Silicon Valley

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Tobacco

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Tobacco

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Photo: Goaliedudegreg / Wikimedia Commons

Electronic musician and producer, Tobacco on the early days of Black Moth Super Rainbow, and the latest album Panic Blooms

Tobacco is the nom de guerre of electronic musician and composer Tom Fec. Tom also founded the music collective Black Moth Super Rainbow. If you've seen HBO's Silicon Valley then you've heard some of his stuff – his track Stretch Your Face is featured as the shows theme song.

Tobacco is probably best known as the enigmatic figure behind the musical group Black Moth Super Rainbow. Their music is often categorized as psychedelic rock.

The music is kind of dirty and unsettling. It's made with a ton of old synths, tape distortion. Plus, a lot of weird, processed vocals. It's dark, beautiful and even when you can't quite understand the obscure lyrics there's a lot of feelings there.

Tobacco opens up about the early days of Black Moth Super Rainbow. He'll tell us about some of his first synthesizers, and love of Aphex Twin and Boards of Canada. It's often been noted that members of the band enjoy their privacy, and perform in masks – Tobacco explains the secrecy behind many of the members. Plus, why the latest Black Moth Super Rainbow album Panic Blooms allowed him to open up about depression.

Episode 34 - Birthright written by Joel Kim Booster

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Guests: 
Joel Kim Booster as Joel
Guests: 
Keiko Agena as Sarah Kim
Guests: 
Guy Branum as Guy
Guests: 
Tawny Newsome as Sonia
Guests: 
Lucy Davis as Esther Kim
Guests: 
Alice Wetterlund as Nancy
Guests: 
Atsuko Okatsuka as Marcy 
Guests: 
Carla Cackowski as Janet
Guests: 
Craig Cackowski as Gay Cop/Driver
Guests: 
Will Choi as Mark/Finance Bro/Drug User/Chip Hearts
Guests: 
Irene Tu as Ruthie

Our dead pilot this month is Birthright written by Joel Kim Booster (Comedy Central, Conan). We recorded this one live from SF Sketchfest! Birthright is based in part on Joel’s real life. This outrageous and raw pilot centers on Joel Miller. Adopted by white, Midwestern evangelical parents, Joel "knew he was gay before he knew he was Asian". When he has a falling out with his adoptive parents, he goes in search of his birth mother. He assumes she is in Korea, but finds that the truth is way more interesting...

Before the table read, listen to Ben interview Joel about what he learned during his many rounds of development on this pilot for both Fox and Comedy Central. 
  
Come catch our live show at Dynasty Typewriter on February 10th at 2pm. We'll be reading scripts from Billy Finnegan (Grace & Frankie), Colleen McGuiness (30 Rock) and Johanna Stein (Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny)!

Our cast so far includes Noel Wells (Master of None), Nichole Bloom (Superstore), David Walton (New Girl), Mo Collins ( F is For Family), Brad Morris ( Seeking A Friend For The End of The World), Ian Gomez (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), and more!!

GET YOUR TICKETS HERE

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Make sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, and Twitter, and visit our website at deadpilotssociety.com

Pop Rocket: Episode 21 Online Dating & Silicon Valley with Megan Koester

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Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Wynter Mitchell
Guests: 
Oliver Wang
Guests: 
Megan Koester

Comedian Megan Koester joins the team to talk about the pros and cons of online dating, nuanced portrayal of ethnicity in Silicon Valley and our own dream Pop Rocket guests.

With Guy Branum, Wynter Mitchell, Oliver Wang and special guest Megan Koester.

That’s My Jam:
Wynter Mitchell - Summer Breaking by Mark Ronson
Oliver Wang - Tribute to Pharell Mix by DJ Rhettmatic / Devil’s Pie and also Best of Neptunes Mix by DJ Klin
Megan Koester - Xanadu by Olivia Newton-John

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to this handy Spotify playlist.

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

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Kumail Nanjiani & Willie Colon

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CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THIS WEEK'S EPISODE


Photo by Jesse Thorn

Kumail Nanjiani on Identity, Comedy, and Working with Mike Judge

When Kumail Nanjiani was a boy growing up in Karachi, Pakistan, he absorbed a lot of American culture. He loved Ghostbusters and Gremlins. He read MAD Magazine. And he knew that someday, he'd move to the U.S. What he never imagined is that he'd become a comedian.

His first exposure to stand up comedy was a Jerry Seinfeld HBO special, and a few short years later, Kumail was on stage himself. He's performed with The Second City, at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater, and on numerous late night shows.

He also co-hosts a stand up showcase, The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail, and stars in HBO's Silicon Valley.

Kumail talks to us about growing up Pakistani, choosing a distinctly American way of life, and creating comedy about things you love, rather than things you hate.

Kumail's Comedy Central stand up special, Beta Male, is available on CD+DVD and by direct download.

This cut of our interview includes the following segments:
Kumail Studies The Cheesecake Factory for "Portlandia"
Kumail on Mike Judge and the Butthead Voice

This interview originally aired in August 2013.

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Willie Colón: From Jam Sessions in the Bronx to International Salsa Superstar

When Willie Colón was a kid in the South Bronx, he and some his friends from the neighborhood would take their instruments and jam outside in the summers. His neighbors weren't too pleased, but they probably didn't know they had a budding talent in their midst. Willie went on to secure a record deal in his teens and then become a hugely influential musician and bandleader. His music is salsa: a blend of the Caribbean, Africa, South America and his native New York City.

His discography has now sold over thirty million records, and he's collaborated with legendary figures like Hector Lavoe, Celia Cruz and Ruben Blades.

Willie joins us to talk about his early success, how he envisions salsa, and his work with Hector Lavoe and Celia Cruz.

Willie is out on tour frequently; catch up with him on Twitter to find out where he'll be next.

This interview originally aired in April 2014.

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The Outshot: Michael Palin

Jesse explains why Michael Palin is everything good about British colonialism.

This segment originally aired in October 2013.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Jason Schwartzman & Russell Simmons

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Jason Schwartzman
Guests: 
Russell Simmons
Guests: 
Michael Pena
Guests: 
Todd VanDerWerff

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.

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Jason Schwartzman: Advice from Bill Murray, Dealing with Loss, and His Love for "Bored to Death"

As Jason Schwartzman tells it, he got into acting by accident. He was a teenager, and a drummer in a band. He had no particular cinematic aspirations when he was asked to audition for the role of prep student Max Fischer in Wes Anderson's second feature film, Rushmore. But he went in to read for the role, and you can guess what happened next.

Schwartzman has popped up in almost every film directed by Anderson since then, and they co-wrote The Darjeeling Limited with Schwartzman's cousin Roman Coppola. He's also starred in the wonderful and weird HBO series Bored to Death, about a decidedly amateur private detective, and been in movies like I Heart Huckabees and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

Most recently, he appears in Wes Anderson's newest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel. He also co-created the web series Mozart in the Jungle, which stars Gael Garcia Bernal.

Schwartzman sits down with us to talk about his acting lessons from Bill Murray and Wes Anderson on the set of Rushmore, dealing with death and loss on- and off-screen, and working on Bored to Death, the project that made him excited to get up every morning (even when it'd been a very late night).

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Spring TV Recommendations: Silicon Valley and The Americans

It's spring premiere season, and there's a lot of great TV to choose from. You probably already have your DVRs set for Mad Men and Game of Thrones, but there's a couple of other shows you shouldn't miss.

The AV Club’s TV editor Todd VanDerWerff joins us to share his favorite shows airing right now -- Mike Judge's new HBO comedy Silicon Valley, and the consistently excellent series about Soviets, The Americans.

Silicon Valley airs Sunday nights at 10pm on HBO.
The Americans airs Wednesday nights at 10pm on FX.

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The Part: Michael Peña on the role that changed everything

It's time for a new series on Bullseye. Becoming an actor isn't easy. Getting cast in your first role is a huge challenge. But even then, it’s sometimes YEARS before actors land a role that get them noticed. It's The Part.

Michael Peña stars in a new biopic about the labor organizer Cesar Chavez. It portrays Chavez as a civil rights activist and organizer who's balancing those jobs with the responsibilities he has at home, and it's a weighty role.

Peña has been acting in movies for two decades now. For a long time, even if the casting directors liked his performances, he was only offered small roles. Gang member #1. Cop #3. They were characters with no backstory, narrow emotional range, and usually just a couple of lines.

That changed when he was cast in Crash, which went on to win an Academy Award for Best Picture. Peña shares a few of the emotionally-charged scenes from the role that changed everything.

Peña's new movie Cesar Chavez is in theaters now.

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Slowing Down "Rush": Russell Simmons on Building Hip Hop, Authenticity, and Finding Stillness

Russell Simmons is one of the few people that can honestly say he helped build hip hop. He was an entrepreneur early on, promoting parties and hustling fake cocaine when he was still a college student in the late 1970s. He was there one night at the Charles Gallery, when the headliner DJ Easy G brought on a local rapper, and Simmons felt Eddie Cheeba work the crowd into a frenzy.

It was his first real introduction to hip hop, and he could see that it would be more than just a passing fad. He went on to co-found the music label Def Jam Recordings with Rick Rubin and build a roster of hugely successful hip hop artists, starting with a teenage LL Cool J and the punk rock-turned-hip hop group The Beastie Boys. Simmons worked hard to build sustainable brands for his artists, and took pride in their authenticity. And he wasn't content to focus on music -- his ambition led him to create an empire, expanding into fashion, television, film, journalism, finance, and philanthropy.

Simmons' abundance of energy helped earn him the nickname "Rush", but he says he owes much of his success to inner tranquility and stillness. He's practiced yoga and meditation for over fifteen years, and in his new book, Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple, Simmons seeks to "demystify" meditation for the average person, and explain its link to personal and professional growth.

He joins us to talk about the pivotal moment that he heard Eddie Cheeba and found himself sold on hip hop, building Def Jam, leaving drugs behind for yoga and meditation and finding inner stillness.

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The Outshot: Louis Jordan and the Origins of Rock and Roll

Everyone knows that rock music came from the blues, right? Well, that's definitely part of the story. But there’s a lot more to it than that. Jesse shares his love for Louis Jordan, the "Grandfather of Rock 'n' Roll".

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