Rob Ordahl (1954-2016)

Rob Ordahl

Rob Ordahl

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.skm_284e16101815590_0001

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:

His contributions to our fried shoe style script writing, where Jeff (Pike), Stu, Rob, and I would hand off a script after finishing a few lines and pick another off the pile, were brilliant, but I think all of us were on a roll.  We would read them out loud afterwards, stage directions and all, and laugh our asses off.  These scripts proved well nigh impossible to make radio from, but that’s another story.  They stand on their own and ought to be published in book form.bringslippers110

bringslippers111bringslippers112One 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.

Peter, Rob (KFAI)

Peter, Rob (KFAI)

Stu Mathews, Post-Void Radio Theater
The first day of broadcasting at KFAI, Rob was talking on the air, and I was going around outside with my portable cassette recorder to interview people who attended the grand opening party at the church.  Then, I’d go back up to the studio and play the cassette interviews over the air.  It was a lot of fun. When Rob left Minneapolis to live in Texas for a while he gifted his radio air shift at KFAI to the Post-Void Radio Theater, and that’s how the Little City in Space radio series was born.
Blanche Fubar, KFAI D.J.

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.

The Roaming Buffalo

The Roaming Buffalo

 

Jeff Pike, Post-Void Radio Theater

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.

Stu Mathews, Post-Void Radio Theater
I always thought (as humans always do) that Rob and I would meet, again, sometime. Now that door is closed. We were best friends, off and on, for nearly 20 years.
Leslie Eaton, Foolish Mortal
He was a good friend, who worked with me on a music project. While it didn’t get finished, we stayed friends, and he opened my mind to different media in a lot of ways. He was in a great state of mind before he unexpectedly died.  He was making plans for a move. Well, he made a big one and I’m sure to a good place. Hope to see him later. He sent a lot of DVDs that will bring back memories when I watch them. I’m glad I had the chance to know him.

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.skm_284e16100915170_0001

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 RobotLanternRobot_004

Rob’s experimental site, Weird Energy, was a net radio station with a varied blend of other people’s music. Listen to Robomix 23 or Robomix 32skm_284e16101815080_0001

Above, 2 images created by robO

More early Post-Void Radio Theater scripts (Rob with Peter, Stu, Jeff)…aswezero106106

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Little City in a Flask

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.

Chuck Isle

Chuck Isle

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.Internet Archive logo

Little City in Space: NPR Pilot

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/LittleCityInSpaceNprPilotIiSecretReagent

Internet Archive logoAlso featuring the talents of Blanche Fubar, Bob Rynkiewicz, Chuck Isle, Mark Masyga, Elizabeth Thurber, Joe Shalita, Rob Ordahl, Lola Mathews. Produced & written by The Post-Void Radio Theater.

Frothing at the Beaker

stock-footage--beakers-palPost-Flask foray by Chuck Isle & Jerry to KFAI radio’s land of the midnight fun.

Frothing at the Beaker appeared first on Drew Miller‘s show Adrenalin Solution one month after Chuck & Jerry quit Wake Up South Side. Later on Saturday’s Random Access, FATB replaced Rob Ordahl who vacated his air shift which alternated with that of Dave Reinhold between Midnight and 6 a.m(Little City in Space aired 10 p.m. to 12).

Flask of Weird Adrenalin Internet Archive logoSolution – with Drew Miller from December 9, 1983. Chuck’s Public Service Announcements / TV & radio previews / ads for Spot Welders, Inc.; The Round School of Wow & Perfect Voice; Cletus Tobacco’s Breakfast Froth & Coital Topping / Marc Myers & Drew’s cool vinyl.

Adrenalin Solution Substitution: Frothing at the Beaker –  December 17, 1983. Guest Mark Masyga with Marc Myers, Chuck & Jerry.  TV Previews / Commercials for Aquatic Fish Close-Up Toothpaste Halcyon Days Chewing Tobacco; The Oh-You-Supreme Being Candy Gift Box & Tax Shelter; Bullmoose Interchange (with the Locking Hindsight).

Random Abcess: Marc Myers & Jerry host January 14, 1984; ad for The Batter-Operated Fish Boss  / home tapers Craig Swanson (Alien Man);  Marc & Jerry (Taping Your Brains Out).

Marc Myers

Marc Myers

Random Access: Frothing at the Beaker excerpts from January 28, 1984. Chuck & Jerry with TV previews* / ad for The Huck L. Zowie Finger Indexer / Cassette compilation Supply Side at Work from Ohio by Bob Forward / Marc coins moniker “TV Guise”*

Random Access: Frothing at the Beaker – from February 11, 1984. With Peter (Little City in Space) Stenshoel, Marc Myers. TV Guise / ads for Resus Peanut-Butter Filled Monkeys; Alka – Dan; Digital Ernie’s Techno-Hut.

4 Post-Voiders: Jeff Pike, and Golden Cage Volume One

The stories of iconic, pivotal and tragic music legends comprise “The Death of Rock and Roll,” a book by Jeff Pike (Faber & Faber, 1993).

Prior to that, Jeff was a co-founder of The Post-Void Radio Theater circa 1977, a script-writing collective that started meeting two years prior to taking Late Nite Magic on KFAI and changing it to Little City In Space. Some people who started LCS shared “space” in houses and apartments, and played in a band, The Infinity Art Unit. Pictured pre-Void, Jeff (left) and Stu Mathews (right) met via fellow scriptwriter Peter Stenshoel.

The other member of the collective, Rob Ordahl, hosted Late Nite Magic on KFAI. His time slot was taken by Jeff, Stu, Peter and Damon Mathews, and broadcasts from satellite LCS-1 began December 17, 1978.  Pictured  at KFAI, Peter (left) stands over Late Nite Magic host Rob (right) in a solid state of hypnagog.

Jeff Pike (right) exited The Post-Void to pursue full-time writing in 1981, but his enduring contribution to LCS includes the ad he wrote for Meat Heap, made from alien body parts.

At last archived, The Golden Cage of Radio Volume One showcases Jeff’s on-air anarchy with his interruptions as Fred, an insurance salesman, and pompous Professor Wadsworth, during Peter’s interview with Burd DeComps (Johnny Olson). Compiled and created for LCS 18th Anniversary, Vol. One also features Weekend Upchuck with the Post-Void News Team (Damon, Stu, Pete, Jeff & Johnny) In Briefs; Jerry as Occam E. Razor; and David Stenshoel, pre-Boiled in Lead, singing and playing on his brother Peter’s musical commercial for Martian Marriage Cigarettes.

Listen now at archive.org

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