LibriVox presidential projects

LibriVox, the free audio book site supported by volunteers, is looking for readers for a couple of presidential projects: A Short Life of Abraham Lincoln by John Nicolay and Theodore Roosevelt: An Autobiography by, one supposes, Theodore Roosevelt. Consider volunteering for a couple of chapters or take note of them to listen to later when they’re finished.

PS I never did read any of the Kennedy-Khruschev telegram exchanges from congratulations to missile crisis to condolences. They found two readers to do them all(!)

Happy New Year &c.

Happy New Year. Here is hoping that 2008 is prosperous and full of growth and knowledge.

If you were intrigued by my post on LibriVox, the free audio book site, there is a project going on right now in which numerous people all contribute their reading of the US Bill of Rights. They do this from time to time, everyone recording the same piece; and hearing the different voices is rather fascinating. Check out the Jabberwocky catalog page. Reading the BoR has the added benefit of being educational. I for one learned that the “right to party” was not in the original 10 amendments, so it must be number 12 or 13. And I learned that I can apparently just kick out all these soldiers that have been quartered in my house for a while.

White House audio

I’ve been visiting LibriVox lately, first as someone interested in free audio books and then as someone interested in recording audio books for free. As one of my first contributions, I recorded a very short 1962 sci-fi story that takes the form of teletype messages between the WH and “Pacific Space Command.” The collection isn’t done yet, but my part is available. (Don’t worry, I didn’t try to emulate JFK’s accent for the WH end of the communications.)

Of course, everything recorded must be public domain, but so far all I’ve found that interests me in terms of WH material is TR’s letters to his children. I suppose most presidential speeches are public domain, but can anyone think of something more closely related to the White House? Ike Hoover’s memoirs would be fun, but I don’t think they’ve fallen out of copyright (everything before 1923 is PD and anything until that wasn’t renewed after 28 years is PD; more recent stuff has different protection).

UPDATE: After another quick search, I think I might do Herbert Hoover’s wildly-optimistic 1929 State of the Union address, altho it’s rather long (they got much shorter later on).

The American President audio commentary

I’ve completed the second White House-oriented audio commentary, this time for the movie The American President, starring Michael Douglas as a widowed top exec wooing Annette Bening. It’s over on my other website. The filmmakers managed several visits to the WH to get the details right. One of the things I note is the really beautiful blue watered silk wall-covering they chose for the president’s bedroom and the elegant, yet girlish, patterned wallpaper for the first daughter’s bedroom—really well done.

Also, Patrick P has contributed a detailed analysis of the film Wilson, which I put on the Movies page. Thanks, Patrick!

Update: Dennis points out that the French PM state dinner was modeled closely after the Yeltsin dinner, as depicted in the Inside the White House documentary. I’ve altered the page descriptions, but I think I’ll rerecord that part. Thanks for the tip, Dennis!

The Sentinel audio commentary

I’ve been doing audio commentaries for movies over on my other Web site, and I’ve just done one for The Sentinel, the 2006 Michael Douglas movie about the Secret Service’s efforts to stop an assassination. I put particular effort into my commentary on the White House scenes, of course. If you listen to it, you’ll have to pardon my tubercular voice; I still haven’t quite shaken a bronchial infection.