Arts & Culture Podcasts

Recommended if You Like: longform conversation with musicians, cartoonists, writers and other creative types. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


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Recommended if You Like: longform conversation with musicians, cartoonists, writers and other creative types. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.






Episode 602: Sarah Mary Chadwick

There’s a sense of optimism that breaks through on Messages to God. It’s marked change from the darkest moments of its predecessor. Consistent across all of Sarah Mary Chadwick’s songs, however, is a sense of honesty – however brutal or funny (or both) it might be. Honesty is a trait, thankfully, that is also on full display in Chadwick’s interviews. The musician joins of to discuss her songwriting and life. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


Episode 601: Hari Kondabolu

Few things in this life make one rethink the state of the world quiet like parenthood. It’s a subject Hari Kondabolu knows well. The comedian’s dives into the topic on his latest standup album, Vacation Baby – though the subject of social consciousness is never too far behind. That’s something that has permeated his career from the beginning, including Politically Re-Active, a podcast cohosted with W. Kamau Bell, and 2017’s The Trouble With Apu. Kondabolu joins us to discuss his journey through comedy and politics. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


Episode 600: Bill Griffith

After Invisible Ink, the floodgates opened. Since the book's publication, Bill Griffith has been a graphical novel producing machine. In fact, he's working on one right know, as I write this. Nobody's Fool followed in 2015, painting a three-dimensional picture of Freaks star, Schlitzie. A few weeks back, Three Rocks hit shelves, doing the same for Nancy artist, Ernie Bushmiller. All the while, the cartoonist has continued to produce the beloved strip, Zippy the Pinhead, as he has for the last 37 years. We discuss those works and pay tribute to his late-wife, the pioneering cartoonist, Diane Noomin. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


Episode 599: Joyce Farmer

Tits & Clits changed the underground comics scene forever. Over its 15-year-long existence, the anthology published such now legendary cartoonists as Mary Fleener, Roberta Gregory and Trina Robbins. The series tackled then-verboten topics like female sexuality, abortion and more, driven by cocreators Lyn Chevli and Joyce Farmer. Both artists continued to have impacts on comics and social movements, though Chevli passed in 2016. In 2010, Farmer released Special Exits, a powerful and touching based on her parents’ final years. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


Episode 598: Heather Woods Broderick

“Many of us yearn for stillness and peace, as an escape from the movement all around us,” Heather Woods Broderick says of her latest LP. “Yet movement is perpetual, happening all the time on some level.” But Labyrinths was conceived at the stillest moment for many: March 2020. It was a moment to improve her home production and build from scratch. The album arrived in an entirely different world, after things had reopened and musicians returned to their lifeblood of touring. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


Episode 597: Alasdair MacLean (of The Clientele)

The imagery of a distant fire found its way into several of I Am Not There Anymore’s tracks, most notably “Claire’s Not Real.” Frontman Alasdair MacLean says he was inspired by trip to Spain in the summer of 2020, spotting an orange glow on the horizon. The Clientele’s long career is speckled in surrealist imagery, and real-life moments. The death of MacLean’s mother a quarter century prior permeates the record, as well. The musician sat down to discuss process and inspiration ahead of the new album’s release. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


Episode 596: Julia Wertz

In many ways, Impossible People is a companion piece to Drinking at the Movies. The new book finds Julia Wertz confronting the period of her life detailed in its predecessor. It’s as much a story about getting one’s life together, as much as it is about recovery. Wertz returns to the show to discuss the book and the aspect of her life that informed it. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


Episode 595: Michael Gira (of Swans)

Last year marked 40 years since the Swans hit the scene. Those decades have produced some of the most forward-looking albums in an era when rock music often feels stagnant. Released in June, the Swans’s 16th record, The Beggar, finds the group continuing to push boundaries, even as most of their contemporaries have either seen fit to rest on their laurels or pack it in. Frontman Michael Gira joins us to discuss songwriting, god and his soft spot for Lana Del Rey. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


Episode 594: Alex Winter

When we last spoke to Alex Winter, he was in the midst of a publicity push for his Zappa documentary – a longtime passion project about enigmatic musician of the same name. This time out, the actor-turned-documentarian has returned to the tech world. It’s topic that he has returned to several times, including 2012’s Downloaded and 2015’s Deep Web – the latter of which was the subject of our first conversation that same year. The YouTube Effect finds Winter and company exploring the light and dark sides of the world’s most powerful media organization. The documentary includes conversations with YouTubers, media experts and top executives at the Google-owned platform, in a bid to understand its influence and power. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


Episode 593: John McCauley (of Deer Tick)

[Apologies for the literal jackhammering 10 feet from my window for portions of the recording. I promise it hurt me more than it hurts you.] “I feel very lucky that we all ran into each other at some point pretty early on in our lives,” John McCauley explains in the press material for Deer Tick’s latest. For nearly 20 years, the band has quietly been one of America’s best. From its folk-rock roots to earnest explorations of rock, the band has maintained a consistency that feels increasingly rare. That applies to both the group’s records and live performance, as well as the core group of musicians who clearly still enjoy the act of playing together. McCauley hops on from a hotel room, whether the other members are hanging out, waiting to start a Reddit AMA and seemingly enjoying life on the road. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


Episode 592: Alison Leiby and Halle Kiefer

[Apologies for the poor audio quality on my end. I was unknowingly dealing with microphone issues.] Ruined’s premise is simple enough. One host loves horror movies. The other can’t bring herself to watch them. She does, however, want to know everything about what she’s missing out on. Good podcasts are rarely so simple, of course. The Crooked Media program is as much a meditation on friendship and society as genre films. When not podcasting, Alison Leiby is a standup comedian, whose has performed her one-woman show, "Oh God, A Show About Abortion” off-Broadway and various East Coast cities. Halle Kiefer is a television writer and blogger for New York Magazine’s Vulture. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


Episode 591: Bill Janovitz (of Buffalo Tom)

Leon Russell: The Master of Space and Time's Journey Through Rock & Roll History is every bit as grandiose as its subtitle suggests. It’s a sprawling and lovingly researched portrait of an unsung rock hero. Author Bill Janovitz knows a thing or two about that world, as the longtime frontman of Boston-based alternative rock stalwarts, Buffalo Tom. The band continues to tour and release music – though the pace has slowed since the halcyon days of the late-80s/90s. The band’s latest record, Quiet and Peace, was released in 2018. These days Janovitz is largely content to focus on books. 2013 saw the release of Rocks Off: 50 Tracks That Tell the Story of the Rolling Stones. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


Episode 590: Trever Keith (of Face to Face)

What do you do when you’ve got a bunch of paintings and nowhere to show them? If you’re Trever Keith, you do the same thing you’ve done your entire adult life: go on tour. The Face to Face front man is playing a handful of dates across the U.S. that showcase work he’s created based on his own songs. The events also feature an acoustic performance, something the lifelong punk singer has grown increasingly more comfortable with. Keith is currently working on an album of Americana-style originals that tap into a newfound fascination with country. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


Episode 589: Cindy Crabb

In terms of both influence and longevity, few zines rival Doris. While Cindy Crabb hasn’t published an issue in several years, it remains a prominent presence in bookstores across the world. The series, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, is both deeply personal and broadly relatable, regularly tackling life’s obstacles, both large and small. These days, Crabb runs a somatic therapy practice, focusing on the ways the mind and body react to stress and trauma. She continues to write, as well, producing works on a range of topics, including 2015’s Filling the Void, which focused on alcohol recovery and the following year’s Learning Good Consent. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


Episode 588: Jad Fair (of Half Japanese)

There’s prolific and then there’s Jad Fair. The 30 albums released by his seminal art punk band Half Japanese just scratches the surface. Since 1974, the musician has released hundreds of albums, including 150 issued through Bandcamp in a single year. Beyond the output with his band, Fair’s best known work may be his collaborations with artists like Daniel Johnston, Yo La Tengo, R. Stevie Moore and the Velvet Underground’s Mo Tucker. Fair is also a prolific artist whose paper cuttings have been show in galleries around the world. Special cameo from Fair’s dogs, Button and Blanket. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


Episode 587: Tommy Stinson (of The Replacements and Guns N’ Roses)

Wronger finds Cowboys in the Campfire embracing the sort of stripped down twangy Americana such band name suggests. It’s the latest left turn in a career full of them. Tommy Stinson’s musical career began in his pre-teen years, courtesy of bass gifted by older brother, Bob. Joined by Paul Westerberg and Chris Mars, The Replacements would ultimately become one the 80s most influential acts. In the years since the band’s 2021 dissolution, Stinson has gone on to play with Guns N’ Roses and Soul Asylum, while pursuing his own solo ambitions. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


Episode 586: Chad Clark (of Beauty Pill)

Last year, Chad Clark got a new heart. It was an emergency transplant, after a mechanical version failed – the latest in a horrific season of events that began when he was diagnosed with a rare heart virus. The condition has been a surprise motivator. For one thing, the $2 million fee was only partially covered by insurance. Facing massive medical debt, Clark opted to release a remix of the band’s 2015 album, Beauty Pill Describes Things as They Are. Touring presents its own issues, in the age of Covid, but Clark presses on, determined to product art and make the most out of his second – and third – chance. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


Episode 585: Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg

The bad apology has become a major feature of modern American life. “I’m sorry to anyone I might have offended” more often than not boils down to “I’m sorry I got caught. Are the impacted obligated to forgive? And more importantly, what is the process for earning such forgiveness? Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg draws on the teaching of 12th century philosopher and Torah scholar Maimonides for her latest, On Repentance and Repair, which explores the steps for repairing mistakes, both large and small. In addition to her rabbinical practice, Ruttenberg is a prolific author an popular online champion of progressive politics. She joins us to discuss her journey and to reflect how far we’ve come as a society – and how far is still left to go. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


Episode 584: Debora Iyall (of Romeo Void)

Fifty years after its founding, Romeo Void finally got its first live album earlier this year. Released in limited quantities for Record Store Day, Live from the Mabuhay Gardens: November 14, 1980 finds the young band at the top of its game. Teetering at the edge of post-punk and new wave, the group rose the charts on the strength of timeless tracks like "Never Say Never" and "A Girl in Trouble (Is a Temporary Thing),” before dissolving in 1985. Lead singer Debora Iyall joins us to discuss the group, her early activist days and finding happiness in a second career. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


Episode 583: Vashti Bunyan

In the early 70s, Vashti Bunyan went away. Frustrated with an industry unwelcoming of her talents, she eventually moved back to Scotland and raised three children. She never sang, and rarely missed it. It was a perfectly content life. But 30 years later, music once again came calling. The singer experienced a resurgence in interest at the turn of the millennium – more interest than she’d ever had the first go round. Last year Bunyan released Wayward: Just Another Life to Live, a memoir recounting one of music’s most unique and fascinating careers. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.