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Now displaying: 2017


Hosted by Charlie Bennett and Christian Sager.

Dec 1, 2017

In this essay, one of America's most beloved storytellers provides advice on consuming media, thinking critically about it and applying it to your own work. We get real personal while trying to figure out who our respective "muses" are.

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Nov 24, 2017

This 2007 thriller divides a lot of people over whether it's good or bad. We try to take a high road and instead explore what the film says about us. Is it about ordinary monsters? Addiction? Or America's guilt about its own dark side?

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Nov 17, 2017

David Byrne's self-titled album is a personal moment in his creative history, but do his lyrics have meaning? Or do they simply dredge up emotions for the listener? Also, how does an album that's this diverse have such a white, middle class identity associated with it? 

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Nov 10, 2017

Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's novel about the comedy of Armageddon seems to be the very definition of "twee." We try to unpack what that concept means and how it contributes to the authors' humanist message.

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Nov 3, 2017
 
This television show may be an adaptation of a superhero property, but it's unlike anything we've seen before. It takes the collage aesthetics from unusual comic books and turns them into Noah Hawley's kaleidoscope of mental illness, 60s futurism and a good old fashioned love story.
 

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Oct 27, 2017

Grant Morrison says this 2002 comic book with Christ Weston, Gary Erskine and Matt Hollingsworth is an inoculation against the nasty horror of the world through depravity, pornography and depression. We interrogate whether that theme works in the end product and if the sexual violence within is problematic.

Oct 20, 2017

David Simon and Ed Burns produced what is heralded as one of the most authentic depictions of the Iraq War, based on Evan Wright's embedded reporting. We look at how it navigates between journalism and drama to keep us from forgetting the story of soldiers on the ground.

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?

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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?

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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.

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