Phoenix Studios LIVE Event
On October 17th, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay had their first ever Phoenix Studios LIVE event at the Fort Howard Hall. The event organized by the brilliant Phoenix Studios Producer Kate Farley was a fantastic showcase of the great podcasts that are produced here at UWGB. The hosts and masterminds of the night were Kate Farley and her Production Assistant and intern from the Communications department, Ntxhee Yee Thao. Phoenix Studios LIVE was a night of exciting and fascinating conversations focused on engaging topics that related to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and horror.
ALL THE RAGE: “Mob Creation”
The night started with a discussion on “Mob Creation” with hosts of ALL THE RAGE, Dr. Ryan Martin of the Psychology Department and Dr. Chuck Rybak of English and Humanities who is Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. During this podcast, the two discussed what qualities define a “mob”, and how that compares to our common conception of what a mob is (you know, grab your torch and pitchforks, etc.). They cited real-life examples from day to day occurrences and joked about how they themselves could be defined as a two-person mob.
INDENTED: “Let’s Not Forget Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley”
Second on the night’s roster was the podcast, Indented. Hosted by Krynn Hanold, the English Creatives Intern, Dr. Rebecca Nesvet of the English, Humanities, and Woman & Gender Studies, and Dr. Jessica Van Slooten of the English department and Women’s Gender Studies Program Co-chair from the UW-Green Bay, Manitowoc Campus. During their segment, they discussed the daring and impressive life of Mary Shelley, a woman well ahead of her time.
During the podcast, Dr. Nesvet illustrated an impressive skill that Wollstonecraft Shelley had learned from her father: reading two books at one time. This task was believed to be the best way to compare two books. Dr. Nesvet also passionately discussed how well educated MWS was during a time where women normally didn’t receive an extensive literary education.
As a woman who was ahead of her time, MWS discussed topics of gender roles in a subtle and profound way through her work. Dr. Van Slooten discussed how MWS used gender to defy the values of the 19th century and the expectations of men and women in society. Drawing from Dr. Van Slooten’s expertise in gender studies, she breaks down the gender conceptions that MWS depicts in her writing of Frankenstein.
SERIOUS FUN: “It Came From the Public Domain”
So who is Frankenstein’s monster, and does our vision of him parallel with MWS’ writing? The podcast, SERIOUS FUN! hosted by Dr. Carr with his special guest Bob the stuffed ‘creature’, takes on the topic of legal rights in relation to the image of Frankenstein’s monster. During this interactive podcast, the audience was asked to draw the image that pops into their head when thinking of Frankenstein. Naturally, the audience drew the typical creature (bolts in the neck, flat top head, scar on the forehead, etc.) created by Dr. Frankenstein and not Dr. Frankenstein himself. The image we think of as Frankenstein was first proposed by James Whale’s interpretation of the creature in his 1931 adaptation of Frankenstein. Carr delved deeper in the matter to explain the timeline of the copyright of the images of Frankenstein and discusses why and how we have many of different versions of Frankenstein today.
Bird in the Wings: “Designing Fear”
The last two podcasts of the evening discussed the construction of horror and how it can invoke joy in some while terror in others. The podcast Bird in the Wings is hosted by Kelli Strickland, the Executive and Artistic Director of the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts. For this special event, Strickland invited two guests from Thirteenth Floor Entertainment who work on designing the popular haunted house attraction in Green Bay, Terror on the Fox. During this podcast, they discussed what goes into creating fear and how to construct an environment that represent real-world problems in consumers’ lives. Haunted houses are very similar to theatre productions in the way that they are crafted and strategically planned to make the audience feel targeted emotions. Through the use of costume design, lighting design, and the good ol’ fashion ‘jump-scare’, they create an immersive interactive environment of entertaining fear. They don’t stop there; the haunted house cast even communicates to each other about the outspoken fears of the customers to be used against them in their walkthrough of horror. (Quick tip: When walking into a haunted house, do NOT express that you are deathly afraid of clowns, because the employees will hear you, and be sure to get a clown all up in your business)
Psychology and Stuff: “Why Do People Like Horror?”
The night ended on the topic of horror movies, specifically why people enjoy them. The podcast Psychology and Stuff was hosted by senior Psychology student Sammy Alger-Feser, Dr. Jason Cowell of the Psychology and Human Development departments, and Dr. Ryan Martin of the Psychology department. The panel was perfectly weighted with Sammy who is a horror film fanatic, Dr. Martin who just might consider watching a scary movie (given that the film has good qualities), and Dr. Cowell, who is not a fan. Throughout the discussion, they brought up their own personal experiences with horror and went on to explain the psychological processes behind their reactions to this type of film.
Final Thoughts On The Night
It is impossible to summarize every aspect of the thrilling topics that were discussed throughout the night. Even though each of these podcasts has different foundations in their disciplines, they all found creative and festive ways to incorporate their topics into a fluid overall theme. Phoenix Studios LIVE was a great event to showcase the variety of podcasts that UWGB produces. This night was also an excellent representation of the ways UWGB professors, students, and technical staff have created a common platform for the different departments and areas of study. Through this event, the podcasts were able to reach a broader audience and showcase their individual focus, quirks, and personalities.
We are very excited to see what Phoenix Studios has in store for us next. If you are interested in hearing the recordings from this event, each podcast will be posting their individual segments from the night and you can find them by clicking here.
Written by Rachel Scray and Elayna Hartter
Photo Credit: Haley Falcon – Thank you for capturing the night.