In celebration of You Must Remember This beginning of a new series, here are my Four Faves for the show as well as a recap of the latest episode.
Probably I could fill an index card with everything I know about Charles Manson. An index card written in large script. It would contain three words: MURDERER CALIFORNIA SWASTIKA. Imposing and enigmatic figure though Manson is, I’ve never read Helter Skelter or learned much of anything about him besides the three words above.
Because of my ignorance it’s a bit difficult for me to speak on this episode or series with any amount of objectivity because it’s all new and relatively fresh. But I will say I listened to this episode with significantly less finger nail than I had started. Will it be as gripping for a more Manson-savvy listener? Maybe not, however, it’s not for host Karina Longworth’s lacking a compelling delivery.
This episode sets the cultural stage for Manson’s first murders by exploring Hollywood’s shifting power dynamics at the end of the 60s. Wading through the various factions and personalities in Hollywood at 1969 would probably yield enough material for its own episode but all the context leads to the decade-defining murders. Delivered with In Cold Blood intensity at the episode’s end made me physically frown when I realized it was already finished.
Like the beginning of all new stories, it’s impossible to decide how good the remaining ten(ish) episodes of “Charles Manson’s Hollywood” will be. However, given Longworth’s consistent ability to weave cohesive stories from complex entanglements and the rich background of the subject, I’d say there’s no excess of potential. And, even better, after listening to just this episode I can add whole sentences about Manson to my index card.
Bizarre story of ambition gone…not wrong, but not exactly right, either. I had never heard of this somewhat-lost album before listening to this episode even though one of my friends from high school was a big fan of the old Chairman and made me listen to a lot of his records I immediately forgot about. There’s something innately compelling about blockbuster stars taking artistic chances – especially when they don’t pan out.
I knew Isabella Rossellini was amazing because I saw Death Becomes Her when I was ten and remembered her enigmatic character more than anything else in the movie. Rossellini’s life is empowering, inspiring, shake-my-head baffling at times.
Though the episode convinced me Flynn was a terrible person, I have never felt more sad that I will never be able to party with him on a yacht off the coast of Monaco with a highball of bourbon and a chaser of deep-seated regret. And I don’t even like to party.
Speaking of terrible men. I know I already mentioned this episode in my original review but it bares repeating because it is that good. This episode belongs in any Top 20 Podcast Episode list. If you haven’t listened already, go. If you have, listen again. Then go hug somebody you love.
Starlee Kine hosts Gimlet Media’s new and aptly-titled podcast Mystery Show. Each week Kine will solve mysteries brought to her by friends, family, and listeners. The mysteries can’t be the kind that are solved by clicking around on the Internet. They will be the kid of mysteries that will require keen-sleuthing on the streets. The kind that make an old PI prove their mettle, that’ll make you wonder what this spinning rock is really all about and whether or not we have a place on it. Well, eventually Mystery Show might tackle more complex enigmas. But Kine smartly starts the show off a little closer to home.
Wolfpop’s newest podcast The Black List Table Reads and host Franklin Leonard “take the best and most exciting screenplays Hollywood hasn’t yet made, and turns them into movies, for your ears.” Through the use of sound effects and musical cues it’s delivered more like an audio drama than a line reading. The cast for the episodes reviewed here of the script “BALLS OUT” includes Paul Scheer, Jason Mantzoukas, Lauren Lapkus, Matt Walsh, Casey Wilson and more. It’s an exciting idea with a talented cast that failed to make me laugh and made me glad the script has never been produced.
The White Whale isn’t a podcast. Probably.
Well, OK – it is a podcast, but not in the traditional sense. It’s a work of audio art delivered via RSS feed but the bulk of the audio bears little resemblance to its forebears. It’s disorienting, haunting, and daring.
It’s Week Two of RPRPPR (here’s Week One ) and upsets in the iTunes charts have already delivered fresh meat for the grinder. Have a look below to see how the newbies fare.
The Wolf Den with Dan Carlin, Host of Hardcore History
I listened to this excellent episode of The Wolf Den on Monday, the day before Dan Carlin released the long-awaited conclusion to his six-part “Blueprints for Armageddon” series. It could not have been a better lead-in to the 3 1/2 hour epic.
I’m relatively new to the Hardcore History scene but it’s obvious from the two series I’ve listened to the show must be a tremendous amount of work. Carlin explains his reasoning for the show’s famously long run times, his role as a podcast pioneer, and the ways his iconoclastic world view informs his relationship to history.
Atmosphere has a strange power. On my recent flight from Ohio to Seattle, for example, I flew on a relatively new plane with a wonderful entertainment center and charger built into the seatback. A nice luxury, yes. But what made the flight memorable was the relaxing afterglow of cerulean overhead lights in place of the garish florescent lights I had come to expect and loathe.
It was a small detail but it made all the difference.
Details go a long way to make Aaron Mahnke’s folklore-exploration podcast Lore more than its combination of eerie stories and historical record. The musical beds used for the show oscillate between menace, curiosity, and wonder; a perfect bed for Mahnke’s steady, engaging diction. He’s neither ponderous nor rushed, letting the stories and histories develop at a perfect pace.