Out of the Blocks Podcast Highlights Voices from Charleston’s West Side

Photos by Wendel Patrick

This winter, West Virginia Folklife partnered with WYPR producers Aaron Henkin & Wendel Patrick to field produce two Charleston West Side episodes of the Baltimore-based neighborhood podcast, Out of the Blocks. The audio collage features Charleston West Side locals in their own words, mixed with an original musical score, and is presented in two parts: Part 1: History Laid Down Like Shellac, released January 17, and Part 2: We May See a Harvest, released January 31, 2020. You can subscribe to Out of the Blocks on all major podcast platforms, or hear the episodes on or after their release dates at https://www.wypr.org/programs/out-blocks.

Rev. Matthew Watts at Grace Bible Church. Photo by Wendel Patrick

Working within the area bound by the Kanawha River, Pennsylvania, Lee, and Patrick Streets, we interviewed folks across the West Side neighborhood.

In Part 1: History Laid Down Like Shellac, we visit family barbecue joint Dem 2 Brothers, dancers and musicians at The West Side Jamboree, a faith-based after-school program, a women’s drug recovery house, and a bustling Goodwill headquarters. Plus, conversations with activist preacher Rev. Watts, a vacant-home rehabber, neighborhood planner John Butterworth, and a retired theater technician who’s projected more than 50 years of movie history.

Photos by Wendel Patrick

In Part 2: We May See a Harvest, the audio tour through Charleston’s West Side continues with community gardener Tom Toliver, an antique collector, West Virginia Symphony clarinetist Bob Turriziani, deli owner Sali Janem, and retired basketball star Levi Phillips. Plus, a visit to a local auto shop, a barbershop, a Girl Scout meeting, and Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary.

The Outlaw Country Band at the West Side Jamboree. Photo by Wendel Patrick

View the accompanying photo slideshows and listen here, or on any podcast streaming platform.

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Out of the Blocks: Charleston West Side producers Aaron Henkin, Emily Hilliard, and Wendel Patrick


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