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Now displaying: 2017


Hosted by Charlie Bennett and Christian Sager.

Oct 13, 2017

Writer/director Robin Hardy describes The Wicker Tree as a companion piece to 1973's The Wicker Man. We dig into just how this film got made. Was it a spiteful response to the American remake? Or a continuation for a deeper purpose?

Oct 6, 2017

Killer Mike and El-P call their latest record the album of their careers. How does it straddle crass humor, transgression and political activism? And if you are "the jewel," how does their music fit into your community?

Sep 29, 2017

We turn to David Harper (Off Panel, SKTCHD) and Augie De Blieck, Jr. (Pipeline Comics) for expertise on what's going on in comics news. Are the struggles of this niche industry indicative of something broader going on in our media? Is news a trustworthy advocate that can help us make informed decisions?

Sep 22, 2017

This comic book from two of Europe's most legendary creators both presents and parodies white male themes in the 20th century. So what makes it compelling today? Should we embrace or reject its existentialism?

Sep 1, 2017

Past guest Swain Hunt (Sidebar, The Metronome) returns to discuss what makes movies hold up? We each tackle a film from the last 30 years of cinema and try to understand why they hold up for us: Bull Durham, Contact and V For Vendetta.

Aug 25, 2017

It's easy to connect with the symbol that is "Johnny Cash," whether you're a rebel, a wanderer, or even a Christian. But how do these contradictions come together as some kind of American identity? And how do these final recordings of a humble storyteller speak to our need for the man to come around?

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Aug 11, 2017

In the second part of our series on Dischord Records, we look at the politics of Washington D.C.'s music scene going into the 1990s... when art met commerce. 

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Aug 4, 2017

In the first of our two episodes on Dischord Records we look at the punk community of Washington D.C. in the 1980s and its conflicting ethics of politics, violence and drug abuse. Follow along with the story of Ian MacKaye and Jeff Nelson's label until its redefining summer of 1985.

Additional Resources:

  • Dischord Records – History
  • Thompson, S. (2001). Market Failure: Punk Economics, Early and Late. College Literature, 28(2), 48.
  • Cuffman, T. (2015). Idle musical community: Dischord Records and anarchic DIY practice. Contemporary Justice Review, 18(1), 4. doi:10.1080/10282580.2015.1005502
  • Goshert, J. C. (2000). 'Punk' after the Pistols: American Music, Economics, and Politics in the 1980s and 1990s. Popular Music & Society, 24(1), 85.
  • Doherty, B. (1997). The embarrassment of riches. (cover story). Reason, 29(4), 21.
  • Dischord Records: Out of Step With The World
  • Dischord Records: Doing It Wrong
  • Andersen, M. and Jenkins, M. (2009). Dance of Days: Two Decades of Punk In The Nation's Capital, Akashic Books.
Jul 28, 2017

Hellboy's a charming, working class hero, despite being a demon's spawn. We look at how creator Mike Mignola taps into the mythic simplicity of folk tales and how Hellboy itself has become a commodified franchise.

Jul 21, 2017

For our first coverage of a reality television show we go from beauty to camp, to joy and grief. This show simultaneously sells branded content that somehow doesn't feel sleazy, while also providing an extraordinary platform for LGBTQ culture.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: To come.

Jul 14, 2017

A novel that took Stephen King 12.5 years to write is now a major franchise. But what was it like when fans (and retailers) were rabid for more? Did King have a "responsibility" to them? And why didn't he plot his fantasy world... instead of writing it by the seat of his pants? 

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Jun 23, 2017

As part of the big four bands breaking out of the Seattle "grunge" scene in the early 1990s, Soundgarden was a combination that was not quite metal or punk. We look at why their record Badmotorfinger acts like such a strong signifier of meaning in the wake of Chris Cornell's death.

Jun 16, 2017

With a comparison of their staff rosters, we try imagining a television show that idolizes the White House today, the way The West Wing did in 1999. Believe it or not, Aaron Sorkin's fantasy of public service let some people admire civics again.

Jun 9, 2017

Donald Glover once described his FX sitcom Atlanta as "Twin Peaks for rappers." As residents of the eponymous city, we were doubtful. But this show came through with a weird, wondrous take on our local African-American culture. Special guest Swain Hunt (Sidebar, The Metronome) joins us to discuss.

May 19, 2017

David Lapham's crime comic Stray Bullets demonstrates the challenges of working independently on creative art. Why did it take almost 20 years for this book to get the attention it deserves? We look into the economics of the comics industry to find out.

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May 5, 2017

With the many changes to the music industry, it doesn't seem possible for a band to rise to success after their first studio album like R.E.M. did with Murmur. We look at what made this artsy, floppy, jangle rock band tick and how The Police and MTV supported their rise to popularity.

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Apr 28, 2017

For our one-year anniversary, we look at Sir Ridley Scott's thematic threads with Alien, Prometheus and the upcoming Alien: Covenant. Is it all about commercial appeal? Or is Scott reflecting on old age, legacy and death?

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