Podcast Pulse

Up and Vanished

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The title Up and Vanished is a bit misleading. It’s evident from the very first episode that nearly no one, and I mean no one, ups and vanishes. There’s always another story and a story behind that story.

This’s exactly what creator and host Payne Lindsey sets out to prove — that no one simply vanishes. A fan of Serial (podcast) and Netflix’s How to Make a Murderer, he wanted to try his hand at cracking the cold case of missing schoolteacher Tara Grinstead who up and vanished over a decade ago.

Missing woman, Tara Grinstead

It is evident that Lindsey is a documentarian. With his Anderson Cooper-esque voice, his mixture of interviews, and cut-aways that let you tag along on his own explorations of the crime scene, you’re in for quite an audio masterpiece. Even his catchy opening music has a way of enticing listeners.  I’d say without a doubt, Lindsey has found his medium.

Oddly, I’m not a fan of television shows in this vein. You know the ones that plague T.N.T with reruns.

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S-Town

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December 21, 2016 – Bibb County, AL: Producer Brian Reed in the field.

When Brian Reed, former producer of This American Life, first started getting fan emails from a John B. McLemore in small town Alabama, he could never have imagined the rabbit hole he was readying to go down. At first, it was the intriguing and incomprehensible acts that John B., as he preferred to be called, detailed about his town that drew Reed to not immediately trash these emails. Throughout his correspondence to Reed, John B. wrote all about how the sheriff’s department was covering up a murder in his area, which he often referred to as s_ _ _ town, causing Reed to sit up and pay attention. Once Reed actually phoned John B., he was instantly drawn to the man’s quirkiness and brilliance that quickly oozed out from under a thick southern accent (think Zach Galifinakis’ character in the movie Campaign with Will Ferrell…seriously…to a “T”). It wasn’t long until Reed had to make his way down to meet his avid fan in the flesh.

S-Town takes us on Reed’s journey through the backwoods and, at times, the shifty underworld that few Americans, unless they live or have lived in a town that’s similar, will even believe exists.

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Fresh Air

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With it’s interviews of bestselling authors, film makers, actors and actresses to reviews of top albums, NPR’s Fresh Air is one of the most widely known podcasts to podcast junkies like myself. Host Terry Gross treats all subject matter with an equal respect and digs into each subject with well rounded and impartial questions.

One of my most recent faves was the March 21st episode with comedian Pete Holmes. He’s the star and creator of one of the funniest new comedies on HBO called Crashing. Holmes collaborates on the show with star-maker Judd Apatow.

Gross spoke candidly with Holmes about his religious past that fuels his storyline and comedy act. His tales of building homes in the Amazon and his church’s teachings that each new person you meet is a person who needs saving from hell give Holmes his own unique comedy brand of a choirboy gone not quite bad, but definitely dark.

 

Another recent episode that’s a must listen is the March 27th interview with Jordan Peele, the former half of the comedic duo Key and Peele. He made his directorial debut with his recent horror/social commentary film, Get Out.

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  • NO! I don’t have room for ONE MORE podcast!! She is good, though, so if I am looking for an entertainment level one, I’ll look her up. Have you seen Get Out? Loving the interviews and behind the scenes discussions, movie was amazing. Be well!

    • I know what you mean about one more podcast…a student of mine just gave me an entire list:0 but at least it’s fuel for the brain. I have Get Out on my redbox list for sure because I love Peele. Thanks for the recommendation:)

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Missing Richard Simmons

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I was standing at the dog park and a buddy of mine happened to mention a podcast his wife had been listening to. “Yeah, it’s called ‘Missing Richard Simmons.’ No one’s seen that guy in like two years,” he said.

At first I thought, surely not. If Richard Simmons was missing that long there’d be a lot more about it in the news, people would be in an uproar. Who doesn’t love him? Of course I immediately went home and looked it up, loading it on my podcast feed. Much to my amazement, it’s true no one’s seen him or heard from him personally in over two years.

This disturbed me. Why were people not more outraged? Richard was not just an exercise guru that should be allowed to fall off the grid (Billy Blanks, maybe but not Richard). As a kid, I remember seeing Simmons on television advertising his Sweatin’ to the Oldies. He was different in that he was not a size four blonde telling us we just had to work hard. He noticeably struggled with his weight — both gaining and losing it.

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The Hilarious World of Depression

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So many people shy away from talking about how they really feel. No one wants to admit when they actually come close to the dreaded D word , and anyone who’s grappled with depression knows that this code of silence serves to make it worse.  Humorist and radio host John Moe tired of the way our society pushes any skeletons resembling mental disorders or mental illness into closets.  His podcast, The Hilarious World of Depression, seeks to make mental illness a non taboo topic and he enlists a variety of comedians such as Andy Richter, Jen Kirkman and Maria Bamford to do so.

One of my favorite episodes is Maria Bamford talks BiPolar II while her pugs eat nilla wafers…yes this is the title. You may recognize Bamford from her show on Netflix called Lady Dynamite. If you haven’t caught it, you should. It’s hilarious! Her website mariabamford.com gives you an unfiltered look inside her quirky world as well. In her talk with Moe, Bamford is open about her struggle since adolescence with depression, anxiety and anorexia. She candidly talks about what treatments worked and which ones haven’t.

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