Tag Archives: podcasts

A meeting of the (twisted) minds: The directors of The Witch and Hereditary talk horror on The A24 Podcast

Podmass_In [Podmass](https://www.avclub.com/c/podmass),_ The A.V. Club _sifts through the ever-expanding world of podcasts and recommends the previous week’s best episodes. Have your own favorite? Let us know in the comments or at [podmass@avclub.com](mailto:podmass@avclub.com)._  

Summer is the perfect time for sitting around the campfire to revisit the nostalgia of ’90s Nickelodeon classic Are You Afraid Of The Dark? Hosted in the heartfelt way that only folks from Springfield, Illinois can pull off, Sara Laurel Goeckner and Jeremy Goeckner, the wife-and-husband team behind Are You Afraid Of The Podcast? present a watch-through that is entertaining for new and old viewers alike. Their spot-on analysis of this bonkers show pokes holes in ridiculous plot points, highlights unfortunate outfits, and even includes interviews with actors from the show’s original run. Although the podcast is billed as biweekly, you might have to wait a bit longer for new episodes since the hosts are deep in summer stock season, but it’s worth the wait. “The Tale Of The Carved Stone,” episode 33 of Are You Afraid of The Dark?, features the “new to town” trope that dumps poor Alison Denny in the middle of nowhere with zero friends. Can Sardo’s Magic Mansion help her find a friendship charm to change her luck? A dissection of the episode’s non-sequitur time-travel plot is the highlight of the episode. [Morgan McNaught]


Armchair Expert With Dax Shepard
Lake Bell

Joining hosts Dax Shepard and Monica Padman this week is actress/director/screenwriter Lake Bell, who plays Shepard’s wife in the new show Bless This Mess. After pondering the feminine equivalent of a man’s musk, the trio discusses the current art exhibition of Bell’s husband, Scott Campbell, a celebrated tattoo artist whose show literally changes the people who see it—they put their arm through a hole in a wall to allow Campbell to tattoo them, sight unseen. Transitioning to an in-depth discussion of commitment and the nature of marriage, Bell shares her own insights on how a long-term, intimate, and trusting relationship allows humans to evolve. She’s found that spouses challenge each other in different ways and furthers the relationship by having children, a jumping-off point for unpacking the life-and-death stakes navigated by Bell and Campbell during their kids’ home births. As a guest, Bell is candid and personable, going deep into personal conversations as well as offering a compelling perspective on topics like careers, too. [Jose Nateras]


Every album has a story, especially the weird ones. With his new podcast, Bizarre Albums, host Tony Thaxton (Motion City Soundtrack, Feliz Navipod) will celebrate those stories through weekly mini-documentaries that explore the who, how, and why of history’s most infamous audio oddities. His inaugural episode takes us back to the year 1985 when the nation was suffering from a pandemic scientists have come to refer to as Hulkamania. Riding off the soaring popularity of Hulk Hogan and professional wrestling in general, WWF executives leaped at the opportunity to churn out an album of covers, parody songs, and truly twisted originals performed by their very own roster of leotard-clad brawlers. Despite the comedy album facade, the personnel listing on this record is nothing to sneeze at. Noted wrestling fan Cyndi Lauper provides backing vocals on a couple songs and legendary songwriter-producer Jim Steinman even lends a hand with production. In the end, the most bizarre thing about this album is the complete lack of the decade’s biggest star and the impetus for the whole project, Hulk Hogan. [Dan Neilan]


It’s the season-three premiere of everyone’s favorite show about a guy who fell into a portal behind a Burger King with all his podcasting equipment, landing in a magical world where he records a weekly show with Chunt the shapeshifter and Usidore the wizard. This beloved improv series, now in its fifth year, allows every stated addition to the universe to become canon, no matter how wild. This week they are joined by Rodney the Figurehead (Justin McElroy of the greater My Brother, My Brother And Me universe). Rodney wished upon a star and became an animated wooden man with a limited understanding of time and a truly confusing vocabulary; McElroy brings his humor and contagious laugh to the character. As always, the sound editing in this podcast, complete with background chatter and clinking mugs, lets listeners feel like they’re sitting right inside this seaside tavern, eavesdropping on our protagonists. For those who might be intimidated by this show’s back catalog, this season kicks off a new seafaring story arc, making it a great place to start. [Nichole Williams]


As the title implies, this movie podcast isn’t going to be a scholarly deep-dive into the vast, flickering world of cinema—even though it’s slated as the audio companion to CNN’s new show The Movies. Instead, CNN writer Lisa France, CNN reporter Sandra Gonzalez, and professional podcaster Kristen Meinzer record casual conversations about movies, especially popular ones. The opening minutes of this episode feature Gonzalez’s top five audience-friendly desert-island movies (Love Actually! Edward Scissorhands! The Lion King!). This week’s guest is Trace Lysette, a trans actress and activist who discusses being influenced by strong female characters as a kid, how Hollywood needs to start hiring trans women for trans roles, and that time she starred in an action movie that got shelved because her trans identity was revealed. To close things out, Lisa France solemnly reveals her undying love for Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas. Considering that several people on Twitter last week—of all genders—dropped enough divisive takes on Scorsese to make him a trending topic, it’s like France knew she had to get on the mic and speak on behalf of all her Scorsese-loving sisters. [Craig D. Lindsey]


A cop records himself trying to coax a confession out of a wounded bank robber he’s carrying downhill in the cold open of this intimate, documentary-style show. Despite its name, Pretend profiles true events, with special focus on imposters. It’s not entirely clear what George Wayne Smith was pretending to be, unless it was a criminal mastermind. That he had a gifted mind and conditioned body was a given, but prior to May 8, 1980, Smith had nothing in his history to suggest what he was about to do. His military training and born-again-Christian indoctrination combined with a lifelong sense of superiority led him to subscribe to a paranoid fantasy of the world ending in 1981, and for whatever reason, he needed a lot of money before that happened. His bank robbery plan was one part too intricate, two parts overkill. Before it was all over, Smith and three accomplices used their considerable firepower to shoot up 33 cop cars and a helicopter. Host Javier Leiva wisely gets out of the way and lets author Peter Houlahan (who wrote <a rel="nofollow" data-amazonasin="B07GS7J2Z3" data-amazonsubtag="[t|link[p|1836724687[a|B07GS7J2Z3[au|5876237249237154266[b|avclub[lt|text" onclick="window.ga('send', 'event', 'Commerce', 'avclub – A meeting of the (twisted) minds: The directors of The Witch and Hereditary talk horror on The A24 Podcast‘, ‘B07GS7J2Z3’);window.ga(‘unique.send’, ‘event’, ‘Commerce’, ‘avclub – A meeting of the (twisted) minds: The directors of The Witch and Hereditary talk horror on The A24 Podcast‘, ‘B07GS7J2Z3’);” data-amazontag=”kinjaavclub-20″ href=”https://www.amazon.com/Norco-80-Spectacular-Robbery-American-ebook/dp/B07GS7J2Z3?tag=kinjaavclub-20&ascsubtag=e00342e7b8d4cb881d7a561959c2265326454ebe”>the definitive account of the robbery) color the scenes with his exacting knowledge of the case. [Zach Brooke]


It’s almost impossible to talk about horror movies of the last decade without mentioning Robert Eggers’ hyper-superstitious period piece The Witch or Ari Aster’s dread-ridden family drama Hereditary. The two films sparked a conversation around the massive divide between critics and audiences, yet the two films are undoubtedly some of distributor A24’s star children. This year already saw the release of Aster’s latest film, Midsommar, and later in 2019, A24 will release Eggers’ The Lighthouse. The newest episode of The A24 Podcast places microphones in front of the two visionaries to discuss some of their past work and their newest films, sans spoilers. The two directors, who are also friends, nerd out at almost a rapid-fire pace, jumping to topics like CinemaScore, Carrie, the importance of watching films more than once, and directors Paul Thomas Anderson, Stanley Kubrick, and Andrei Tarkovsky, but mostly Ingmar Bergman. Film buffs, get ready to take notes. [Kevin Cortez]


Hosted by Marin Buljan, this fictional documentary podcast follows the trial that will determine whether women are allowed to play in the top male soccer league at East Keilor High School. Focusing on the push and pull between men and women and their relationships with sports, the podcast is framed by Marin’s commentary of soccer games, news clips, and interviews with players, their coach, and others. “Retaliation” picks up after Alice, who spearheaded the change and was the first (and for a while, the only) woman to join the team, convinces her friend Grace to join and sees them through their first match, when the boys on the team structure a subtle but devastating retaliation. The games are cleverly time-lapsed, with Marin describing the highlights and interacting with their coach as his anger builds toward his team every time they ignore his instruction. The Graduate’s Cup unabashedly points out how an administration can (and does) turn their backs on the people they’re supposed to be supporting. [Elena Fernández Collins]


Host Fran Tirado kicks off this new weekly series with a discussion of all things ballroom, the competitive performance and pageantry originating in queer and trans communities of color. Out magazine senior editor and ballroom scholar Mikelle Street joins Tirado for a look back at the origins of voguing and ballroom dating back to the 1920s, as well as major moments in pop culture visibility long before RuPaul’s Drag Race launched ballroom into mainstream consciousness. Now, ballroom culture and language is everywhere: “It has seeped into every nook and cranny of the mainstream in a way that I personally have never seen before,” Tirado says. Terms like “reading,” “kiki,” and other catch phrases popularized on Drag Race all have roots in ballroom, but correct usage and exact definitions can sometimes get lost in translation (fans of the show might be surprised to learn that a “death drop” is actually called a “dip”). Tirado concludes with “Week In Gay” (WIG), a light news recap segment. [Sofia Barrett-Ibarria]

Source: Kotaku.com

Sexual mishaps are exposed by the BBC’s Unexpected Fluids

Podmass_In [Podmass](https://www.avclub.com/c/podmass),_ The A.V. Club _sifts through the ever-expanding world of podcasts and recommends the previous week’s best episodes. Have your own favorite? Let us know in the comments or at [podmass@avclub.com](mailto:podmass@avclub.com)._  

On the first episode of Coach’s Dream It Real podcast hosted by comedian Heben Nigatu, Selena Gomez helps usher in the pod as its first official guest. The musician is there to talk about this week’s theme: authenticity. Gomez knows a thing or two about the topic, discussing her recent social media hiatus and the negative effects Instagram had on her self-esteem. In her most open interview to date, Gomez shares how growing up in the entertainment industry forced her to adopt a persona that wasn’t always authentic to who she was. As she’s gotten older and dealt with some serious issues, she’s learned the importance of stepping back from the spotlight to focus on her mental health. Both she and Nigatu stress the importance and benefits of therapy that everyone should take advantage of, and how crucial it has been to have a strong support system. Of course, Gomez didn’t let her “Selenators” down, teasing her upcoming album and chatting about what she learned working with Cardi B. If this episode is any indication of what’s in store for Dream It Real, then it’s sure to be a weekly must-listen. [Vannessa Jackson]

When Fantastic Worlds launched last August, its creators were stepping into a fairly crowded field of actual play podcasts. Since then, they’ve managed to set themselves apart from the pack and slowly grow their fanbase because of their ability to perfect one important element: balance. Each episode of their continuing Pathfinder campaign (for the uninitiated, that’s basically D&D) contains virtually equal amounts of world-building, character development, and high-stakes action, which is broken up by those all-important moments of levity where these five friends can just goof around a table (or Skype call, as it may be). Is it still a little rough around the edges? Sure. But the sheer amount of heart being put into this imagined world will charm you into really caring about the fate of Team Torta as they battle with the fey, seek assistance from local clerics, and dangerously over-tip the waitstaff. As with most actual play campaigns, it’s always best to start with episode one, but conveniently enough, this episode begins with each character restating their objectives and current mood. Once that’s out of the way, you can dive headlong into this creepy yet playful adventure. [Dan Neilan]

COPS is still on television. The show still airs new episodes, and old ones run in syndication up to 20 times per day. It’s the longest-running reality show in history, older than fictional entities The Simpsons and Law & Order. With a legacy like that, former reality show producer turned podcaster Dan Taberski (Missing Richard Simmons, Surviving Y2K) wants to know how much of COPS reflects real policing and how much of real policing reflects COPS. His podcast promises a hard look at the show’s social impact, but this first episode is mostly concerned with backstory. Piggybacking on the success of America’s Most Wanted, COPS scandalized mainstream audiences when it debuted in 1989, its politics and pathos steeped deeply in the urban crime wave and war on drugs. The original pilot featured a murder. One former Fox executive calls COPS the simplest, best format in the history of television. From a technical standpoint, Taberski says there’s very little sleight of hand taking place. That makes its distortions all the more pernicious. Police departments have control over the final edit, and supposedly ironclad evidence is later exposed as suspect far from the glare of primetime. [Zach Brooke]

In Motherhood Sessions, a new podcast from Gimlet Media, reproductive psychiatrist Dr. Alexandra Sacks turns the therapist’s office inside out, walking mothers through the radical shift in identity that comes with having kids. Sacks and her anonymous guests—who are not her clients, but volunteers who agreed to have one-time conversations about their struggles—put vulnerable conversations about the transition into motherhood out in the open, with the hope that they might spark discussion about the parts of parenting that run deeper than sleeplessness and diaper changing. In this episode, a 32-year-old woman referred to as Anne struggles with the feeling that she betrayed herself by having a child, something she only did because of the external pressure on her to raise a family. With Dr. Sacks’s help, Anne outlines her own life, from her relationship with her self-sacrificing immigrant mother to her aspirations for the 1-year-old daughter she truly loves, even as she struggles with her fears about parenting. The conversation’s intimacy is both jarring and refreshing. Dr. Sacks is a gentle presence throughout, and Anne articulates struggles that will hit hard for many listeners, mothers or not. A reflective, cathartic listen. [Jade Matias Bell]

For the last few years, Insomniac Games CEO and founder Ted Price has been interviewing some of his biggest contemporaries in video games in a podcast presented by the Academy Of Interactive Arts & Sciences. The latest offering from The AIAS Game Maker’s Notebook is an hour-long interview with Sony Interactive Entertainment producer Shuhei Yoshida. Price guides the podcast with ease as Yoshida lays out his career history, detailing his start working for Sony’s manufacturing field and going on to become one of the major figures involved with launching the original PlayStation—at a time when Sony hadn’t entered the video game field at all. Yoshida also sheds light on his duties as a producer, which include overseeing budgets, tons of travel, and respectfully shooting down ideas that simply don’t work. Most interesting is Yoshida’s thoughts on the current state of virtual reality and just how much the development process mirrors the passion and creative freedom felt with the early PlayStation. This episode is as much an informative guide for those who aspire to work within the game industry as it is ear candy for those curious to learn about the inner workings of gaming. [Kevin Cortez]

Longtime cult favorite The Bright Sessions details the inner lives of super-powered therapy subjects, and from creator Lauren Shippen comes a new spin-off. The AM Archives follows old and new characters alike as they navigate the bureaucracy of possessing their special abilities. The debut comes exclusively through Luminary, a new podcast app offering both free shows and flagship originals available only to paid subscribers. In this first episode, Shippen sets the scene through masterful writing and compelling character interactions; the balance between familiar characters and fresh voices keeps listeners on their toes while a dramatic situation unfolds, and there isn’t a dull moment. Producer Mischa Stanton’s sound design is completely immersive and a cut above the already excellent soundscape of The Bright Sessions; Stanton brings the story to life in a way that sounds natural and effortless. Whether you’re a fan of the original series or just discovering its universe now, The AM Archives is worth a listen. [Alma Roda-Gil]

The Only One In The Room is a podcast for anyone who has ever looked up, scanned their surroundings, and felt complete isolation. Host Laura Robbins initially wrote a piece for The Huffington Post about being the only black woman in the room at a writers’ retreat. Since its publication, she has received an outpouring of stories from people of all backgrounds with similar experiences. Now she has people share those stories on her podcast. This week, Robbins sits down with Dr. Troy Byer, who is best known for her role on Dynasty in the late ’80s. After a downward spiral, Byer found herself arrested and handed the maximum sentence of anger management. When she first sat in that classroom with the other women, she thought they were all beneath her. However, as the classes continued she found herself learning she was not just equal to all these women, but she was every woman in that room. As she recounts her lesson in humility that led her to earn a doctorate in clinical psychology, listeners are taken on a journey of struggle, triumph, and healing. [Nichole Williams]

Pregnancy discrimination can affect virtually every aspect of employment, including hiring and firing decisions, promotions, layoffs, assignments, wages, and benefits—which is both unethical and technically illegal, thanks to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978. However, in this episode of The Pay Check, hosts Claire Suddath and Jordyn Holman present two recent cases that suggest pregnancy discrimination isn’t exactly a thing of the past. Guest Nicole LaPointe shares a voicemail from a potential employer who rescinded a job offer upon learning LaPointe was pregnant, evidence that she brought before Minnesota’s Supreme Court. News anchor Brittany Noble Jones also shares her story of being pushed out of her job once she became pregnant. Now in its second season, The Pay Check is an in-depth investigation into the personal and political reality of the gender pay gap, with interviews from legal experts and women working to change the system. As this episode reveals, pregnancy in particular can have a devastating, long-term effect on women’s earning power as many employers still struggle with treating pregnant women fairly. [Sofia Barrett-Ibarria]

It’s a well-known fact that lead paint is bad. Particularly in children, it can create learning disabilities and behavioral problems, leading to a lower IQ and hyperactivity. But how did lead paint become so popular in the first place? On the premiere episode of WNYC Studios’ latest series, The Stakes, Kai Wright tell us: It was, ironically, the work of children. At least, that’s part of it. Wright delves into the compelling story of the early lead industry and its spread of misinformation into the public consciousness, and how Dutch Boy Paint, a pioneering company within the industry, created a mascot aimed at children that literally told them to get their parents to purchase their product. When the company was confronted with the fact that lead is a public health risk, it placed the blame on the victims within Puerto Rican and black communities of New York City. This tale of a public health crisis is one full of shock and marketing, and Wright makes the case of the people versus lead paint one of the most exciting stories in recent journalistic podcasting memory. [Kevin Cortez]

People are fascinated with the end times, as Roland Emmerich’s vast empire of apocalyptic blockbusters proves. There’s just something fun about watching how all the shit might go down. Seriously, though, impending climate doom is on its way, things are going to get weird, and we’d best be prepared for it. In each episode of This Is How We Die, emergency preparedness and infrastructure nerds Meghan and Megan pick a U.S. city and discuss the worst-case scenario most likely to kill us all—and how we might actually survive it. Their latest episode features Los Angeles—home of mega droughts, dirty water, and fire-nados. Luckily, it looks like we can blame most of this “slow-moving car wreck” of an environmental disaster on suburban lawn lust and the public’s unquenchable thirst for almond milk. You’ll walk away from this episode with survival tips that include everything from the ridiculous (a giant collective tap dance; kidnapping Matt Damon) to the practical (how to make a DIY desalination kit; voting for water-supply-diversification policies). [Amber Cortes]

Sex can be dangerous, yet people still insist on doing it, and the BBC podcast Unexpected Fluids is here to chronicle all the ways in which physical intimacy can end in disaster. Sex educator Alix Fox and author Riyadh Khalaf are your guides through this world of “sexual fails.” They’re joined this week by reality TV star and emergency room physician Dr. Alex George to talk about his firsthand experiences with the aftermath of calamitous fornication. The stories range from a tale of a young man unwisely using a Brillo pad to exfoliate a very sensitive part of his anatomy to a striptease that somehow ended in a bloodbath. While these stories are hilarious and embarrassing, the hosts don’t turn it into salacious spectacle. Their main aim is to show that stuff like this can happen to anyone and that no one should feel shame, especially about seeking medical treatment. There’s also plenty of useful advice. They recommend that men get the HPV vaccine to avoid esophageal cancer and urge people not to use household items in lieu of purposefully constructed sex toys. Come for the stories, stay for the advice, and try not to end up in the hospital. [Anthony D Herrera]

This week, hosts Dana Goodin, Jasmine Helm, and Joy Davis move a bit away from the usual Unravel format. While still maintaining elements of their typical roundtable discussion style, they take a more theoretical approach to the ideas of both fashion and rebranding. Helm is a fashion scholar, Goodin is a conservator, and Davis is a scholar of history and fashion, and as expected, their areas of expertise lend a fascinating depth to their take on a subject that has a widespread and unfair reputation for being shallow. In reality, clothing and fashion touch our lives in ways people are often unaware of. Even the subject of Kanye West’s clothes and the rebranding of his image might sound like fodder for E! News. (Specifically, his choice to wear the red MAGA hat, and then the things he wore once he saw how people responded to that.) Unravel is a fascinating and intellectually stimulating sartorial discussion that makes full use of the three hosts’ deep scholarly and creative knowledge. [Jose Nateras]

When Angels Visit Armadillo
A Bit Of Both

In 1988, Maggie Waters witnesses the inexplicable disappearance of Cassidy Summers in Armadillo, Florida. When Angels Visit Armadillo is the story journalist Sam Byrd uncovers as she retraces what happened, centering Maggie’s voice as a fierce, out lesbian living in the deep South, and uncovering a potential religious conspiracy: Was it aliens or angels who took Cassidy Summers away? In this episode, the midway point for the eight-episode limited series, Sam finally talks with Cassidy about what happened and digs deeper into Maggie’s histories—not just about the facts, but about Maggie’s views, her feelings, the way she sees Cassidy and the world of Armadillo. WAVA is told in binaural audio design that evokes the experience of memory: When Sam’s interviewees describe their stories, the background becomes a slow river of sounds that represent that moment in time, like the sharp wail of a police siren when an FBI agent arrives in Armadillo or the tsunami of mutterings when a rumor takes over a church congregation. WAVA uses the work of an investigation—phone calls, interviews, recordings—to show how our perception of the truth, and of good and evil, can be distorted according to the lens we use to look at it. [Elena Fernández Collins]

Source: Kotaku.com