When I asked Eric Shiner, the Milton Fine Curator of Art at the Andy Warhol Museum, “Who should be a ringtone,” he immediately replied, “Tom [the museum’s director] would make a fine ringtone. And if you’re lucky, he’ll do one of his arias!”
Thomas Sokolowski is Director of the Andy Warhol Museum, and he gladly accepted the invitation to participate in the project. Aside from working hard and traveling often on museum business, Tom is also the Chair of the Board for the New Hazlett Theater on the North Side. He digs theater. “I’m a theatrical person in the best and the worst sense of the word,” he told me, “I can do a stage wallop like a bad de Valkyrie!”
I’m not sure how I’ll classify Tom’s tone on its locallytoned.org detail page–as musical or spoken word (hint: maybe you readers can help me sort this out in the comments section here). Tom said he started making his signature “You-Hoo” sound in NY where it can be difficult to get a taxi driver’s attention. “In general, when people hear it, they want to bolt–and when I would do it around my father, he was very funny about it–he’d say, ‘that sound is likely to give me a heart attack!’ Anyhow, I will sing out this ‘You-Hoo’ in meetings, when people are being too proper, you know, to make a point, or to lighten things up when conversation gets a little too heavy.”
Welp, lemme tell you–this tone is powerfully funny. And Mr. Sokolowski can project his voice. It took me a few tries to set the level properly on the recording device.
So in response to my project’s focusing question, What does Pittsburgh sound like? If you happen to know this particular gentleman, Pittsburgh most certainly and quite distinctly sounds like Tom Sokolowski’s You-Hoo Ringtone.
Thanks, Tom, for your signature contribution to Locally Toned!