Beginnings (general)

On today's episode I talk to musician Tim Kinsella. Originally from Chicago, Tim has been part of some of the best indie rock bands of the last quarter-century. In 1989, he formed Cap'n Jazz along with his brother Mike, who would go on to become a frequent collaborator with Tim and a well-know artist in his own right in bands like American Football and Owen. Even though Cap'n Jazz only put out one album - and later an anthology on Jade Tree Records - they became a cult band and helped define a kind of post-hardcore art-rock. After Cap'n Jazz broke up, Tim formed the even-more-experimental band Joan of Arc, which has been his main project since 1995. Since their first album A Portable Model of..., they've put out over 30 albums and 7"es. Tim's also played in many other memorable bands including Owls, Friend/Enemy and Make Believe, and that's just naming a few. Joan of Arc's latest He’s Got The Whole This Land Is Your Land In His Hands was just released by Joyful Noise.

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Direct download: Beginnings_-_Tim_Kinsella_of_Joan_of_Arc_and_Capn_Jazz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:07am EST

On today's episode I talk to violist Nadia Sirota. Based in New York, Nadia is a Juilliard-trained violist best known for her singular sound and expressive execution and she's worked with a number of amazing contemporary composers like Nico Muhly, Judd Greenstein, and Missy Mazzoli. Her debut album First Things First was released in 2009 on New Amsterdam Records and was cited as a record of the year by The New York Times. In addition to her work as a soloist, Nadia is a member of yMusic, ACME (the American Contemporary Music Ensemble) and Alarm Will Sound, and has lent her viola to recording and concert projects by artists such as Grizzly Bear, Dirty Projectors, Anohni and Arcade Fire. In 2015, she won a Peabody Award for her podcast Meet the Composer

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Direct download: Beginnings_-_Nadia_Sirota.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:16am EST

On today's episode I talk to rapper and academic Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo AKA Sammus. Originally from upstate New York, Enongo currently lives in Ithaca where she is attending Cornell to pursue her PhD in Science and Technology Studies. Parallel to her academic work, Enongo is a rising star in the indie hip hop scene. She released her first EP Fly Nerd in 2010, and since then has released numerous albums and EPs, some on her own, some through the NuBlack Music Group and her latest Pieces in Space was released last year by Don Giovanni records.

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Direct download: Beginnings_-_Sammus.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:06am EST

On today's episode I talk to writer Chris Claremont. Born in London, Chris' family moved to the States when he was a child, and though he originally studied acting and political theory, he eventually started writing comics after taking a job as a gofer/editorial assistant at Marvel while in college. Chris was originally given the low-selling series X-Men to write, which he did for the next 16 years, turning it into both a groundbreaking and best-selling series and revolutionizing the ways stories in comics were told. Not only did he create many beloved characters including Rogue, Psylocke, Kitty Pryde, Mystique, Emma Frost, Sabretooth, Strong Guy, Mister Sinister, Captain Britain, and Gambit, but he also scripted some of the most iconic stories of the X-Men's entire existence including "The Dark Phoenix Saga" and "Days of Future Past". Besides his work on the X-Men, Chris wrote the spin-offs The New Mutants and Excalibur, and has written for almost every character in the Marvel Universe. His relaunch of X-Men in 1991 is still the best-selling comic ever, and in 2015, Claremont and his X-Men collaborator John Byrne were entered into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame. And everything I've just said barely even scratches the surface of his career.

This is the website for Beginningssubscribe on iTunes, follow me on Twitter.

Direct download: Beginnings_-_Chris_Claremont.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:33am EST

On today's episode I talk to stand-up and writer Joel Kim Booster. Originally from South Korea, Joel was adopted at a young age and moved to the southwest suburbs of Chicago. He's written for Billy on the Street and Moshe Kasher's new Comedy Central show, and was one of the New Faces at the Just for Laughs Festival last year. He's also performed on Comedy Knockout, The Meltdown, and Conan, and recently sold a show to Fox based on his life called Birthright!

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Direct download: Beginnings_-_Joel_Kim_Booster.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:49am EST

On today's episode I talk to musician Matt Pond. Originally from New Hampshire, Matt began writing and releasing music in 1998 as Matt Pond PA. Debuting with the album Deer Apartments, the band quickly gained momentum after claiming top honors in an unsigned bands competition sponsored by CDNOW. Since then, Matt - along with a rotating cast of musical collaborators - has released almost two dozen albums and EPs on labels like Polyvinyl and BMG. His latest, Winter Lives, was just released late last year on Matt's new indie label 131 Records.

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Direct download: Beginnings_-_Matt_Pond.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:53am EST

On today's episode I talk to writer and performer Amber Ruffin. Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, Amber began her comedy career studying at iO in Chicago. From there she moved to Amsterdam, where she performed with Boom Chicago all over Europe, eventually ending up at the Second City Mainstage back in the States. In 2014, she became a writer on Late Night with Seth Meyers - the first black, female writer in late night history - and she often performs on the show, most notably in the recurring segment "Jokes Seth Can't Tell". 

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Direct download: Beginnings_-_Amber_Ruffin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:37am EST

On today's episode I talk to comedian Josie Long. Josie's originally from Sidcup, but grew up in Orpington, London. She began stand-up when she was 14, and since then has created or been part of an innumerable amount of cool projects. This includes numerous performances at the Edinburgh Fringe - where she was nominated for "Best Show" scads of times and won "Best Newcomer" in 2006 - as well as the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Just for Laughs and more. Josie wrote for the awesome Channel 4 teen dramedy Skins, she's appeared on a number of panel shows like 8 out of 10 Cats, and her 2009 BBC Radio series All of the Planet's Wonders is absolutely wonderful, as is her literary podcast Book Shambles, which she co-hosts with The Infinite Monkey Cage's Robin Ince.

This is the website for Beginnings, subscribe on iTunes, follow me on Twitter.

Direct download: Beginnings_-_Josie_Long.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:10am EST

On today's episode I talk to comedian Roy Wood Jr. A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Roy began his comedy career in 1998 at the age of 19 while attending Florida A&M University. In 2006, he was named one of the New Faces at the Just for Laughs Festival and made his television debut that year on The Late Show with David Letterman. Roy's also performed on Conan, Def Comedy Jam, Craig Ferguson, and he finished third in the 2010 season of Last Comic Standing. Even with all this success, 2016 might be called his breakout year. He was named one of Variety's "10 Comics to Watch" and has been a correspondent on The Daily Show since Trevor Noah took over. Stay tuned for future episodes with Josie Long, Amber Ruffin, Joel Kim Booster and a special 300th episode coming up soon!

This is the website for Beginnings, subscribe on iTunes, follow me on Twitter.

Direct download: Beginnings_-_Roy_Wood_Jr.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:41am EST

On today's episode I talk to actor and comedian Baron Vaughn. As a stand-up, Baron’s performed on Conan (twice), Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and he has his own Comedy Central Half Hour. As well, AST Records released his album Blaxistential Crisis earlier this year. As an actor, he's been featured in movies like Black Dynamite and Cloverfield, and is currently a series regular on the Netflix show Grace and Frankie. Baron will also be part of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 reboot, playing the part of Tom Servo! Stay tuned for future episodes with Roy Wood Jr., Josie Long, Amber Ruffin and a special 300th episode coming up soon!

This is the website for Beginnings, subscribe on iTunes, follow me on Twitter.

Direct download: Beginnings_-_Baron_Vaughn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:57am EST