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Pauline Oliveros on Press The Button 5/17/99


Episode 104
Parting Shot Mix (Up or Down) Trio
Cory Archangel, Sam Harmon, every man, Pauline Oliveros, Rob Reich

The day was stressful for the Press The Button staff, who have grown accustomed to the idiom "prepare for the worst to hope for the best." When they used to depend on cassette decks working, they would die on them. When they counted on phone callers to steal the show for them after a previous week of over 100 unique callers, the phone would be ripped out of the wall, or the city decided to sleep in that night. When they counted on guests to arrive, they would either forget, come late, or get lost looking for the station. Since this is the case, the button pressers have religiously prepared for each show as though they would be completely alone for the show's duration and that no one will call the entire night.

Around 8 PM they arrive at WRUW to setup their equipment, knowing their guests would have a helluva setup requirement themselves, should they make it. Around 9 PM, PTB's fears seemed more realistic as they get a call from Pauline's cell phone. It was one of her students, Cory! It turns out that they didn't take the highway, and were about 45 minutes west taking the back roads. PTB has sent them maps and directions, but were unaware that Pauline's students were as unfamiliar with the area as she was! The directions assumed a basic understanding of the Cleveland west side, something the PTB staff barely had themselves. They tried to direct them, but had no idea what streets they were on, and didn't recognize their names as they were announced by Cory. Dr. Bill, the DJ on before PTB and a veteran from the west side, took the phone and successfully got Pauline's car about 10 minutes from the campus. When he went back to DJing, PTB once again foiled their attempts to give directions as they got Pauline smack dab in the middle of what is quite possibly the most dangerous neighborhood in the state of Ohio! every man told them to pull into a Burger King and wait for him to come and lead them back. "Oh, that's a wonderful idea!" Pauline declared in relief.

every man and Sam prepared to leave, and as they looked back, everyone looked at them with a stare that said "you're all going to die miserably!"

They departed and took the liberty of running a couple stop signs and red lights as they observed the real life performance of "Boys In The Hood." As they pulled into the Burger King, they didn't see anyone resembling Pauline. They figured "let's go pass the drive-thru, maybe they ordered?" They went TO the drive-thru, only to discover they were forced to wait for 4 vehicles that thought it would be a good idea to order french fries at 10 PM on a Sunday! In attempt to drive backwards, they were blocked by another two vehicles of people who shared the appetite for grease the ones in front of us had. After a good ten minutes of waiting, they finally drove pass the order window, waved good-bye to the confused 16 year old cashier, and swung back in front of the Burger King in hopes that their guests hadn't been mugged or brutally maimed. Thankfully,they were found parked in the lot. every man pulled along side their car, pulled his window down and said "Nice to meet you!" Cory was in the passenger seat, and rolled down his window and repeated the statement. every man asked, "So did you order?" From the driver's seat, Pauline lifts a sandwich and in a very familiar marketing fashion, she smiled as though she were holding a trophy. Then, Cory repeated the exercise of good will advertising with a bag of French fries. every man looked at Sam who looked back at every man, and after a moment of awkward silence they laughed themselves silly. As they pulled away with Pauline following them, every man said to Sam, "You know, I always wanted to meet this woman, and I didn't know how I would have been able to handle the moment without getting nervous and saying something stupid...but I have always looked forward to this day...I just..." Sam cut him off and finished, "you just weren't expecting to see her holding a Whopper!" They laughed the whole drive back, exhaling the stress and concern built up over the last couple hours. Sometimes we forget that the people we idolize are still people. Now the only remaining concern was Pauline's other student, Rob Reich. Where was he?

Getting back to the station, the setup and preparation went smoothly. Suddenly, around 11 PM, Rob shows up...having found WRUW all by himself without having to call for directions! "You get an A+, Rob!" Pauline jested in disbelief. "Oh come on, finding this place is a piece of cake!" replied Rob.

We finished setting up Rob and plugged him into the mixer. The show was absolutely incredible. As for Pauline, you could never meet a sweeter or more open minded woman than her. She also has a knack for making your biggest worries into simple choices. During the entire interview every man had with her at the end of the show, she answered every complex question with a simple answer. "Who were your earliest influences, and who influences you now?" She answered, "Everything around me, all the sounds of the world, have always, and will always influence me...and you, and everyone else." Each time a question was asked, her answer made you seriously rethink the questions. She's probably been asked them 100 times before, but her answers reflected 100 times the experience.

Complex is a label for all things we didn't realize were simple. Big books have many pages to read, but they contain simple words.

Pauline Oliveros' life as a composer, performer and humanitarian is about opening her own and others' sensibilities it the many facets of sound. Since the 1960's she has influenced American Music profoundly through her work with improvisation, meditation, electronic music, myth and ritual. Many credit her with being the founder of present day meditative music. All of Oliveros' work emphasizes musicianship, attention strategies, and improvisational skills. She has been celebrated worldwide. During the 1960's John Rockwell named her work Bye Bye Butterfly as one of the most significant of that decade. In the 70's she represented the U.S. at the World's Fair in Osaka, Japan; during the 80's she was honored with a retrospective at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., and the 1990's began with a letter of distinction from the American Music Center presented at Lincoln Center in New York. There is currently a plan for a global celebration of the 50th anniversary of her work in the year 2001. Oliveros work is available on more than 17 recordings produced by companies internationally. The Button Press, Inc. is both honored and proud to have had Pauline's presence on their experimental radio program, Press The Button. We hope you enjoy these pictures we scanned for you from this incredibly exciting and fun event! Special thanks to the photographer, Michelle Wojnar, for making this page possible. For more information on Pauline, go to

Rob, Cory, Pauline, every man
every man
explains the "pause policy" before airtime

Rob, Cory, Pauline, and every man all check their volume levels 10 minutes before airtime

Pauline mixed her CD's, every man mixed his tapes

every man sampled Pauline's music and vocals

Rob using his head

Pauline on the Mic
Cory played the chair for 45 minutes
Rob on guitar
Sam ducking the camera
Rob added vocals to Cory's guitar strumming
Rob played guitar and sampler together
every man added vocals in "Zen" fashion while listening to Pauline play her cow horn
Group photo: Pauline, Cory, every man, Rob (kneeling), Sam


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