Live TV Live (LTVL) celebrated it’s pilot debut in March, 2015 with “Fall of the Pollinators, Rise of the High-rise” (https://vimeo.com/119577128 ). The episode was warmly received by the East Lawrence, KS community and served to alleviate tensions surrounding the tragic destruction of the Spencer Museum of Art’s Pollinators mural.
Having completed the pilot episode Nicholas Ward and Robert Baker have worked through formulating an identity for the show as well as technical kinks in the production. Rocket Grants funding will allow for LTVL to bloom into a yearlong series of episodes. This project weaves together fictional writing, sardonic humor, performance, and straight documentary approaches. It also ties together all of these aspects with work Nicholas has done as a community-based muralist into a new hybrid genre of community-based filmmaking.
LTVL is taking back the local media and turning up the volume on the many voices of the East Lawrence neighborhood! The project has two main functions: To provide a direct, informative and satirical iteration of the concerns expressed by East Lawrence residents in a climate of shifting cultural ecology, and to explore, promote and celebrate the unsung cultural treasures of this neighborhood.
Lead artist Nicholas Ward says: “All of this is delivered from within a giant, wearable, cardboard television as an episodic local news cast, and hosted by the intrepid, throwback news anchor: Biff Beluga!”
The “show” will be accessible in two main forms. For the majority of viewers it will be an online viewing experience consisting of locally themed video episodes (think: the Daily Show meets Buster Keaton) with supplemental images, short skits and op-ed writings from both LTVL “staff” and neighborhood residents. For those living within the East Lawrence neighborhood LTVL will have the added component of on-site, real-time, community-inclusive and collaborative theatre occurring at events like the Art Togeau parade, Food Truck Festival, Yart Sale, ELNA picnic, river cleanup and ELNA sidewalk repair day.
At these events LTVL will actively invite neighborhood residents to share their voices on current issues, remembrances, concerns and hopes pertaining to the neighborhood, for use in a component called “Word on the Street.” Compilations of these engagement opportunities will be featured on the LTVL website and will also serve as research for the more developed episodes.
LTVL promises an uplifting, critical and humorous chronicling of the ongoing shifts and displacements in the cultural ecology of East Lawrence, KS.
Nicholas Ward is a visual artist, filmmaker and poet based in Lawrence, Kansas. He is the creator of numerous short films focused on the intersection of arts and community and is currently engaged as lead cinematographer co-director and co-editor on the feature-length documentary film Called to Walls (2015). His work outside of film includes numerous large-scale, public, community-based mural projects located throughout the Midwest. Nicholas was an artist in residence (2011) at the Bemis Center for Contemporary art. He has instructed courses in drawing at the University of Kansas and has taught numerous courses in drawing and animation at the Lawrence Arts Center and at the Missouri Fine Arts Academy. In 2008 Nicholas studied in Prague under Czech animators and puppet makers at the KID Puppet for Film Animation School where he learned traditional Czech animation techniques. Nicholas received his MFA from the University of Kansas in 2010.
Robert Baker is uncomfortable with biographical resumes. He fears sounding like a retired Kansas Senator noting his achievements in third person. That said, I became aware of telling serious tales with farcical overtones upon hearing Emily Dickinson’s I’m Nobody! Who Are You? in fourth grade.
My preferred method of storytelling has been performance poetry, plays or songs. Despite embracing Dickinson’s ode to anonymity, my resume includes fifty stage/film productions and five song collections.
The Chameleon recording was called “…a unique aural mélange…showcase for Robert Baker’s imaginative word play…” German listeners voted another song “Best of 2004.” So much for anonymity!