Artist Rich Houck on How He Uses the Internet

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Reading, PA, artist Rich Houck originally caught our attention in an unusual way. Near the window of his third-floor Goggleworks studio, he had a laptop cycling through images of his artwork making it easy for visitors to learn about what he does. What a great use of technology!

When we visited Rich again recently, we had a nice conversation about how he uses technology–mainly the Internet but also photo editing tools like Photoshop–as a way of sharing images of his work with others and staying current on global trends and ideas.

“Access to global news and global thoughts has been a constant growth experience,” he said. “That’s how I see the Internet being a great influence.”

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Download Video: Quicktime, Running time: 1:37, 8.5MB

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Jolene – Reading, PA, Singer/Songwriter on Making Music as an Independent

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Among the more fun and enjoyable aspects of running an Internet TV channel in Berks County is the chance to get out and meet some of the many area singer/songwriters, hear their music, and learn first hand about their craft.

We met Jolene last week at the Hard Bean Cafe in West Reading, PA, where she organizes a singer/songwriter night the first Thursday of each month. Equally at home on the guitar, mandolin, and harmonica, Jolene has two full solo CDs behind her and three more in the making.

Here’s what one reviewer wrote about Jolene:

“The most striking thing about Jolene is that she’s a walking contradiction. It would be easy to say that she’s a paradox, but that be over complicating things. Paradoxes seem to imply that there is some mystery or enigma, but Jolene’s at home wearing her emotions on her sleeve. She’s not content to draw any punches, and that helps to create the contradiction. Not only does her music have the youthful amazement and joy of a child, but she has the maturity of wise old woman in not only her courage to be forward with her emotions, but also her intelligent presentation of those emotions.”

What started out as a “living room venture” has become a nice side career, as you’ll hear her describe in this segment. Jolene keeps the world apprised of her progress via her website and connects with other musicians via her MySpace page, where you can also sample some of her music.

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Download Video: Quicktime, Running time: 2:57, 26MB

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Artist Rich Houck on His Magnolia Series

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Berks.TV spoke recently with artist Rich Houck, whose work was then being featured as part of an exhibit at GoggleWorks in Reading, PA.

In this segment, Rich talks about ideas of light and contrast in his Magnolia Series, which was inspired by the magnolias in Manhattan’s Central Park.

Rich talked about balancing nature and the abstract and the importance of giving an audience ways to connect with his work. “Regardless of your thoughts on positive and negative, contrast, luminosity–things like that, you can still enjoy it for the tree and the blossoms and for the memories that that creates.”

Note to Readers: A great way to learn more about the GoggleWorks, of course, is to visit it at 2nd and Washington Streets in Reading, PA. Short of that, check out this inspiring blog post from Reading’s Mayor Tom McMahon, which he wrote shortly after the arts center opened in fall, 2005. If reading it doesn’t make you want to visit, I’m not sure what will!

You may also enjoy earlier segments here on Berks.TV with Rick Houck and an interview with GoggleWorks Executive Director Diane LaBelle. We had one viewer write to tell us he is planning to visit GoggleWorks after seeing our interview with Diane. Wow!

I’d say the vision for GoggleWorks continues to be realized.

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Download Video: Quicktime, Running time: 1:18, 7.3MB

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Diane LaBelle on the GoggleWorks Mission: Educating Anyone About Any of the Arts

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Having spent an enjoyable time at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts talking with artist Rich Houck, we were thrilled when executive director Diane LaBelle agreed to spend a few minutes on camera talking with Berks.TV managing editor Tara Karleen.

It’s an exciting time in the life of young GoggleWorks, the arts center in downtown Reading, PA. It’s surprised more than a few skeptics with its momentum. In addition to strong daily traffic, “Second Sunday” events, where visitors are invited to explore the facility and interact with artists, regularly draw thousands.

In this segment, Diane talks about the various threads of her career coming together in this job and her delight at the surge of interest on the part of artists and the Greater Reading community.

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Download Video: Quicktime, Running time: 3:03 minutes, 18MB

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Kris Kehr and Julie Edlow, Singer/Songwriters, MySpace Inhabitants

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We’re always curious to learn how those we interview on Berks.TV are using the Internet to further their fortunes. Because we initially learned about Kris Kehr and Julie Edlow through their MySpace pages (here’s Kris’s, and here’s Julie’s), we asked them to explain how they use the increasingly popular social networking site.

As you’ll learn in this segment, MySpace isn’t only for kids. Artists, bands, and others seeking creative ways to introduce their work to the world have taken up residence, creating vibrant mini-communities connecting their work to that of their peers and even their idols.

In Kris’s case, this means the ability to promote new tracks and “connect” with some of his favorite artists, even the likes of Townes Van Zandt, who has departed this world but through the magic of MySpace lives on to please fans.

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Download Video: Quicktime, Running time: 3:52, 18MB

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View all appearances of Kris Kehr on Berks.TV.

View all appearances of Julie Edlow on Berks.TV.

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Artist Rich Houck on Goggleworks: “So much learning is happening”

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Berks.TV recently caught up with artist and Reading, PA, native Rich Houck at his studio in Goggleworks Center for the Arts in downtown Reading.

Rich returned to Reading after thirteen years away and now practices his craft in a third-floor studio at Goggleworks.

He spoke with us about the benefits of working among the community of artists here. “The ideas that have been passed around between the artists and the staff–it’s incredible. So much learning is happening.”

Rich’s work, including the installation piece seen in the background in this clip, was featured as part of an exhibition at Goggleworks during the month of June.

Look for additional segments from our interview with Rich here on Berks.TV in the next few weeks.

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Download Video: Quicktime, Running time: 1:16, 6.7MB

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Julie Edlow, Singer/Songwriter, On Her Journey from Musical Theater to Acoustic Folk

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We have to admit, we were easily seduced by the harmonies of Wernersville, PA, performers Kris Kehr and Julie Edlow. Kris and Julie were kind enough to spend a few minutes with Berks.TV recently prior to one of their shows at Stonersville Hotel in Birdsboro, PA.

We asked each of them about their background and influences as musicians. We shared Kris’s thoughts here on Berks.TV last week.

In this segment, Julie talks about her evolution as a musician, from the early days doing musical theater and learning to play guitar, to joining Black Eyed Susan (then a Baltimore-based band), to meeting Kris and opening for his band, The Recipe, and then on to joining The Recipe and most recently performing as a duo with Kris. The two play together frequently in the Reading, PA, area, and also throughout the East Coast.

Though she grew up on soul, R&B, and, funk, Julie now says “some of what I write is more influenced from a female singer songwriter perspective like Fiona Apple or Ani DiFranco.”

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Many thanks to Kris and Julie for allowing us to use footage from their Stonersville show in June, 2006.

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Download Video: Quicktime, Running time: 2:47, 14.5MB

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View all appearances of Julie Edlow on Berks.TV.

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Artist Rich Houck on Influences: “The Medium Is What’s Really Important”

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When Berks.TV spoke recently with artist Rich Houck, several of his pieces were being featured as part of a third-floor exhibit at Goggleworks in Reading, PA, where he occupies a studio.

The influence of natural elements in his work–particularly trees and flowers–is clear. When we asked about his other influences as an artist, his thoughts turned to the importance of the Internet in the spread of ideas in art and culture.

“The medium is what’s really important,” he said. Thanks to things like video blogs, he continued, “periods and movements in art are going to move globally very quickly.”

Look for more segments featuring Rich and his work in the coming weeks on Berks.TV.

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Download Video: Quicktime, Running time: 1:42, 8.6MB

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Kris Kehr, Singer/Songwriter, On His Musical Influences

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Berks.TV was on hand at Stonersville Hotel on Boyertown Pike in Birdsboro, PA, recently for a compelling evening of harmonica- and mandolin-inspired acoustic folk with Kris Kehr and Julie Edlow, a Wernersville-based singer/songwriter duo.

When we asked about their musical influences, Kris talked about his career as both a professional mandolin player and a singer/songwriter, and the genres and performers that inspire him–names like Neil Young, sOn Volt, and Frank Sinatra.

With this segment, Berks.TV is pleased to kick off a series of interviews with local artists and musicians. Be sure to check back for more from Kris, Julie, and others in the coming weeks.

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Download Video: Quicktime, Running time: 1:47, 9.5MB

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View all appearances of Kris Kehr on Berks.TV.

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