Grasshopper says “Be Your Own Media Filter”

Being in the media creation line of work, all of us here at eTown spend quite a bit of time checking out the world around us to see and hear what kinds of things are being captured in the audio and video realms. Things move so fast, that it’s important to pay attention to what’s out there. Lately, I have also been trying to act as a better filter of my own curiosities. I’ve found that if I am not careful, it’s very easy for my mood or outlook to be influenced by what I’m taking in on a daily basis. Do we really need to read about every single tragedy that occurs in our hometowns, our cities, the state we live in … our world? Of course, some of these events touch on important issues that should be discussed so that we can learn from them, but more often than not I’m finding that “media reporting” has turned into an unquenchable thirst for the almighty click, like or share. Lately I have been trying harder to get rid of things in my news feeds that are doing me no good. I’m finding that many “media stories” these days are overly negative, unimportant and unnecessary. You are what you eat, so they say. (Which if taken literally, means I am a BBQ sandwich and collard greens today) But, I think that more and more we are also becoming what we ingest from a media standpoint.

In honor of this line of thinking, I’ll spare you today’s headlines about ISIS, journalist beheadings, Robin Thicke’s heist and desecration of a Marvin Gaye song or Kanye West commanding handicapped concert attendees to stand up. Instead I bring you something much healthier – a video of a praying mantis. I remember a few months back, Nick Forster showed me a cool YouTube video of some bluegrass group playing a concert where, all of a sudden in the middle of a song, a small bird flew down and landed on the guitar neck of one of the players. It stayed there until the song was finished in a surreal moment of serenity. This past weekend, Nick was in California playing a festival gig with his bluegrass group, Hot Rize, when a similar thing occurred. I won’t spoil the action too much, but let’s just say that there was a showdown between man and insect. Check it out for yourself in the video below.

We have a great broadcast/podcast for you this week as well. Two eTown newcomers are with us – San Fermin and Jeremy Messersmith. Both acts have one-of-a-kind sounds, and are paired together perfectly for this episode. San Fermin is a musical force under the mastermind of young, Brooklyn-based composer Ellis Ludwig-Leone, while Jeremy Messersmith is a do-it-yourself singer/songwriter that will play a concert at your house, as long as you feed him. (You can learn more about that in his interview with Nick Forster). Along with great music and conversation with the visiting artists, this week’s E-Chievement Award is particularly interesting, as we talk to a West Virginia man that found a way to make solar panels using LED light strips, reflective paper and discarded political signs. His organization is now providing light to families in need in Africa and all over the world. Very cool stuff! Be sure to tune in or podcast, and check out the videos below.

– Zack