Jiggle It A Little It'll Open

Aaron Kahn and Ira S. Murfin

Listen as two old friends and collaborators gradually fashion a podcast from nothing but their shared history by gently agitating whatever enters their field of perception, watching for some meaning or significance to eventually come tumbling out. Avenues of inquiry include, but are not limited to, their mutual hometown of Chicago, experimental theatre, the current cultural and political climate in the U.S. and Europe, and just what this podcast is all about, anyway. Occasionally some humor also arises. Aaron Kahn co-hosts (and produces) from his home in Paris, Ira S. Murfin co-hosts from Chicago. read less
Society & CultureSociety & Culture

Episodes

18. Theatre Why?
10-05-2023
18. Theatre Why?
For only the second time in its short history, Jiggle It A Little It’ll Open welcomes a guest. Melissa Lorraine, Artistic Director of Chicago’s Theatre Y, discusses her company’s journey from its founding as a venue for the work of Romanian playwright András Visky to its recent move from the neighborhood of Lincoln Square, where it was one of over 250 theatre companies dotting Chicago’s North Side, to North Lawndale on the city’s West Side. Melissa talks about what it means for a historically white arts organization to move to a predominantly black, under-resourced neighborhood with the aim of driving revitalization without triggering gentrification, and the inevitable mistakes they are making along the way. She shares their experiences creating youth programming for the first time, learning to listen to her critics in new ways, and addressing needs beyond a theatre company’s usual purview, such as providing much-needed public space during the day and piloting a geothermal home heating project to reduce utility costs and help keep their neighbors in their homes. Plus, as befits a tale with this many twists and turns, there will also be a labyrinth.Music:“Open Up Your Heart” by Roger Miller (a song which features the show’s namesake lyric). arranged and recorded especially for JIALIO by 80 Foots, Chicago’s only End Times Vocal Trio.“Open Up Your Heart” by Buddy Killen + Roger MillerArranged and recorded by: 80 Foots (https://www.facebook.com/80FPM)
14. Beautiful Cacophony
09-03-2023
14. Beautiful Cacophony
The idea of the collective suggests a set of possibilities that do not rely upon personal vision or independent will. It can expand upon, enable, and obscure individual contribution – sometimes all at once – and, at its best, it surprises everyone. But the collective also requires a certain level of individual sacrifice to larger organizing principles – be they theatre, yoga, or architecture. It can be easy to confuse the collective impulse with a desire for what may actually be its opposite: absolute individual autonomy. All too often that becomes the only opening that those who value neither need in order to exploit others and do harm. Aaron and Ira begin by thinking about the ephemeral processes of collective theatre-making. They end up discussing two very concrete prototype habitats, each built by an unusually collected group of people in the Arizona desert. One of these projects counterintuitively turns out to also have its roots in collective theatre-making, though it is remembered and evaluated as a scientific laboratory. The other is intentionally and explicitly a laboratory, a specifically urban one, in the form of an incipient model city that may or may not still be in progress.Music:“Open Up Your Heart” by Roger Miller (a song which features the show’s namesake lyric). arranged and recorded especially for JIALIO by 80 Foots, Chicago’s only End Times Vocal Trio.“Open Up Your Heart” by Buddy Killen + Roger MillerArranged and recorded by: 80 Foots (https://www.facebook.com/80FPM)
4. “If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.”
15-08-2022
4. “If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.”
Aaron and Ira unspool some tiny corner of the cultural response to COVID during the early days, and uncover some differences between American and  European discourses. The changes and deprivations of the COVID era trigger a more expansive reflection on anticipating loss and absence when approaching great change, and the inner continuity that can sometimes be found on the other side. Evaluating the episode while still making it (never a good idea!), Aaron yearns for the energy of the morning drive time DJs of his youth, and he and Ira both agree that something (though probably not this podcast episode) should be titled Half Jimmy Carter, Half Jimmy Stewart: The Last Three Generations of American Thought. The actual title of this episode is a quote from Leonard Cohen. The episode concludes with a recitation of the poem that is at least partially responsible for Aaron and Ira’s friendship.I shaved yesterday, but I'm still a man.I have a smooth upper lip now.I held the witch hazel in my handready to apply topically when Jesus spoke to me.He said, "Aaron, son of Sheldon, brother of Jason,do not use the tainted astringent."I promptly checked the expiration date.It had expired six months before.Whew! That was close.— Aaron Kahn (circa 1992)Music:“Open Up Your Heart” by Roger Miller (a song which features the show’s namesake lyric). arranged and recorded especially for JIALIO by 80 Foots, Chicago’s only End Times Vocal Trio.“Open Up Your Heart” by Buddy Killen + Roger MillerArranged and recorded by: 80 Foots (https://www.facebook.com/80FPM)