Andrew Bales

Pop culture commentator

Andrew Bales is a Wichita native, co-editor of Fractions Journal and lead coordinator of Wichita’s annual LIV Music Festival. He is studying toward an MFA in Creative Writing at WSU, where he was the 2009-2010 Barr fellow.

He has presented at national conferences on subjects including pop culture and aesthetics, as well as pedagogy and post-contemporary genres.

His writing can be found in editions of NANO Fiction, Touchstone, Johnny America and Fast Forward: an Anthology of Flash Fiction.

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Commentary
7:52 am
Tue July 3, 2012

Into It: Atmospheric Touch

Castle thunder recorded for Frankenstein in 1931 was used for decades in other work in film and television.
Wikipedia

Recycling audio has allowed directors to more easily create the worlds of their films. Just like in life, the sounds that influence the mood of a moment are often out of sight, off screen.

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Commentary
8:00 am
Tue June 19, 2012

Into It: The Scream

Some distinctive cries come from specific fictional characters, the 1932 Tarzan yell, for example.

Part three of a four-part series on iconic stock sound effects.

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Commentary
8:00 am
Tue June 5, 2012

Into It: The Laugh Track

Photo: Colin Gray / Flickr

Part two of a four-part series on iconic stock sound effects.

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Commentary
8:00 am
Tue May 22, 2012

Into It: Stock Sounds

For this Into It I’ll try something a little different: instead covering one topic and moving on to the next, this week begins a four-part series on stock sounds and canned emotion.

Long before the luxury of recordings, stage performers created their own sounds to accompany productions. Copper sheets were struck to produce a crack of lightning. Blocks of wood, hand drums, whistles and other simple items could add believability or comedy.

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Commentary
8:00 am
Tue May 8, 2012

Into It: Pop-Tarts

Kellogg’s rushed Pop-Tarts onto the market in 1964, shortly after their competitor announcement a similar toaster snack release called Country Squares. Since then, the evolution of the Pop-Tart has been long and strange.

Pop-Tarts began simply, with a handful of flavors. Though they come wrapped in tinfoil and ready-to-eat, they’ve always been closely tied to the toaster. Pop-Tart’s first mascot was an animated toaster named Milton.

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Commentary
8:00 am
Tue April 24, 2012

Into It: Pigments

Given the infinite access we’re afforded to color, it’s hard to imagine the importance its been given throughout history and the passion that has gone into its hunt.

In the pursuit of vivid color, each region of the world tapped its own resources. In the Middle East, the semi-precious stone Lapis lazuli yielded a bright blue pigment, and in China, the deep red-orange pigment vermilion was derived from a common ore of mercury.

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Commentary
8:00 am
Tue April 10, 2012

Into It: Bull Baiting

A representation of a particularly cruel and nearly forgotten tradition called bull baiting.

The violent pastime known as bull baiting entertained the wealthy and poor alike throughout the Middle Ages and well into the 19th century.

The spectacle took place in public rings, where a single bull stood tethered to a stake. With crowds gathered around and the bulls agitated, dog owners paid a fee to let their canine have a run at the bull.

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Commentary
8:15 am
Tue March 27, 2012

Into It: Video Arcades

Since the first simple arcade games were developed in the late sixties, the video arcade has fought a war of innovation and marketing with home gaming.

What’s called The Golden Age of arcades was sparked by the 1978 release of Space Invaders. The game was so successful, in fact, that it brought about a shortage of the 100-yen coins used in the Japanese machines.

In the following years, arcades were dominated by single player games like Pac-Man and other missions of skill, whether it was navigating the upward climb in Donkey Kong or scuttling across a busy road in Frogger.

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Commentary
10:37 am
Tue March 13, 2012

Into It: Barber Pole

Blood letting image from 1860.

The barber pole has come a long way to be stationed above old brick shops, to repeat and repeat its lonely spins. In fact, the barbers themselves have a strange past, their title once denoting a more taxing profession.

In the middle ages, if you required dentistry, surgery, fire cupping, or a session of leeching, you’d visit the barber-surgeon. It was hundreds of years before the roles we now know as doctors and barbers diverged completely.

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Commentary
9:30 am
Tue February 28, 2012

Into It: Colorful Noise

When we hear the word “noise,” we think annoyance and distraction. And that makes perfect sense. Noise is essentially interference, something that disrupts our experience with everything from radios and televisions to images on digital cameras. But our ears have a unique relationship with colorful noise.

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