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Radio8Ball filmed live before Olympia audiences

Host Andy Shmushkin uses music and lyrics from songs to answer questions

Radio8Ball host Andy Shmushkin will keep things spinning at Rhythm & Rye Aug. 8. Courtesy photo

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The concept: Ask a question and have it answered by a randomly chosen song, like a musical tarot card.

Andras Jones created Radio8Ball in 1998 on KAOS in Olympia. Now, he is producing it as a local TV series (for the web, for now) with Olympia Film Collective. The episodes are filmed in front of a live audience at Rhythm and Rye in downtown Olympia.

Radio8Ball has fun with synchronicity, choosing the songs that answer the questions by spinning "The Wheel of 8" or picking a Radio8Card, and using the music and lyrics of the song to answer questions from the audience, drawing in associations with other systems, like tarot, astrology and numerology.

Musical guests on the show have included: Mose Allison; Allen Toussaint; Rickie Lee Jones; Tracy Bonham; Mt. Erie; Calvin Johnson; Kendl Winter; John Trudell and illustrious others.

This new version of the show features The Radio8Band, a rotating roster comprised of musicians such as Scott Taylor, Olivia Love, Jon Merithew, Paul Pearson and others, who play back-up for musical guests on the show.

One major difference for the show in its recent incarnation is its new host - Jones used to host, but his local controversies (as related in his book Accidental Initiations: In The Kabbalistic Tree of Olympia) currently make that impossible for him in Olympia. Thus, he has enlisted Andy Shmushkin, a foul-mouthed Jewish folksinger with whom he has collaborated for more than a decade.

The last episode was an experiment with a new "Tribute-themed" show with The Radio8Band paying tribute to the Posies and featuring a pre-recorded question from the band's Jon Auer. His question? What would Jesus do? And the answer? I May Hate You Sometime, But I'll Always Love You.

The upcoming show is more traditional and will feature one artist performing his own songs, in this case Peter David Connelly of The Mona Reels.

Audience participation is a huge part of the experience, and Shmushkin has a mischievous energy that keeps things light and fun.

"For audience members who participate in a Radio8Ball show, at any moment, the show can turn and focus on YOU as the star of that segment," explained Jones. "This can be intimidating and/or liberating depending on how you're built, but, as the producer of the show, I can tell you it creates an energy that is totally unique. A delicious combo of hope and fear, and since it always works out fine - we're gentle with our guests - the ride, though psychologically challenging while its happening, in retrospect, is a reminder that synchronicity works if we just allow it to."

Each show also features a celebrity who Skypes in and asks the final question of the show. Past guests have included John C. Reilly; Patricia Arquette; Weird Al Yankovic; Seth Green; Daniel Pinchbeck; Nina Hartley; Rae Dawn Chong and many others.

The upcoming show featuring Connelly as the musical guest will also feature Mark Hossler of the pioneering media activist band Negativland as the Celebrity Skype-In to ask the final question of the evening.

"You can expect Peter David Connelly to be one of Olympia's finest songwriters, the Radio8Band to play with humor and grace, and Andy Shmushkin to say things that make you feel funny. Other than that, it's best to set any expectations aside, start thinking about your question for The Pop Oracle, and remember the number 8. Radio8Ball, Aug. 8, at 8 p.m. for $8."

Side note: This Radio8Ball Show is part of The Olympia Sync Summit, publishers of Jones' Accidental Initiations, as well as Ezra Sandzer-Bell's Astromusik and Sync Book Vol. 1 & 2, edited by Alan Abbadessa-Green, currently featured at Last Word Books in Olympia. Sandzer-Bell and Abbadessa-Green will both contribute to the upcoming Radio8Ball Show.

The Olympia Sync Summit hosts a guided tour of The Kabbalistic Tree of Olympia led by Jones on Aug. 9. Learn more about both events by visiting and

RADIO8BALL, w/Peter David Connelly, The Radio8Band, Negativeland, Ezra Sandzer-Bell, host Andy Shmushkin, 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 8, Rhythm & Rye, 311 Capitol Way, Olympia, $8, 360.972.2278

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