Episode 047: Box Brown

1Apr

I can’t think of a single cartoonist whose work I’ve watched progress from such an early stage. And it was no doubt that exact drive to put his stuff out in the world that helped Box Brown improve by leaps and bounds, culminating with the forthcoming release of his first full-length book, Andre the Giant: Life and Legend, which examines the man behind one of professional wrestling’s largest legends. Brown and I met up at a coffee shop next door to Locust Moon, my favorite comic shop in Philadelphia. We discussed giving it all up to pursue your dream — and, like zine publisher (and friend of Brown) Robert Newsome before him, the cartoonist was more than happy to talk about his lifelong love of professional wrestling with a podcast host who’s only just beginning to familiarize himself with the subject.

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Episode 046: Ben Lindbergh

26Mar

My knowledge of sabermetrics is elementary, at best. I know that it’s utterly transformed baseball analysis and helped get a lot of plush clubhouse jobs for an army of number crunching math geeks. I know that it involves a close examination of traditionally undervalued statistics like on-base percentage and foul balls. I know it’s caused writers and managers to rethink the amount of emphasis put on traditionally overvalued indicators like batting averages and strikeouts. Ben Lindbergh, editor in chief of leading sabermetrics site Baseball Prospectus sits down with me the week prior to opening day in a Manhattan cafe blaring the hits of the 90s to discuss how a group of statistic geeks have transformed our national pastime.

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Episode 045: Molly Crabapple

18Mar

Molly jokingly noted recent online accusations that this so-called “Crabapple” person was actually a collective of people posing as a single person, and it’s easy to see why. She’s been plenty busy as of late, between art exhibitions, murals, illustrations and an increasing interest in social justice, which recently led Rolling Stone to call her “Occupy [Wall Street]’s greatest artist.” It’s a fascination that has taken her around the world, to unexpected locations like the courtrooms of Guantanamo Bay.

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Episode 044: Shlomo Lipetz

12Mar

I met Shlomo last week at New York's City Winery, just before settling into another RiYL interview. The 6'4 mustachioed Israeli was making sure everything was all right with the the Old 97s' Rhett Miller, ahead of his show that night. Fascinated by meeting my first real life Shlomo (surprising, perhaps, given my own ethnic makeup), I Googled the venue's booker the following day, stumbling upon a Wall Street Journal story from 2012 about Israeli baseball -- a subject which I, admittedly, know nothing about. At the top was an image of the booker, full-beard, in a pre-pitch lineup. Down below, the paper described Lipetz as, "Israel's biggest baseball star." A day later, we sat down during a Bob Mould soundcheck to discuss how one earns such a title. Lipetz is characteristically modest, pointing out that he's the best at something in a country that seemingly barely knows it exists. According to the Journal story, some 1,000 of Israel's population of eight million play the sport. Still, how many of us can say we're the best at anything?

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Episode 043: Doug Gillard

5Mar

From Guided By Voices to Nada Surf, if you can think of a seminal indie rock band from the past 20 years, there's a pretty decent chance Doug Gillard's put in time among their ranks at some point or other. The journeyman guitar player also has a accomplished solo career, with his latest, Parade On, due out in a few weeks. Fittingly, the song's every bit as diverse as one would expect from an artist with a seemingly endless parade of projects. Gillard joins us over some green tea and bourbon to discuss the Beatles, Ohio and playing with some of the best rock and roll bands going.

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Episode 043: Doug Gillard

5Mar

From Guided By Voices to Nada Surf, if you can think of a seminal indie rock band from the past 20 years, there's a pretty decent chance Doug Gillard's put in time among their ranks at some point or other. The journeyman guitar player also has a accomplished solo career, with his latest, Parade On, due out in a few weeks. Fittingly, the song's every bit as diverse as one would expect from an artist with a seemingly endless parade of projects. Gillard joins us over some green tea and bourbon to discuss the Beatles, Ohio and playing with some of the best rock and roll bands going.

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Episode 042: Amber Papini and Nathan Michel

27Feb

Come spend 45 minutes in the Red Hook living room shared by Hospitality's singer and percussionist a day after the launch of their sophomore record. The expectations are elevated this time out, after the healthy amount of buzz generated by the band's self-titled indie-pop debut. You wouldn't know it from outward appearances, however. All is calm in the Brooklyn band's apartment. Dinner is on the stove and Michel is halfway through Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung. The tour, after all, is still a few months away.

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Episode 041: Colin Spoelman

18Feb

Colin Spoelman quite literally wrote the book on home whiskey distillation. Is a subject he knows a thing or two about, having transformed the output of a single internet-purchased pot still into a major microdistillery -- New York City's longest running, no less, at the ripe old age of four. It's a terrific book -- though it did firmly crush any fantasies I had of running my own apartment-based distillery. Thankfully, however, there are more terrific whiskies in the world than ever before, thanks to a recent explosion in craft distilleries. The list certainly include Spoelman's King's County, maker of some fine bourbon and the smoothest moonshine I've ever tasted.

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Episode 040: Rodney Anonymous

12Feb

Over the past 30 years, Rodney Anonymous has become a sort of Philadelphia landmark like Ben Franklin's house or that big cracked bell. If you get a chance to visit him during your time in the city, it's the sort of thing you won't soon forget. I met the once and future Dead Milkmen frontman at Philly's top goth/industry record store, at which point we adjourned to a nearby tea shop, so at not to interrupt the employee's Magic: The Gathering tournament in the rear of the store. Three decades after forming punk's most hilarious band, Anonymous hasn't slowed down (save for the occasional slipped-disc of old age), nor have his opinions dulled a bit.

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Episode 039: Jason Louv

5Feb

When the next generation finds itself knee-deep in an occult revival, who better to call that Jason Louv. My two-time former roommate swung by New York City a while back to teach the kids in Bushwick a thing or two about magic. Louv has written a number books on the subject, including 2005's Generation Hex for Disinfo. His most recent volume explores his newfound fascination with the genetically modified organisms of Monsanto.

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