|Chopped Liver Productions||
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Stuff We Did.
These are CDs we released over the years, putting together clips from our weekly radio show.
Contragate Follies (1987)
This program played nationally on Pacifica Radio several times. It was recorded on cassette and reel-to-reel using recycled tape. Instruments included a small, cheap Casio keyboard and a kazoo.
1987 Magazine (1987)
This too was recorded on primitive equipment. Topics included Mikhail and Raisa Gorbachev's visit to the Reagan White House and other big events of 1987.
Living In A Satirical World (1989)
We won a coveted Golden Reel from the National Federation of Community Broadcast for this hour-long musical about the high points and low lifes of the era.
Welcome to the Nineties (1990)
We had the great good fortune to work during this period with the amazing Wally Fields, whose voice work and gift of mimicry are astounding. He once got Dr. Knobs laughing so hard he begged "Weird Wally" to stop impersonating Ronald Reagan so he could catch his breath.
Virtually Real (1994)
An alien arrives on Earth thinking he knows all about our planet because he's been watching our TV signals. But it turns out there are a few things TV never taught him about us.
The Last Liver of the Millennium (1999)
These CDs comprised whole episodes of the best of the weekly "Chopped Liver" show from KBOO Portland. We hope to make some of these cuts into Flash videos for the web site.
Chopping of the President 1988
The first of our quadrennial election series, this aired on Pacifica nationally too.
Chopping of the President 1992
Clinton v. George Herbert Walker Bush, featuring Ross Perot and Dan Rather. Having listened very carefully to the campaigning voices, I came to the conclusion that by the end of September, Bush was very drunk most of the time.
Chopping of the President 1996
Clinton ("I Feel Your Pain") versus Dole ("I'm A Dull Man"). We had acquired better equipment by now and achieved a better sound.
Chopping of the President 2000
Bush v. Gore -- and I assumed Gore would win the whole time, even while covering the seesaw decisions about the Florida recount.
Chopping of the President 2004
Bush v. Kerry -- that was a heartbreaker too. By this time all our audio was produced digitally but much of it was available online with an accompanying video, which made us question why we were still producing CDs. So we stopped -- but we still miss the "Chopping" series.
The Highly Irrelevant Chopped Liver Productions Story.
My name is Janice Leber. A long time ago, I was working the overnight shift at an automated "Beautiful Music" radio station and, looking at the unused equipment all around me, I was inspired to make a parody tape for the amusement of my fellow announcers. I wasn't sure the boss would appreciate me poking fun at the station, so I wanted to bury it in the rack of tapes in the control room. But what to put on the label? I had no particular idea and didn't really care.
I loaded a roll of labels into the typewriter and typed the first thing that came into my mind. And that thing was: "Chopped Liver Productions." Slapped the label on the tape, put it in the rack, pointed it out to the morning man when he came in at 6 a.m., and didn't give it another thought.
When I came in for my shift the next night, much to my horror there was a note from the boss waiting for me. He wrote, "Loved the 'Chopped Liver' tape -- keep up the good work!" All the other DJs likewise referred to my silly little satire of "Beautiful 104 FM" as "the Chopped Liver thing."
It didn't take me long to figure out it was a pretty good name, so I kept it.
It wasn't until years later that I found out my last name means "Liver" in German. Which only serves to point out the very peculiar nature of this crazy world of ours.
In the 80's I was working in the news room at KPFA in Berkeley, when Oliver North emerged as a national "hero." It seemed obvious that he needed his own theme song – something along the lines of "The Reverend Mister Black – so I recorded "Ode to Ollie" and submitted it to the KPFA Program Director. She liked it. She gave me a five-minute weekly spot to fill with my own, original satire, which I continued to do for almost 14 years.
I've had the great luck of getting to work with many fabulously talented co-conspirators over the years, but the Mysterious Doctor Knobs has consistently served as our technical and spiritual advisor. Over the years we won several Golden and Silver Reels from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. The weekly "Chopped Liver" show moved to KBOO in Portland in 1998. Our last weekly program aired September 13, 2001, because after 9/11 it was hard to laugh for quite a while.
The arrival of Air America in 2004 gave Chopped Liver Productions some inspiration and impetus. Brilliant talk show host Thom Hartmann occasionally airs our work, as do several community radio stations – and we sure do love 'em for it! The Al Franken Show on Air America aired our tribute to columnist Joe Conason every Friday when Joe was Al's guest. Al challenged his listeners to create a video using our theme in June 2005. We entered the video contest, and we even won! Click here to learn more about our oddball relationship with "The Al Franken Show."
Chopped Liver Productions went from a small part of the Sonoma County Free Press web page to our own online entity in 2004, and we have constantly monkeyed with new formats and approaches over the last five years. Meanwhile we've worked hard on honing our skills at creating Flash videos, and managed to finish a respectable second place in one of Huffington Post's "Contagious Festival" web video contests in 2006-07.
We switched web providers in 2009, and the clean slate inspired us to try a new approach to our web work.
In April 2009 we realized the 20th anniversary of the attack on Tiananmen Square in Beijing was approaching. We had done a radio program about Tiananmen Square when it happened, so we decided to make a web video based on the radio piece. Over several weeks, we cobbled together a video timeline that went online in May. As the June 4 anniversary came closer, we registered more and more hits on our web page -- only to discover that most of our hits were coming from a Chinese search engine.
We went viral in Asia! Chopped Liver Productions logged an astounding 261,524 hits in July 2009. All this with absolutely no promotion.
What a wonderful age we live in.
Our hit count from China was cut to a trickle the following year. We believe Chopped Liver Productions was censored after the government finally found our Tiananmen Square video in 2010. Now, the only hits we get out of China come from central Beijing -- the seat of the government. It makes us a little nervous.
Deep Thoughts on the Death Penalty.
It took a few decades, but nowadays I take capital punishment very seriously and very personally. It all started on January 17, 1977, with Gary Gilmore.
Doctor Knobs: Still Mysterious After All These Years.
Dr. Knobs has some technical expertise when it comes to audio and he's generally an excellent techie dude, but he's most proud of his status as our spiritual advisor. We have no idea why because that sounds like a load of crap to us.
However, he does have claim to the title. Over the 22 years we've been doing musical and political satire, he's come up with easily half of our most brilliant ideas, and ALL of the bad ones.
And yet, you will never hear his voice in any Chopped Liver Production. He is notoriously shy around the pointy end of the microphone. But he's really good at the other end of the wire.
This is a photo of Dr. Knobs getting splashed by a tiny waterfall near Big Sur a long time ago. I guess it's pretty obvious the water was damn cold.
This is a representation of what I would look like if I was a character on The Simpsons. I fear this rendition is an improvement on real life.
This is a picture of me in the deep woods of the Pacific Northwest, trying to scare away Bigfoot. It totally worked. He ran away squealing.
From our Archives:
Metaculture the Twitterer.
August 16 2009: He calls himself "Metaculture." I've known him by several names and I've called him a few more, but this guy has been the light of my life for 35 years.
Metaculture insisted I start Twittering. I've since decided it was a good idea (since all I know of him lately is his Twitter feeds), but not all his ideas are perfect. He once insisted I share sips from my flask of vodka with him at a Mormon wedding, but I'm still not 100% sure that was the right thing to do.
He's the smartest person in the family -- and the FAMILY includes ME, so you know he's damned freakin' smart. I find myself struggling to grasp the gossamer threads of his reasoning, and when I fall short I'm sure the fault lies with my own feeble brain.
He was too smart, in fact, to graduate from high school. There was little about the high school experience that didn't ignite his indignation. Today Metaculture is a musician, an artist, and a twitterer in New York City. Recently he let fly with some tweets I felt deserved to be shared with the non-twittering world. Poetry for the digital age, it is -- enjoy.
P.S.: He stole "gossamer threads" from ME.
copyright 2011 Janice Leber, Chopped Liver Productions