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Douchebag in Theaters

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Drake Doremus on The Sound of Young America from Jesse Thorn on Vimeo.

When we were at Sundance this year, we interviewed director Drake Doremus about his sweet, funny little film Douchebag. You can check the interview out above if you missed it. The movie's in theaters in New York as we speak, and it's coming to LA on October 8th.

Now, if we could just get the wonderful, wonderful movie "Boy" into theaters here in the States...

Bill Burr: Interview on The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Bill Burr

Bill Burr is a standup comic. His ferocious style is leavened by the fact that he often trains the ferociousness on himself. His latest special, now on CD and DVD, is Let It Go. He also hosts the Monday Morning Podcast, which is about football and the vicissitudes of the life of Bill Burr.

Burr talks with Jesse Thorn about why he makes it difficult for himself on stage, about shouting down crowds and about fighting to be a better person.

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: The Critical Thinker

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Vital stats:
Format: Philosophy 3, in fun chunks
Duration: ~5m-20m
Frequency: thrice a month, on average
Archive available on iTunes: all

In this show’s iTunes reviews, this cranky (in both senses of the word) one-star assessment appears:
Interesting that DeLaplante assumes a biological creature which has ‘evolved’ for the purpose of survival can know truth. Certainly our adapted faculties will help us to survive better than those of our predecessors, but is in no way our evolved brain a guarantor of known truth. In fact, since we are ‘evolved,’ we should not think that we actually can know anything.
Welcome to the world of internet rationality geekage. It’s got its own customs. One of its customs is to always try to appear more rational than the other fellow, even if the other fellow does a podcast about critical thinking. Even if you have to resort to scorched-earth type lines about how human brains can’t get truth.

Fortunately for the rest of us, Kevin DeLaplante sets The Critical Thinker [RSS] [iTunes] pretty far from all the more-rational-than-thou battles currently raging irrelevantly on. It’s essentially a philosophy course in critical thinking like you’d take in college — it was Philosophy 3 at my alma mater, UC Santa Barbara — but served up in very brief audio chunks.

This is a sensible way to do it, seeing as DeLaplante is a professor at Iowa State University. He’s also the proprietor of CriticalThinkingTutorials.com, which is a bit like all those those language-learning sites out there, except that it teaches you critical thinking. This podcast is a branch of that site’s curriculum, and it operates on a model that a savvier trend writer would call something like “Edu-2.0” but I call “adult ed freemium.” Like, say, Coffee Break Spanish, The Critical Thinker offers its “lectures” for free but charges for the other course materials, which aren’t absolutely necessary but presumably enrich the overall experience. (I’ll never know, because I spend my time that could be used earning disposable income writing podcast reviews.)

The need to know “critical thinking” may seem quite a bit less pressing than the need to speak Spanish, but I think it’s actually more so. (Slightly.) Given the directions academia has moved in the past twenty years, the very idea of critical thinking has been co-opted to “mean” various sort-of-defined things about the subaltern (dis)loc[a/u]ting their hegemony and whatnot — identity stuff — but it’s really about making and evaluating logical arguments. Or illogical arguments, as the case may be. The idea is that, without thinking critically you won’t know which are logical and which are illogical.

DeLaplante spends a few episodes giving his own reasons for pursuing critical thinking, including “self-defense” [MP3], “empowerment” [MP3], “civic duty” [MP3], and “wisdom” [MP3]. These are noble ends, certainly, and he maintains quite a dignified manner in pursuing them. He makes it clear indeed that he’s not running a show about how to shout people down, or even about what’s actually wrong and right; it’s all to do with the form of the argument. He emphasizes it with his choice of example arguments to take apart, managing in the first few episodes alone to cover creationism, abortion, and gay marriage while stripping them of all sensationalism. This is not the place for someone with a lot of fixed ideas about where arguments ought to arrive. And that’s a good thing. Now if you’ll excuse me, my brain insists I go forage for sweet, sweet berries and then reproduce.

[Podthinker Colin Marshall also happens to be the host and producer of public radio’s The Marketplace of Ideas [iTunes], the blogger of The War on Mediocrity and the writer of The Ubuweb Experimental Video Project.]

Dave Holmes' It Gets Better

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Our pal Dave Holmes adds to the It Gets Better project. A class act through and through.

The Sklar Brothers - Held Up

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From Crackle: Pilot

Our pals The Sklar Brothers have been working for some time on this web series, Held Up. For a web series, it's extraordinarily ambitious. Full feature length (in 9 parts), a wonderful cast (Tig, Steve Agee, friend of SPY Jon Dore), and funny as hell. Check out the rest of the series here.

And hey, while you're at it, check out their very, very funny sports and comedy podcast Sklarbro Country.

Best Dad Ever?

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Homemade Spacecraft from Luke Geissbuhler on Vimeo.

Our pal Brian "Back in Business" Lane sent us this video with the subject line "best dad ever." This dad and his son sent a camera into the upper atmosphere attached to a weather balloon, then collected it and made this video from the footage.

BRAVO, DAD. BRAVO.

Eels - Baby Loves Me

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The other day I ran into Mark Oliver Everett, AKA E, from Eels, at Trader Joe's. He recognized me from his past Sound appearance and couldn't have been nicer.

Eels have (has?) a new album, and this is the single - Baby Loves Me.

Bilal Oliver - Jazz and Soul Singer - Interview on The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Bilal Oliver

Bilal Oliver is a jazz and soul singer; his second LP, Airtight's Revenge, was just released. He broke onto the scene in the early 2000s with the Raphael Saadiq-produced hit "Soul Sista," but he turned to jazz clubs and progressive soul just a few years later, frustrating his record label. In the meantime, he recorded with artists like Dr. Dre, Jay-Z and Scarface. His new album is his first in almost ten years.

DC MaxFun Meetup!

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Date: 
10/07/2010 - 17:30 - 19:00
Show: 
City: 
Washington, DC
Venue Name: 
The Science Club

Jesse and Theresa will be in Washington, DC on Thursday, Oct. 7th for a MaximumFun meetup!

Join us from 5:30-7pm for hanging out and enjoying some snacks and drinks at Science Club in Dupont Circle. All are welcome - whether you're a veteran MaxFunster or brand new to the shows. We always have fun at these things, I promise.

1138 19th St NW
Washington, DC 20036

Subway: Farragut North Station

Del Close by Brian Stack

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Conan writer and past Sound guest Brian Stack was a 19-year-old intern at a community TV station when he made this eight-minute profile of Del Close in 1986. Close, if you don't know, remains the great hero of long-form improvisation. Stack accidentally set the camera to black and white, so the whole thing has an oddly artsy look. A remarkable and irreplaceable artifact.

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