Thanks to photographer Stuart (Little City in Space) Mathews, here’s the 2004 meeting during Winona’s Strange Phenomena conference when Illinois Mutual UFO Network investigator Susan Murawski met The Modjeskis at their home (Jerry A. Modjeski, Susan, (Mrs.) Barbara & Jerry M. Modjeski).
Tag Archives: Little City In Space
Rob Ordahl, co-founder of the Post-Void Radio Theater passed away unexpectedly; performed superhero duty on the Little City in Space with vocals (counting down the Universal Top 12; introductory greeting on NPR pilot show) and his original ads for Anger Gear Unanimous; Uncle Beano’s Pants on Fire. His radio stints included KFAI’s Late Nite Magic, Random Access, The Wilbur Drive Effect; commercial D.J. in Duluth, MN and Waco, TX; programmed experimental net station Weird Energy. He worked behind the scenes in TV, on camera for the special, A Television Relationship, with Stu Mathews.
He created original music on his own, listen to robO: Screen Test Study Music featuring highlights from a sonic sampler with several robOnus tracks posthumously discovered.
Stu Mathews, Post-Void Radio Theater
In 1974, I got a job at Research, Incorporated doing electronic assembly. Their biggest client was NASA. Research built the first prototype ovens for firing the thermal displacement tiles for the space shuttles. The assembly group I joined consisted of Rob Ordahl, christened “Buffalo Bob” by our supervisor Larry. Rob’s hair was long and wavy, like the images of historical character Buffalo Bill. Larry and I started calling him “The Buffalo.” Rob knew of me when he was a sophomore at Bloomington MN Lincoln High School and I was a senior…there was less than a year difference in our ages, although we graduated two years apart. I was amazed to find someone I’d never met, who already knew about me. He said he looked up to me in high school for one particular incident that he was witness to. Rob reminded me there was one time back at school when I was on my way from one class to another and was confronted by a group of crew-cut jocks. I chose to simply walk right past them, and one of them grabbed my back pack, and threw me to the floor, calling me “hair boy.” My response is what surprised Rob. I picked myself up, and called down the hallway after them, “You better get used to me, ’cause I’m not going anywhere.” I felt I’d found a kindred spirit in Rob, and I think he thought so, too.
Peter Stenshoel, Post-Void Radio Theater
Rob was introduced to me as The Buffalo. My whole span of time meeting first Stu and his band, the Infinity Art Unit (Lane Ellwanger and Mark Maistrovich at that time), then Damon (Mathews), and then Rob, had me so excited. I felt that I was meeting a string of bona fide geniuses, and Rob was no exception. I remember one time meeting him where he was living and he held a crystal in his hand. He said, “I like to look into this and make up stories.” I got the impression he was letting me know he had visions when skrying crystals, but with Rob you could never be sure.
Well before the Post-Void Radio Theater ever made its radio debut, Rob and the other members collaborated on many pages of humorous material. Peter elaborates:
One more memory: Visiting Rob opening his Late-Nite Magic Show on KFAI, he was playing HPSCHD, the John Cage, et. al., LP of really avant-garde and harsh sounds. I said, “Are you sure you want to start with that?” He smiled, and said, “I’m just getting rid of the listeners who aren’t serious. I’m clearing the field.” He had such a fascinating style in the studio, he could be so subtle. He could whip things up and just watching him do a show on his own I would watch in awe the way he could almost be a one-man circus.
Yes, Rob and I did some radio together. The most memorable was a Saturday overnight stint. Rob had been DJing at a wedding and was in a three-piece suit, a rare sartorial choice in the Walker Church belfry, especially in high summer. At one point, we had an actual bat in the actual belfry. Rob took off his vest and caught the bat in the vest, and we proceeded to interview the bat on the air. I think that’s one of my favorite-ever KFAI stories.
He wanted to move to Olympia, and I was certainly open to it if he were self-sustaining, but I wasn’t sure he could be and was leery of a difficult living situation. KAOS here in Olympia was one of the stations that ran the LCS season you guys put together in the late ’80s or so. I had an idea it would be fun to get a show there — it wouldn’t be hard, though it would probably start as weird night hours and might stay there — and do it with him and at least one other radio-theater type of talent I know in the area. Probably a pipe dream, but a nice one, though alas now it will never happen. He had more talent than I suspect the world will ever know—as a DJ, and as a theater maven at multiple levels, from handling light and sound for stage productions to performing and producing radio theater.
Peter: Rob really loved the movie, “Stay.” I had been interviewed along with others about my NDE for inclusion as a special feature. Rob saw me “Petey-Pie” I think he called me and told me it was his favorite movie. I hope that my interview helped him on his journey from this popsicle stand called Earth.
A thoughtful essay on Rob Ordahl, death and Ingmar Bergman’s Seventh Seal by the Post-Void’s Jeff Pike can be read at https://pkcantexplain.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-seventh-seal-1957.html
From Little City in Space, listen to an imaginative sound skit featuring Rob with Stu Mathews called Little Guy and his Robot Driver: Train Your Robot
Above, 2 images created by robO
More early Post-Void Radio Theater scripts (Rob with Peter, Stu, Jeff)…
Posted in Airchecks
Tags: blanche fubar, Cinemalobe, Damon Mathews, Foolish Mortals, Infinity Art Unit, Ingmar Bergman, Jeff Pike, John Cage, KAOS, KFAI, Lane Ellwanger, Late Nite Magic, Leslie Eaton, Little City In Space, Mark Maistrovich, NASA, Peter Stenshoel, Post Void Radio Theater, Random Access, Research Inc., Rob Ordahl, Robo, Screen Test Study Music, Stu Mathews, The Seventh Seal, Weird Energy, Wilbur Drive Effect
Chuck Isle, Mark Masyga & Brian Anderson (pictured) hosted ZXQ Universe, a KFAI show that substituted for Little City in Space (in temporary hiatus for several months). On radio in 1990 there was nothing like ZXQ: these excerpts from their maiden voyage include hilarious monologues by a parade of original characters (Alabama Neptune, Professor Noodle, “Wildman” Slim, Rev. Mild Astonishment), and hypnagogic sound compositions with guest-engineer Greg Carr (Technological Retreat). Special features: TV Guise sponsored by Mrs. Leatherneck Syrup / News of the Possibly True / Beyond the Unknown / Hillbillies fer Buddha / Commercials for The Kitchen Mohican; Chez Bob’s Detail Recount Store / The Church of the SubGenius Minute of Slack / ZXQ Studios: The Big Dive / records by Buddy Emmons (1937-2015), Johnny Gunn, Les Brown & Vic Schoen. Brian created original music fanfares & ambiance for ZXQ. Listen to ZXQ #1: https://archive.org/details/ZXQ010390
Abridged ZXQ Universe #3 with Chuck intro, Jerry Modjeski guest-engineer, co-controlling horizontal & vertigo with Brian & Mark for TV Guise. Other vivisected highlights: News of the Possibly True / Level 99 (commercial) / Professor Noodle / special guest appearance by Peter (Little City in Space) Stenshoel /Gil Goose commentary (“Video Games”) / SubGenius Minute of Slack. Listen: https://archive.org/details/ZXQ011790
Thanks to Stu Mathews, Chuck Isle & Peter Stenshoel for assistance on this post. Hear more ZXQ Universe at Brian Anderson’s website.
Posted in Airchecks
Tags: Alabama Neptune, aliens, archive.org, Bob Dobbs, Brian Anderson, Buddy Emmons, Chuck Isle, Church of the SubGenius, Greg Carr, Jerry Modjeski, Johnny Gunn, KFAI, Les Brown, Little City In Space, Mark Masyga, Peter Stenshoel, Rev. Ivan Stang, Stu Mathews, Technological Retreat, TV Guise, UFO, UFO cover up, Vic Schoen, ZXQ Universe
Creative inspiration for some members of LCS’ Post-Void Radio Theater originated listening to record albums by The Firesign Theatre and Stan Freberg. The recent passing of FT’s Phil Austin, and the death of Stan Freberg (wrote & starred in network radio’s last great comedy series–replacing Jack Benny who left radio for TV) prompted discussion between Post-Void participants investigating the why of radio as means of expressing themselves. What were the listening influences of Peter Stenshoel, Damon Mathews, Jeff Pike, Stu Mathews & Jerry?
Peter: Old time radio was already in my blood. Along with Freberg. First album heard was Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America, the year it was released! (1961) And Bob & Ray.
Damon: Bob & Ray forever! Bob & Ray were, still are, and probably always will be my shining stars. I took an interest in old time radio so far back you had to get episodes on LP records. But cassettes arrived about two minutes later & I was off & running after that.
Jerry: No Stan Freberg…no Bob & Ray…no Jerry! They blew my mind discovering them. (We sadly note the recent passing of Bob Elliot, of Bob & Ray)
Jerry: My buddy Mark Masyga and I started taping OTR on cassette around 1972 when re-runs were programmed on commercial radio: Lacrosse, Wisconsin AM radio ritually re-broadcast The Shadow, Green Hornet, Lone Ranger, Fibber McGee & Molly. Then-current CBS Radio Mystery Theater was text book “here’s how it’s done” and I kept a log of each episode title for quite a while. Now you can listen to them at archive.org.
Peter: Miriam and I discovered CBS Radio Mystery Theater on Far East Network the 3 months living in Tokyo. A really fun ritual!
Stu: I think I was just seven, maybe eight years old (’61-‘62) when my grandmother Jewell Vowel thrilled me by sending me a “miniature” transistor radio for my birthday. I found out that I could put the radio under my pillow, and then, laying my head with my ear directly over the speaker, I could keep it low enough. That’s when I had my most fascinating listening sessions…listening to places like Philadelphia, New York, and Chicago. It’s where I first heard the Motown sound and the girl groups that were popular, including the first time I heard The Supremes. To me, it didn’t seem like these sounds were coming from a specific place. The experience seemed so mysterious to me that I felt these songs and the announcers were just “out there,” like voices from outer space (imagine that).
Jerry: Also KAAY-Little Rock. Freberg’s 1957 network radio show re-played on WCCO-FM, I strung a copper wire across the kitchen ceiling & on good nights in Winona listened intently.
Damon: Stringing wire in the kitchen to get WCCO is such beautiful music to my ears! I spent a good chunk of childhood fascinated with both the content and technology of radio.
Peter: I got a crystal radio set for my birthday when I was ten. That was just awesome. Later, the famous Jim Gilbert was my then not-famous science teacher who started a ham radio club with a few of us radio heads. Again, superb fun and thrills. My Morse code got good enough so I had my own “rig” in my room and I was WNOBJX.
Damon: That’s great that you got to be a ham in the days when it was really unique to connect to other countries. I had a Heathkit receiver that I built when I was about 9.
Peter: I also “built” a Heathkit receiver (my Dad did most of the soldering!) which was part of my rig. Bought a used transmitter…so cool! My Heathkit receiver allowed me to hear shortwave radio. Voice of America played Frank Zappa’s Concerto for John Luc Ponty.
Jerry: Looking for the elusive & interesting radio signals in the old days…like spelunking in a dark cave! The heart would race when happening upon something interesting!
Stu: Now that Peter Bergman & Phil Austin have passed away, I feel compelled to emphasize that, although I consider the Post-Void Radio Theater to be our own, there’s no use in denying how brave this foursome was to commit to their muses and boldly go where no comedic group had gone before, and not give a damn whether people approved or not. For me, they were The Beatles of a new kind of unfettered creativity that could be called as much Performance Art as it is Comedy. It is so vivid to me, my memory of the evening that Peter & David Stenshoel invited me to listen to a double-vinyl album they had acquired, called Dear Friends. We lounged around in their parents’ bedroom listening to four full album sides of four guys just doing whatever the hell they wanted to do, on the radio! I would never have been inspired to actually try to be funny – live – on the radio if I hadn’t heard Dear Friends, the only Firesign vinyl album that is just them goofing around on the airwaves. It was magic. It was more than magic. It changed my whole life paradigm. And I haven’t been the same since.
Jerry: I was living in Waverly, Iowa working at a radio station, off-hours at home could pick up Rochester, Minnesota late night FM playing whole sides of rock music albums without interruption, they played FT’s Nick Danger from their second LP.
Peter: I was speaking with a fellow at NPR West & he pointed out FT pre-dated Monty Python. FT credited The Goon Show as inspirations. Maybe 1966 first heard The Goon Show and so I was well-primed when my brother David woke me up to hear the very surrealistic second side of FT’s Waiting for the Electrician. You didn’t have to be literate to enjoy it although you could understand more references if you were. FT’s David Ossman really admired the European avant-garde of the ’20s. And the ’50s. Ionesco, Beckett.
Jeff: Being absurd on the radio is so much more effective than almost any other medium. Radio triggers the imagination so easily. They pitched it at this low-brow level with TV, mystery novel references.
Peter: We could all instantly understand something of what they were doing, and yet there was always a mystery to it too. That absurdism translates beautifully in that medium.
Jeff: Funny, without being heavy-handed, that’s what Firesign Theatre really did. Obviously we were influenced by them. They were so unique, and they mapped out these huge terrains. I’ve gone back and bought all their albums.
Stu: If The Firesign Theatre had not happened, The Post-Void Radio Theater–and Little City in Space Show–would not have happened.
Posted in Airchecks
Tags: archive.org, Beckett, Beeker Theater, Bob & Ray, CBS Radio Mystery Theater, Damon Mathews, David Ossman, David Stenshoel, Dear Friends, Fibber McGee & Molly, Firesign Theatre, Frank Zappa, Ionesco, Jack Benny, Jeff Pike, Jim Gilbert, john luc ponty, KAAY, Little City In Space, Lone Ranger, Mark Masyga, Monty Python, Motown, Nick Danger, Peter Bergman, Peter Stenshoel, Phil Austin, Phil Proctor, Post Void Radio Theater, Stan Freberg, Stu Mathews, The Beatles, The Goon Show, The Shadow, The Supremes, Voice of America, Waiting for the Electrician, WCCO
Late night radio fun with longtime friends Peter Stenshoel, Paul Zaiser and Miriam Stonehill on the Little City in Space from aircheck of July 5, 1989 taped by listener Brian Anderson. Features include News from Nowhere, Sports, Paul Bunny commentary, Joblines; ads for Smilin’ Simon’s Attitude Adjustment Capsules, Post-Modern Flakes, Swekkmakk’s Bleeper Pad Lounge. Records by Ted Heath, Yashiro Aki, The Hoodoo Rhythm Devils. With the talents of Bob Zander, Mark Masyga. Listen: https://archive.org/details/LittleCityInSpace070589PPM
From July 19, 1989 excerpts of a solo-hosted LCS show by Peter, with guest appearances by Jack Swekkmakk, Halvor Johansen, Paul Bunny; sponsored by Smitherweenies and Gnarly School of Ash and Sack Cloth. Also featuring the talents of Mark Masyga. Listen at https://archive.org/details/LittleCityInSpaceJuly19th1989
The Musical Transportation Spree, with help from Little City in Space, ZXQ Universe, Fubar Omniverse, Willie Murphy, and noted Arkestra authority Rev.Dwight Frizzell join unseen forces to pay Ra radio tribute. Broadcast soon after Sun Ra departed planet Earth forever, all participants testify to the influence of the cosmic composer-philosopher-bandleader. Listen: https://archive.org/details/MovedToSaturn
Posted in Airchecks
Tags: archive.org, blanche fubar, Bob Zander, Brian Anderson, Chuck Isle, Fubar Omniverse, Jay Mandeville, KFAI, Little City In Space, Peter Stenshoel, Rev. Dwight Frizzell, Stu Mathews, Sun Ra, The Musical Transportation Spree, Wabi Media, Willie Murphy, ZXQ Universe
The Post-Void Radio Theater brings outer space living down to Earth via their KFAI series, Little City in Space. Here are more highlights from the late 1980s with hosts Peter Stenshoel, Stu Mathews and Jerry.
News from Nowhere rounds up current events, along with Sports and the Paul Bunny commentary, featuring ads for Paul Molitor Dish Washing Liquid, and for an enigmatic contraption called The MJ-12. Music by Myron Floren, The Crops, Bat Lenny, The Harmonicats.
Thanks to the voices of Joan Timmis, Chuck Isle and Dan (Dr. Science) Coffey.
Chuck Isle joins Jerry & Peter aboard LCS-1, this 1989 in-person appearance Chuck’s first since a very impromptu on-air cameo during Cancelled Edition in 1980. Long-time Little City in Space show listener Chuck has no difficulty navigating the satellite with its quirky alien cultures, and he quickly rises high to the occasion as emcee for the opening introduction, Nowhere News, Sports and Joblines.
Sponsors include Mundane Gruel / The Batter Chalks Cafe / Brick’s Bat Caves / Hypno – Goggles. Alien composer Moteb Rindfeld #2 is featured. Listen: https://archive.org/details/LittleCityInSpace1989-08-09
With the talents of Brian Anderson, Stu Mathews, Rob Ordahl, Wayne Modjeski. Broadcast 8-9-89 on KFAI Minneapolis-St. Paul. Produced by The Post-Void RadioTheater.
Created for National Public Radio, this audition was designed to help introduce first-time listeners to many popular locations of satellite LCS-1 guided by Stu, Pete & Jerry. With regular features such as Nowhere News, Sports, The Paul Bunny Report and Joblines, there’s the most popular songs in the entire universe. Of special note: TV spoof called Secret Reagent guest stars Charles Brin and Alice Phoenix. Listen: https://archive.org/details/LittleCityInSpaceNprPilotIi
Posted in Airchecks
Tags: alice phoenix, blanche fubar, Charles Brin, Chuck Isle, Elizabeth Thurber, Jerry Modjeski, Joe Shalita, Little City In Space, Lola Mathews, Mark Masyga, NPR, Patrick McGoohan, paul bunny, Peter Stenshoel, Rob Ordahl, Secret Agent, Shalita, Stu Mathews, The Post Void Radio Theater, The Prisoner
The final installment of the national series will air Sunday November 30 at 9:30 p.m. (CST) on KFAI. LCS celebrates Crossover, commemorating the anniversary when inhabitants first arrived in space, with many unusual events around the orbiting community. Meet a Crossover Oracle, and join hosts Stu, Peter and Jerry in a live remote from Jack Swekkmakk’s Bleeper Pad Lounge.
(left) Peter Stenshoel edits reel-to-reel tape at LCS’ recording facility, Film in the Cities in St. Paul. The concluding episode of the series was result of back-to-back all-nite sessions; master tapes were express mailed to Ames, Iowa in the nick of time for satellite uplink.
Thank you Jerry Stearns for playing LCS on his program, Sound Affects, A Radio Playground every week featuring new and classic radio theater.