Episode 15 (Coming Soon ... !)
"BOOM! For Real!"
w/ Sara Driver - Filmmaker; Longtime Jim Jarmusch collaborator/partner
Well, it's that time again, Nertzers. We're taking a brief hiatus here at NERTZ to focus on wrapping up a few other non-Nertz-related projects. When we come back, we have quite a doozy, though! BOOM! It's Sara Driver, longtime partner and collaborator of the one and only master of indie films, Jim Jarmusch. Driver is also a filmmaker in her own right, having made a handful of movies back in the day and is now coming out with her documentary Boom For Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Driver was a close friend of Basquiat's, and her intimate portrait of the late artist should be quite the quite-the! And speaking of, we have quite the quite-the episode in the works here: a walking tour of Manhattan's Lower East Side with Driver, as she explains where Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon and she used to see people get mugged ... in the same spot where now there's a Damien Hirst gallery that you can't even get into if you're not dressed right! We talk about how the "nerdy" weirdos of those days grew up to create a lot of what became No Wave and the Cinema of Transgression .. before there would eventually be such a thing as the "indie" movie scene ... and why the hell we should care on a podcast like this. So, check back soon and we'll see you (?) then!
"Buzzing With Too Much Coffee Man"
w/ Shannon Wheeler - Graphic novelist; Creator of "Too Much Coffee Man"; Frequent contributor to The New Yorker; Comix scholar/professor
Time to get caffeinated! On this episode of NERTZ, we have one of our favorite all-time comix folks: Mr. Shannon Wheeler, the creator of one of the great indie comix of all time: TOO MUCH COFFEE MAN. Tah-dah! Wheeler also teaches and writes about comix (and comics; you'll find out the difference, as you will whether or not folks in the industry actually LIKE the term "graphic novel"), regularly contributes to the New Yorker and recently put out what is becoming an incredibly popular book, Shit My President Says: The Illustrated Tweets of Donald J. Trump. There's so much to glom off of Wheeler, his adventures through the world of comix, comics, graphic novels, illustrations, conventions, what R. Crumb is REALLY like, and much-much more.
"The Nerdiest Nerd Who Ever Nerded (Nerdily)"
w/ Toby Radloff - "Genuine Nerd" from American Splendor; Actor; Early MTV icon AND Wayne Alan Harold - Filmmaker
We are so excited to present one of the key figures of Nerd/Geek Culture, Mr. Toby Radloff, to our podcast. Toby took on the qualifier of "Genuine Nerd" after becoming fascinated by the quintessential Nerd Culture film Revenge of the Nerds, and later built his own reputation as such through his reoccurring role in Harvey Pekar's groundbreaking comic book series American Splendor. Toby would appear as himself in the film adaptation of Splendor, which also featured renown comedian/actor Judah Friedlander as Toby, too. Toby starred in his own series of "Genuine Nerd" interstitials which he helped write and produce for MTV in the late eighties/early nineties, as well. These brief spots were directed by longtime friend and collaborator Wayne Alan Harold who additionally directed Toby's two Troma films Killer Nerd and Bride of the Killer Nerd. Get ready to hear the word "nerd" far more than any episode of NERTZ yet!
"Pop Goes The Culture"
w/ Caseen Gaines - Pop culture historian; Author
This episode of NERTZ gets right to the skinny of how Nerd/Geek Culture and pop culture intersect with our good friend Caseen Gaines. Caseen has contributed many pieces to outlets ranging from Vanity Fair to Rolling Stone and has written books on: Pee-Wee's Playhouse, A Christmas Story, the Back to the Future trilogy and (just released!) The Dark Crystal. As something more than the typical "fanboy," what does Caseen have to say about obsessing so passionately over a geek totem like Howard the Duck or "Weird" Al (as he has for his journalistic pieces) ... while at the same time receiving so much (occasionally frantic) adoration from fellow geeks/nerds/fans himself? Find out in this fun-filled and geeky episode!
"The Invisible Geek"
w/ Adam Bradley - Hip hop & Ralph Ellison scholar; Professor of English (PhD); Author
After a brief hiatus, we return to NERTZ with a truly fascinating character who, frankly, loves investigating truly fascinating characters for his many articles, books and classes on subjects ranging from the rapper Common (with whom he wrote a bestselling memoir), to the monumentally impactful writer of Invisible Man (Ralph Ellison, whose literary estate he assisted throughout Bradley's time at Harvard), to the "poetry" of pop music. Many of his books on hip hop and pop culture (such as The Anthology of Rap and Book of Rhymes) have become seminal texts for university classes around the country. He speaks all over the country on a series of compelling topics, directs the Laboratory for Race & Popular Culture (RAP Lab) at the University of Colorado - Boulder where is an English professor and dresses really snazzily too. What the FUNK does THIS guy have to do with Geek/Nerd Culture? Find out in this episode of your favorite nerdy nerd podcast, NERTZ!
"Is Diablo Cody Really A Nerd?"
w/ Diablo Cody - Academy Award-winning screenwriter of Juno; other works include films such as Young Adult and TV shows such as United States of Tara and One Mississippi
For our TENTH EPISODE (!) of NERTZ, we have an extremely special guest in screenwriter and TV show creator Diablo Cody. There's so much to be said about Ms. Cody, but we'll leave that for the episode, a fun and informal frolic through her thoughts on what it means to be a nerd or a geek, whether or not there's such a thing as "nerd cultural misappropriation" and even a little bit about why she kind-of-sort-of agrees with American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis that Millennials are a bit too cuddly (and why that may kind-of-sort-of be okay). We're truly honored to have Diablo Cody celebrate our Tenth Episode Anniversary and can't wait for you to check out what makes her so damn deliciously devilish ...
"How To Make Love Like A Geek"
w/ Missy Suicide - Founder of Suicide Girls
What can one say about Suicide Girls? The world-renowned iconic and iconoclastic collective of ever-growing young women who champion their inner and outer beauty in the most unique fashion while being at the same time totally embracing of their un-fashionability. There's plenty more wonderful contradictions ahead with our episode involving the proud mama of the Suicide Girls bunch, Missy Suicide, who speaks with us about how being a misfit or outsider can sometimes be pretty damn sexy. In the process, we'll discuss how nerds and geeks have become so hot (in more ways than one) over the past two decades and what Suicide Girls may have had to do with it (especially when we consider one of their last photography collections, GEEKOLOGY).
"You Got Steampunk'd"
w/ James Blaylock - Sci-fi/Fantasy Author; Co-creator of Steampunk
Before Steampunk was "fashion," it was literature. And before that, there was Philip K. Dick who wrote the books and short stories adapted into such films as: Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, Paycheck, Screamers, Vanilla Sky, Next and the Amazon series The Man in the High Castle (some would also say The Truman Show, but that's for a later discussion ... that you'll also hear in this episode). In this episode of NERTZ, we speak with one of our foremost sci-fi/fantasy writers James Blaylock about how he sat at the feet of Dick as a burgeoning young author, some truth-is-stranger-than-fiction anecdotes about the man himself ... and how Blaylock co-created Steampunk back in the late Seventies.
(**HUMBLE APOLOGIES: Due to the nature of the original interview, which took place in a noisy restaurant, there is a fair amount of ambient sound in this one. But we thought the actual interview was worth sharing and our genius producer did a fine job in keeping Blaylock's discussion clear, so hopefully no worries!)
"How Loud Is Mumblecore?"
w/ Andrew Bujalski - Filmmaker; "Godfather" of Mumblecore film scene
Hailed as one of the rising stars of the DIY/indie film scene at the turn of the 21st century -- including a "favorite filmmaker" designation by perennial bellwether critic Amy Taubin and a "Someone To Watch" Award given by the Independent Spirit Awards -- Andrew Bujalski, rather unwittingly, has been called the pioneer of the so-called "Mumblecore" movement in cinema. Perhaps the most recent alternative film ethos (or maybe just a marketing catchall by lazy journalists -- you decide), Mumblecore has boasted such "graduates" as Greta Gerwig, the Duplass Bros., Lynn Shelton and Joe Swanberg, amongst many others. And it all started -- for good or ill -- with Bujalski, whose films include Funny Ha Ha, Mutual Appreciation and Computer Chess. What happens when film nerds and geeks become major movie stars and big-time directors? Find out on the this episode of NERTZ when Bujalski does far more than merely ... ahem ... MUMBLE his own thoughts on the answer.
"And The Award For Biggest Geek Goes To ..."
w/ Kristen Nedopak - Founder, The Geekie Awards
After a needful brief hiatus, we have a span-breaking new episode with one of our favorite geek gals, Kristen Nedopak. Beyond being a cover girl for a bevy of various high-profile publications and general gadabout at comic convention panels and the like all over the world, Nedopak is the creator of the first-ever awards ceremony exclusively for geeky artists and personalities, the Geekie Awards (currently on hiatus as they expand for their 2017 show). She's been joined at the festivities by such big names in the realm as Stan Lee, Seth Green, Kevin Smith and plenty more where that came from (just look it up!), and wait'll you hear what she has to say about meeting these folks, running the awards and all that goes into 'em and just WHY there "should" be an award ceremony for geeks in the first place. Her experiences may surprise you. Or not. Either/or.
"Go With The Flo"
w/ John Park - Co-Creator of the "Flo" Progressive Insurance Spokeswoman
Ad/marketing maven John Park (artsandsci.com) talks with us about how he co-created the ubiquitous "Flo" Progressive Insurance spokeswoman. Along the way, he discusses how Flo may be a sign of our nerdy times (engendering the "geek is gorgeous" sensibility onscreen and elsewhere these days), the intersection between big business and Geek Culture and even why you might find Flo to be sexier than the prototypical blonde bombshell spokesmodel.
"The Simpsons Go Geek"
w/ Mike Reiss - Longtime Writer for The Simpsons, Co-Creator of The Critic, Writer for National Lampoon AND Maggie Roswell - Emmy-Nominated Voice Actress on The Simpsons (Maude Flanders, Miss Hoover, Luann Van Houten, Helen Lovejoy, Shary Bobbins, et al)
We finally uncover our long-lost Episode Four, a very special segment involving two different mainstays from The Simpsons. Join Mike Reiss (who has written for the show since day one and was showrunner during Seasons 3 and 4, co-created The Critic and was a writer for National Lampoon) and Emmy-nominated voice actress Maggie Roswell (Maude Flanders, Luann Van Houten, Helen Lovejoy, Shary Bobbins, et al) as we finally distinguish the differences between the nerd, the geek and the dork, all while keying into some easy-to-understand examples from the beloved animated series that helped to raise us all as young'ns.
"Hombre En Fuego"
w/ Jai Nitz - Comic Book Writer, Professor, Creator of Suicide Squad's El Diablo
Jai Nitz very simply knows more about comic books than anyone else alive knows about anything. Just the way it is, folks. He's taught on the subject at the university level, is one of only 150 professional comic book writers in the world (don't believe that it's that few? listen in and you'll find out), wrote DC's first-ever comic issue to be written wholly in Spanish and created the iteration of El Diablo that appears in the film adaptation of Suicide Squad (you'll definitely be hearing more about him soon). Jai tells us why comic book conventions have changed (somewhat for the good, somewhat for the bad), why we might blame (or praise) Neil Gaiman for a lot of these changes and what the heck this has to do with professional wrestling.
"Alex Winter's Excellent Adventure"
w/ Alex Winter - Filmmaker, Actor, Techie, Bill from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
Far more than just "Bill from Bill & Ted's" (or "Marko from The Lost Boys," et al), Alex Winter has become a much sought-after filmmaker in his own right. His credits range from numerous live-action television episodes, to animated projects, to eye-opening documentaries based on his longtime passion for how technology intersects with the mores and mentality of our modern epoch. His recent Kickstarter campaign for his forthcoming Frank Zappa documentary now holds the record for most fundraising, as well. Alex speaks with us about his experiences with fellow misfits Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning, why he feels The Social Network (and Hollywood overall) prefers to make assholes out of such techies and why geeking out might be our era's answer to contrarianism.
"Why We Geek Out So Damn Hard"
w/ Dr. Sandra Calvert - Director, Children's Digital Media Center @ Georgetown University
One of the foremost experts investigating how media affects the psychology of children (and, by proxy, the rest of us), Dr. Sandra Calvert reveals fresh research on how and why we connect so intimately with fictional characters, especially those onscreen. Ever wonder why newscasters talk directly to the camera? For the same reason you're obsessed with Harry Potter. Find out what this all means on our inaugural episode of NERTZ! (READ THE COMPLEMENTARY ARTICLE IN WIRED)