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Ep. 114: Burlington Coat Factory

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Guests: 
Jim Gaffigan

This week recorded live shows from the Monsters of Podcasting Tour in New York City & Philadelphia. With guest Jim Gaffigan.

Mutter Museum Director Dr. Robert Hicks, Live in Philadelphia; The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Robert Hicks, PhD

Robert Hicks, PhD is the director of the Mutter Museum at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. It's a legendary collection of medical history, and more than a few medical oddities.

Mos Def, Black Thought and Eminem RIP IT at the BET Awards

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A few thoughts:

* Mos Def has the tools to be a superstar, purely on merit. He's charismatic, he has lyrics, he's not afraid of fun and he can flow his ass off. But he seems to have pretty much thrown that away in favor of being "experimental," which is to say half-assed. I notice that my favorite Mos Def songs are usually the party tracks - Sex Love & Money or the one with Luda.

* Black Thought is a great MC. I don't know what else he has to do at this point to prove that he's a great MC. He just is. Beautiful voice, effortlessly meticulous flow.

* I am not an Eminem fan, particularly, but it needs to be said: Eminem is one of the greatest rappers of all time. He stands in the absolute upper echelon - Rakim territory. It's now ten years later, and no one has come close to matching his skill. Sure, he doesn't have a great voice and his shtick is a little annoying, but his skills are unmatched. Unmatched. There are other rappers with amazing technique - Busta Rhymes, Pharoahe Monch and Ludacris come to mind - but even they are a whole class below Eminem. And he's also the greatest battle rapper of all time and probably the greatest freestyler of all time (certainly the greatest freestyler of all time who's any good at anything else).

My favorite MCs are more like Biggie or Jay-Z, artists who've learned the lessons of Rakim and chosen to focus their technique on making those lessons seem effortless. But that doesn't mean that I can ignore talent and skill like Eminem's. The man has a special gift, and lord knows he put in his 10,000 hours.

Home Run Sandwich

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Jordan destroyifies this segment with Meghan Fox. Oh man this is funny to me.

Enjoyable Rap Video Roundup

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Click through for more!

People Under The Stairs - Trippin' At The Disco

Royce da 5'9" - Count for Nothing

Elephant Larry - "Before I Die"

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Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: "The Criterioncast"

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Talk about a podcast custom-made to win over your Podthinker. First — and most importantly — it's a podcast. That's step one. Second, it's about film, and it's been clearly, laboriously, repeatedly documented here how much your Podthinker loves himself a fine film. Third, it focuses specifically on films released for home viewing by The Criterion Collection, the company that not only puts out the vast majority of DVDs — and, time was, laserdiscs; time is, Blu-Ray — worth watching, but whose noble hand has somehow selected most of your Podthinker's very favorite movies.

Like certain other podcasts of cinema that shall remain nameless, The Criterioncast [iTunes] [XML] is one of those affairs where a bunch of dudes connect over Skype and move from segment to segment, some about individual films, some about a handful of related films, and some about what-the-hell-ever. They build the main episode around a core discussion of one particular Criteron release, including such all-time Podthinker-preferred immortals as Mike Leigh's Naked [M4A] (bribery!), Andrei Tarkovsky's Solaris [M4A] (bribery!) and, best of all, Yasujirō Ozu's Late Spring [MP3] (oh, such bribery!).

Enclosing these directly evaluative examinations are, on the top end, speculations about cinematic news Criterion-specific and otherwise, and, on the bottom end, Criterion trivia contests and segments called "Variations on a Theme", where the crew picks one theme from the episode's featured film and talks about others with that theme. In Nicholas Roeg's The Man Who Fell to Earth's show [M4A], for instance, their conversation covers other appearances of rock stars in film, from Bjork's turn in Dancer in the Dark to Alice Cooper's in Wayne's World. A discussion of the effect of growing up in a rural community followed the collective review of David Gordon Green's George Washington [M4A]. This sort of defined expansion on thematic lines is especially neato because of how rare it is in the film podcasting world; most programs just kinda meander their way there, if they do it at all.

The Criterioncast guys save the bulk of their meandering for their "disc two" episodes. See, just as Criterion often sees fit to include entire second discs packed full of special features in their DVD packages, so the Criterion-casters include a few "special features" of their own in the separate, supplementary podcasts that follow the main ones. These serve as repositories for responses to reader mail, conversations about non-Criterion stuff worth watching and chances for listeners to get to know the three hosts a little better. Rudie, Ryan and Travis (of whose jib your Podthinker particularly likes the cut) certainly know their cinematic stuff, though they do sometimes fall into that uncanny valley where their mistakes stand out due to their sheer rarity. It reduces your Podthinker to truly ugly moments of film geekery wherein he exclaims things like, "No, Jon Raymond didn't direct Old Joy! He wrote it! Kelly Reichardt directed it! Jon Raymond wrote it!"

Everyting about this podcast is solid, except maybe the sound, which appears to have been recorded on only one of the host's computers, which captures sometimes ugly Skype-y audio for the rest. Fortunately, there is a solution to this: if they all record their audio separately and then someone edits it together, it could potentially sound flawless. Sure, it's quintuple the work, but it's at least sextuple the quality. Alas, it nevertheless cannot be ignored that producing this podcast amounts, in effect, an act of Podthinker bribery. Given Podthinker bribery's stringent punishment as prescribed under federal law, these guys have a lot to worry about. And they'll have a really hard time explaining this suitcase full of coke.

Vital stats:
Format: all things Criterion, and some that aren't
Duration: 60m-120m main episodes with 30m-60m supplements
Frequency: biweekly
Archive available on iTunes: all

[Questions, comments, ideas, suggestions or threats for Podthinker Colin Marshall? colinjmarshall at gmail.]

The Throne of the Third Heaven

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One of the most amazing things in the world is the Throne of the Third Heaven The Nations Millennium General Assembly. James Hampton, a janitor, was called by God to create it, and worked on it secretly for 14 years in a rented garage. It was intended to herald the Second Coming. The throne is huge, nearly ten feet tall, and made of foil and scavenged materials. It was discovered after Hampton's death, and is considered quite rightly to be one of the most remarkable pieces in the history of American folk art.

The throne, composed of humble materials, is spectacularly beautiful, and every piece vibrates with the care of an untrained hand driven by divine revelation to create beauty. It was literally Hampton's life's work: he never created another work of art.

I saw some amazing pieces of art at the Smithsonian this weekend in DC, but the Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millenium General Assembly is always the highlight of the nation's capital for me.

Fugazi - "Waiting Room"

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I'm preparing to interview Ian MacKaye, and this clip jumped out at me. Fantastic.

Rik Cordero Interview Live at WNYC: The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Rik Cordero

Rik Cordero's gritty, guerrila-style videos have revolutionized the way hip-hop records are promoted. He's directed clips for Jay-Z, Nas, The Roots and Busta Rhymes among many others. He's also a feature director; his film "Inside A Change" recently won Best Film at the HBO New York International Latino Film Festival.

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