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Maximum Fun is your home on the internet for things that are awesome. Our blog will guide you, our family of podcasts will entertain and inform you, and our lively forum community will connect you with others. About

Kanye West's Glow in the Dark Tour Has New Headliner

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Pictures like this are the reason we have message boards. God Bless You, MaxFunster Crazyforswayze, and God Bless your little dog. And God Bless the Glow in the Dark tour. And Kanye West. And Lupe and Rihanna too, why not?

The Timewaster Letters

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Robert Popper emailed me from ENGLAND, a place that's like the United States, but with funny taxicabs. Robert is a superstar comedy writer-producer -- he worked on the amazing series Peep Show and Look Around You (the first episode of which is above).

Robert just released a book in the US, written as "Robin Cooper," called The Timewaster Letters. It's a book of fake letters in the tradition of Don Novello's The Lazlo Letters. Robert's sending me a copy, and I'm excited to read it.

Podcast: The Grouch of Living Legends

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Show: 
Bullseye


Independent underground hip-hop exploded on the west coast in the 1990s, and it was thanks in no small part to the work of The Living Legends, a broad collective of Los Angeles and Bay Area artists whose relentless hustle made the world safe for underground rappers. The Grouch remains a leading light in independent hip-hop, with thoughtful, personal rhymes and often self-produced beats. He talked with us about what it means to be independent, how his family has affected his music, and about how his sincerity helped ameliorate the friction his race caused in the hip-hop world. His latest album is Show You the World.

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If you enjoyed this show, try these:
The Lifesavas
Ego Trip
Betty Davis

UCSC Print Sale

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Every year at UC Santa Cruz, the art department hosts a gala print sale. You can buy original works by UCSC artists for as little as five or ten dollars in all formats, from huge works on paper to greeting cards and t-shirts. I always felt the print sale was one of the best parts about living in Santa Cruz, and my home still has several prints I purchased there prominently displayed. The works available are an extraordinary range of styles and aesthetics, and it's impossible to leave without buying something.

This year's sale is June 6th and 7th (that's Friday and Saturday!) on the UCSC campus. You can find more information here.

Above: untitled by Amy Toucey

Maximum Fun Drive 2: The Post-Mortem

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Maximum Fun Drive 2 was a rip-roaring success. Thank you.

When I started accepting donations, I thought maybe I could get by without pledge drives. Nobody really *likes* pledge drives, certainly not those of us who work in public radio. But the little trickle of donations was barely enough to cover expenses, so I tried one. Lo and behold: people tend to help you when you ask for their help. So I decided I'd try to keep it to once a year, so you guys wouldn't hate me.

This time around, I didn't know what kind of expectations to have. I thought maybe a hundred people would give. More than four hundred did. I had to make a last-minute addition to the prize pool, now I'm realizing I'm going to spend like eight or ten grand on distributing prizes... but that's the good kind of bad news. Everything is great.

If you pledged, thank you. Prizes will be going out over the next month or so. I may end up having a volunteer event for prize envelope packing in a few weeks. Expect your prizes in six or eight weeks. The only exception may be books for those who pledged early on -- those'll likely come a bit faster (though they're going out media mail, which sometimes takes a long time).

There's already some benefits here at MaxFun world HQ. We've got a badly needed new microphone, and I bought a storage system for all the data this operation generates. It was kinda expensive, but it's the only way to protect the work. Adding to the five external hard drives on top of my computer case wasn't workable :). And of course there's the comfort of knowing that I'm closer to my longer-term objectives: hiring a producer and including original non-interview content in every show.

So: if you haven't donated, you always can. If you did, thank you. And it looks like the future is bright for maximumfun.org.

Podcast: Jordan, Jesse GO!: Ep. 63: Web 2.0 Mobisode

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Jordan joins Twitter, and much is discussed, including brand loyalty and shame.

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Podcast: Jordan, Jesse GO!: Ep. 62: There's No Pho in Santa Cruz

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Jesse, Jordan and special guest "Big Time" Gene O'Neill discuss moments of shame, Santa Cruz, and more. Plus: Would You Rather and Judge John Hodgman.

ACTION ITEMS:
* What was your most embarassing moment?
* Vote in March of Time Madness!

CONTINUING ACTION ITEMS:

* Review the show on iTunes.
* Do you have a dispute Judge John Hodgman can solve on a future broadcast? Email it to us! Put Judge John in the subject line.
* Have personal questions for Jesse and Jordan? Call 206-984-4FUN and tell us what they are!
* Would you like to play Would You Rather with us on a future episode? Email us or give us a call at 206-984-4FUN.

Call 206-984-4FUN to share your thoughts on these ACTION ITEMS.

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Our theme music: "Love You" by The Free Design, courtesy of The Free Design and Light in the Attic Records

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Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: "The Reduced Shakespeare Company"

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Let's be clear: this is not a podcast meant to spoon-feed The Bard's words in puréed, sugar coated globules to shiftless, slack-jawed, grafted-to-their-white-earphones members of Generation Y. It's not the audio book of the Sparknotes to the Cliffs Notes. It's not even strictly about Shakespeare. "But surely," you stammer, flummoxed, "the very title... ?" Permit me an explanation.

The Reduced Shakespeare Company is a bunch of guys — and sometimes gals — who have been around, in one form or another, for upwards of 25 years, all the while re-interpreting — dare I say "remixing" — Mankind's Important WorksTM live on stage all around the world, even in the countries that don't speak Middle English. They take their name from their bread-and-butter flagship show, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), but they also do Western Civilization: The Complete Musical (abridged), The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged), The Complete History of America (abridged) — godless Euro-Max-Funsters, you are now free to snark about how the previous two can't be that different — All the Great Books (abridged) and Completely Hollywood (abridged).

To do all those shows, you'd have to be both well-cultured and quick of foot and brain. Fortunately for them and for us, the players of the RSC all pack foot, brain and culture with no room in their luggage to spare. I think the costumes are shipped separately, but I don't know because they haven't put out a podcast about that yet. They have, however, released 78 episodes so far [iTunes link], many of which get into the nuts and bolts of what it's like to be a Reduced Shakespearean: how to play to a tiny crowd riddled with decrepitude [MP3], how to improv your way through flubs [MP3] and how to react to laughs that don't come [MP3]. If you're keen on joining the troupe, they even tell you how to audition [MP3]. (Don't get your hopes up.)

But it's not all stage geekery; there's also plenty of specifically Shakespeare geekery: note the humor-leavened discussion of the "authorship question" [MP3] that has dogged Shakespeare's plays for so long and has caused so much ivory-tower hand-wringing, or the one about the difficulties of teaching Shakespeare to middle- and high-schoolers [MP3]. (Solution: let the kids use modern-day swearing.)

And let's not forget the internet geekery. Unlike so many staid theater groups that look down their noses at the whole of technology culture, the RSC is on the vanguard as internet presences go. There's the podcast, sure, but they've got a MySpace page and a Facebook group as well. In one podcast, they even discuss, in detail, the relative merits of MySpace versus those of Facebook [MP3]. (My understanding was that MySpace was for poor people, but apparently it's more complicated than that.) And while we're on the subject of geekery, in another podcast they discuss the difference between a "nerd" and a "geek" with The Word Nerds [MP3].

The podcast hits the tubes every Monday, with an average of twenty minutes of content per week. It's quick, and it's slick: they seem to pay as much attention to the music as they do in their live shows — and if you haven't seen one, they're on DVD — and they'll often go the extra mile with conference calls including even more members of the group or segments recorded on location at whatever theater they're playing at the time. And if you're really lucky, they sometimes send an original, Dickens-based audio production your way [MP3].

Humanities scholars say that "reductive" is the worst slur with which you can be tagged. But with their podcast, as with their other ventures, the Reduced Shakespeare Company has proven once again the detachment of humanities scholars from reality. If reduction is wrong, I don't want to be right.

[Direct all correspondence to colinjmarshall at gmail. Podthoughts discussion thread available here.]

Today is the last day of Maximum Fun Drive 2.

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