Iceland (Part 3)

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Iceland (Part 3)[1]
Work In Progress
Original Broadcast Date
Joe Frank
Absurd Monologue, Narrative Monologue, Absurd Lists, 58 minutes
Preceded by: Iceland (Part 2)
Followed by: The Dictator (Part 1)

Do you have any idea how many people send me their short stories, their poems and their journals, which they want me to critique and even read on the air?

Iceland (Part 3) is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series Work In Progress.


About 20 minutes of this show is about Lila and Iceland. Joe begins by complaining how many writings and tapes listeners send him, sets them on fire. There are some oddments in the middle. Joe instructs the listener on making love to him through the radio. Joe dreams he's Vogel's son.

0:00: Joe tells us that listeners send him stories, poems, journals, that they want him to critique and read on his show. Some send him tapes for the same purpose. Joe tells us that this is his show, not theirs. He piles them up, sets them on fire, prays that god receive this offering. (sounds of fire and fighting it)

10:00: Joe delivers a paean to the glories of Iceland.

11:40: Joe describes the scene at Lila's apartment. She has all her belongings piled up, trying to decide what to pack for the trip to Iceland. Joe's exasperated, thinks it's time to leave already. As usual, they get out to the street, try to hail a cab, late. They get a gypsy cab (driven by a real gypsy) who asks for an exorbitant rate. Joe bargains him down, but still high; the cabbie proves to be an excellent, if not law-abiding, driver, drives down a runway, gets to the terminal in time. They're unhappy that they get center seats instead of the window seats they paid for.

18:00: 'I came to the rabbi in a state of crisis…' Joe describes the home of a well-appointed rabbi. When the rabbi appears, he asks Joe some odd questions, then tells him not to answer, just to think about them.

20:50: Joe tells of taking the train to Grasporia (sp?): a peasant woman with chickens, a beautiful young woman in tears, the beauty of the countryside. He gets sick to his stomach, remembers his father, a carver of wooden dolls.

24:10: Joe recounts digging in an ancient cemetery on the upper Nile. They find a sarcophagus, open its lid, find a grand party underneath; the lid is a skylight to a ballroom.

28:30: Party noises, 'In the mood' (Glenn Miller)

29:10: 'One more night' (Can)

29:30: Joe's walking along the shore of Cape Cod at dusk, describes the sights, smells, and sounds. A pickup drives at him. The driver gives Joe a subpoena (sic) for alimony to his ex-wife. His favorite hat, which he lost 3 months ago, skitters along the sand.

32:20: 'The girl from Ipanema' (Joe). He's singing in a jazz club. He describes the audience. He's both doing what he's always wanted to do and hates the club. He wants to tell the people in the audience what he thinks of them.

35:20: Joe says that Jesus walked upon the water in Iceland; we all may.

36:00: Oswald, Professor Vogel's assistant, meets them at the airport. Joe describes Vogel's estate and chalet. Vogel is in a block of ice, per his instructions.

38:10: The lawyer arrives, reads the will. Lila gets almost everything.

39:10: Lila tells Joe she had no idea she meant that much to him. They have to cancel their return tickets to have enough time to dispose of his estate.

40:10: Joe, having nothing to do, walks the tundra.

40:40: Joe finds Vogel's love letters to Lila all around the chalet. Joe reads some of the letters, all about how much Lila meant to him.

44:10: Joe finds, 'our love making is becoming increasingly passionate.' despite 'We barely talk. Our relationship seems to hardly exist.'

45:20: Joe says he's feeling lonely and vulnerable, wants a hug, asks the listener to hug her/his radio, kiss the dial, rub its back, blow into the speaker grille, tongue the volume control, extend the antenna and stroke it… then he smokes a cigarette.

48:30: Joe dreams that he's in Tahiti with Vogel, dancing together; Vogel tells Joe that he's his son, that all those letters were for him, not Lila. Vogel's nose bleeds, then his ears and eyes. Joe finds it funny. The dream ends.

51:00: Laughter, forced and languid at first, gets a little more convincing. (I think I hear 2 men and 1 woman.)[1]

54:10: Joe delivers a paean to water.

55:10: 'Fire and ice, the handmaidens of civilization, the linchpins, the infrastructure, the yin and yang, the sun and moon, unifying principles.'

Legacy Synopsis

Joe complains about all the letters, creative works, and collaborative propositions he received from listeners. He builds a stack of mail, sets it on fire, and is overcome by smoke. Meditations on Iceland. Mispronouncing Reykjavik. Joe and Lila arrive late for the plane to Iceland. Joe visits a rabbi for guidance; a detailed list of objects in the rabbi's study; absurd questions. Scenes from a train: a compartment with a peasant woman, a beautiful lady, and chickens, being sick and discovering subtle profundity in mistaking the restroom for the dining car. Archaeologists digging in Egypt discover a dinner party beneath a sarcophagus. Walking along a windy beach and being served papers. Joe sings in a club, is disappointed with the experience and begins criticizing the audience in his songs. Joe and Lila arrive to discover that Vogel has left her his estate. Burial in ice. Joe invites us to caress our radios. A dream: Vogel is Joe's father, the love letters were intended for him, they dance, a funny nose bleed. Rhythmic laughing. "Oh water" and "fire and ice."


Additional credits

The original broadcast credits state: "Performed by Joe Frank, and created in collaboration with David Rapkin and Arthur Miller. Sound effects by Jeff Sykes. Mixing engineer: Theo Mondle. Special thanks to Ariana Morgenstern, Chris Clark, Kathleen Griffin, Eric Meyers, and Sheila Bjornlie. Iceland was produced by Joe Frank."


  1. originally aired in Iceland (Part 1)
  2. Online music services mislabel this track "Fragrance".