An Art Institution That Talks The Talk And Walks The Walk

I am thrilled to share news of an accessible event at the Wexner Center for the Arts. As this is a blog about audio description, I’d like to point out the audio described version of the event is available for streaming this week. All of the details are below in the email I received from Helyn Marshall. Kudos to Helyn and the staff at the Wexner for their attempts to make art truly available to everyone!

Here are all the details as outlined in Helyn’s email:

Dear Accessibility Professionals, Practitioners, and Friends,

I am writing to share some fast-breaking news on the accessibility front for Film/Video offerings at the Wex!

Starting tonight, we’re showing the new documentary film Her Socialist Smile, which shares Helen Keller’s work as one of the most passionate activists and advocates of her time, including an open captioned, in-person screening at 7pm on Wednesday, September 22.

 

In an exciting example of the continued expansion of our accessibility efforts, we are also streaming the Audio Descriptive Version of Her Socialist Smile (which the Wex provided seed money for the creation of the AD Track) for one week only, beginning today. 

 

Here’s a neat blog article Expanding access for Her Socialist Smile written by Chris Stults, Associate Film/Video Curator for the Wex, that shares how he found the film and its director, and helped to line up the support for the creation of an AD version of the film, which we are so happy to be able to share on our site with descriptive transcript available, in a pay-what-you-can model for greater accessibility for all.

 

This all very literally just came together yesterday; apologies that I couldn’t share with a little more notice, but I would so appreciate it if you could give this film a signal boost via social media or through your networks. Her Socialist Smile is a beautiful documentary and something that I’m really pleased the Wex could help support expanded access to.

 

With care,

Helyn 

 

Helyn Marshall

Accessibility Manager

Digital Accessibility Coordinator

wexner center for the arts

614-688-3890

 

Pronouns: she/her/hers | Why Pronouns Matter

Make Your Voice Be Heard!

In honor of the second annual Audio Description Awareness Day (April 16th) — I thought I would take this opportunity to share with you a post from the Audio Description Project (ADP) Listserv that was written by Fred Brack, the ADP Webmaster and Social Media Manager. For those of you who may never have heard of the Audio Description Project, it is an initiative of the American Council of the Blind and repository (and sometimes a catalyst) for all things audio description. Fred does a stellar job and you can check out the website here or use this URL: https://www.acb.org/adp/.

Fred’s post is about letting the FCC know what changes you would like to see to the Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act. So let’s celebrate our awareness of audio description by taking action!

The FCC Wants to Know What Changes You Want to the CVAA
(Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act)

As requested in this FCC Public Notice, the FCC would like to know what changes you feel are required in the 10-year old CVAA.  “Given changes in technology and industry practices, as well as taking into account consumer experiences, we seek comment on whether there is a need to update these rules.”  For example, we at the ADP suggest you consider the following.  Are enough shows described today on TV?  Are enough non-broadcast networks (USA, TBS, etc.) covered?  Are enough regions of the country covered?  Are cable TV providers able to supply the right equipment and answer your questions about AD?  Are you satisfied with the quantity and quality of audio description provided?

How about the streaming services?  The ACB has had to initiate legal action in many cases to get streaming companies to provide description.  Should the FCC mandate it for streamers of a certain size or type of content?  And once an audio description track is created, should there be some requirement that it must be passed along just like closed captioning is to any other service that picks up the show for rebroadcast?  These are just some of the things you should be thinking about.  And don’t simply rely upon someone else to voice these comments.  MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!  Historically, few blind or low vision individuals have replied to these Requests for Comment, which does not reflect well on the needs and desires of individuals with visual impairment.

How do you submit your comments to the FCC?  Here is the simplified process:

  1. Write your comments in a Word document, PDF, or plain text file.
  2. Go to this web address:  https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings.
  3. Type the Proceeding Number in the first box:  21-140 and press Enter.
  4. The following fields are required on the form as you tab down:  Name(s); Primary Contact Email; Address Of (use “Filer” or “Author”); Address, City, State, Zip.
  5. At that point, the next field says to “Click or drop files here.”  You should be able to click to select your prepared comments, or drag and drop if you prefer.
  6. Click the box to receive an email confirmation of your submission.
  7. Finally you will click the button to “Continue to the Review Screen.”  (We haven’t done this yet, so we hope it is obvious from here on!)

There is an alternative.  If you want to type your comments directly, use this web address: https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings/express.  The form is similar and slightly shorter, and you could cut-and-paste your comments into the Comment block if you wish.  As a last resort, you can send your comments to this address:  FCC504@fcc.gov.  In each case, remember that the Proceeding Number is 21-140.  DO IT NOW!

Fred Brack, fbrack@acb.org
ADP Webmaster and Social Media Manager

acb.org/adp *** facebook.com/acbadp *** twitter.com/ADPwebmaster

The Audio Description Project is an initiative of the American Council of the Blind

Helen Keller and Me

Two years ago today, I launched this blog. Today is also Helen Keller’s birthday, so Helen Keller and I have at least one thing in common. In honor of the anniversary of Helen Keller’s birth and this blog, here is an encore of my second blog entry (posted two years ago tomorrow):

Happy Birthday Helen Keller: June 27, 1880

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Photo courtesy of the American Foundation for the Blind Helen Keller Archives

Above is a 1955 black and white photograph of Helen Keller, on her 75th birthday, assisted by Polly Thomson (secretary and companion) serving birthday cake.

In this black and white photograph, two older women stand shoulder to shoulder behind a lace covered table. On the table is a three-tiered cake decorated with icing flowers and swags and a single small slender lit candle. A stack of small plates with dark patterned rims sits to the left of the cake.

The woman on the left, Helen Keller, is a few inches taller than the woman on the right. Her face is cast slightly downwards. Her eyes are open yet her gaze is not fixed upon anything within the picture frame. Her is mouth opened in a smile. Helen’s dark wavy hair is parted on the left and pulled back from her face. Short waves of whiter hair flanking the part frame her face. Her light-colored damask, short-sleeved dress has a V-shaped neckline that is both wide and deep. It covers her shoulders and dips down to just above her breasts. She wears a triple strand of round white pearls around the base of her neck. Her right arm, bent at the elbow, reaches forward slightly as the broad bladed cake knife in her right hand poises between icing flowers atop the cake, its tip just behind the lone birthday candle. The knife obscures the writing on the far side of the candle but two words, one above the other, are visible on the near side: Birthday Helen.

The woman on the right, Polly Thomson, is wearing a darker dress of the same style and similar fabric except for the sleeves on which are fuller and pouf out at the banded cuff just above the elbow. Her hair is darker than Helen’s and is also worn in waves pulled off the face and parted on the left. With her chin tucked in, Polly’s head tips down toward the cake. Her downcast eyes direct our attention to the cake and the four hands of the women.

Both of Polly’s arms are held in towards her body and are bent at the elbows. Her right arm crosses in front of Helen’s left arm, seen just between the two women’s bodies and below Polly’s right elbow. Polly’s right hand reaches across Helen’s waist as she holds, her fingers gently grasping, the top of Helen’s right hand as Helen cuts the cake. Polly’s lower left arm crosses her body as she loosely holds Helen’s left hand in hers.

The touching right hands and forearms of the women create a V shape at Helen’s waistline, above and to the left of the cake. Their touching left hands and forearms create a smaller V shape, echoing the first, at Polly’s waistline. The down-turned heads and points of the V that are created by the hands direct our attention to the cake.

In the background on the left, behind Helen’s right shoulder, is a candle in a wall sconce. To the right of the sconce, we see the top left corner of the narrow black frame of a picture or document, the glare from the flash bulb obscuring its contents. In the lower left, below Helen’s right elbow the upper left of the dark wooden frame of a shield-backed chair is seen. Between the women and behind Polly on the right, are indistinct dark shadowy shapes resulting from the photographer’s flash.

Google Doodle Celebrates Seiichi Miyake

As you probably know, Google highlights all sorts of interesting things with the artwork known as the Google Doodle at the top of their search page. Today’s animation (seen below) celebrates Seiichi Miyake, the Japanese inventor of the Tenji block — those blocks that have raised bars and bumps and create detectable warnings on the sidewalk, train platforms, etc. When you click on the animation, you are taken to a page that has stories from all over about Seiichi Miyake and his bumpy Tenji blocks.

Here is a description of today’s doodle:

A grey curb runs diagonally from the upper left corner to the center of the wide rectangular picture frame. A small area of dark grey, almost black, street with part of a white bar from a striped crosswalk is visible in the lower left corner of the image. On the other side of the curb are two rows of square yellow paving blocks with raised bumps. Beyond these pavers is a dark grey sidewalk. The grid of the sidewalk is interrupted a path of more yellow paving blocks. These yellow blocks have raised bars and are perpendicular to the swath of blocks with the bumps along the curb. The white ball and red tip of a white cane appears in the upper right corner of the image. As the cane sweeps from left to right, it is followed by a pair of feet wearing black sneakers with rounded white capped toes and laces. The feet, at the bottom of jeans-clad legs, approach the intersection of the blocks with the raised bars and the blocks with the raised dots. The cane continues to sweep back and forth as it points to the blue, red, ochre, and green letters that spell “GOOGLE” along the curb-side edge of the dotted blocks. As the feet meet and stop at the intersection of the blocks, the tip of the cane comes rest between their toes.

“All About Descriptive Audio”

Last month, I had the opportunity to join co-hosts Marlene Brisk, Elizabeth Clark on and fellow guests Shirley Roberts and Chuck Adkins on “Morning Exchange” on VOICEcorps radio to discuss audio description. The show, which originally aired on September 28th, is now available to listen to on demand. No subscription is necessary to stream live or on demand audio.

If you are not familiar with VOICEcorps, you should check out their website. It’s a great resource for anyone with low or no vision.

Audio Description on “Morning Exchange”

Tune in tomorrow morning (September 28th) to the Voicecorps show “Morning Exchange” where I and two other guests will be discussing audio description from both provider and consumer points of view.  Whether you are curious about audio description or already a fan, this show is for you!  If you do not have a radio or are not in the central Ohio area, you can listen online at https://online.voicecorps.org/listen.m3u. The show runs from 11 AM until noon.

Description of a Crested Porcupine

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A black and white photograph of a crested porcupine against a white background.

The porcupine is seen head-on. Its small, lowered, V-shaped head is framed by its circular torso that is supported by its two stocky, short front legs. The legs are directly below the head and are close together with a small square of light between them.  There are four digits upon each foot. The porcupine’s long black and white quills bristle out and upward from its circular torso, past its forelegs, like the bristles of  a half-round hairbrush.  The quills are as long as the porcupine is tall.  Each quill is banded in stripes of black and white. Long white quills stand up along the top of its head. The rest of its torso is covered by short dark bristles.

The dark figure of the porcupine stands out vividly from the stark white background. The only shadow is a short black line between the bottoms of its two front paws. The long black and white needle-like quills create a staccato halo upon its back.

Follow-up to “A ‘Dog-umentary’”

Important update regarding the date for this film:

I was just on the Gateway Film Center’s site and the date for the film has changed.  The day and time are Tuesday, September 25 at 2:00 PM.  

In my last post about the upcoming film “Pick of the Litter”, I said that details about access for non-iOS users would be available on the Gateway Film Center’s website last week.  When I checked over the weekend, I saw that it had not been added although the film is listed in upcoming events.  Anyway, I called the theatre to double check on what would be available with regard to audio description for non-iOS users or anyone who doesn’t wish to use the Actiview app.  The woman I spoke with told me that anyone desiring audio description should ask for the equipment at the ticket center, where it is available at no additional cost.  The receivers fit in the cup holders on the arm of the theatre seats.  You will be required to leave your ID at the ticket desk until you return the equipment.

So to recap:  “Pick of the Litter”, an award-winning documentary that follows five Labrador puppies born in the Guide Dogs for the Blind breeding program from birth through their training to become guide dogs will be at the Gateway Film Center on Tuesday, September 25, 2018 at 2:00 PM. Audio description is available for download for iOS users on the Actiview app.   The theatre also will be providing  in-theatre audio description,  just request the equipment at the ticket center.   At the time I originally wrote this entry, the time was not listed on the website and the date was different so check You might want to check back at the Gateway Film Center’s website for the day and time before heading over there for the movie.

 

Information about the film itself, including trailers with audio description, is available at the Guide Dogs for the Blind website.

See you at the movies!

Happy Birthday, Louis Braille!

On this day two hundred and eight years ago Louis Braille, the man responsible for devising the system that bears his name of six dots to a cell for each letter of the alphabet, was born in a small village in France. But did you know that he was only a teenager when he did this groundbreaking work? The link below is to a half hour audio described and captioned docudrama video about Louis Braille:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFyY7u95nxw

When I Grow Up

This past winter, I had the opportunity to design a touch tour and write verbal descriptions for an exhibit featuring the work of Ohio artist James Mellick.  Here is one of his more lighthearted dog sculptures.

Wooden sculpture of a little dog with very tall skinny legs.
When I Grow Up                     James Mellick jamesmellick.com

When I Grow Up, 2007

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 This abstract sculpture of a very small dog on very tall legs stands about 4’ high. The body looks like a breadbox on stilts. The four legs rise up as four separate elements and are joined by a rectangular mid-section of two pieces with a wide gap running horizontally along its side. The legs are slender and elongated with knees and elbows about a third of the way up from the floor. The muscles, tendons and joints in the legs are subtly indicated by the gentle swelling of the stick-like limbs that then flare out at the thighs and shoulders. They appear to have been stretched as if they were elastic. The four pad-like paws with their carved front toes standing squarely on the ground seem large given the thinness of the legs.  Behind each of the front legs, the dewclaws are represented by teardrop form attached at to the limb at its upper tapered neck and the globule hanging in high relief.

Two large bat-like ears resembling large pasta shells growing up from the back edges of the head mounted at the front end of the boxy body. The brow sits well below the ears. The muzzle tapers toward the blunt rectangular nose. The mouth is a narrow downward slit toward the bottom of the muzzle.

Rear view of a wooden sculpture of a very small dog on very tall skinny legs.
When I Grow Up  (rear view)  James  Mellick

At the other end, a long thin tail curls down and around the rump, between the hind legs, where it then arcs downward beneath the middle of the torso.

The shapes are very simplified and there is minimal detail. The surface is smooth and polished with a soft sheen.