuff that I love for dancing; nu-disco, soul remixes, even a little bit of house-y type stuff. It was incredible! In regards to teenagers and the Strokes though, there are still plenty of kids getting into new bands that play guitars. Burger records continues to get more and more popular, and the last time I went to an indiepop show featuring bands that were on the tiny (but seminal) label Slumberland there were a bunch of kids there, like really young kids, and they were into it. It was cool and kind of surreal to see. And regardless of my personal involvement radio stations like KCRW are essential to keeping music discovery alive for casual music lovers who do other things for work. Knowing that there are people out there, going through blogs, going to live shows, meeting artists, and introducing you to the best of all of that in a two or three hour window is a really great way to hear what’s out there for you, and if any of it particularly strikes your fancy you can explore it further on your own 🙂


lauren cook marion hodges shauna mcgarry

Each Radio Picture Show is followed by a dance party MCed by KCRW DJ Marion Hodges. Go to dance moves? What advice do you have for someone with no rhythm who would like to continue having sex? Asking for me.

Hodges: My go to dance move is sort of a back and forth shuffle/stomp kind of thing that I think I picked up from watching so many Northern Soul videos over the years.

McGarry: I dance like Charlie Brown… and a sure way to not have sex is dancing like a cartoon child so I wouldn’t take my advice in this realm. It is a sure way, however, to have fun, especially when Marion is picking the tunes.

Cook: Don’t ever let your limbs move too far away from your body. Don’t smile with your mouth open on the dance floor. And drink, obviously.



The Radio Picture Show happens every second Wednesday at the Virgil bar in Silverlake.

Learn more about the Radio Picture Show on the official website.

Follow the Radio Picture Show on Twitter.

“Like” The Radio Picture Show on Facebook.

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- who has written 424 posts on Yay! LA | Arts & Culture Magazine.

Rudderless college graduate Daniel Barron founded Yay! LA Magazine on a love of writing, passion for the arts, and a firm belief that people really like talking about themselves. He contributed to a number of publications, including LA Music Blog and the defunct The Site Unscene, before deciding to cover arts and entertainment the way he wanted to read it. He works as a freelance writer and digital PR consultant in his current home of Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter at @YayDanielBarron.

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