Format: conversation based on advance and belated notice of cool cultural stuff
Episode duration: 1h30m-2h
Don’t people consume media — whether that media be podcasts, television shows, status-update feeds, those Japanese half-book-half-magazines, or what have you — mainly out of a desire for word of cool stuff? What thought haunts young and youngish first-worlders more than the suspicion that that they might be missing out on cool stuff right now, even as they mess around with slightly less cool stuff than they could be? And so we have the primary shaping force of Get Up on This [RSS] [iTunes], a podcast about recognizing cool stuff before it becomes popular, then circling back and savoring the cool stuff you’ve overlooked.
So while the show delivers no small amount of freeform chat — and with episodes that often approach two hours, how could you avoid it? — it maintains that driving force of awareness: preferably advance awareness, but belated awareness works too. Cool stuff so far gotten up on in the show includes Spotify, humblebragging (I can’t believe I didn’t know there was a word for that), Attack the Block, Asterios Polyp, Instagram, Das Racist, Martin Scorsese’s documentary on Fran Lebowitz, Chinatown, Chick-fil-A, and the Jay-Z/Kanye West collaboration Watch the Throne.
You’ve probably heard of that last one already, maybe because Jay-Z and Kanye West seem to have already “gotten popular” — or they define what modern popularity is, or something — but even more likely because you’ve heard that Maximum Fun’s own Jesse Thorn spent two full hours of Get Up on This considering Watch the Throne in a track-by-track breakdown featuring both song clips and mini-interviews with people actually involved in the making of the album. Hearing such an elaborate, enthusiastic, and (in the best way) serious-minded production made me wonder if something important wasn’t going on in this podcast. Had I been, dare I say it, missing out?
Not that an informed/informative hip-hop conversation shouldn’t come as a surprise on this show. Across from Jesse sat host Jensen Karp, a Los Angeles pop-cultural gallerist who originally came up from Calabasas to become Hot Karl, a satirical rapper with a bad record-label experience. No surprise either that Karp’s previous podcast Hype Men dealt entirely in hip-hop talk — or so I’ve heard, since I failed to get up on it. But I like hearing him use his connections to interesting people outside hip-hop and, even more so, people you didn’t realize would be interesting. One particularly striking example comes right in the very first episode [MP3], in which Karp sits down with Mike Shinoda, a founder of Linkin Park. However you’re imagining him, you’re probably wrong.
But if it makes the most evaluative sense to talk about what Get Up on This has led me to personally get up on, we need to talk about D.C. Pierson. While his two appearances on JJGO! certainly rose to the ranks of my recent favorites, his time with Karp [MP3] pushed me over the fandom edge. Hearing him on a show like this — which admittedly does much the same thing as a standard Two Twenty/Thirtysomething White Guys/Girls Bullshitting About Culture, but with enough direction and purpose to rise to a higher league — I realized that he combines the two qualities essential for attaining (at least with me) and maintaining fame through podcast appearances: having the personality of the fellow I’ve always wanted to hang out with, while actually being good at stuff, like comedy-doing, novel-writing, and one-man-showing.
But I’ve gotten up on one D.C. Pierson project above all others: his First 100 Days of L.A., a blog which documents exactly that. I don’t know if it’s because I just moved to L.A. myself or because I just like the casually dry refinement of Pierson’s writing style, but damn, I can’t stop reading it. This alone repays all the fast-forwarding through the five-minute blocks of ads that, as with every SModcast network program, precede each Get Up on This. I mean, five minutes? What the.
[Podthinker Colin Marshall also happens to host and produce The Marketplace of Ideas [iTunes], a public radio show and podcast dedicated to in-depth cultural conversation. Please hire him for something.]