THE FIRST LOCATION

By Randy Thom

I began working in KPFA's Drama and Literature Department in 1975, soon after moving to Berkeley, when I walked into Erik's office above Edy's Diner and volunteered to help him with sound effects for radio plays. The idea of recording the dialog in radio drama the way it's done on film sets intrigued me too, and Erik was open to experimenting. Actually he had been thinking along similar lines. A play called "Object Piece" or "Objay Dart" by Drury Pifer is one of our favorites. It's about an old school painter who is half heartedly trying to turn himself into a conceptual artist. He's received a grant to make an audio recording of himself digging a hole, which turns out to be a grave. The whole play happens in the Mojave desert, but we couldn't afford to go there to do it. Lucky for us, Northern California was undergoing a pretty severe drought at the time, and the mostly dried up, barren Nicasio Reservoir in Marin County was a good acoustic stand-in for the Mojave. Erik knew the place well because of his frequent drives from Berkeley to Point Reyes. Little did we know that George Lucas would decide to build a huge film facility nearby ten years later. Erik plays the lead character in "Object Piece." It's a stunning performance. I've been on film sets with some of the best actors in the world, and none of them could have done better.

Since I walked through that door on Shattuck Ave. thirty five years ago Erik has been an enormous influence on me philosophically, artistically, and personally. Whatever success I've had is because of the directions he sent me in.