Delicious Ingredients: June 3, 2016
Each week I will publish the most Delicious Ingredients of my Audible Feast … the scrumptious, delectable, savory, rich, sweet, and spicy podcast episodes that have fed my ears this week. This will also allow me to link directly to episodes via either Soundcloud, Stitcher, or a podcast’s website (which are often amazing and contain bonus info or complementary stories). This also brings more visual content to my site as I can link to some beautiful logos and original artwork from these sites! All episode descriptions and artwork come from the linked sites. (Note: I also try to track every episode I listen to here.)
Some terrific new shows this week from NPR and WNYC!
Us & Them: Hello Mary Lou (5/22/16): “Mary Lou Bruner, who made headlines with her wild accusations about President Obama is running for Texas State Board of Education. If elected, she’ll be responsible for guiding the nation’s second largest public school system. Could she influence the content in textbooks used across the nation?” I live in Texas so this is of particular interest to me. Host Trey Kay very respectfully handles Mary Lou Bruner, who actually lost her election bid after this episode of Us & Them was published in May. (35 minutes)
KCRW’s UnFictional: A Dancer Dies Twice (5/27/16): “Stories of dancers young and old, and what happens when their bodies give way under the extraordinary pressure of professional ballet. It’s a grieving process, where you’re forced to give up on something that has come to define your entire identity. Dancing itself becomes a painful reminder of what you can no longer do… and the life you’ve left behind.” This is an emotional episode that honestly left me questioning how a dancer could equate his or her retirement to death, but did help me to understand how an injury can cut a performing arts career short, leaving the athlete completely devastated and lost. (29 minutes)&
The Allusionist, Episode 37: Brand It (5/29/16): “Got a company or a product or a website you need to name? Well, be wary of the potential pitfalls: trademark disputes; pronounceability; being mistaken for a dead body… Name developer Nancy Friedman explains how she helps companies find the right names, and why so many currently end in ‘-ify’. Plus: The Allusionist’s origin story, with Radiotopiskipper Roman Mars.” Another fabulous episode from Helen Zaltzman and once again, a phenomenal web addendum. Her writing is exceptional and I loved hearing the story of how the podcast name for The Allusionist came about with Roman Mars. (22 minutes)
Code Switch: Can We Talk About Whiteness? (5/31/16): “Let’s all agree that it’s really hard to grapple with whiteness, both due to the slipperiness of the concept itself, and also thanks to the almost visceral discomfort people have with talking about white identity. The problem is, by shying away from talking about whiteness, we also fail to understand the profound ways that whiteness shapes our culture and politics. And right now, in a crazy election cycle when folks’ feelings about their own white identities is a strong predictor of how they’re likely to vote, that’s especially dangerous. And that, y’all, is what we’re taking up on our inaugural episode: how we talk (and don’t talk about whiteness), and why it’s really important we figure out how.” This topic is admittedly way up my alley, but if this is a preview of what’s to come from this team, I am very excited. I think the team may have a little work to do to smooth out their on-air presence, but most of them are journalists and bloggers, not necessarily radio personalities, so I am sure it will improve over time. Nonetheless, I’m pumped that NPR is going to address race head on. (37 minutes)
More Perfect: Cruel and Unusual (6/2/16): “On the inaugural episode of More Perfect, we explore three little words embedded in the 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution: “cruel and unusual.” America has long wrestled with this concept in the context of our strongest punishment, the death penalty. A majority of “we the people” (61 percent, to be exact) are in favor of having it, but inside the Supreme Court, opinions have evolved over time in surprising ways. And outside of the court, the debate drove one woman in the UK to take on the U.S. death penalty system from Europe. It also caused states to resuscitate old methods used for executing prisoners on death row. And perhaps more than anything, it forced a conversation on what constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.” This first episode did not disappoint. (40 minutes)
What’s the Point, Episode 47: Rivers Cuomo Has Spreadsheets/Song Exploder Episode 70 (4/18/16, replayed on What’s the Point on May 26, 2016): “Weezer’s 10th album, the self-titled “White” album, came out April 1, 2016. In this episode, Rivers Cuomo breaks down the meticulous process of making the song “Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori,” through the different demo versions that the track went through, and the array of spreadsheets that he uses collect, analyze, and harvest his ideas.” ZOMG. Data and spreadsheets and music. I loved when Cuomo said people think Weezer’s songs have all these deep meanings or came from real situations, when in fact the writing is culled together from short phrases set up in a database! The music comes first, and then the words. Check out the part at the end when Cuomo talks about the crazy things he and his band mates add into the songs at the very end of the songwriting process. Terrific episode. (22 minutes)
What do you think of these episodes? Any specific episodes I HAVE to listen to from this week? Leave me a comment or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org!