recess radio program

    by John Cech

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Those are some the teachers from New York City's High School for the Performing Arts, introducing their freshmen wannabe stars to the rigors of the disciplies that they hope will propel them to fame. Fame, of course, is the title for the 1980 movie directed by Allen Parker that placed the struggles of a group of talented young people center stage in the the consciousness of American popular culture -- where they have been a vital force ever since. The film's immense popularity (the music won two Oscars), spun off a television show, with some of the same cast, that premiered today in 1982 and ran for five years. The TV show is back again, this time as a pure talent vehicle (minus the encumbering personal dramas), hosted by the dancer and choreographer Debbie Allen who starred in the original film. But now the new Fame is only one of a seemingly endless parade of star searches for young American idols -- singers, dancers, musicians, comedians, rich kids, and even young people, like the denizons of The Real World, who simply excell at chilling out, whining, weeping, and wailing. It's part of our national obsession with fame -- for the chance to plug into the matrix of our entertainment culture, which is still one of the ways out and up for many young people, wether it's for fifteen minutes or, as the song goes, forever.

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Today's program featured the following work:

Copyright 2004 John Cech

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January 2004
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"Recess!" is a co-production of the University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture and WUFT-FM, "Classic 89."