Archive for February, 2007

Podcast Commute
Thursday, February 15th, 2007

When my walking-only commute began in London about a year ago, I rediscovered the joy of using my iPod. More specifically, I finally got on board with the podcast phenomenon. After a period of oversubscription to many podcasts, I’ve winnowed through the mess, and come up with the ones I’ve followed for a while and look forward to every week.

The Sound Of Young America

The first podcast I recommend to people if they ask, and often even if they don’t. Other people have told me this show is like NPR, but I’ve never been able to make it through more than a few minutes of anything on NPR without becoming bored to tears. Instead, TSOYA’s Jesse Thorn has the gravitas of an old-time radio interviewer, but the youthful energy of an idealistic recent college grad. Produced from his living room, this show has that honest indie feel while simultaneously maintaining highly professional quality. There’s a very good companion blog as well.

Never Not Funny

This is the most consistently funny podcast out there for my tastes. Never Not Funny is the first thing I listen to on Monday’s commute (new episodes come over the wire on Friday evening).

Air Out My Shorts

Sophomoric humor with a contagious manic drunken energy. The two hosts — “Preston Buttons & The Word Whore” — read listener-submitted short stories while progressively getting drunker and drunker. There have been some disappointingly frequent stumbles lately with scheduling, and the show suffers greatly when they’re not co-located and instead record over the phone (using skype, judging by the sound quality?). The “let’s call a friend” sketches are hit or miss, but I did find myself missing them when they stopped for a while.

AST Radio

The production quality and focus of this conversational podcast have skyrocketed since its stumbling debut a year or two back. AST Radio is the only source I’ve encountered where you get to delve deep into the motivations and opinions of a slew of (usually west coast) comedians. Unfortunately, new episodes are few and far between.

The Sound Of Young America: The College Years

With the format of a morning show (regardless of actual time of day of original broadcast), TSOYA: The College Years is an exceptionally entertaining broadcast done by intelligent college students. It’s intriguing to see the origins of the current incarnation, with sketches and banter which often entertain me more than the new episodes.

Jordan, Jesse, Go!

Pretty much the same as TSOYA: The College Years, although down to two hosts from the original trio, and recorded now instead of years ago. This also has comedy-celebrity guests like Judge John Hodgman.

PopSci Podcasts

Eight to nine minutes of Jonathan Coulton interviewing people involved with stories in Popular Science. A framing device claiming that he’s doing all the interviews in an empty office on the moon provides an excuse for the low quality of the audio (it’s recorded via Skype)

Escape Pod

When commutes and local travel cause me to burn through all of the new episodes of the above, it’s time to hit the well of Escape Pod, the best short-story podcast I’ve found. Focusing on science fiction short stories, this usually runs in the 20-30 minute range. They actually pay their authors as well, which is excellent.

Theatre Junkmail Wars – Battle 4
Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

junkmail chris vie

La Vie Noir (Chris)


  • Doesn’t waste much paper.
  • La Mama’s a decent, respectable space. I’ve seen some good stuff there.


  • “Are we in it or at it?” huh? Not a good tagline.
  • Where is this building supposed to be? By the wide open nothingness surrounding its tall, boxy, style-less architecture, I am reminded of Texas. I don’t like it when that happens.

junkmail anni spam

Spamalot (Anni)


  • Come on. There’s a pop-up cow!? That’s freakin’ awesome.
  • We’ve just received spam from Spamalot.


  • I am a little sad that it wouldn’t fit completely on our scanner.

Today’s clear winner: Spamalot

Theatre Junkmail Wars – Battle 3
Tuesday, February 13th, 2007

junkmail chris lincoln center

Lincoln Center – The Tristan Project (Chris)

Advantage: Has the name of both the show and the theatre on the front.

Disadvantage: Are they in ice? Why so much blue?

junkmail redgrave (anni) - the year of magical thinking

The Year Of Magical Thinking (Anni)

Advantage: In focus.


  • Needed to open this to figure out what show it was, and I wouldn’t even have bothered with that if wasn’t planning on writing about it here.
  • Vanessa Redgrave holds little meaning for me.
  • Pictures of old people looking sad don’t generally encourage me to see theatre unless they’re also looking angry, Lear-style.

Hard contest. If there was a way for them to both lose, that’d be the outcome today. However…

Today’s winner: Lincoln Center: The Tristan Project