Variety’s Power of Women event; honoree speeches

“When I first started out female comedy writers were treated like cappuccino machines.”

At Variety’s Power of Women event Tina Fey gave a speech about the power of surrounding yourself with other women, not only about looking up at women in positions of leadership but to other women where you can use your knowledge and privilege and lift other women up.

She goes on to talk about the power of stories and reading and the impact stories can have on you as a kid. She talks about her work with Reading is Fundamental and what that program meant to her as a kid. It’s a really great speech and worth a listen.

There’s great speeches from other women on YouTube from this event like Emily Blunt, Amy Poehler, Alicia Keys, Padma Lakshmi & Viola Davis. Listen to Tina’s and go from there.

Music: Good Kisser by Lake Street Dive

The lead singer from Lake Street Dive, Rachael Price, has this deep, soulful voice that I just adore. The band’s music is sort of this multi-genre that bridges Blue-eyed Soul and Jazz with a southern sound. And it’s divine.

Good Kisser, one of the newest songs from Lake Street Dive has this kind of f-u attitude about a break-up and it’s upbeat and fun. It definitely makes me dance around a little every time I listen.

I first heard Lake Street Dive in this live video from a Boston sidewalk where the band played a really amazing cover of “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5.

My Brother, My Brother and Me: Road Trip Mysteries

[Happy Friday the 13th. I was trying to think about something spooky to cover today, but I wrote about Requiem yesterday which was spooky enough. This is tangential to the spooky supernatural but a little fun and funny too.]

MBMBAM Road Trip Mysteries is a fan-created comic about the three McElroy brothers of the My Brother, My Brother and Me podcast. As the site itself says, it started as a goof on the MBMBAM Appreciation Group (which I personally recommend for fans on Facebook) but the project grew and became something bigger. Twenty-Serpentine (or 20ūüźć¬†as most of us referred to it) was the MBMBAM motto for 2017. It was about doing something new, or different than usual. The creators took that to heart when creating MBMBAM Road Trip Mysteries.

The comic, written by Tim Hely & illustrated by Kayla Mitchell with a cover from Chris House, is free on the website roadtrip.axolstudio.com. Although there is a Patreon for Axol Studio, if you’d like to support them further. At the moment there’s just one¬†issue of 24 pages, but I really hope they make more.

In Road Trip Mysteries, we see a comic version of brothers Justin, Griffin & Travis on a cross-country road trip in their own version of the Mysteries Machine, The MBMBAM Van. Griffin spots a theme park called Six Pennants out the window and demands they stop for a visit. Those good, good boys spend all day in the park and then settle in for a tiny break to rest when a mysterious sound gets their attention.

From there, we see the three brothers making their way through the park again, but this time after dark and with a mystery afoot.¬†This story plays on goofs from the podcast, but I don’t think it’s necessary to have listened to the podcast to enjoy what the comic is doing. I think it’s pretty adorable and I also find great appreciation in things that are created out of love spawned by a podcast.

As I mentioned in my post the other day about the MaxFun drive, I get a lot of enjoyment out of the McElroy brothers bevy of work, specifically podcasts like MBMBAM and The Adventure Zone. And it’s awesome to see how their works inspire others in unexpected ways.

A whole lotta love for the Maximum Fun podcasts

I’ve mentioned my love for podcasts, The Adventure Zone and My Brother, My Brother and Me before. Those two podcasts plus the other host of McElroy family of podcasts (like Wonderful! — another favorite of mine) are part of the Maximum Fun network. Last week and this one is the Maximum Fun pledge drive where the podcasts on their network as listeners to help support their work. The pledges go directly to the podcasts you listen to and help support the creators continue making good work. Not all of these podcasters do their podcasts for a living, but some do and personally I like knowing that I can help support that.

I don’t often contribute to these things, or like even patreons for people I don’t know. But in the past few years that I’ve been listening to these shows I’ve come to appreciate how much joy listening to these shows give me. For instance, Episode #400 of MBMBAM which was last Monday’s episode at the beginning of the pledge drive, kept me in stitches. I listened to it while at the gym Tuesday night and I barely noticed my time on the treadmill because I was laughing so hard. I’ve laughed about it in the week since and continued to feel connected to this random group of dudes because it feels like we’ve shared an experience… even though I’m just listening from home, work or the gym.

I’ve consumed a lot of their episodes. Over half of the 400 episodes of MBMBAM all ~90 of The Adventure Zone, most of the new episodes of Wonderful! and a handful of others. I pay good money for things like Netflix or Hulu and honestly, I often get way more enjoyment and bang for my buck from the McElroy podcasts than I do from the shows on those networks.

So last year I promised $10 a month to the MaxFun drive. It got me a cool MBMBAM pin and access to a proverbial shit load of free content dedicated to the pledge subscribers… stuff I didn’t know existed before. This year, I’m planning to increase that donation. Not because I feel pressured to… at least not by these creators. But by my own want to support these creators who give me so much of themselves in each episode.

One of the coolest things to happen so far this year is based on their 2018 motto of “Stronger Together”, Collabor18. I started a MBMBAM Discord channel specifically for fans who write or wanted to get into writing. The channel has over 100 members, is active daily, and we’re in the process of building an anthology of written works about collaboration, any proceeds of which will go to charity. And that’s only one small thing that’s happened from a giant community of fans. (I’ve got plans to post more about this anthology sometime soon.)

If you listen to MaxFun shows, I suggest you think about how much you’ve laughed and enjoyed these shows. And maybe do the same.

Shakey Graves on Audiotree Live

Audiotree is an artist discovery platform with a YouTube channel where they regularly have an artist record several songs for them live. In 2014 they featured an artist named Shakey Graves, a singer-songwriter with a guitar, a suitcase drum and a tambourine. A little like Bert from Mary Poppins, he can be a one man band when he needs to be.

I don’t know how long after they did this first series of songs with him I discovered them, maybe 2015? But I go back to this little series of videos pretty often. I find this series recorded with Audiotree one of the best introductions to Shakey Graves. You can see his charisma in the way he plays to the camera as he sings and though I haven’t seen him live (yet) I feel like you get a pretty good feel for what that might be like. Not only does his stage name have this good Southern Gothic vibe to it, so does his music. I find it almost always puts me in a better mood — at least the upbeat songs do.

Below is the series of videos he did in this first set. My favorite song from this set is the first one, “Roll the Bones”.

A year or so after this set of videos was recorded, Shakey Graves did a second set for Audiotree, which you can see below.¬† From this one my favorite is the third song, “Where a Boy Once Stood”.

 

 

 

MisCast 2018 — Robbie Fairchild “The Music and the Mirror” from A CHORUS LINE

Every year the MCC Theater in NYC puts on the MisCast Gala where a handful of Broadway actors perform something from a role for which they’d never be cast. Usually this is something as simple as gender swapped performance. There’s playlists of these performances on YouTube for the last few years. This year’s playlist hasn’t been compiled yet but the videos are up on the MCC Theater channel if you want to look through them all. There’s an amazing standout video of James Monroe Iglehart singing “Satisfied” from Hamilton. Which I do love it but it’s not my favorite.

As the title of this post gives away, my favorite from this year’s performances is “The Music and the Mirror” by Robbie Fairchild. He takes Cassie’s big dance sequence and makes it his own and I LOVE IT. The original Zach, Bobby LuPone performs Zach’s lines from the audience, which is pretty awesome.

I have a long standing soft-spot for A Chorus Line since watching it years and years ago with my grandmother. She was the sort of grandma who always let me watch things that were way to adult for me, but they were always these really great performances pieces like Dirty Dancing or A Chorus Line, where she knew I’d be way more into the dancing than the story. Which I was.

And this performance is no exception. Watch and enjoy and then go back and watch some of the other performances. There’s more than a few hours of enjoyment to be had, I believe there are MisCast playlists going back to 2009 on YouTube.

Champions of the Earth! a podcast

Recently I started listening to a new actual play podcast called Champions of the Earth.

I’ve tried several actual play podcasts that aren’t Critical Role or The Adventure Zone and had a lot of trouble getting into them. Many of them explain too much or take themselves way too seriously or just have too much bro-ness about them that make them uninteresting or just boring. Champions of the Earth¬† was a recommendation through twitter because one of the members is Gina DeVivo, who’s on a few different Geek & Sundry / ProjectAlpha shows… not all of which I watch. That’s a long way of say that she was my way into this podcast.

The GM for Champions of the Earth, Collin Kelly, is a big fan of The Adventure Zone and I think that shows strongly in the way he tells the story. But in just a few episodes I’ve found that I really enjoy how he backs out of the story when the characters are having moments among themselves. He lets them direct some of the action, let’s them have character moments that aren’t necessarily plot related by have an impact on how the characters will interact when the plot resurfaces. It’s a good mix of storytelling and actual play. They use a modified version of D&D rules to play which makes the game play familiar enough for people that know 5th ed. rules and they explain character changes and rule updates quickly as they come into play, but don’t belabor the rules too much.

What’s different about Champions of the Earth is that it’s not a medieval-esque fantasy world though. It’s a modern day story of high school students thrust into a world of zombies, aliens and giant mecha knights. It’s a little Power Rangers and a little Twilight. It’s great.

It’s also really great that the episodes are about an hour like The Adventure Zone instead of 3-4 like Critical Role. If you start now, you’ll catch up to today’s episode 8 in no time. I think episode 8 also has my favorite moment of the show so far — a scene in which one of the characters is about to get into a fight with a creature, but pauses zen-like to take a sip of Fresca before it happens. It’s perfect.

You can find Champions of the Earth on iTunes and Google Play and wherever fine podcasts are sold. #ChampionsCast

Music: Tank and the Bangas; NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

I think you have to have been living under a rock not to know what the NPR Music Tiny Desk Concerts art. So you don’t need me to explain how good they can be to find new music or to see good indie musicians do what they do in an intimate setting. And the setlist isn’t tight or too defined, the musicians can talk or riff or whatever makes them feel the music or connected to the small audience in the office at the time. I’m not an NPR fan and I don’t watch every new Tiny Desk video when it goes up, but every now and again something will catch my eye.

Last year’s winner of the Tiny Desk Contest was a band called Tank and the Bangas. The video went up pretty much a year ago yesterday and it’s 20+ minutes of good fun. Their music is hip hop soul with a big voice and really hefty lyrics. I fell in love pretty much immediately, listened to all the songs I could find and then sent the video out to all of my friends.

They were in town for a Tedx youth conference recently and I’m kicking myself for not knowing. I would’ve loved the chance to see them perform in person. But I’ll settle for watching this video over again a few more times.

Critical Role S2 Pinterest Boards

From my time putting together things for a Dragon Age RP board, I’ve built up quite a collection of Pinterest boards for both characters and ships. Since starting though, my collection has expanded quite a bit to literature, podcasts and other media I enjoy. These days, I’m pretty sure you can tell exactly how much I’m into a thing by what boards I’ve created.

My boards are themed in a way, characters assigned cards from both major and minor arcana from the tarot, as well as the lenormand cards. (As a note, I started doing this long before the Major Arcana for Critical Role S1 was ever announced so my cards don’t match the characters, and I refuse to adjust them to match.)

I tend to pick and choose characters that I like best, I’ve never created a full spectrum of boards for all the characters in a thing. I never put together a full list of boards for Critical Role S1 characters. And yet, Critical Role S2 totally made me want a board for each one of the characters. Today I created the final board I needed to finish my collection for the Mighty Nein. If that’s the kind of thing that interests you, I’m listing them below.

Feel free to follow one, all, everything… none. I just like having them all in one place and thought I’d show them off.


Music: Secret for the Mad by dodie

I’m very much not the demographic for Dodie Clark’s YouTube career, or even probably her music. But I find her honest and charming and her music utterly delightful. I appreciate her communication about her struggles with mental illness and her ability to put them on camera. I love the lyrics to her songs because they feel like they come from a real place and were I a younger adult, I’d likely find them highly applicable to my own feelings. Instead of sort of wistfully nostalgic. Actually I find myself somewhere between the two on most days and dodie’s sweet, soft voice is a good remedy for when you find yourself more wistfully nostalgic than tragically and seemingly unceasingly young. (For me, anyway.)