Program Guide for Nirvana & Gehenna
Three Worlds. Three Dimensions. One Future.
Re-Imagined Radio presented Nirvana & Gehenna, an interdimensional documentary written by Jerrel McQuen and produced by three-time Emmy winner Marc Rose, both of Portland, Oregon. In their story, The Multiverse is a helix. Five spirals above Earth is the universe that contains the dimension of Dry Smoke, and nine spirals up is the universe that contains Farwan. Professor Thedgar Rhedlington, an eccentric scientist from the Dry Smoke continuum, stumbles upon a way to bridge all three, and thus the birth of Nirvana & Gehenna. Any major event can ripple up and down the helix, and parallel events are born. Sounds mad — but is it? You decide.
Broadcasts and streams by our local, regional, and international partners. Archival recordings available for on demand listening below.
Optimized for radio broadcast.
Jodi Lorimor as Katara Collins
Mark Loring as Title Announcer
David Maier as Vassenbinder Newscaster
Sam A. Mowry as Grendon Thanes
Eric Newsome as QBS Title Announcer
Jan Powell as Mahoudine Anna Narova
Marc Rose as Professor Thedgar Rhedlington and the "Keycard," the QBS Archivist
Special thanks to Mr. Fernandinande Le Mur, for the open archiving of the brilliant PR Gnus of the World
Nirvana & Gehenna was produced by Marc Rose and written by Jerrel T. McQuen, for Ensérné Media
Sound Design and Production by Marc Rose of Fuse Audio Design
Social Media by Regina Carol Social Media and Photography
Promotional Graphics by Holly Slocum Design
Produced and Hosted by John Barber
Jerrel McQuen and Marc Rose both live in Portland, Oregon. McQuen works as an graphic designer for DHX Advertising and produces material for Ensérné Media, a media entertainment company started with Rose. Rose started his own company, Fuse Audio Design. For their collaborative projects, McQuen writes and develops graphic designs while Rose takes care of sound design and other production. "We have collaborated like this for decades now," says Rose.
Their collaboration began in high school where they met, in 1974, in the St. Petersburg/Tampa area of Florida. They both were seeing strange, but interesting, worlds in their imaginations. Each was trying to depict these imaginary worlds, ways to be in them. McQuen through graphic design. Rose through music.
Both McQuen and Rose's imaginations were fueled from a number of creative directions. Rose ticks them off, starting with "The writings of Harlan Ellison, who we actually met and collaborated with on an early Dry Smoke & Whispers story in 1983. He was also instrumental in getting us on KPFK radio in Los Angeles, California."
Rose also credits the writings of Carlos Castenada, "particularly his first 3 books, when they were still considered anthropology. Those were huge influences."
"And I responded to old radio shows like Inner Sanctum, The Black Museum, and Harry Lime," said Rose. "X Minus 1 and Dimension X were great sources of inspiration as well."
Rose also found, and continues to find, inspiration in the music of Frank Zappa, Joe Zawinule and John McLaughlin. "The places Jerrel and I were imagining were often suggested by music I was composing at the time. Like Dry Smoke & Whispers which came from a suite I was writing for slide 12 string guitar and big band."
Meeting McQuen, says Rose, was prophetic. "Literally from day one we shared a mission to unearth the places we were seeing in our imaginations. Kind of an intellectual excavation as it were."
"The very first thing Jerrel and I worked on, right out of the gate was a 'story' about a place called Farwan. You can see pictures of it at the Ensérné website, a repository for various things we have developed or are in the process of developing. Farwan is also represented in Nirvana & Gehenna—there's an audio version of one of the Farwanese Fables, the one about a chap named Faberus Borendon and how he created a power source from the sound of children's laughter. From the beginning we were looking for ways to visualize this world. Jerrel is a really skilled graphic designer and so that became his challenge."
"The very first Farwan paintings were acrylic on artboard," says McQuen, "until I discovered I was physically allergic to metal elements in the acrylics. I switched to Photoshop and used only a mouse, no Wacom. I've been refining my techniques for nearly thirty years. All of the art featured on the Ensérné Media site is painted entirely in Photoshop using this technique. I can’t imagine doing it any other way."
"With the arrival of layers in Photoshop, I finally had a way to create the sheer complexity of texture and detail that makes Farwan a reality unto itself," says McQuen. "After that, CGI will take the trail I blazed and get it as close to the actual place as possible, considering the physics are at once denser and more transparent, as strange as that sounds. We can only hint at the silvery energy that exists in that realm. It's truly an elevated vibrational level."
In the late 1970s, McQuen and Rose were poised to publish a book about their imaginary world, Tales of Farwan. "That was our first book venture," says Rose. "Alfred Knopf was ready to publish it but a regime change brought in new folks who didn't see the potential in our work. That proved to be a bad decision for them later, as the market for alternate worlds and adventures exploded."
"After problems getting Tales of Farwan published we pivoted to radio," recalls Rose. "There was an opportunity to produce something for a local radio station. I was mostly a musican at the time, so the switch to music and sound made sense to me. Jerrel and I produced what we thought was a pilot for a show called Dry Smoke & Whispers Radio Theatre, which, like Farwan, was based on drawings and some musical compositions."
Dry Smoke & Whispers Radio Theatre—the tag line calls it "A Mystery SF Cinema in Sound Adventure"—launched on January 18, 1980. It ran for five years on public radio stations in sixty markets and three countries and received grants from The National Endowment For The Arts and the Florida Fine Arts Council. The series also won a few Communicator Awards and a Mark Time Award for The Shadow Man, an episode of Dry Smoke & Whispers, in 2003.
"We stopped production in 1985 mostly do to 'real world' work—and by that I mean 'make a living'—which required more time from both of us" says Rose. "We set Dry Smoke & Whispers aside until 2004 when we rebooted the series for then XM Satellite Radio. That ran for two years." LEARN more at the Dry Smoke & Whispers website.
McQuen says he is about to turn his graphic design attention to the Dry Smoke & Whispers website. "I'm going to put the full Art Deco spin on Dry Smoke & Whispers. A new site will be arriving soon, with cinematic art and a more sophisticated site design that will rival the Farwan galleries."
Both during and after the intial run of Dry Smoke & Whispers, McQuen and Rose produced other radio shows. Anomaly Calling was a limited run series designed to be the "summer replacement" for Dry Smoke & Whispers. According to Rose, "It was an anthological series of ironic fiction."
There was also ShriekShow, a commercial radio series which sported the fun tagline, If you can hear it, it can SEE you. ShriekShow had only seven episodes, according to Rose. "I believe it ran in maybe ten markets but the writing was on the wall that radio was not paying for content and was no longer interested in half hour slots, unless you were buying the airtime."
Another side project for commercial radio was Bobb Sledd . . . Not a Private Eye which, says Rose, "was a hoot to produce but each two minute episode required far more than that in time and effort. Bobb Sled ran multiple times on syndicated air—meaning a group of shows emanating from all over the place—beamed across the country from a central location."
And, there's The Fusebox Show—the show for everyone . . . but not everyone will like it!—with seven years worth of quirky conversation and comedy. Subscribe through Apple Podcasts or other content providers. LEARN more at The Fusebox Show website.
When Rose switched his focus to audio post production, "It meant I didn't really have the time to develop shows," he says. The time and effort Rose put into audio post production paid off. He won two Emmy Awards—awards that recognize achievements in particular sectors of the television industry, in this case "Best Daytime Educational Series"—for Shamu TV, a series produced in cooperation with Sea World that ran on NBC daytime television, 2005 and 2006. "I handled sound design, music, wrote the theme music and did the character voice of "Sonar" for that show," said Rose. The other Emmy Award—yes Marc Rose has won three Emmys!—was for Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures, a nature-related show about animal predators, in 2006.
"I've been at it ever since," says Rose. "Never been bored."
Rose and McQuen have an evolving project underway, called Graphaphone, which has "a lot of potential," says Rose. "An example episode is on the Ensérné Media website.
In addition to his collaboration with McQuen, Rose also has several interesting individual projects. "During my last days in Florida I worked with noted brain scientist Dr. Ted Geislin on transferring shamanic sounds of healing into digital equivalents. Shamanic medicine utilizes many 'tools' that are aural in nature and Dr. Geislin was curious to find a digital version and see what the brain responses would be. He was a fascinating guy," says Rose.
Rose also works with The Willamette Radio Workshop, directed by Sam A. Mowry. "I've contributed music and sound design wherever possible since 2005," says Rose.
And if that's not enough to keep a guy out of trouble, Rose is currently working with psychologist Thomas Doherty on a podcast called Climate change and . . .. "The blank space is a placeholder for whatever the topic of the show might be for that episode. Happiness, the economy, fear, etc.," says Rose.
Rose says both the title and story of refers to the polar opposites of the human experience, heaven (Nirvana) and hell (Gehenna). The work also "encapsulates many of the concepts Jerrel and I have been working on into one pseudo-documentary," he says.
For example, the term "multiverse" . . . speaks to a hypothetical group of multiple universes which comprise the entirety of space, time, matter, energy, information and the physical laws and constraints that describe them. The idea of multiverse, also called "parallel universe," can be traced back the to the Ancient Greek philosophy of Atomism which proposed the creation of infinite parallel worlds resulting the collision of atoms. The idea of multiple universes was further defined during the Middle Ages. The term was first used in its current science fiction and physics context by Michael Moorcock in his science fiction novella The Sundered Worlds, 1963. Debate for and against the existence of multiverse continues today.
"Jerrel and I consider The Multiverse as a helix," says Rose. "Five spirals above Earth is the universe that contains the dimension of Dry Smoke, (the dimension in which the first radio series we ever produced was set) and nine spirals up is the universe that contains Farwan. Professor Thedgar Rhedlington, an eccentric scientist from the Dry Smoke continuum, stumbles upon a way to bridge all three, and thus the birth of Nirvana & Gehenna. Like a ripple in the water, any major event can move up and down the helix. Nothing is isolated or walled off from anything and parallel events are born. The entire collection of universes is malleable. Sounds mad — but is it? You decide.
"We were envisioning these dimensions as being in a helix even though 'up or down' is relative and only supports three dimensional mapping. But, to give an idea of location to the audience and also stress the vibratory angle or concrescence, as things get closer in they (the energy) move more and more rapidly to the point of invisibility at some stage. The density factor was one of the things we were thinking of when placing these 'worlds.'"
Heady stuff indeed. But it makes for great storytelling. Enjoy listening!
Nirvana & Gehenna web poster by Holly Slocum, Holly Slocum Design (240 x 356)
Nirvana & Gehenna cover poster by Holly Slocum, Holly Slocum Design (820 x 356)
Nirvana & Gehenna social media poster by Holly Slocum, Holly Slocum Design (2000 x 2000)
Nirvana & Gehenna full poster by Holly Slocum, Holly Slocum Design (2000 x 3000)
Nirvana & Gehenna web poster by Jerrel McQuen (240 x 356)
Nirvana & Gehenna full poster by Jerrel McQuen (1663 x 1663)