Podcast

006: Mogli Maureal: Mad Noise, Radix, Sound Design, and Photography

This week, Mogli Maureal who is a musician, sound designer, and photographer, talks about his band, Mad Noise. He talks about how their roots as street performers, their musical style, and their recent trip to West Africa with the US Department of State Program called American Music Abroad. Then we talks about his works with Radix, an experimental theater troupe. He does all of their music and sound design for their innovative theater and live performance works. Finally, we talk about his photography and his aspirations.

If you liked this interview, I think you'll enjoy my interview with writer, actor, and director, Marica Petry.

I talk to Marica Petrey who is a writer, actor, and director as well as Founder and one of the Artistic Directors of Radix Troupe which is an experimental theater troupe based out of Berkeley, California. She is also a freelance journalist and videographer with California Magazine. She is cellist and member of Mad Noise, a bluesy funk, soul, punk band that has traveled to Africa through the State Department’s American Music Abroad Program. 

You may also like my interview with violinist, Gabi Holzworth

I talk to Gabi Holzwarth, referred to by many as the Violin Girl of Silicon Valley. She is a talented violinist with perfect pitch and has performed at many events around the Bay Area and the world. She quit her job in sales and started playing the violin in the street full time. It was there that many tech executives discovered her and she began playing at private parties and events. Gabi also discusses her ongoing struggle with eating disorders and has some advice for people entering into recovery.

SHOW NOTES:

  •  

PEOPLE MENTIONED:

  •  

OTHER MENTIONS

  •  

MY FAVORITE MOMENTS

Comment below with some of your favorite moments from the interview!

LINKS TO MOGLI'S WORK:

  •  

WHAT DID YOU THINK?

005: Alex Vlahov: Too Much Light, the New York Neo-Futurists, and Experimental Theater

This episode, Alex Vlahov talks about his work with the New York Neo-futurists and their collection of 30 plays performed in an hour called Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. We also talk about experimental theater in general and some of the plays that Alex has written and directed that have interesting approaches to topics that cover a range of social issues and humanity’s dilemmas. Finally, we discuss Alex’s latest play which is still untitled. The play is about Father Eric, a priest from our high school who was murdered in 2013.

 

If you liked this interview, I think you'll enjoy my interview with writer, actor, and director, Marica Petry.

I talk to Marica Petrey who is a writer, actor, and director as well as Founder and one of the Artistic Directors of Radix Troupe which is an experimental theater troupe based out of Berkeley, California. She is also a freelance journalist and videographer with California Magazine. She is cellist and member of Mad Noise, a bluesy funk, soul, punk band that has traveled to Africa through the State Department’s American Music Abroad Program. 

You may also like my interview with cinematographer, Chad Leto.

I talk to my friend Chad Leto, a cinematographer working for G-Ram films and has worked on documentaries, music videos, and commercials. He’s also been the cinematographer with so many projects including an award winning feature film called Parallax. Chad also filmed a hilarious and totally wacky web series called “Don’t call it Frisco” about a Boston transplant who moves to San Francisco and has to adjust to the liberal and totally crazy culture of the city. 

SHOW NOTES

  • Recording of host of Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind explaining how the show works. [00:03:36]
  • Recording of one of Alex’s mini plays called ‘Every Springsteen Song Ever.’ [00:04:56]
  • Alex explains the history of the Neo Futurists and it’s origins in the Italian art movement, futurism. [00:06:50]
  • Alex explains one of the tenants of Futurism, simultaneity. [00:08:35]
  • Recording of Alex’s piece, ‘Doctors, Etc.’ [00:11:00]
  • Recording of Alex’s piece, ‘How I Bore Bartenders’ [00:12:05]
  • Alex has a fever. Did we mention that? [00:12:25]
  • How AR/VR mirrors the interactive, audience inclusive performance of Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. [00:13:20]
  • Final recording of another Neo Futurist called ‘My Worst Experiment Ever.’ It’s a mini play about the speakers failed attempts to quit smoking. [00:14:35]
  • Are Neo Futurists encouraged to explore their issues in the plays they write?[00:16:56]
  • Alex talks about his experience at LAMBDA, a premiere acting academy in London. [00:19:00]
  • What is Alex’s method for preparing for a role? [00:21:08]
  • Alex talks about his ensemble company, Cliff House Arts.  [00:23:55]
  • Alex and I talk about one of his cover concerts in Tomales bay where our friend’s car sunk in water and needed a new engine. [00:24:25]
  • Alex talks about one of his project, Furniture Port that showed real world, real time, interactions with the internet.  [00:27:40]
  • Alex talks about his upcoming play called, A Simple Art about a priest from our high school who was violently murdered in 2014. [00:32:40]
  • Alex talks about the details of the murder. [00:35:27]
    There’s a level of atonement with the piece. Alex reflects on a moment he had with Father Eric in the quad. [00:37:00]
  • Alex has another memory of Father Eric. A story about where our food comes from. [00:37:36]
  • How Alex’s love of Noir and an aptly themed Tank Noir event led him to Father Eric’s murder as his next subject matter. [00:41:13]
    The Simple Art of Murder, an essay about true crime verse fiction murder that inspired Alex to write the play. [00:41:58]

MY FAVORITE MOMENTS

“The monologues, the balloons happening and sitting in a dark room and just the anxiety that it creates. You know, you don’t have to say, ‘we go to New Orleans!’ Or you don’t have to say, ‘there was a king in 1530.’ It just is immediate and in the room and interesting. And that was a new art form for me to see. It was really really refreshing when I first moved here.” [00:10:35]

“It’s got to be, personal, that the only way because, its its, its gotta be, its got to come from a place of reality. That’s what makes the best plays.” [00:17:16]

“I don’t remember who said this. Some teacher once said that like, the best special effect on film is watching the human face, emotionally react to something… His point was human emotion is so fascinating, and to watch him go through some changes of emotion and thought, you follow them as audience members. So yea, we really do try to strive for honesty.” [00:18:06]

“Acting is, for me, acting emotionally honest in fictional circumstances.” [00:22:55]

“If I am just in the room responding to someone, an actual conversation is so interesting. People talking about the hidden impulses you see or think you see. um. yea, that’s far more fascinating and I think that comes from being in the room and being honest to the text and the givens. And if they are not there, then really being open to experimentation.” [00:23:25]

Comment below with some of your favorite moments from the interview!

WHAT DID YOU THINK?

Thunder, lightning, noir, and experimental theater. I love how performance keeps evolving and Alex has some awesome conceptual pieces in the works. Let us know what you thought of the interview below.

004: Tia Lebherz: Saving Water, the Fight to Ban Fracking, and the Trans Pacific Partnership

This episode, Tia Lebherz talks in depth about saving water and other threats to our environment. First, we talk about her work at WaterNow Alliance and how WaterNow is bringing together people to find innovative ways to save water on the West Coast. Then we’ll talk about her work for Food and Water Watch as the California organizer and the importance of banning fracking, specifically in California. Finally, we’ll wrap up with a discussion of the Trans Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement signed in February that poses a serious threat to our access to safe food and water.

If you liked this interview, I think you'll enjoy my interview with activist, Charlie Furman.

I talk to Charlie Furman, an Activist and Digital Organizer who creates campaigns focused on creative internet organizing to spread movements quickly and meaningfully over many channels. Charlie was a campaign manager for Fight for the Future and faught hard for Net Neutrality and against the Trans Pacific Partnership and was also a digital organizer for 350.org, People’s Climate movement, and Demand Progress. 

You may also like my interview with illustrator, Lily Williams.

I talk to Lily Williams about her short film FINconceivable, an award winning informational short about the importance of sharks to our ecosystem. We talk about her upcoming illustrated children’s book called If Sharks Disappear which will be published next year through Roaring Brook Press. Finally, we discuss her newly released web comic that she co-created with Karen Schneemann, called The Mean Magenta. The Mean Magenta seeks to destigmatize periods by providing entertaining comics as well as health resources.

SHOW NOTES:

  •  Tia talks about WaterNow Alliance and their mission. [00:02:05]
  • Where does our water come from? [00:04:20]
  • What technology is Water Now Alliance working on? [00:06:20]
  • What is keeping water companies from implementing these technologies? Customers saving money on water means less money for water companies to implement new water saving technologies. [00:07:40]
  • The unsexy Gasby project and how WaterNow Alliance is working to help water companies invest in sustainable innovation by listing the water that they save as an asset. [00:10:22]
  • How do we get our water in California? [00:15:07]
  • Anything we should pay attention to in the coming elections as far as water protections? [00:16:20]
  • Corporate verse residential water activism. [00:17:50]
  • Clip of Tia protesting at the March for Real Climate Change that she organized.[00:20:55]
  • Let’s talk about fracking in California. What is it? What are the methods? [00:22:00] 
  • Tia’s thoughts on Governor Jerry Brown and his refusal to ban fracking. And how do you balance economic needs with environmental protections? [00:26:55]
  • Tia protesting at a rally against the TPP. [00:31:31]
  • What is the TPP? [00:32:40]
  • What the TPP means for fracking. [00:34:16]
  • What is Fast Track and how was it used for the TPP? [00:37:30]
  • Are trade agreements fundamentally flawed? [00:39:10]
  • Vote! [00:40:30]
  • How can people help? [00:42:00]

OTHER MENTIONS

MY FAVORITE MOMENTS

“It’s actually one of the barriers that we’ve identified with these Mayors and city council people is that a lot of people, I would say the vast majority of people don’t actually know where their water comes from and don’t understand how water infrastructure works and how their rates are structured and kind of all these important aspects that really play into watershed health and you know affordability and access in those kinds of things.” [00:04:20]

“So 80% of what we pay every month 80% of the money that they bring in goes to just like upkeep of the infrastructure Etc. And so when we use less and then they make less they be there is a deficit, just in the operating in general. So to then ask utilities to invest in these sustainable solutions is crazy because they’re already like well we’re running out of money And so how to pay for solutions, like the two big things that the alliance members talk to us about is they say are two problems are how do we pay for these Solutions? And how do we communicate to rate payers that they that we need to do this? Right? Like how do we communicate and or how do we figure out during a drought, you know, if we have to raise rates, then consumers are paying more for less. and that’s like opposite of capitalism. [laughs] The opposite of what we’ve been raised to believe. But for something like water, it’s like kind of a necessity.” [00:08:20]

“So what we’re doing is actually really cool and sexy. We are asking for a technical clarification on the law not even changing the law just a technical clarification. We just want to make it clear to utilities that they’re allowed to use bond financing to bring in sustainable Innovation because the water that is being saved is technically an asset. The water that’s still the reservoir the water that’s not being wasted is the asset.” [00:11:45]

“I feel like working with WaterNow Alliance is playing this long game of like people need to feel it first in their homes and in their taps and get it and understand where their water comes from and have a better, like, water worldview before they’re gonna you know, get all hot and bothered about like corporate abuse of water.” [00:18:55]


“90% of the fracking and oil extraction that’s happening is in low income communities of color. This is a huge justice issue in California we’re poisoning communities.” [00:27:55]

“We love seeing Energy Efficiency goals. We love seeing renewable energy standards. We love seeing you know, solar subsidies and those kinds of things but you can’t just push solutions without addressing the supply side of things. We are, it fluctuates. But at any given day, we’re about the third largest oil producing state in the nation which people, I don’t think realize that. It’s Texas, North Dakota, Alaska and California like we are a oil-producing state. And you know, you can’t be a climate– and if you think about that. America is you one or two, top three or oil producing nations in the world. So that puts California very high on the list of oil producing regions in the world and you can’t be a climate leader while running one of the largest oil-producing regions in the world.” [00:28:15]

“We can’t necessarily stop climate change at this point. But like if we want to start to address climate change in a really meaningful way, we have to keep fossil fuels in the ground.” [00:29:31]

“Does the viability of a livable planet and justice for you know, all people regardless of income or you know, the color of their skin matter? Yeah, it does matter and all these fights are also intertwined.” [00:30:20]

“I think that as long as corporations are people and money is speech that we will not be able to govern the United States like I want to govern it.” [00:39:10]

“I think that there’s a lot of really big overarching the fights think we need to keep fighting especially on like local and state levels. I think that that’s really where you can you get farther away from federal and I alluded to this earlier and I said, I don’t really like federal politics. I think as you get farther away from federal politics and more localized, you get more power, more people power. More individual empowerment over what’s happening. And so I think that that’s you know, that’s the power of Grassroots right? Like they are on the ground and their Community doing their thing. And so the goal is really to engage people on those local issues.” [00:39:25]

If you believe that some that there’s a cause that calls your name. Maybe it’s giving $5 a month to that cause that makes a big difference. It’s a cup of coffee a month. You can sustain an organization. You can help sustain an organization. Maybe it’s its voting and getting you know five of your friends to vote, too. Maybe, if you’re an artist it’s you know, figuring out how you can work with the local nonprofit to mutually benefit each other. But it’s you know, I think it’s more than anything. It’s like getting informed.” [00:43:00]

Comment below with some of your favorite moments from the interview!

WHAT DID YOU THINK?

003: Eric Garcia: Drag, Detour Dance, and Exploring Identity

This episode, Eric Garcia talks about his drag performances and keeping a gritty low budget drag show in a changing San Francisco. We discuss his performance company, Detour Dance and their evolving mission and maturing body of work. We also talk about his work for Sean Dorsey, an acclaimed dancer and head of Fresh Meat Productions, a company devoted to transgender and queer arts. Finally, we get into identity and how Eric is using dance to explore himself as a person of color and as a gay man.

If you liked this interview, I think you'll enjoy my interview with the Lindy Hop dancer, Ellen Huffman.

I talk to Ellen Huffman, a Lindy Hop dancer based in San Francisco. Every year she organizes a Lindy Hop and Jazz Workshop called Fog City Stomp where she invites experts, live bands, and DJs to come teach, perform, and judge competitions. She’s danced for many troupes and currently runs the Someday Sweethearts. We’ll get into the history of swing, some influential members of the community, and fashion!

You may also like my interview with software developer and community, Albrey Brown.

I talk to Albrey Brown, who is a programmer and community leader here in the Bay Area. He is currently working as an Enrollment and Diversity specialist at Hack Reactor which is a coding bootcamp based out of San Francisco. Albrey works at Hack Reactor and after noticing the lack of diversity in the Hack Reactor family, he pitched an idea to the founders. He founded his own branch of the school called Telegraph Academy that focuses on finding students from underreprestend minorities. 

SHOW NOTES:

  •  Recording of Eric at his drag show, Drag the Ho Down. [00:02:59]
  • Eric talking about nostalgia and about the idea of missing a city or culture that he was never a part of [00:04:33]
  • Eric talking about having a gay brother in the city and his mother supporting his drag [00:07:01]
  • Eric talks about his drag show at the Rite Spot [00:08:44]
  • Recording of drag performer, Pepto Bizmarquee starting with my narration [00:10:57]
  • We talk about Detour Dance, Eric’s Performance company [00:11:56]
  • We talk about their original mission statement: Reframing the Mundane. [00:13:51]
  • Recording of Eric’s show Filaments. A drag queen takes home a man she meets on a bus. Starting with my narration [00:15:16]
  • Continuation of Recording. Drag queen gets cum in her eye. [00:18:19]
  • Eric talks about how Filaments was a huge shift in his thinking and how the mission of Detour Dance changed from ‘reframing the mundane’ to ‘making art that matters’. [00:19:50]
  • Eric talking about how he has traumatically neglected the fact that he was gay and a person of color for a large part of his life. [00:20:40]
  • How Eric and Cat have changed the way they think about performance. [00:21:40]
  • Moving forward with relentless truth-telling. [00:22:26]
  • Putting on dance performances isn’t cheap. [00:23:40]
  • Recording of performance called Beckon where woman talks to a dish of food with exotifying, stereotypical language. Starting with my narration [00:24:15]
  • How the change in his company is being perceived by the company members. [00:29:03]
  • How Eric makes his company, Detour Dance a community by providing value to his performers. [00:29:33]
  • Eric talking about Fresh Meat Productions and how his involvement radically propelled his career forward. [00:36:11]
  • How community, the thing we are nostalgic for is happening all around us. [00:38:24]
  • His perspective, what informs him. Why he gives back. [00:39:40]
  • Eric talking about how hard he’s worked and how hard he’s worked to know himself and create a fulfilling lifestyle around performance. [00:39:12]

PEOPLE MENTIONED:

MY FAVORITE MOMENTS

“I’ve been in this topic, actually, of nostalgia, um, Nostalgia of San Francisco and being a young person and having moved to San Francisco in… hmm.. 2007, and being like, already have some feelings about how much it has changed. But really not knowing how much it really really has changed for my elders, or whoever has been living there longer than I have. And so, this idea of missing a city, missing a culture that I was never really apart of and so doing this event really make me feel, in this really tangible way, like this is like that thing that I love about San Francisco. It’s a free event, it’s fucking weird, like you’re walking down Folsom Street and you see a bunch of weirdos dressed in like horrid drag and making tons of people laugh and it’s like yea, it’s a sweet little gem. And we don’t like to advertise it much without.. minus facebook but we don’t get any news [laughs] and yea it’s like me struggling to hold on to something and being really nostalgic for this time that I wasn’t really apart of. ” [00:04:33]

“I have so many mixed feelings about Detour Dance. It’s like my baby that’s now entered teenage years. It’s like pimply and ugly to look at and I’m what the fuck did I start?! And now it’s like asking me for money and I’m like fuckkk I can’t pay for you. But I love the crap out of that company so hard. [laughs] and if feels like it’s really important and I just get rid of it. It’s too late. It’s grown up.” [00:12:06]

“I’m queer and I’m also brown and I’ve ignored those two parts of my very significantly and almost traumatically like my entire life and so maybe this could be a good time. And my collaborator cat is also brown and queer so we were both kind of like, let’s tap into this and see what gold we find and that led to some serious restructuring on how we create work.” [00:20:40]

“rather than it just being like… fluid weird abstracted music that meant so much to me but inviting 100s of people to come and be like “good job, Eric” wasn’t enough. God bless all the people who said I was good because I look back at those work and I think Holy Shit! that was horrible!” [00:21:21]

“I move forward with in terms of creating performance is this like relentless truth, truth telling, and like balls to the wall, really absurd experience. Its going to be really loud, not in terms of volume but just in terms of opinion. Our new mission statement for the company, I think it’s as simple as we create art that matters” [00:22:26]

“Putting on dance shows is not cheap. yea it’s a lot of money. you’re dropping at least 20,000 dollars. That’s like the smallest little. You have to pay for performers and rental space, and rehearsals and all this stuff just like adds up. So like to drop like 1000s and 1000s of dollars for just like ‘good job’ is just like. And not that I’m making are for that validation but it’s like I’m getting older and my bank account is getting smaller. [laughs] so it’s like, if I’m going to invest in a performance project it’s going to stir some shit for people.” [00:23:40]

“You’re not coming to sit there and droop in your seat. Like I want to give you something to chew on and get upset about. “
[00:27:57]

“This is just the story that you have never heard. This is my day to day story. This is your first time hearing this story. That doesn’t mean I’m anti white. It just means I’m brown.” [00:28:16]

“I do offer is a chance for them to each have, or be a stakeholder in the company so like that means creating movement…You know but like making them feel like we’re a little family and if they have to leave and they want to leave that’s cool and I support them and then there’s like, you know, love forever but I want to have a group of people I’m making continual work with. So with me giving them really intense things, they step up and they’re like, there’s a level of trust that I try not to take advantage of or try not to ignore. [00:29:48]

“and to talk about community, the people who show up for these events. you’re in this room and there’s like 3 or 400 people and you’re just like what? it’s just like buzzing and there’s so much love. I don’t know! It’s like back to that this is what San Francisco is, this is what I was really attracted to, this is that, like, thing that we all miss that thing we are all nostalgic about. It’s happening right now.” [00:38:24]

“how I go through the world and how I make art and what communities I choose to be apart of. And what communities I can say hey! not anymore! thank you. I don’t need that. It’s not fulfilling me anymore and what I found humorous or I found worthwhile in high school isn’t necessary the case anymore. It’s formed my politics. It’s formed my self care. it’s formed who I choose to engage with and who I choose to love. and um, who I choose to live with. It’s just like part of it now and I wouldn’t have it any other way, it feels like a much more informed lifestyle. A much more interesting lifestyle. yea, its being grateful for the privilege and opportunity to chew on it and then make art about it and have people be subject to that. ” [00:42:16]

Comment below with some of your favorite moments from the interview!

LINKS TO ERIC'S WORK

Churro Nomi

Tiny Dance Film Festival

Beckon

WHAT DID YOU THINK?

Drag, Hoedowns, and Identity. A lot to chew on in this episode! Eric is so fun, hilarious, and talented. What did you think?

002: Elizia Artis: Education in Flint, the Water Crisis, and BLM

This episode, I talk with Elizia Artis about what it means to build a community around education. She works in Flint, Michigan for the Crim Fitness Foundation and works with the school and communities there to solve problems effecting the students and parents. Elizia was an AmeriCorps volunteer and now manages other AmeriCorps volunteers in Flint so she’ll give some information about civil service and what some of those responsibilities look like. Lastly, Elizia explores some of her thoughts about issues effecting people of color and the Black Lives Matter movement.

If you liked this interview, I think you'll enjoy my interview with the Oakland community organization, Hip Hop 4 Change.

I talk to Khafre and JP of Hip Hop For Change. Khafre is the founder and executive director and JP is the events coordinator. We discuss the inherent problems of corporate media promoting a singular narrative of hip hop and the reason why diversifying hip hop is important for kids in inner city communities.

You may also like my interview with activist, Tia Lebherz.

Tia Lebherz talks in depth about saving water and other threats to our environment. First, we talk about her work at WaterNow Alliance and how WaterNow is bringing together people to find innovative ways to save water on the West Coast. Then we’ll talk about her work for Food and Water Watch as the California organizer and the importance of banning fracking, specifically in California. 

SHOW NOTES:

  • Elizia explains her responsibilities at the Crim Fitness foundation. [00:02:14] 
  • Elizia talks about her experience working for East African Community Services with AmeriCorps in Seattle.[00:04:23]
  • What is AmeriCorps? [00:04:45]
  • How do parents and students get involved with the programs you introduce? [00:07:33]
  • How has the program been received by the community? [00:08:33]
  • What does the area around the schools look like that Elizia is fixing up? [00:10:15]
  • Building trust in communities. [00:13:03]
  • As a city with more low income people, are there more AmeriCorps workers? [00:14:33]
  • What was it like watch the Flint Water Crisis unfold in Flint, Michigan? [00:16:49]
  • Are people super distrustful of the government now? [00:19:00]
  • Let’s talk about Emergency Managers. [00:20:49]
  • How are people recovering? [00:21:30]
  • Elizia opens up about her thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement and the recent police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castille. [00:25:40]
  • How was Leelee introduced to Black Lives Matter? [00:29:30]
  • What is progress? How do you see progress? [00:33:37]
  • Importance of voting, especially for low income people. [00:36:05]
  • Laws that make it more difficult for people to vote. [00:38:20]
  • Black Lives Matter is about Identity. [00:40:00]

MY FAVORITE MOMENTS

“We’re only as good as the last student or family that feels engaged or successful from our programming because we need them to tell their friends, their neighbors, their other parishioners at the church that they go to. We rely on satisfying their needs in order to continue our programming.” [00:09:20]


So we take all that information back to the city of Flint and we say, hey. I mean if we want more kids walking to school. If we want more kids from their neighborhood who may not even attend that school coming to our sports programs. And if we want to see a community that is actually just buzzing around these beacons that we’re trying to create we have to do cleanups. [00:11:10]

“No and they don’t fit well in like regular Democratic American society because they’re unelected officials. [re: emergency managers]… So basically when a city or then in Detroit’s case of school district declares itself bankrupt, an individual is brought in, you know, much like a closer at a corporation. To say okay. Here’s what we’re going to cut and it’s going to save you money immediately and they usually have no connection to the community that they’re making these cuts over. They have only a connection to money-saving policy. It’s just the fact that like yeah sure. There definitely are moments in which city council representatives and other individuals could have done better jobs for a lot of these bankrupt situations within the state, but in all reality having an unelected official to kind of quote unquote clean up the mess economically. Really just makes it so that those who are actually affected by this bankruptcy have no way of having representation when these problems are quote unquote solved.” [00:20:49]

“So that’s that’s the really difficult part is just just the unknown. That’s the part that really I think also just scares parents the most like all I was trying to do was provide a human right of water to my child. And now I’m left wondering is their life going to be harder than every other child’s life in America.” Re: Flint Water Crisis [00:25:00]

“I feel like sometimes I’m doing the most. Sometimes I’m wondering if I’m doing enough. Sometimes I’m wondering why is it still my job to be doing anything at all? And it’s very difficult because you know, as like a really normal American, born in 1989 just kind of trying to like live a life that is promised to me in this myth of an American Dream. Why on Earth is it my responsibility to continue to ask for my rights and to continue to ask for my safety and to continue to promise that I’m not a threat.” [00:28:20]

“There’s been a lot of laws repealed in the past few years that I’ve definitely reminded me that it was law enforcement, like not the definition as a police person, but like the the fact that voting laws and non-discrimination laws existed, that have really kept the nation progressing. Not necessarily, you know, individual human mind sets or family mindsets or organizational mindsets. It’s really been the fact that it is against the law to treat me differently and as some of those laws, especially, when the voting rights, I think of the Voting Rights Act was repealed. That’s when you can start to see like, oh no, there hasn’t been that much human change in 50-60 years and that’s scary. And it’s disproportionately scary.” [00:33:45]

“So out of nowhere like there’s grandmas who just straight up or like how do I get a driver’s license when I don’t know where my birth certificate is because I was born under like severe oppression or I was basically born to a family of sharecroppers. How am I supposed to find any of that identification that you deem necessary to let me vote? So there’s so many people that might just not be able to express their voice at a time though really matters.” [00:39:10]

“I think that I grew up thinking that I had to be insanely smart and poised and just kind of like ready to be put in some sort of like intellectual ring at any given moment. And that’s great. That’s definitely helped me in my own college and career life. But at the same time, the fact that I could you know, see a younger kid and be like, you know that you can just be you. Like there’s no need to strive to put yourself above anybody else so that you can be smart for a black girl or pretty for a black girl or well-spoken for a black girl. You are amazing for a black girl and that aspect I really do appreciate about the movement as well.” [00:40:20]

“While we’re fighting for our rights and we’re fighting for ourselves, that doesn’t mean that we can’t be celebrating ourselves too. So, you know, there’s like this notion of black excellence and all these things that really, you know, just put us back in the perspective that all were fighting for, is the beauty that we’ve already seen in ourselves.” [00:41:38]

Comment below with some of your favorite moments from the interview!

WHAT DID YOU THINK?

001: David Lauer: Contact in the Desert and UFOs

This episode, I interview my friend, David Lauer about his experience at Contact in the Desert. Contact in the Desert is a conference that focuses on aliens, paranormal activity, and high weirdness. David is a stop motion animator and former 3D animator at Tippett Studio, an award-winning visual effects house. David has worked with Phil Tippett on his stop-motion masterpiece, Mad God. He also recently did animation for the film, Sorry to Bother You which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

This interview, David first gives background into the conference and then tells the story of a UFO sighting he had there and six possible explanations for what this sighting could have been.

If you liked this interview, I think you'll enjoy my interview with astronomer, Meredith Rawls.

Meredith Rawls talks about her work with a Large Synoptic Survey Telescope being built in Chile set to be finished in 2020 that will take the highest resolution video of the sky so far over the course of a decade. MeredithWe’ll also talk about her work with red giants and how she uses starquakes to understand the mass and make-up of a star. 

You may also like my interview with former Pop Sci writer, Kelsey Atherton.

Kelsey Atherton covers unmanned vehicles and defense technology. First we look at drones and different development projects being worked on as well as current and potential legislation surrounding drones. Then we move into automated technology and discuss moral dilemmas that come with programming machines to think for themselves using an example by MIT called the Moral Machine. 

SHOW NOTES:

  • David talking about how him and his friend Nick Sazani got into the ‘high weirdness’ with the podcast Mysterious Universe. [00:02:31]
  • Graham Hancock and the academic side of ‘high weirdness’. [00:03:25]
  • What kind of people show up at Contact in the Desert? [00:04:51]
  • Talking about the Metaphysical institute where Contact in the Desert took place. [00:07:01]
  • David sees Tricia McCannon at a panel and listens to her talk about the mission she downloaded at five-years-old. [00:09:25]
  • Rational Thinking goes out the window when there’s 1000 other people cheering at this stuff. [00:11:26]
  • Graham Hancock, alternative archaeologist, introduces himself as the person who has done Ayahuasca 60 times. [00:12:14]
  • Laura Eisenhauer, Dwight D. Eisenhauers granddaughter, is angry that we’re on a planet invaded by Draco-reptilians. [00:13:29]
  • George Noory, host of Coast of Coast AM gets a Contact in the Desert birthday bash. [00:15:38]
  • David begins the story of the UFO that him and Nick Sazani saw at Contact in the Desert. [00:18:29]
  • The campers see the floating orbs. [00:21:25]
  • David shines a laser on the UFOs. [00:22.59]
  • Commence Scooby Doo investigation mode. David starts presenting his six different theories for the UFOs. [00:24:53]
  • Town Prank, institutional conspiracy, or military craft? [00:25:56]
  • Was the UFO a spirit orb? [00:27:16]
  • Magneto, aero dynamic, plasma sheath? [00:29:32]
  • David’s theory about natural stores of DMT being released being a possible cause for the UFO siting. [00:30:52]
  • Stargazing activity guarantees UFO siting. [00:36:05]
    Skepticism free zone. [00:37:43]
  • David wants to be part of the conspiracy but there’s an ethical dilemma. [00:38:31]
  • David’s dad thinks your moral responsibility to keep tricking these people. [00:41:16]
  • Truth of the matter isn’t that important. People’s perception is what’s real to them. [00:41:39]

MY FAVORITE MOMENTS

“I saw one completely legitimate tinfoil hat that was definitely an antenna.” [00:06:51]

“And, so, really quickly a weird thing happened where I stopped blinking at what I was hearing. If I had some sort of rational wall in my brain where it was like “I’m not going to listen to people talking about Elementals and the Fall of Atlantis.” It was like a battering ram that just like totally blew the gates down! [laughs] and then people would be talking about how we’d been infiltrated by Draco-Reptilians and we’re absorbing nano-particles through chem-trails and I was just like “yea, ok, alright I’ll take that.” I mean, there’s 1000 other people cheering at this stuff…” [00:11:26]

“Then, [Laura Eisenhauer] started talking about how she downloaded her mission at age five and she was saying that she wakes up early everyday and gets out of bed and she just feels angry! She just feels angry, angry, angry that we are being bombarded by the nanoparticles sent by these draco-reptilians through chemtrails and she’s just like ‘Arggg’ it takes her minutes to just calm herself down. And she said that she wanted to make a shirt that says that ‘she’s doing the best I can on a planet infiltrated by Draco-Reptilians.'” [00:14:16]

“It would go really well with the pin that Tricia McCannon was handing out that say that we’re a ‘galactic federation ambassador.’ [laughs] I don’t even know! For humans? For the Pleiadian past lives? I’m not to sure.” [00:14:58]

“It was around, 150 drunk UFO convention goers. [laughs] dancing together, but all alone at the same time. [laughs] under these pink purple surreal lights while Robert Perala, a UFO abductee is in a fedora and suit doing the worst lounge singing I’ve ever heard while people are eating a wedding cake. [laughs] like it’s just sooo much going on. At the same time, it’s been like 110 degrees the entire day everyone dehydrated and they’re all getting liquored up and dancing for George Noory. It’s just this beautiful experience that everybody should just get to witness once! Go to one George Noory birthday bash in your life! Ya know?” [00:16:51]

“So it’s like you don’t just shine green lasers at an aircraft. These were weird enough and I’m looking at them and I’m like well everyone else is doing it, I’m going to shine my laser at it! [laughs] I gotta get in on this!” [00:23:58]

“These aren’t just normal alien flying saucers. These are magneto, aero-dynamic plasma sheath craft that are going inter-dimensional speeds. I’m thrilled that we got such a specific account of exactly how these UFOs works!” [00:38:48]

“It is kinda disappointing that as we were leaving we didn’t get to see through the binoculars some golf cart on the other side of a sand dune releasing balloons as a nice, cinematic little bow-tie to the whole thing.” [00:35:34]

“We were trying to find the lady who was running the star-viewing events. Her name was Melinda Lesley. We found her table where she could be approached by us Plebeians. [laughs] and um, she wasn’t there but she did have some brochures for other star-gazing events and one of them was, had the headline “UFO sighting guaranteed.” (laughs) Soooo, hmmm.. Keep that in mind when it comes to the institutional conspiracy theory.” [00:36:03]

“So it was kinda skepticism safe spot.” [00:38:05]

“Do you think like letting people have that clear joy of seeing what they thought was spirit orbs, do you thinking giving them that through false-pretenses is ok? I was going on about how truth doesn’t really matter and it’s about the human experience so giving people that human experience, I guess you could kinda justify it in some way.” [00:39:32]

“I kinda grew up with that mindset where you want empirical, rational, mindset where you figure out things, you gather the data, and then you can make an educated decision about how to go forward. And I think that really does have its place, that is a really valuable mindset. But at the same time and kinda running parallel to it. I just want to hear the most ridiculous extremes of the human experience, regardless of the veracity of it. Like the truth of the matter, really isn’t that important because whether or not it happened that person perceived it that way and that’s what’s really incredible about it.” [00:41:39]

Comment below with some of your favorite moments from the interview!

LINKS TO DAVID'S WORK

Goodbye Blue Camper:

Quadrant:

Stonefield Civil Engineering:

WHAT DID YOU THINK?

UFOs, New Age folk, and floating spirit orbs in the desert. I love David’s account of the super quirky, Contact in the Desert Convention. What about you?

010: Hip Hop for Change: Why a GrassRoots Organization Fights to Get Hip Hop in Schools

This week I talk to Khafre and JP of Hip Hop For Change. Khafre is the founder and executive director and JP is the events coordinator. We discuss the inherent problems of corporate media promoting a singular narrative of hip hop and the reason why diversifying hip hop is important for kids in inner city communities. Hip Hop For Change teaches classes about the rich history of hip hop in Oakland schools as well as art classes that help kids deal with PTSD and trauma that they are suffering due to inner city violence. They also serve as a collective for artists. They have teamed up with local MCs, DJs, dancers, and graffiti artists and offer free and low cost studio recording services for artists in the Bay Area.

If you liked this interview, I think you'll enjoy my interview with director, dancer, and founder of TurfInc, Johnny5.

I talk to Johnny5, the founder and director of TURFInc, a company in Oakland that teaches kids turfing. Turfing is a style of street dance that came out of hyphy in the 90s. TURFInc gives them opportunities to make money and helps them stay off the street by learning marketable skills. Johnny5 has worked with tons of big name artists, he’s been featured and finds talent for Yak Films, the premiere dance film company in the world.

If you liked this interview, I think you'll enjoy my interview with activist, Charlie Furman.

I talk to Charlie Furman, an Activist and Digital Organizer who creates campaigns focused on creative internet organizing to spread movements quickly and meaningfully over many channels. Charlie was a campaign manager for Fight for the Future and faught hard for Net Neutrality and against the Trans Pacific Partnership and was also a digital organizer for 350.org, People’s Climate movement, and Demand Progress. 

SHOW NOTES:

  •  

PEOPLE MENTIONED:

  •  

OTHER MENTIONS

  •  

MY FAVORITE MOMENTS

Comment below with some of your favorite moments from the interview!

LINKS TO HIP HOP 4 CHANGE'S WORK

  •  

WHAT DID YOU THINK?