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Drake Doremus, Director of "Douchebag": Interview on The Sound of Young America at Sundance 2010

"Douchebag" Stars Andrew Dickler and Ben York Jones
Drake Doremus

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

Drake Doremus' second feature, Douchebag, premiered at Sundance 2010.  It's about two estranged brothers who hit the road before one's wedding.  It was inspired by Doremus' relationship with Andrew Dickler, the editor of his first feature Spooner, who makes his acting debut in Douchebag.

The twenty-six-year-old director, already a filmmaker for ten years, grew up in Southern California in the sketch comedy and improv scene. He was the youngest graduate of the director's program at the American Film Institute, and has also directed a number of award winning short films, music videos and commercials.

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: Well-Rounded Radio


As someone currently forging a few parallel careers in media and the sound arts, your Podthinker is wearier than just about anyone of hand-wringing about the future. Is there a future for writers? Is there a future for musicians? Is there a future for broadcasters? Is there a future for world-traveling ambient field recordists? While he has of course pondered these questions, he hasn't let them become mind-halting, confidence-destroying bêtes noires, unlike some high-profile commentators and outlets he could name.

While it at first appeared to be possibly consumed with this suite of issues, Well-Rounded Radio [iTunes] [RSS] more or less acquits itself on a few different fronts. Its most decisive victory comes in furthering that rare art, the genuine long-form interview. Host Charles McEnerney conducts 45-75 minute conversations, with music spliced in throughout, allowing him to dig substantially deeper than most pod-conversationalists ("podversatonalists"?), let alone most music pod-conversationalists. It's clear he's got a real enthusiasm for the nuts and bolts of his guests' careers.

Its second is indicated right there in the name: there's some decent variety going on here. If we're just talking musicians, Well-Rounded offers experimental electronic pop pixie Yoko K [MP3], inexplicably-still-obscure Rick Berlin [MP3], CBGB veterans The Fleshtones [MP3] and "slowcore" stalwarts [MP3], all of whom are creating, distributing, or promoting their music in some creative, 2000s-y way. McEnerney also talks to those who think about, write about and work to develop a few of those 2000s-y ways, including social media dude Scott Kirsner [MP3] and publicist Ariel Hyatt [MP3]. The name still rings a tad misleading given that it manners a show that's still pretty strictly to do with music, but within the realm of music podcasts, it's spherical indeed.

This isn't to say, alas, that the program goes untainted by the disease that plagues so much of musicians' discourse these days. It's that amorphous wet blanket of anxiety that breeds in its crevices the ceaseless chatter about "changing models" with which we have all, at some time or another, been battered. How musicians can extract money from stuff seems to have become the show's dominant theme in recent months, sometimes — it must be said — to the detriment of focus on the music itself. True, today's creators of organized sound are doing all manner of squirrely-seeming things for money: cobbling together 15,000 micropayments, giving concerts fans' bathrooms, boiling stones for soup, etc. But that's not what music is about — isn't it?

A perhaps unhealthy fixation on this sort of thing is hardly unique to Well-Rounded Radio, or even more present than average in it; it just happens to be the 'cast in your Podthinker's crosshairs at the time this frustration has mounted. And it must be said that, during its conversations, many intriguing ideas are dropped about how best to sieze the minty new musical opportunities of the 21st century. That these fall between vague yet insistent implications that the musicians of tomorrow want to start spending seven hours of the day on Facebook remains troubling, but perhaps that's just projection. With interviews of this depth, things tend to wind their way back to what really matters sooner or later.

Vital stats:
Format: "music + conversation"
Duration: 45m-1h15m
Frequency: monthly, if you're quite lucky
Archive available on iTunes: last 25

[Got a podcast to suggest for Podthoughts coverage or any other sort of question and/or comment for Podthinker Colin Marshall? colinjmarshall at gmail.]

Jordan Jesse Go Ep. 124: Some Pig with Brandon Bird

Jordan, Jesse, Chompers! by Brandon Leedy
Brandon Bird

Artist Brandon Bird joins Jesse and Jordan to talk about daytime drinking, The Antiques Roadshow and doctor's exam disasters.

Taika Waititi and James Rolleston of "Boy": Interview on The Sound of Young America at Sundance 2010

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Taika Waititi
James Rolleston

Taika Waititi and James Rolleston on The Sound of Young America from Jesse Thorn on Vimeo.

Taika Waititi is the writer, director and star of "Boy," which premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival. James Rolleston is his pre-teen co-star. The film, based on Waititi's Oscar-nominated short, is a funny and affecting coming-of-age story set in a rural New Zealand village.

Rolleston plays "Boy," a young Maori boy who lives with his grandmother. When she heads off to a funeral in the city, he's put in charge of the house, and is shocked when his father, played by Waititi, comes home from jail. Boy and his father struggle to connect, as the father struggles with the responsibilities of adulthood. Rolleston and Waititi both offer vibrant and hilarious performances.

Waititi previously directed "Eagle vs. Shark," which starred his former comedy partner Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords. "Boy" is based upon his Oscar-nominated short "Two Cars, One Night." Waititi famously feigned sleep when his nomination was read at the Academy Awards.

TSOYA Classics: Live in New York (December 1st, 2006)


This week's classic episode brings us part one of The Sound of Young America's first live on-stage show (aw!), recorded at The People's Improv Theater in New York City.

The standup comedian Heather Lawless, who is part of the live show Variety Shac, begins with ruminations on her body issues and other relatable topics, related in her fabulous Southern drawl.

Then we hear from Mike Daisey, the amazing storyteller, actor, and author of 21 Dog Years: A Cube Dweller's Tale. Mike spends some time telling us stories of his time spent in frozen Northern Maine, giving us a alternately funny and scary portrait of his youth.

The actor, director, and writer David Wain then joins the stage for a conversation with Jesse to talk about his film The Ten and being a part of the hotbed of creative talent that was the sketch comedy show The State.

And finally, we wrap up with a performance from hip-hop group Tanya Morgan. Enjoy.

Listen to This Week's Show

Download This Week's Show (mp3)
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Charles & Ray Eames - Powers of Ten

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Many of you have likely seen this short film. If you haven't, you're in for a treat.

The Greatest Item in Roadshow History


This pig toy is the single greatest item in the history of The Antiques Roadshow. It is so fantastic, I cannot believe it is real. Usually, when I'm watching the Roadshow, I announce which things I would buy if I were rich. I would pay the full auction valuation for this pig RIGHT NOW. I want this pig SO BAD.

Actor Kevin Kline: Interview on The Sound of Young America

Kevin Kline

Kevin Kline on The Sound of Young America from Jesse Thorn on Vimeo.

The Sound of Young America was in Park City, Utah for the Sundance Film Festival this year, and we took the opportunity to talk to the hottest film directors, actors, and creatives. Here’s our first part in that series, in which we talk to actor Kevin Kline.

Kevin Kline is one of America's greatest actors. He's one of the few to have won an Oscar for a comic role (his amazing turn in "A Fish Called Wanda"), and he's been acclaimed for his work in everything from contemporary drama to Shakespeare to light opera. We spoke with him at Sundance after the release of "The Extra Man”, a film adaptation of a Jonathan Ames novel. Kline stars as Henry, an eccentric older gentleman who makes his living as a social escort to New York’s high society widows.

Jesse Thorn on Comedy & Everything Else


I had a blast last night recording an episode of Comedy & Everything Else. Stef and Jimmy were gracious hosts and we had a lot of fun talking about everything from President Obama to Queen Latifah. If you have the stomach for two and a half hours of me running my mouth, you should check it out.

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