Friday, November 30, 2007

Wesley Nisker

Wesley Nisker

A little over ten years ago, I happily stumbled across a book called "Crazy Wisdom." The paperback advertised itself as A provocative romp through the philosophies of East and West. A quote on the back said the book would serve as the missing link between sit-down meditation and stand-up comedy. Of course, I bought and read it right away. I've since referred to it as a kind of life-long companion... So very much of it rang so very true, for me, especially at the time.

"Crazy Wisdom" was written by Wes "Scoop" Nisker, and it was only after recently re-reading the book that I noticed in the introduction (I must have skipped it the first time around) that the author is also a sound collage artist! My interest in sound collage pre-dates having read this book, which is why it's strange I somehow missed this fact initially, especially considering what an impact his book had on me at the time. I was in my mid-twenties and for the first time allowing myself to really think critically/creatively about the concept of meaning in a meaningless universe... Hopefully you've made your way through a period like this at some point in your own life as well. If not, check out this book if you want to get started.

Nisker was a newscaster and commentator, from 1968, at a radio station known as a voice of the anti-war movement, and had the freedom there to present his views in the form of some seriously edited audio tape, featuring the voices of then-current politicians, rock and roll samples, sound effects and other recordings of the era. The results were broadcast at KSAN in the late sixties and seventies and the best tracks were, more recently, put together on one CD for a program on National Public Radio.

He's worked as a morning show radio host, in addition to his roles as radio producer and commentator, and is cofounder (and coeditor) of the International Buddhist journal, Inquiring Mind. He's won The Armstrong Award for excellence in FM programming (1976), and The Bay Area Media Alliance Meritorious Achievement Award (1986). He's a comedian, author, Buddhist meditation instructor and sound collage artist...

Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Wes "Scoop" Nisker...

*Name: Wesley Nisker

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: Wes “Scoop” Nisker

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: Tape manipulations, with a razor blade.

*Another genre descriptor: The only news you can dance to.

*Is there a story behind your name? I got my nickname Scoop in the late 60's, when I was the news commentator for the infamous underground station KSAN in San Francisco, and was receiving communiques from various groups about their protests and manifestos. I also had an inside witness to the Chicago Conspiracy trial, and the DJ's started calling me "the Scoop."

Berkely, California

*Original Location: Norfolk, Nebraska.

*What is your creative/artistic background: Comedy, journalism, philosophy, Buddhism.

*History: 39 years.

*Born: I was born in 1942, just before the "baby boom" in a small town, Norfolk, Nebraska. I was the only Jewish kid in my schools, and as I grew up, which may have been the beginning of my life as an "outsider." It's all detailed in my book "The Big Bang, The Buddha, and the Baby Boom."
*Motivations: Women, peace in the world, and money.

*Philosophy: You must get people's attention if you want to tell them something.

*How would you like to be remembered: As I am.

*Web address:

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