1. CAROUSELS ARE OLDER THAN YOU THINK.
Before I heard this podcast, I assumed carousels had been around for maybe a couple centuries, but they have a much more colorful history. Hosts Tracy Wilson and Holly Frey share how carousels developed from a jousting game to an amusement park attraction and tell us the differences between, say, a Coney Island-style carousel and a Philadelphia-style one.
2. AS A FORM OF PROTEST IN THE ‘80S, SOME YOUNG CUBANS INJECTED THEMSELVES WITH HIV.
In a powerful episode made in collaboration with Radio Ambulante, we hear how rock ‘n’ roll changed lives in Cuba in the ‘80s and helped launch a subculture of rebellious “Frikis.” Incredibly, some protested the Cuban government by injecting themselves with HIV-positive blood.
3. ALICE COOPER WAS IN A DRINKING CLUB WITH JANIS JOPLIN, JOHN LENNON, AND KEITH MOON.
A recent episode of the podcast includes a fun phone interview with Cooper, 67, who says he has “honestly never felt better in my life.” Along with sharing details of his current projects—he’s working on a covers album, due later this yea—Cooper chats about the days before he got sober, when he was part of the A-list “Hollywood Vampires” drinking club. Other members included Harry Nilsson, Lennon, Moon and Joplin, who he says “could drink all of us under the table.”
4. YOUR HIGH-SCHOOL DIARY MAY BE WORTH ANOTHER GLANCE.
This relatively new podcast expands the Mortified series, in which everyday folks read their unedited diary entries. In this installment, a woman describes her creepy high school football coach in vivid teenspeak. At times you’ll root for her (or him) to make the right decision, but neither of them does.
5. THE OSCARS CREATED A BEST MAKEUP CATEGORY
BECAUSE OF DAVID LYNCH.
Lynch’s The Elephant Man prompted lots of discussion upon its release in 1980, especially regarding John Hurt’s extensive makeup, which took more than seven hours to apply. As we learn in this Lynch-focused episode, the film prompted the Academy to create a category for best makeup in 1981, and the award has been handed out each year ever since.
6. WANT A QUICK SHOT OF HAPPINESS? SMELL SOMETHING.
Happiness Project author Gretchen Rubin launched a podcast a few weeks ago, and in each episode she offers tips for leading a happier life. Here, she discusses the immediacy and benefits of good smells. Just taking a whiff of something pleasing can transform a moment; Rubin also shares her fondness for I Hate Perfume, a company that sells nostalgic scents in tiny 2-milliliter bottles.
7. YES, IT’S POSSIBLE TO BE KICKED OFF OF QUORA.
The pilot episode of BuzzFeed’s first podcast focuses on a subject the site and its readers know well: weird stuff on the Internet. Co-hosts Katie Notopoulous and Ryan Broderick share some of their Internet “firsts” in this ep, including the first social networks they joined and, in Notopoulous’ case, the first and most recent sites that have tried to ban her, from Friendster to Quora (both for using a fake name).
8. IT’S ESSENTIAL TO PRESERVE HISTORY, WHEREVER YOU ARE.
Self-made historian Eddie McCoy has been interviewing African Americans in his hometown of Oxford, N.C., since the 1970s. His recordings are funny, tragic, and absolutely compelling, partly due to Coleman’s outgoing personality and the trust he gains from his subjects. This story from the Fugitive Waves archives features a new interview with McCoy, who continues to document people’s lives with curiosity and passion.