Loading Events
  • This event has passed.

Sunday, Mar 18 at 7:30 pm

Joe Frank: A Night of Remembrance

With Andrea Silenzi, Ann Heppermann, Andrew Leland, Ben Shapiro, Paul Rachman & Mark Oppenheimer

“Frank is the ultimate acquired taste, and it doesn’t really matter if you acquire it; the right people do. Since the 1970s, Frank’s radio broadcasts, mixing scripted drama, improv comedy, and conversation have always been right-place, right-time affairs; it helps to have a friend with bootlegs. His brew of fiction and nonfiction, cruelty and self-laceration, and taboo-smashing riffs on sex, religion, and scatology have been controversial since his New York debut 40 years ago.” – Mark Oppenheimer, Slate.

Joe Frank is an American radio icon, known best for his engaging, often philosophical, monologues and radio dramas. Joe’s radio programs are at times dark and frequently funny. Adding to the absurd atmosphere of his monologues and dramas are loops of percussive music over drones. On January 15th of this year,  Frank passed away after a long battle with colon cancer.

He pioneered in the form and wrote, produced, and performed in various lauded radio dramas and monologues for significant radio companies such as NPR and KRCW from the late ’70s up until his death.

Please join us for a night of celebrating his life and legacy. We’ve invited a group of contemporary radio makers, podcasters and audio pioneers who have been influenced by his work to choose selections from his oeuvre to share and discuss.  Andrew Leland (The Organist), Mark Oppenheimer (Unorthodox), Andrea Silenzi (The Longest Shortest Time, Why Oh Why), Ben Shapiro (Radio Diaries), and Ann Heppermann (Pineapple Street Media) will also be in attendance.

We want to thank Michal Story for permission in using the pieces played in this program and for facilitating. We will be donating proceeds from this evening’s sales back towards their family.


Excerpts from Joe Frank's body of work.

Memories By Joe Frank (1993)

A man details the surreal events that surround his childhood. Directed by Paul Rachman.

“nakedly personal, a bit bizarre and oddly moving.” – LA Times

Andrea Silenzi is the new host of The Longest Shortest Time. On the show, she tells the stories of kids and families while exploring her own journey towards becoming a parent. Before joining Stitcher, she hosted a hit show about dating and relationships called Why Oh Why. During the show’s run, it was named a best podcast by The New York Times, NPR, Vulture, Esquire, GQ, and Apple Podcasts. She’s the founding producer of Slate’s The Gist, one of the first daily news podcasts around, and she holds the world record for most guests booked for an hour-long radio show. That’s 67.

A Brooklyn-based, independent, radio/multimedia documentary producer, transmission sound artist, and educator, her stories air nationally and internationally on National Public Radio, the BBC, and on numerous shows, including: This American Life, Radio Lab, Marketplace, Morning Edition, Studio 360, and many others. Recipient of Peabody, Associated Press, Edward R. Murrow, and Third Coast International Audio Festival awards. Transmission artist with free103point9; work exhibited at UnionDocs, Chicago Center for the Arts, and other venues. She has taught classes and workshops at Duke Center for Documentary Studies, Smith College, Columbia University, and the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism; for years, she was the director of radio at Brooklyn College. Co-creator of Mapping Main Street, a collaborative media project documenting the nation’s more than 10,000 Main Streets, which was created through AIR’s MQ2 initiative along with NPR, the CPB, and the Berkman Center at Harvard University. Her work has been funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Association of Independents, Arizona Humanities Council, and Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard. Currently, she is a Rosalynn Carter for Mental Health Journalism Fellow and will be making a multimedia documentary about preteen anorexia in partnership with Ms. Magazine and NPR.

Andrew Leland hosts the Organist, an arts and culture podcast from KCRW and McSweeney’s, and teaches in the Journalism program at UMass-Amherst. He’s writing a book about blindness.

Contributing Editor and Producer Ben Shapiro is an award-winning radio producer and documentary filmmaker, based in New York. His projects have aired on many NPR programs, PBS, and the Sundance Channel, among others, and include a film about photographer Gregory Crewdson.

I am the coordinator of the Yale Journalism Initiative, but I have had a varied career, having been a newspaper beat reporter for the Hartford Courant, a magazine writer for The New York Times Magazine, an essayist for The American Scholar, Southwest Review, and Yale Review, and an historian of religion. I am the author of Wisenheimer, a memoir about my years as a high school debater, and I write the Beliefs column, about religion, for The New York Times.

Paul Rachman began his film career as one of the of the industry’s top music video
directors at Propaganda Films in Los Angeles where he worked with Alice in Chains,
Roger Waters, Kiss, Joan Jett, Pantera, The Replacements and the Pearl Jam /
Soundgarden collaboration Temple of the Dog. By 1995 he had directed several award
winning short films, the award winning Drive Baby Drive and a series of collaborations
with NPR storyteller Joe Frank (Memories, The Hitchhiker, The Perfect Woman, Jilted
Lover). Paul made his feature directorial debut in 2000 with Four Dogs Playing Poker
starring Forrest Whittaker, Balthazar Getty, Tim Curry and Olivia Williams, the film was
released by Showtime and Warner Home Video. In 2006 his seminal punk documentary
American Hardcore premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was acquired and
theatrically released by Sony Pictures Classics. His second feature documentary Lost
Rockers about eight musical artists from different eras who were all on the cusp of super
stardom only to fall forgotten through the cracks of music history is upcoming.
Paul is a co-founder if the Slamdance Film Festival. He attended The Lycee Francais de
New York, Trinity Pawling School and Boston University. He is based in New York City.


Sunday, Mar 18
7:30 pm – 10:30 pm
Free with membership - $10


BROOKLYN, NY 11211 United States
+ Google Map

UnionDocs is grateful for support from:


UnionDocs Labs

Find out more about our Summer Documentary Lab and Collaborative Studio here!

World Records


We’ve launched our new peer-reviewed documentary journal World Records. Volume I, The Documentary Camera, is now online!