This week I did quite a bit of driving, so thank goodness I had hours of podcasts to keep me company. Below are a few recent faves; for more suggestions, head to the archive.
NINE MONTHS BEFORE ROSA PARKS MADE HISTORY, A TEENAGE GIRL REFUSED TO GIVE UP HER SEAT ON A SEGREGATED BUS.
In a compelling interview, 75-year-old Claudette Colvin describes what happened when she took a stand 60 years ago in Montgomery, Alabama, and perhaps why her story has been overlooked.
UNTIL RAILROADS MADE IT A NECESSITY, AMERICANS HAD NO STANDARD TIME.
As we “spring forward,” the BackStory crew delves into the history of time. We learn how transportation helped introduce standard time, how time zones evolved, and how Americans’ sleep cycles have changed. (Interestingly, the notion of insomnia didn’t come along until the early 20th century. Before that, it was normal to get up in the middle of the night.)
ONE OF MIKE MCCREADY’S GO-TO LICKS? ZEPPELIN, OF COURSE.
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Host Aaron Roden chats with the Pearl Jam guitarist about his early days as well as what it was like when the band exploded in the early ‘90s, opening for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and becoming a must-see act on the Lollapalooza tour. McCready also reveals some licks he’ll often play in guitar stores, like Led Zeppelin’s "Over the Hills and Far Away" (if it’s acoustic) or something from Stevie Ray Vaughan.
A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE WAS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN AS A PLAY.
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Each week, hosts Parker Dixon, James Hancock, and Mikhail Karadimov explore pieces of film history, from Orson Welles’s movies to the work of John Carpenter. This week, they delve into the films of one of my favorite directors, John Cassavetes. While they share mixed reactions to A Woman Under the Influence and don’t always pronounce Gena Rowlands’s name correctly, they do agree Cassavetes “pushed for truth” and gave everything to his craft. (And yes, the 1974 flick was intended as a play, but Rowlands’s character was so intense and exhausting that a film made more sense.)
ROSE MCGOWAN HAS SEVEN STORAGE FACILITIES FULL OF HOLLYWOOD MEMORABILIA.
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Host Elvis Mitchell talks to McGowan about her directorial debut, Dawn, as well as her passions for Hollywood’s golden age. Among the items she owns: Orson Welles’s tie, Ava Gardner’s bedroom set, and the original RKO letters.
YOU CAN’T PAY YOUR WAY OUT OF AN ETHICAL DILEMMA.
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The engaging new podcast from the New York Times addresses listeners’ ethical questions. This episode tackles several doozies—one involves American Sniper, another deals with a troubled neighbor—and opens with one woman’s conflicted feelings about shopping at Hobby Lobby. Though she disagrees with its business practices, she asks if it would be OK to donate to Planned Parenthood each time she shops there as a way to make up for it. The hosts’ consensus: Take an ethical stand or don’t, just don’t try to “pay your way out of it.”
ACTORS DON’T USUALLY “WARM UP” BEFORE RUNNING SCENES.
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This episode is packed with film news, debate, and interviews, including a cheerful chat with Oscar winner Julianne Moore. The actress answers some fun questions (like what flavor she requests when eating ice cream on camera). She also notes that most actors don’t prepare their bodies before shooting athletic scenes—and they can regret it later.