Nina Simone

Pop Rocket Ep. 184: "Who is America?" w/ "UnREAL" Creator Sarah Gertrude Shapiro

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Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, Margaret Wappler, and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro
Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler
Guests: 
Sarah Gertrude Shapiro

We've got a SUPERSIZED Pop Rocket for our first-ever Friday release, so strap yourselves in! This week, Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, and Margaret Wappler are joined by TV powerhouse Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, co-creator and executive producer of the Lifetime drama UnREAL.
The crew discusses the good, the bad, and the ugly of comedian Sacha Baron Cohen's new Showtime series Who Is America. Not unlike his previous series, Da Ali G Show, which aired on HBO in the early aughts, Cohen continues his controversial schtick of interviewing people in character while trying to get them to humiliate themselves all for our viewing pleasure. They draw the connections between Cohen's comedy and Sarah's show UnREAL. The fourth and final season of UnREAL recently came out on Hulu.

Jonathan Gold

First, the crew pays tribute to the late, great Los Angeles food critic Jonathan Gold. Gold was the city's unofficial ambassador whose reviews propped up great restaurants on the verge of going out of business, gave a spotlight to forgotten histories, but more than anything taught Angelenos to be less afraid of their neighbors.

The Pop Rocket Seal of Approval

Two weeks ago Guy created the Pop Rocket Seal of Approval and quickly submitted its first nomination: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. This week we had enough of a quorum to hold our first-ever vote. Guy, Margaret, and Karen each weigh in with the pros and cons of awarding this prestigious honor to The Rock, and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro comes in hot with her own opinions (but no voting rights). Will The Rock earn Pop Rocket's first ever Seal of Approval? Find out!

With Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, Margaret Wappler, and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro.

That's My Jam:

Margaret - Demi Lovato - Sober.

Karen - Lisa Loeb - Stay (I Missed You).

Sarah- Nina Simone - Ain't Got No, I Got Life (Live).

Guy - Zedd, Maren Morris, Grey - The Middle .

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

If you haven't already, follow us on Instagram.

Produced by Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org. Edited by Shana Daloria.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Tig Notaro & John Darnielle

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New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THIS EPISODE DIRECTLY

Come see Bullseye LIVE in Los Angeles, Boston, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Philadelphia and Washington DC next month! Live interviews, comedy, music and more. Get your tickets now, they're going fast. Check out BullseyeTour.com for tickets.


Larry Busacca/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

"I Have Nothing to Lose Now": Tig Notaro on Life and Stand Up Comedy After Cancer

In 2012, the stand up comic Tig Notaro had a famously bad year. She caught pneumonia, which snowballed into C. Diff. She and her girlfriend broke up. Her mother passed away unexpectedly. And then, she learned she had breast cancer.

You’re probably familiar with what came next. Notaro headed out to a stand up gig in Los Angeles, at the Largo. But she didn’t feel right performing her usual set. She decided to open up like she had never before. Hours after she received the diagnosis, she went on stage and said to the audience, “Hello, I have cancer”.

She took the audience through the pain she had experienced over the last few months. It was still in her deadpan style, with jokes and stories that were brave and sometimes uncomfortably funny.

Notaro is in remission now, and she’s continued to perform stand up. A recent documentary on her called Tig, tells the story of the Largo performance and her life since. It’s available for streaming on Netflix. Her recent national tour, Boyish Girl Interrupted is now a comedy special airing on HBO.

Tig Notaro spoke with Jesse last year.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this interview.

John Darnielle on 'Wolf in White Van', Working with Teenagers, and Artistic Responsibility

You probably know John Darnielle as a lead member (and sometimes only member) of the band The Mountain Goats. His music is known for its poignant lyrics and simple instrumentation. Darnielle started the band in 1991 and has since released 14 albums.

Now, he’s written his first novel Wolf in White Van. The novels tells the story of Sean, a young man who has survived a suicide attempt, but is horribly disfigured in the process. Sean goes on to create a mail-order role-playing game, only to find out how his imagination can have real-world consequences.

Darnielle talks to Jesse about why lyrics are so important to him, subliminal messaging, and how much artistic responsibility we should assign to writers, musicians and other creative people.

Wolf in White Van is now available in paperback.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this interview.


Hutton Archive/Getty Images

The Outshot: Nina Simone’s “Four Women”

Jesse talks about one of his favorite singers, Nina Simone, and “Four Women”.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this segment.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: What Happened, Miss Simone? & Oliver Wang

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Liz Garbus
Guests: 
Oliver Wang

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

And if you're looking for a particular segment to listen to or share, check us out on Soundcloud.


Photo: Monty Fresco/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

What Happened, Miss Simone? Liz Garbus Explores the Passionate Life of Nina Simone

Nina Simone pursued freedom in her politics, her music and her personal life. Yet, it was something that often eluded her when she wasn’t on stage. Struggles with bi-polar disorder, a complex and often violent marriage and a legacy of racism caused her great pain, but these same things also shaped her into one of the most quintessential performers of her generation.

Filmmaker Liz Garbus’ documentary, What Happened, Miss Simone?, reveals the life of the performer using an exhaustive collection of archival material, interviews and even excerpts from Simone’s personal diaries. The result is a film that reveals an artist in all her complexity, a woman whose ability to be simultaneously vulnerable and powerful helped define her as a voice of her generation.

Garbus joins us to discuss Simone’s beginnings as a child prodigy in the Jim Crow south; how the civil right moment changed Simone’s professional and personal life; and how the contradictions that make a human being made Nina Simone truly unforgettable.

Liz Garbus’ film What Happened, Miss Simone? is now available to stream on Netflix.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this interview with a friend.

Oliver Wang on the Rise of the Filipino Mobile DJ Crews

If you don't know about the dozens of Filipino mobile DJ crews that rocked garage parties, weddings, birthdays, school dances and showcases in the Bay Area during the 1970s to 1990s, you're not alone. The DJs who made up these crews were mostly teenagers, initially inspired by what they heard and saw at nightclubs. They even tended to fly under the radar at school or outside of their Filipino communities. Yet their work is an important, if understudied part of the history of turntablism.

Academic, journalist and DJ Oliver Wang spent nearly fifteen years researching and interviewing these crews to spotlight a scene that created a foundation for famed scratch DJs like DJ Qbert, Mix Master Mike and DJ Shortkut. Wang's new book on the subject is called Legions of Boom.

Wang joins us to talk about what these mobile DJs borrowed from the discos of the 1970s, how continuous mixing ensured the party would go on, and why the California-style two car garage became the perfect place for that party.

Legions of Boom: Filipino American Mobile DJ Crews in the San Francisco Bay Area is available now. You can hear Oliver Wang on our pop culture sister podcast, Pop Rocket, every week.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this interview with a friend.

The Outshot: The Promise of Summer

Jesse explains how The Hold Steady's "Constructive Summer" seems to capture the season's essence.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this Outshot with a friend.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: What Happened, Miss Simone? & Oliver Wang

| 1 comment
Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Liz Garbus
Guests: 
Oliver Wang

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

And if you're looking for a particular segment to listen to or share, check us out on Soundcloud.


Photo: Monty Fresco/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

What Happened, Miss Simone? Liz Garbus Explores the Passionate Life of Nina Simone

Nina Simone pursued freedom in her politics, her music and her personal life. Yet, it was something that often eluded her when she wasn’t on stage. Struggles with bi-polar disorder, a complex and often violent marriage and a legacy of racism caused her great pain, but these same things also shaped her into one of the most quintessential performers of her generation.

Filmmaker Liz Garbus’ documentary, What Happened, Miss Simone?, reveals the life of the performer using an exhaustive collection of archival material, interviews and even excerpts from Simone’s personal diaries. The result is a film that reveals an artist in all her complexity, a woman whose ability to be simultaneously vulnerable and powerful helped define her as a voice of her generation.

Garbus joins us to discuss Simone’s beginnings as a child prodigy in the Jim Crow south; how the civil right moment changed Simone’s professional and personal life; and how the contradictions that make a human being made Nina Simone truly unforgettable.

Liz Garbus’ film What Happened, Miss Simone? is now available to stream on Netflix.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this interview with a friend.

Oliver Wang on the Rise of the Filipino Mobile DJ Crews

If you don't know about the dozens of Filipino mobile DJ crews that rocked garage parties, weddings, birthdays, school dances and showcases in the Bay Area during the 1970s to 1990s, you're not alone. The DJs who made up these crews were mostly teenagers, initially inspired by what they heard and saw at nightclubs. They even tended to fly under the radar at school or outside of their Filipino communities. Yet their work is an important, if understudied part of the history of turntablism.

Academic, journalist and DJ Oliver Wang spent nearly fifteen years researching and interviewing these crews to spotlight a scene that created a foundation for famed scratch DJs like DJ Qbert, Mix Master Mike and DJ Shortkut. Wang's new book on the subject is called Legions of Boom.

Wang joins us to talk about what these mobile DJs borrowed from the discos of the 1970s, how continuous mixing ensured the party would go on, and why the California-style two car garage became the perfect place for that party.

Legions of Boom: Filipino American Mobile DJ Crews in the San Francisco Bay Area is available now. You can hear Oliver Wang on our pop culture sister podcast, Pop Rocket, every week.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this interview with a friend.

The Outshot: The Promise of Summer

Jesse explains how The Hold Steady's "Constructive Summer" seems to capture the season's essence.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this Outshot with a friend.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Tig Notaro, Ed Helms & Nick Frost

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Tig Notaro
Guests: 
Ed Helms
Guests: 
Nick Frost

Do you live in Los Angeles? Know someone who does? Come see Bullseye with Jesse Thorn LIVE on Wednesday, October 15th at the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Featuring conversation with Dan Harmon (Community, Harmontown), music from Sara Watkins (Nickel Creek, Watkins Family Hour), comedy from Steve Agee (New Girl, The Sarah Silverman Program) and Andy Kindler (Maron, Letterman) and more! Get your tickets now!


Larry Busacca/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

"I Have Nothing to Lose Now": Tig Notaro on Life and Stand Up Comedy After Cancer

In 2012, the stand up comic Tig Notaro had a famously bad year. She caught pneumonia, which snowballed into C. Diff. She and her girlfriend broke up. Her mother passed away unexpectedly. And then, she learned she had breast cancer.

You're probably familiar with what came next. Notaro headed out to a stand up gig in Los Angeles, at the Largo. But she didn't feel right performing her usual set. She decided to open up like she had never before. Hours after she received the diagnosis, she went on stage and said to the audience, "Hello, I have cancer."

She took the audience through the pain she had experienced over the last few months. It was still in her deadpan style, with jokes and stories that were brave and sometimes uncomfortably funny.

Notaro is in remission now, and she's continued to perform stand up, write and record her podcast Professor Blastoff. She's headed off on a new national stand up tour, called Boyish Girl Interrupted.

She talks with Jesse about how she decided to approach that set at the Largo, why cancer and tragedy made her more open to the world, and telling her "bee joke" after an emotionally intense set.

If you liked this, share it! Click here for a streaming, embeddable version of this interview.


Valerie Macon/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

The Part: Nick Frost on Humanizing Greed & Excess in 'Money'

Becoming an actor isn’t easy. Getting cast in your first role is a huge challenge. But even then it’s sometimes YEARS before an actor lands the role that changes everything. It's The Part.

The English actor Nick Frost is known for playing the everyman: goofy, kind, good-hearted men who are easy to love, like his characters in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.

So why did he take a role as the greedy, hedonistic ad director John Self in the BBC adaptation of 'Money'? Well... he'll explain.

Frost voices the henchman Mr. Trout in the new animated movie The Boxtrolls, which is in theaters now.

If you liked this, share it! Click here for a streaming, embeddable version of this interview.


Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Ed Helms: From The Daily Show, to The Hangover, to... Bluegrass?

Ed Helms is an A-list comedy star these days. He starred in the mega-successful Hangover trilogy, and on NBC's The Office for seven seasons. And before that, he caught a break as a correspondent on The Daily Show, where his cohort included Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert.

But like most folks in show business, he started out low on the totem pole -- working as a barker for comedy clubs, handing out fliers to people walking by, begging them to come inside.

Helms talks to Jesse about his very early career, how Stephen Colbert helped him both professionally and personally, why he thinks The Hangover doesn’t deserve its reputation as a "bro movie", and why of all things, he started a bluegrass festival.

Helms is currently shooting the new National Lampoon's Vacation movie, in which he stars as Rusty Griswold. If you live in Los Angeles, you can find him hosting the 2014 LA Bluegrass Situation on October 10th and 11th.

If you liked this, share it! Click here for a streaming, embeddable version of this interview.


Hutton Archive/Getty Images

The Outshot: Nina Simone's "Four Women"

Jesse talks about one of his very favorite singers, Nina Simone, and "Four Women".

If you liked this, share it! Click here for a streaming, embeddable version of this segment.

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

And if you're looking for a particular segment to listen to or share, check us out on Soundcloud.

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