Nothing like starting the new year off with a quick 10-day flu! A cleanse by any other name. A quick KonMari-ing of the organs.
At this point I cannot tell if the demon has left my body or if I have become the demon. Only time will tell, I guess.
Chunky issue today with an A+ podcast supplement from my girl Maddie so let’s get to it!
P.S. Have you bought your ticket to the First Love gala yet or are you irrelevant??
Staunchly stands in solidarity with the 30,000 Los Angeles teachers striking for smaller classrooms, better conditions, fair pay, and against the privatization of education in this city. Learn more about the strike and what the teachers are fighting for here.
The Exceptions to the Rulers: When people of color enter elite spaces, they’re often attacked as undeserving charlatans. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is no different. by Adam Serwer (The Atlantic)
An excellent piece on why leaders of color like AOC make the GOP so nervous (hint: it’s racism).
On Being a Woman in America While Trying to Avoid Being Assaulted by R. O. Kwon (Paris Review)
Sometimes, I’ll read a novel written by a man in which a woman walks home alone, late at night, in America, without having a single thought about her physical safety, and it’s so implausible that I’ll put the book down.
This is a good piece on the hundreds of micro decisions women make every day to protect ourselves, from the all-too-familiar key claw (men: have you ever had to animorph into a wolverine to walk across a dark parking lot?) to the chyron of observations and instantaneous assessments of danger that tick across our brains whenever we interact with a stranger, or simply leave our apartments.
R. Kelly and the Cost of Black Protectionism by Jemele Hill (The Atlantic)
I’m ashamed to say I still need to watch the Surviving R. Kelly doc, but I’m hopeful that this moment of cultural reckoning will spell a complete revolution in the way we understand and value the stories of black women and girls.
Is It Just Me, Or Is Marie Kondo’s Netflix Show Weirdly Dark? by Alison Willmore (Buzzfeed)
I think this show kind of…sucks? Willmore does a great job of articulating so many of the things I find irritating about the show, namely the “lingering gendered baggage about housekeeping” (hey husbands across America, do some fucking laundry?) and the fake promise that tidiness necessarily begets happiness. I like Marie Kondo, appreciate her message of gratitude and the license she gives followers to reimagine their relationship to stuff, but this show is a bummer.
Female Ranchers Are Reclaiming the American West by Amanda Lucier (NY Times)
I stan this article. It has two of my all-time favorite things: the American West and men becoming obsolete.
Everything You Need to Know About Whoopi Goldberg’s Dog’s Wedding by Bethy Squires (Vulture)
All the details currently available on the social event of the season.
My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite.
This piece in Prospero on the rise of Lagos as a cultural capital in western Africa despite Nigeria’s persistent economic problems is a good companion read. (Braithwaite is Nigerian.)
I’ve found myself in a podcast rut as of late, just listening to the same three podcasts over and over. 67% of them involve the voice of Jon Lovett, which fills me with terror and unease.
I need guidance. I need change. So I turned to my friend Maddie, who consumes so much varied culture and has excellent taste in everything, for podcasts recommendations. Boy, did she deliver. She wrote me the most incredible, comprehensive guide to her favorite podcasts, I had to share it with you. It’s separated by category (History! Literature! Murder!), 20+ podcasts-deep, and full of gems—I can almost guarantee you’ll find something in here to love.
MADDIE’S ULTIMATE WINTER 2019 GUIDE TO PODCASTS
By Maddie Coleman
I commute from Sherman Oaks to Atwater during the week and I’m not proud of it. LA readers: I don’t need to elaborate; everyone else: essentially my life is a commuter’s hell that only an insane person would agree to. So, instead of committing vehicular manslaughter, or texting and driving, I consume a lot of podcasts. It’s not a cool brag, but it’s all I’ve got. Below is a non-comprehensive but very enthusiastic (my personality summarized in a sentence) list of podcasts to listen to while you traverse the city to get your bread. A lot of these suggestions are so obvious that I’m cringing just picturing your respective, patient faces reading them—but what if you’re someone with a robust social life who uses traffic to “catch up” with “loved ones”? Or, what if you have a healthy aversion to your smartphone device? Or, God forbid, listen earnestly to “The Joe Rogan Experience”? I’m here to help.
(Note: I’ve put stars next to my top top favorites)
Rush Hour Dinner Parties:
1. *“Table Manners with Jessie Ware”: British singer Jessie Ware and her iconic, angel of a mother invite friends (celebrities and the celebrity-adjacent) over for dinner, cook for them, talk about their relationships with cooking, with food, with love, and life and everything in between... and record it all on a podcast. Previous guest highlights include: Nigella Lawson, Scary Spice, Cheryl, Randy Jackson, Daniel Kaluuya and Sam Smith, to name a few. Sadly Ed Sheeran is also a guest but look no one’s perfect and those download stats aren’t going to grow themselves!
2. “Radio Cherry Bombe”: This is one of those recs where I think obviously you already listen to this, because obviously we’re all reading Cherry Bombe, but obviously I am the only one pronouncing it Bombé because I am gauche as hell. Anyway, if you’re interested in the restaurant industry and really not interested in any of the men that have excluded women from their kitchens for decades, this podcast is for you. The interview with Molly Yeh of food blog fame was so earnest and wonderful and introduced me to one of the best, simplest roast chicken recipes I’ve ever had the privilege of making [see here]. The retrospective on Anthony Bourdain was incredibly moving, and the interview with Alison Roman of The Cookies and The Stew fame reminded me how underrated food stylists are.
Charge Your Crystals On Your Dash
3. “The Strange Magic Podcast”: I’m biased because one of the co-hosts employs me, BUT if you’re interested at all in Tarot (and magic! and intersectional feminism! ), then this is a great podcast. Also, both of the hosts “podcast voices” (you know, the voice these hosts put on that we either love or hate. See: Karina Longworth of “You Must Remember This”) are so soothing that mid-episode, I feel like I’m wearing one of Stevie Nicks silk kimonos.
4. *“Anne Ortelee Weekly Weather Astrology”: This kooky legend is spot on with her astro. forecasts, and who doesn’t like to blame the stars for our shitty personalities? 11/10 will use this show as a crutch for my social anxiety and an excuse for my endless-procrastination again!
Stay Informed, Stay Anxious
5. “Pod Save America”: Super indie American politics show from Crooked Media. You guys probably haven't heard of it.
6. *“Keep It!”: One of CM’s shows, pop culture news and events are recapped by Ira Madison, Kara Brown and Louis Virtel. A variety of amazing guests from Barry Jenkins to Dan Levy and a lot of thoughtful, critical and always hilarious discussions about the nonsense the zeitgeist puts us through. Yes, this is another one of those recommendations that I know you already know, but on a personal note I need to be making active moves at least weekly to make Kara Brown my best friend someday. Thanks for your help with this endeavor. I owe you guys one.
7. “LA Podcast”: News and current affairs for LA residents and stories about our city’s decaying infrastructure. Learn about the imminent collapse of the bridge you’re on while you cross it. Relaxing!
8. *“The High Low”: a current affairs podcast that covers world news and pop culture from two very wily British writers. They have a kind of “My Favorite Murder” cult following in the UK, and a bit like MFM they can miss the mark sometimes re: their white lady privilege. That aside, I get incredible book, TV, podcast and article recommendations from this show, and love pretending I know a thing about English local news, particularly when they talk about Mark and Spencer’s new sandwiches (???).
Books Are Great Even When You Can’t Read Them Due To “Hands Free Laws” Or Whatever I Am Not A Lawyer
9. *“Literary Friction”: This is the podcast I wish I hosted. Two insanely intelligent women, Carrie Plitt and Octavia Bright, have a monthly (and for 2019, a bi-weekly) discussion surrounding a theme in literature. Packed with incredible readings recs and author interviews, the hosts have really varying tastes in books so there is truly something for everyone. For their episode on the theme of women’s rest and relaxation, they hosted none other than My Year Of Rest And Relaxation author Ottessa Moshfegh, and the interview reopened that book to me in such a different light. Their interview with Sally Rooney on her book Conversations With Friends sparked an obsession with Rooney that I’ll never recover from. Dolly Alderton’s interview for their episode on friendship felt like coffee with three of my best friends. You will find your next favorite book from this podcast, no question.
10. *“Longform”: Interviews with nonfiction writers on their careers. Molly Young’s episode delves into the process of her interview with Susan Miller, which sounded like pure lunacy, and had honest advice about freelancing and the realities of celebrity profiles. David Grann’s interview on his book Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI gives really human insight into his reporting, which makes the book even more powerful.
11. “The New Yorker: The Writer’s Voice”: hear your favorite fiction authors read their own, newest work! From Mary Gaitskill to Zadie Smith. Like an audiobook but timed perfectly for a commute.
Not shows but specific, literary episodes:
The Elena Ferrante episode of “The Cut on Tuesdays.” This episode revisits the “Ferrante Fever” and how the book was received by many different women in the US. The commentary from Aminatou Sow was, as always, incredible and the highlight of the episode.
Dolly Alderton interviewing Cat Person author Kristen Roupenian on “Vintage Books.” A fabulous interview about dating in the #MeToo era, creating auto-fiction, and the realities of writing going viral. I hope we will be reading a lot more from Roupenian in the near future, and for a very long time.
Cults! Cults! Cults!
12. *“Uncover: Escaping NXIVM.” A breakdown of the NXIVM cult through the personal experience of former high-level member Sarah Edmondson. The host’s personal relationship with Edmondson, plus Edmondson’s own actions during her time in NXIVM make for unreliable narration but such a juicy story.
13. *“Heaven’s Gate”: Glynn Washington's retelling of the Heaven’s Gate rise, fall and mass-suicide is colored by his own youth spent in the Worldwide Church of God cult. Astrology-based-apocalyptic-predictions, castration and road trips: what more could you want? I basically snorted this podcast.
14. “You Must Remember Manson”: Karina Longworth’s “You Must Remember This” season on the Manson Family murders did so well, she gave it its own show the week of Manson’s death. This series is incredibly well-researched and thoughtful but also (be warned) very gruesome. Listen if you love The White Album by Joan Didion, and are horrified/intrigued by failed musicians with murderous, psychotic tendencies.
MuUuUuUuUrDeR and Friends
15. *“The Teacher’s Pet”: Brought to us by The Australian, this series revisits the disappearance of young mother Lynn Dawson and the New South Wales police department’s incredible corruption and straight-up fuckery during the investigation. At its core, this series is about how far misogyny and toxic masculinity can go when unchecked, and the power of local fame in a boys club. The case was reopened due to the show and is playing out in real time, so catch up while you still can!
16. *“Black Hands”**: One of New Zealand's most horrific crimes was the mass murder of the Bain family and the sole survivor, son David Bain. This case was one of the first true crime events to really capture the attention of the country and you can feel that residual tension in each episode. (**if you find New Zealand accents triggering like I do, this is your warning. Why do New Zealanders pronounce six like sex, and fish like fush? What is so tough about vowels? I am Australian by birth, so I am allowed to find a NZ accent offensive: it’s my Commonwealth-given right. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.)
17. “Up and Vanished,” Season 1: another rec you’ve probably already devoured, but if you haven’t, and have even the slightest interest in true crime, then download now. This show reopened and helped solve the murder in question which is pretty incredible. Was that a spoiler? My bad. I enjoyed season 2, but season 1 is so strong that it’s hard to compare.
18. “Crimetown,” Season 1: If you like mobs, ye olde, pinstripe-suit-gangsters, political corruption and inadvertently shitting on Rhode Island/New England (my sweet spot), then look no further.
19. “Unobscured”: Aaron Mahnke’s, of “Lore” fame, latest project is a deep dive into the Salem witch trials. This is an incredibly dense podcast that is so thoroughly researched that some episodes can border on tedious, but it's worth it. The history of the hysteria and the sexist Puritan politics almost feels too timely.
20. “No Man’s Land by The Wing”: Historian Alexis Coe spends season 1 diving into the stories of historical female figures you maybe haven’t heard of yet, or you’ve been misinformed on. From Ida B. Wells to Sylvia Plath herself: these women’s stories left me in tears, of happiness and in anguish. This is a great podcast if you need some solace and solidarity with long-lost females, as you navigate through this patriarchal society. For example, in the episode on one of America's first female gangsters, Queenie, Coe informs us how she allegedly uttered to rival crime boss Dutch Schultz after he dropped a dead man’s actual balls onto the table to threaten her, with machine guns pointed at her head: “You forget one thing, I ain’t got no balls to lose.” Need I say more?
Build Your Empire
21. “How I Built This”: You have most certainly listened to one of these episodes! NPR’s Guy Raz interviews entrepreneurs to discuss the history of their careers and how their businesses turned into brands that, often times, turned into movements. Some favorite episodes include Emily Weiss of Glossier, John Mackey of Whole Foods (not the uh, nicest guy strangely enough), Sara Blakely of Spanx, Dermalogica’s founder Jane Wurwand, the Warby Parker founders (their take on customer service will really hit home for anyone who's ever endured a CS role) and Whitney Wolfe’s interview (which shed even more light on the harassment she faced at Tinder).
22. “How To Fail With Elizabeth Day”: Based on the English-author’s book of the same title, Day interviews a variety of creatives and professionals on some of their lowest lows, to find out exactly how those failures helped shape their success. There is something so blissfully refreshing about the candor and vulnerability of each episode, especially as we’ve been so inundated with #GirlBoss culture since 2015. Selected previous guests include literal-genius Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Lily Allen, Tara Westover and even James Frey (eek).