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Sabrina Artel

On the Road With
Sabrina Artel

By Ted Waddell
LIBERTY — January 2, 2004 – Have trailer, will talk.
If all of a sudden, you see a little 1965 Beeline trailer pull up in your front yard, don’t be surprised.
It’s Sabrina Artel, host of the mobile radio program called “Trailer Talk,” making a stop to record an interview for local or nationwide broadcast.
Last summer, the actress/radio interviewer came up with the idea of hitching her vintage 13-foot travel trailer to whatever rig was currently available and start talking to folks – both common and famous – around the area and beyond to find out what makes them tick and share these insightful and intimately revealing conversational portraits with listeners.
“I’ve always loved road travel and what happens when you drive into people’s communities in different cities and towns,” said Artel.
As a little girl, Artel hit the road with her mother, sister and great aunt in a two-tone woody station wagon, traveling around the country as the mood struck or winds of adventure blew.
“I think that started the passion of it,” she recalled. of traveling roads less traveled.
Artel was born in Houston, Texas and grew up in The City of Angels. After graduating high school from Argyle Academy in Studio City, Ca., she went on to study at UC Berkeley and New York University, getting degrees in Theater and Anthropology.
As a performer/actress in Los Angeles and the Big Apple, Artel hit the bright lights in theater, commercials and indie films such as the Fine Line feature “The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love.”
Her last commercial was a Bud Light ad in which she was gridlocked in NYC traffic sitting in her dad’s 1980 Chevy Suburban.
Nine years ago, she bought a turn-of-the-century trout preserve outside Liberty as a country getaway. Over the decades, the name of the place changed from Liberty Park to the Liberty Trout Preserve and the Liberty Trout Hatchery.
During the last year, Artel nestled in along Fisk Brook and started making connections with the local community, using the old trout preserve as a base to hatch up innovative ideas for radio programming.
“It’s a great support in my creative process,” she said. “I feel very lucky to be able to take care of it. . . . It’s always been a very loved place. I really never left New York but have become more and more involved with ‘Trailer Talk.’ I need to be here.”
Artel started interviewing folks for broadcast on “Making Waves,” produced by Kevin Gref for Radio Catskill (WJFF). The weekly radio show airs Tuesday night at 9 p.m.
Her diverse cast of characters on “Talk Universe” has included activist attorney Stanley Cohen, contemporary artist Lari Pittman, and Deborah Tannen, author of a book about the impact of the different styles of language used by men and women.
Other radio works include a half-hour documentary on George Clinton of his 50 years in the music industry, an interview with Anna Quindlen, a conversation with Todd Graff (director of the locally produced film “Camp”) and a piece on the opening of DIA in Beacon, the largest collection of contemporary art in the nation.
“Seeking Justice” featured interviews related to the aftermath and political situation in the wake of 9/11.
“It’s a program that allows for diverse community voices,” said Artel.
As “Making Waves” ebbed and flowed over the Catskills, Artel decided to expand her horizons a bit by setting up her old trailer with a microphone and some recording equipment.
“Trailer Talk” debuted in Sullivan County at the North American Cultural Laboratory’s (NaCl) summer venue in Highland Lake.
Artel parked her trailer outside NaCl’s renovated church and opened its doors to the world of performing artists and fascinated devotees of experimental theatre.
“I’ve always had a burning desire to do radio,” said Artel. “I feel it has such an immediacy, intimacy and accessibility. . . . It’s something that happens so often in the most mundane moments of your day. I love conversation!”
Artel described herself as the kind of person “who likes to talk and meet strangers” to find out what’s going on in their minds.
“‘Trailer Talk’ combines live performance in real time with another life as a broadcast piece,” she said. “What I create can be broadcast anywhere in the country.”
Sitting down in her cozy little trailer the other day over a classic American breakfast of doughnuts, ripe melons and freshly brewed coffee, Artel talked about how she got her 1965 Beeline.
“I had already become obsessed with vintage trailers [her first was a 1963 22-foot Troutwood] and their histories, when I saw the Beeline just silting by the road,” she said. “I bought it from a couple who were living in it while they built their home.”
As Artel’s subjects cross the threshold into the realm of “Sabrina’s Trailer Talk Radio,” they enter a very special place.
“It’s like a little house,” she said. “There’s a kitchen table. There’s something very comfortable and familiar about it. . . . It’s quite nostalgic when they open the door and come in.
“I’m someone who has a very strong passion for conversation and the impact these conversations have on other people,” added Artel. “I get extremely excited about what stimulates people and what they are thinking about. . . . My interest is in how our past reflects on where we are now, and the trailer creates an environment for sharing.”

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