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Maximum Fun is your home on the internet for things that are awesome. Our blog will guide you and our family of podcasts will entertain and inform you. About

The PRI Arts & Entertainment Podcast

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PRI, my radio distributor, has launched a cool podcast that aggregates content from across their programming -- from The Takeaway to The World to Studio 360 to, now, The Sound of Young America. They've recently featured our interviews with Seun Kuti and Janeane Garofalo, along with interviews from Studio 360 with David Zucker (mp3) and The World with Sergio Mendes (MP3). It's a broad spectrum of content from the broad spectrum of PRI shows, and definitely worth checking out if you're looking for a hit of content every weekday.

Here's the show's feed.

Here's an iTunes link.

Podcast Coyle & Sharpe Episode 40: Mr. Rodent

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Welcome to season two of Coyle & Sharpe: The Imposters! In the early 1960s, James P. Coyle and Mal Sharpe roamed the streets of San Francisco, microphone in hand, roping strangers into bizarre schemes and surreal stunts. These original recordings are from the Sharpe family archive, which is tended by Mal's daughter, Jennifer Sharpe. You can learn more about Coyle & Sharpe on their website or on MySpace. Their recent box set is These 2 Men Are Imposters.

On this episode: This week on Coyle and Sharpe, a San Franciscan man gets the opportunity to meet the celebrity, Mr. Rodent, who is most famous for having an entire race of small creatures named after him.

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MaxFunsters March on Washington: 11/15

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If you're a MaxFunster in the Washington, DC area, then join forum superstars ebeth, Craxworth and Carol for an evening of awesome fun on November 15th. Ebeth and Carol will be visiting from points north, and everybody's headed to the Arlington Drafthouse to see the great Mr. Paul F. Tompkins. More info about the meetup here, and tickets for PFT here. I've met both ebeth and Carol, and nicer meetup hosts/guests you couldn't find. Will they meet R&B superstar Keith Sweat? There's no way to predict it... but last time, THEY DID!

Marianna Palka, "Good Dick" Writer/Director/Star Interviewed on The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye


Marianna Palka, 27, is the writer, director and star (alongside Jason Ritter) of the film "Good Dick." The film, which was selected for dramatic competition at the Sundance Film Festival, is an unusual (and unusually sweet) love story between a porn-addicted young woman (Palka) and a recovering drug user (Ritter) who works at her local video store. Palka grew up in Scotland, with Polish parents, and emigrated to the United States at 17.

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If you enjoyed this show, try these:
Terry Gilliam & Chris Elliott
Scott Prendergast
Nellie McKay

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: "Movies You Should See"

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Podcasting, for whatever reason, has turned out to be a predominantly American (and sometimes Canadian) medium. Scrolling through the podcasts currently stored on one's iPod, one generally finds hours upon hours of yammering American accents. Being American, that's not something this Podthinker would normally notice — without, that is, having spent the previous week listening to the English film podcast Movies You Should See [iTunes link].

MYSS is a weekly conversation about film between Richard Smith, Allison Downing, Craig Bevan, Will Tristram, and Tristan Ofield — or at least most of them, given the normal absences — six English filmgoers with English accents, English sensibilities, English cursing vocabularies and what I assume are English preternatural cricket abilities, English stiff upper lipps and English senses of fair play. For the Yank, this requires some linguistic adaptation, since in England:

  • "Shit" and "balls" function as adjectives as well as nouns, and are employed often
  • The Carry On films are a thing
  • "Mate" has a different meaning
  • Rotten Tomatoes is pronounced hilariously

But this is nothing insurmountable for the U.S. listener willing to put in the hours. After the first few, Richard, Allison and the gang sound almost normal. What's somewhat more difficult is distinguishing one voice from another. That's always a problem with any newly-adopted group-discussion podcast, but the men here — Allison's, the crew's sole distaff element, is obviously easy to identify — sounds unusually similar.

Distinct voices, though, are less important in this type of enterprise than are distinct opinions. This is where MYSS really comes through. The panelists often refer to themselves as comprising an even representation of the full "spectrum" of cinema fandom, and nowhere in recent months has this been cast into greater relief than during their discussion of Bergman's Hour of the Wolf [MP3]. Allison, Craig and Will seem to have settled on "magnificent" as an appropriate descriptor for the film, but then, out of his 45-minute silence, emerges Richard, asserting that the movie is actually pretentious, elitist and likely to alienate the majority of those who approach it. A scintillating discussion of the validity of the whole "art"-"entertainment" continuum ensues.

While not every talk is at the same level as the Hour of the Wolf exchange, it's worth noting how nice it is that the vast majority of the episodes are solid discussions of similar lengths about individual pictures. Too many cultural podcasts don't get it right in this department, opting instead to jump around from work to work. That's not to impugn the very idea of jumping from work to work — the podcasters who do it well do it very well indeed — but it usually doesn't create as substantial a listening experience as when the depth is cranked up and the breadth is cranked down.

The MYSS selection process keeps it varied: they dissect the movies everyone "knows" but not everyone has watched (like Costner's Field of Dreams [MP3] and Wilder's Some Like it Hot [MP3]), the gems one might not otherwise hear about (like Jun-Hwan Jang's Save the Green Planet [MP3], which this Podthinker happens to have championed elsewhere) and the stuff everyone's seen thrice (like The Matrix [MP3] and This is Spinal Tap [MP3]). Good on ya, mates. (That might be an Australian expression, but never mind.)

Vital stats:
Format: group film discussion
Running since: August 2005
Duration: 40m-1h30m
Frequency: weeklyish
Archive available on iTunes: roughly 1/3, and you have to pay for the rest

[Podthinker Colin Marshall is also against poor, ganged-up-on Richard when it comes to Hour of the Wolf; agree with him at colinjmarshall at gmail. Suggest a podcast for Podthoughts here, or submit your own podcast for the next by-Max-Funsters column here.]

Triumph at the Debate

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The biggest laughs come from the closer, which has nothing to do with Triumph and is absurdly silly.

via Punchline Magazine

la Voz de América Joven

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In Spanish class, Lonely Sandwich and I participated in an exercise in which we revealed our professions. This lead to much discussion and blackboard writing.

Thanks (and a favor)

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A bunch of stuff just came up in my google blog search feed for "Jordan Jesse Go." I want to thank Finefilter, Dead Chicken Society and Collective Family for their kind words about the show. When you write about us on your blog, or link to us in your blogroll, or review the show in iTunes, we do check it out and really sincerely appreciate it.

The great challenge of creating media for the internet is that it's tough to get noticed when the sea of content goes on forever. It's like floating out in the deep ocean with one of those blinky lights on the shoulder of your flotation vest -- even if you've got a particularly bright blinky light, the rescue plane has to fly right overhead if you're gonna get picked up. Long odds. Tough to connect.

I was talking about this problem the other day with my pal Lonely Sandwich as we watched our dogs play at the dog park. There are certain kinds of things which lend themselves to internet popularity. You can be outrageous in some way, you can be extremely timely, you can be illustrative of an absurd amount of effort... none of which describe The Sound of Young America or Jordan, Jesse Go!.

You can of course advertise as well, but when your income's from donations, and a five-digit listener base translates to a three-digit donor base, that's a losing proposition.

So: I rely on you to spread the word. I'm proud of the work I do, whether or not it's a hot topic in the blogosphere or easily indexed by search engines.

If you like the shows, or this blog, please share them. In real life, on your facebook or myspace, on your blog, in your blogrolls, via email, whatever. And thank you.

RIP to Levi Stubbs of the Four Tops, Motown's Greatest Singer

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No one can sing like Levi Stubbs could. Absolutely no one. His voice carried all the pop tunefullness of Motown, with all the desperate, passionate yearning of the best soul. Listen to Reach Out and tell me you don't feel it in every part of your body -- even with just that little "hah!" after the first bass breakdown. He told the LA Times: "Well, I'm rather loud and raw. I don't really even have a style; I just come by the way I sing naturally. When I learn a song, I try to live it as best I can."

Levi had been sick for some time, but that doesn't make it any easier to lose him.

Above: a medley featuring one of my favorite songs of all time, "Bernadette," one of the great vocal performances in soul history. Below: one of the Tops' Northern Soul classics, "Seven Rooms of Gloom."

On a sillier note, how about Levi tearing apart the role of Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors? I'm missing him terribly already.

Tim & Eric on "Talk Show with Spike Feresten"

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Spike Feresten's show airs at midnight on Saturdays, and it's lead-in is the aging behemoth known as Mad TV. It's understandable that no one watches it. What they're missing, though, is a funny half hour with a charming, capable host and some clever comedy. Above: an episode from a few months ago featuring Tim & Eric as the guests.

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