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Light and lively discussions on film, music, and creative culture. Visit queenofpeaches.com for show notes.
Jun 21, 2020
020 Hilary Webb: We Breathe Together
Complete show notes are available on QueenofPeaches.com. Today, I’m in conversation with my very dear friend, singer Hilary Webb. Originally from Schererville, Indiana, Hilary began studying voice at the age of 13. She earned her bachelor’s from Ball State University, where she studied with Mary Hagopian, and she earned her master’s in vocal performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has worked with John Rutter, Dan Forrest, Beverly Sills, Barbara Hahn, and The King’s Singers and has been soprano section leader at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, since 2011 and has been part of the Bel Canto Company since 2003. Hilary has also performed with the Greensboro Opera, Capital Opera Company, and The Choral and Oratorio Societies of Greensboro, and has made guest appearances with The Triad Pride Men’s Chorus. A two-time National Association of Teachers of Singing Great Lakes Auditions finalist and Mu Phi Epsilon scholarship winner, she competes throughout the country and performs in the U.S. and Europe. In our chat today, we talk about how we first met thanks to the robust community arts scene of Northwest Indiana in the 1980s and 90s (and how the secret origins of the very name of this podcast go back to my days as piano accompanist for many of Hilary’s solo performances), seeing Placido Domingo live on stage the first time she ever went to the opera in Chicago, hanging out with Beverly Sills, how women and men’s voices come to maturity in different ways, the spiritual dimensions of choral music and the challenges of choral singing during these days of Covid and social distancing, and why she’s specifically chosen not to live in New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago in order to pursue music professionally.
1 hr 8 min
Jun 13, 2020
Black Lives Matter
To read the full text, please visit QueenofPeaches.com.
May 10, 2020
019 “It’s Not About Where You Are That Makes You Safe, It’s About How You’re Connected to the Earth”–A Chat with Myan Binder
Visit QueenofPeaches.com for complete show notes! Myan Binder is a healer, clairvoyant, animal communicator, and spiritual teacher. She has studied painting at the University of Wisconsin and art direction at the Miami Ad School and has taught everything from preschool to ESL to adult refugees. Currently, she teaches classes on all things psychic, including energy awareness, how to turn on your own abilities, how to heal yourself through working with your own energy, how to use your psychic abilities in your everyday life, and how to communicate with other animals. She is also the creator of the campaign Clean Your Energy, which engages people in becoming more aware of their own energy and the energy around them. In our delightful chat today, we discuss why it’s harder to feel safe when you get pulled out of what you know, how personal it is to create a grounding connection to the earth, the difference between knowing what safety is intellectually versus actually feeling and experiencing it, the magic of using your imagination, how not cleaning your energy can lead to stagnation and miscommunication, why cleaning your energy is more involved than just sitting quietly in meditation, and how the current increase in animal adoptions is giving us a chance to relearn that we’re all animals too. And speaking of animals, throughout the conversation, we’re very actively joined by Myan’s cat Galaxy, who you will probably hear purring into the microphone at several points.
May 3, 2020
018 "My Path Was Just Sort of Chosen for Me"--A Chat with Brian Westfall of Rare Birds Musical Oddities
Visit QueenofPeaches.com for complete show notes! Today I’m delighted to be in conversation with Brian Westfall. Brian is the proprietor of the shop Rare Birds Musical Oddities. Rare Birds is a shop dedicated to those elusive, beautiful, and lovingly weird pieces that will bring character and vibe to your recording dates, home studio, and performances. Vintage guitars, basses, and synths; cowbells once owned by real cows; Casio keyboards once owned by real 1980s kids; maracas brought back from a great aunt’s college trip to Mexico; drum machines that used to sit on grandma’s organ; toy pianos from Christmas 1958; wheezing chord organs; middle school band orchestra glockenspiels, and much more await you when you visit Rare Birds Musical Oddities. As Brian and I nerd out about all things gear related, we also discuss why this is a great time to be a musician streaming performances online, how nostalgia plays a part in the Rare Birds shopping experience, the frustration of how elusive the really cool stuff can be, why he actually encourages his customers to resell the gear they’ve bought from him, and why he’s more interested in what you’re doing with your gear rather than what gear you have.
Apr 26, 2020
017 “Traveling with the Ghost of Someone He Admires”--A Conversation About Music Books with Brian Cremins
Visit QueenofPeaches.com for complete show notes! Today I’m welcoming back to the show my first repeat guest--who also happens to be the human I’m sheltering in place with--the writer, musician, and scholar Brian Cremins. Brian’s joining me today for a recorded version of an ongoing conversation we’ve been having basically since we first met a little over a decade ago, all about our favorite books about music. Because we’re both writers and both musicians, it turns out we have a lot of thoughts about the intersection of those two disciplines! We both chose a small stack of books that are important to us individually, though of course there’s a lot of overlap between our lists, and of course there were dozens of other books that came to mind during the course of this conversation. In talking about those books, we also discuss the way music critics listen to music versus the way musicians listen to music; how descriptive language can mystify what a musician is actually doing in a way that might not be helpful; how the best books can feel more like traveling companions rather than destination points; and spending time imagining what certain albums sounded like in the days before everything was instantly available to us online. Plus, Brian finally goes on the record with his comparison between the Hall and Oates song “I Can’t Go for That” and Radiohead’s “Everything in Its Right Place.”
1 hr 10 min
Apr 19, 2020
016 “I Have Something I’d Like to Say, But How Do I Best Say It?”–A Chat with Yuval Taylor
Visit QueenofPeaches.com for complete show notes! I’m delighted today to be in conversation with my very good friend and former colleague Yuval Taylor. Yuval is the coauthor of the books Darkest America: Black Minstrelsy from Slavery to Hip-Hop and Faking It: The Quest for Authenticity in Popular Music. His writing has appeared in the Guardian, the Antioch Review, and the Oxford American, among other publications. His most recent book, as a solo author, is Zora and Langston: A Story of Friendship and Betrayal, which was a finalist for the 2019 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Biography. It’s a deeply researched look at the six-year-long friendship, and eventual bitter falling out, between Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes. The book, which will be released in paperback in July 2020, has been praised by NPR as having “a vivid anecdotal style,” by the Wall Street Journal as “compelling, concise and scrupulously researched,” and by the New York Times Book Review as “a highly readable account of one of the most compelling and consequential relationships in black literary history.”
1 hr 5 min
Apr 12, 2020
015 "Respect What It Is That's Going On Inside of You"--A Chat with Erin the Psychic Witch
Visit QueenofPeaches.com for show notes! In my attempt to bridge the gap between not wanting to add to the noise about the coronavirus situation, but then also not wanting to ignore its presence in our lives either, I thought that a conversation with my brilliant friend Erin the Psychic Witch might be unique and helpful. Erin is a gifted psychic teacher and healer with two decades of experience in the healing arts. With a substantial and wide-ranging background in bodywork, natural skin care, holistic and functional nutrition models, energy healing, and psychic development, she brings physical and energetic modalities together to create a practical path toward healing. Her work is nothing less than facilitating the healing, liberation, and multidimensional maturation of all beings, with the ultimate goal of full creative expression. She teaches and offers various containers for healing work online through her website erinthepsychicwitch.com.
1 hr 2 min
Apr 5, 2020
014 “No, But We’ve Seen It Done”--A Chat with Paul and Angie Lowe about Jesus Christ Superstar
Visit QueenofPeaches.com for show notes! Paul and Angie Lowe were teachers for many decades at Lake Central High School in St. John, Indiana. During the weekdays, Paul taught speech and Angie taught French, and then on afternoons and weekends, they were heads of the theater program, known as the Lake Central Theatre Guild. As you’ll hear them elaborate in the course of the episode, they expanded LCTG’s program in the early 1970s to include former graduates and members of the local theater scene in their summer community theater productions. Nearly a quarter century after they first directed "Jesus Christ Superstar" in 1979, they revived the show in the summer of 2003 as one of the final productions in the old high school theater. Today, many years now after their retirement from teaching, they retain the LCTG initials by way of their new company, L’arc en Ciel Theatre Group, a dinner theater based out of Great Oaks Banquet Hall in Cedar Lake, Indiana.
1 hr 5 min
Mar 29, 2020
013 “A Nice Way to Think About One’s Relationship with Time and Objects”–A Chat About Perfume with Shiamin Kwa
Visit QueenofPeaches.com for show notes! Welcome to the perfume episode! Today I’m in conversation with my dear and brilliant friend Shiamin Kwa. Shiamin is Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures and Comparative Literature at Bryn Mawr College. She is the author of three books, the most recent being Regarding Frames: Thinking with Comics in the Twenty-first Century, which was just released by RIT Press in February of this year. Her written work explores relationships between form and content, text and image, self and self-presentation, surface and depth, and the conflicts between what we say and what we mean. Her research interests include theater and fiction, food studies, graphic narratives, literary studies, cultural studies, comparative and world literature, and literary and narrative theory. She also contributed an amazingly funny and tender essay about the band Wham! to my most recent zine The Last Band of My Youth. In today’s deep dive on perfume, we talk about how smells can seem so much richer in our memories when we don’t have access to them anymore, the quiet spaciousness of perfume as object, how we’re meant to interact with perfume on a time scale, how wearing Frederic Malle’s “Portrait of a Lady” is like having to do self-promotion as the author of a new book, and the difficulty of imposing order on things you love.
1 hr 10 min
Mar 22, 2020
012 "The Guiding Light Is Surprise"--A Chat with Tony Trigilio
Visit queenofpeaches.com for show notes! Today, I’m incredibly pleased to be speaking with my friend, neighbor, and former bandmate, the poet Tony Trigilio. Tony is the author and editor of 13 books, including, most recently, Ghosts of the Upper Floor (published by BlazeVOX [books] in 2019), which is the third installment in his multivolume poem, The Complete Dark Shadows (of My Childhood). His selected poems, Fuera del Taller del Cosmos, was published in Guatemala by Editorial Poe (translated by Bony Hernández). He is editor of Elise Cowen: Poems and Fragments (published by Ahsahta Press in 2014), and the author of Allen Ginsberg’s Buddhist Poetics (published by Southern Illinois University Press in 2012). Tony coedits the poetry journal Court Green and is an associate editor for Tupelo Quarterly. He is a Professor of English and Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago. Today we discuss his origin story as a poet, the possibilities that get unlocked by asking a student “tell me more of what you mean by that,” building bridges between the hemispheres of the brain, how playing drums professionally helped Tony unite his practice as a writer with his work as a scholar, and why the best art feels like a friend saying to you, “I’m going to tell you something but it’s hard to say.” For more information about Tony, you can find him online at starve.org.
1 hr 11 min
Mar 15, 2020
011 "I Don't Want to Be an Expert"–A Chat with Keiler Roberts
Visit queenofpeaches.com for show notes! Keiler Roberts has been writing autobiographical comics for ten years. Her six books include Sunburning, Chlorine Gardens, and, most recently, Rat Time, all three of which were published by Koyama Press. Her self-published autobiographical comic series Powdered Milk received an Ignatz Award for Outstanding Series in 2016, and in 2019 Chlorine Gardens received Slate's Cartoonist Studio Prize for Best Print Comic of 2018, which was selected by The Slate Book Review and The Center for Cartoon Studies. Her work has been included in The Best American Comics in 2016 and 2018 and was mentioned on their Notables list for 2014. She has taught at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago since 2013 and lives in Evanston, Illinois, with her husband, the artist Scott Roberts, their daughter Xia, and perhaps the most famous cartoon pet since Snoopy, their dog Crooky.
1 hr 5 min
Mar 8, 2020
010 “I Would Always Say Yes to a Spiritual Experience”–A Chat with Angie Yingst
Visit QueenofPeaches.com for show notes! Today on the show I’m incredibly pleased to be in conversation with Angie Yingst. Angie is a published writer, a sacred artist, a Usui Reiki Master Teacher, and an Earth Medicine Practitioner specializing in shamanic and crystal healing techniques. Angie has been reading Tarot for thirty years and is a member of the American Tarot Association. She has also trained through the Hibiscus Moon Crystal Academy as a Certified Crystal Healer and an Advanced Crystal Master, and she now serves the school and its community as Curriculum Specialist and Crystal Coach. Angie has also been studying since 2012 with Pixie Lighthorse and has completed all four levels of her training through SouLodge Earth Medicine School. Angie offers both in-person and distance one-on-one healing sessions that combine crystal healing, shamanic healing, Reiki, drum and rattle, breathwork, and plant medicine to facilitate healing in her clients, balancing her work with the…
1 hr 14 min
Mar 1, 2020
009 "Luckily Theater Saved Me"--A Chat with Paul Storiale
Click here for show notes! This week on the show, I’m delighted to be speaking with a very dear friend, the theatrical impresario and President of NoHo himself, Mr. Paul Storiale. Paul is the Artistic Director for the Defiance Theatre Company, the President and Founder of the Valley Theatre Awards in Los Angeles, and creator of the award-winning stage play The Columbine Project. He’s also the creator of the web series Gossip Boy, which you can stream on Amazon Prime, and a successful comedic actor in his own right, having performed for many years in the dinner theater phenomenon Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding and having recently toured the country as part of the cast of My Big Gay Italian Wedding. And if that’s not enough of a full plate, Paul is also a Los Angeles elected public official, currently serving as president of the NoHo Neighborhood Council, an advisory board created by the Los Angeles City Charter to provide improved access to government and make government more respo…
1 hr 6 min
Feb 23, 2020
008 "Everything Is Interdisciplinary"--A Chat with David Higgins
Click here for show notes! Today I’m pleased to have on the show one of my all-time favorite humans, David Higgins. David teaches English at Inver Hills Community College in Minnesota. He is a specialist in 20th-century American literature and culture, and his research explores transformations in imperial fantasy during the Cold War period and beyond. His article “Toward a Cosmopolitan Science Fiction” won the 2012 Science Fiction Research Association’s Pioneer Award for excellence in scholarship. He has published in journals such as American Literature, Science Fiction Studies, Science Fiction Film and Television, and Extrapolation, and his work has appeared in edited volumes such as The Cambridge Companion to American Science Fiction. He is also the Speculative Fiction Editor for the Los Angeles Review of Books. In our chat today, we talk about his upcoming book on reverse colonization narratives in the science fiction of the 1960s, how he’s calibrated his own best crea…
1 hr 10 min
Feb 17, 2020
007 Learning How to Meet People Where They're At with Michael Sherron
Go to QueenofPeaches.com for show notes. Michael Sherron is currently an apprentice docent from the class of 2018 at the Phoenix Art Museum and now leads tours there for adults and school groups. In his day job, he's an engineering manager building large scale cloud hosting solutions for the enterprise. Mike is one of the most remarkable people I know, in terms of his sheer capacity to tackle incredibly ambitious projects simply for the joy of learning how to do them. That deep focus and insatiable curiosity is definitely at the heart of what led him to commit the past two years to studying really intensely in order to start giving tours at the Phoenix Art Museum. In addition to talking about what the program was like, in the last twenty or so minutes of our chat, Mike guides me through a deeper look at two paintings from the Phoenix Art Museum’s collection, Lew Davis’s The Rebel and Frida Kahlo’s The Suicide of Dorothy Hale.
1 hr 16 min
Feb 9, 2020
006 Writing and Recording American Romantic Music with Brian Cremins
Click here for show notes! Just this past week, my band, the Felus Cremins Band, released our latest album. It’s called American Romantic Music, and you can stream or download it on Bandcamp. To mark the occasion, I asked my bandmate and partner Brian Cremins to join me to chat specifically about the making of the title track, the song “American Romantic Music.” Rather than slogging through a whole boring track-by-track rundown of the entire album, I thought it might be instructive to focus just on this one song. I think the process by which it came to be written and recorded is particularly illustrative of the way that we collaborate. In addition to our chat, you’ll get to hear how the song progressed from its first demo to its first live performance to the final recorded version that’s the heart of the new album.
1 hr 26 min
Feb 2, 2020
005 Creating an Underground Awards Show with the Nick Movie Awards
If you were on Twitter the day that the 2019 Oscar nominations were announced, you may have noticed a little viral excitement about an alternate set of awards called the Elsie’s. However, to a select handful of people, this whole idea of the Elsie’s sounded strangely familiar. See, there’s another individually produced, underground movie awards ceremony that’s been around for nearly 30 years now, and that’s the Nick Movie Awards. Established in 1992 by Nick Ivankovic, the Nick Movie Awards began as a way for Nick to honor his favorite films and performances each year. In the years since, the Nick Movie Awards have grown from a literal bedroom project to an annual event that has included parties, trivia, viewer’s choice categories, online voting, and even its own signature menu items. I asked Nick to join the show this week to talk through the history of the NMAs and to give a more in-depth glimpse into his nominations for the 2019 movie year. Show notes are available he…
1 hr 5 min
Jan 26, 2020
004 Going from Point A to Point B By Way of Q and Pi with Gene Kannenberg Jr.
Click here for additional podcast notes! Gene Kannenberg Jr. is a cartoonist living in Evanston, Illinois. His comics, mostly abstract with asemic writing, include Qodèxx, Space Year 2015, and The Abstract Circus. His work was included in the Minnesota Center for Book Arts' 2017 exhibit "Asemic Writing: Offline & In the Gallery" and also appears in the book Abstraction et bande dessinée, produced by the ACME Comics Research Group at the University of Liège in Belgium. Gene received his PhD from the University of Connecticut in 2002, and he has served in the past as Chair of both the International Comic Arts Festival and the Comic Art & Comics section of the Popular Culture Association. His book 500 Essential Graphic Novels was published by Collins Design in 2008. Gene is currently the Research and Media Assistant at the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies at Northwestern University, where he has curated two exhibits on comic art. You can find him online at comicsma…
1 hr 20 min
Jan 19, 2020
003 Storytelling through Resonant Material with Lewis Lain
Lewis Lain's work focuses on storytelling, simple aesthetics, and recycled "resonant" material. He favors re-claimed windows and found-glass as canvas, which he combines with cardboard and acrylic to create multi-dimensional paintings punctuated by saturated color and bold linework. Notable work includes his recent 10-year solo retrospective reevaluating “a” at the Dittmar Gallery on campus at Northwestern University; the online comic Smaller Totems; and the Turned Earth Little Lenormand. Find Lewis online at lewislain.com and be sure to support him on Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/lewislain).
1 hr 3 min
Jan 12, 2020
002 Considering Reinvention with Kate Merena
New year's resolutions have become pretty stale to me over the past several years. They've just started to seem so joyless, so totally focused on self-improvement in a way that, at least speaking for myself, was starting to feel synonymous with self-punishment. But Reinvention, though. Ahh, Reinvention is like catnip to me. The idea of making myself into a completely different person living a completely different life? Sign me up. So, to dig in a little deeper on what it even means to reinvent oneself, I wanted to chat with someone I consider to be a maestra of Reinvention, my good friend Kate Merena. Kate works as the membership director of an art museum. She lives in San Diego with her cat, Anyanka, in a tiny house on the edge of a canyon, where she is honing her green witch skills, reading tarot cards for fun, and caring for a colony of community cats in her neighborhood. You can find her on Instagram at @lifestyleoftherealandnotfamous.
Jan 4, 2020
001 Best Movies of the Decade with Casey Andrews
To inaugurate the show, I'm going to be chatting today with Casey Andrews. Casey is Professor of English at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. He is the author of the book Writing Against War: Literature, Activism, and the British Peace Movement, which was published by Northwestern University Press in May 2017 and has been described as "a highly original, densely researched, and beautifully written work of scholarship." He is also a regular contributor to The Cresset, a journal of commentary on literature, the arts, and public affairs published by Valparaiso University. His most recent piece for The Cresset is on Jim Jarmusch's film The Dead Don't Die, and next up for them will be his reflections on confession and the sacraments in Scorsese's The Irishman. Casey also contributed earlier this year to my zine The Last Band of My Youth with an essay on the Christian ska band Five Iron Frenzy. Casey is married to the writer and pastor Liv Larson Andrews and is also a dad, a pacif…
1 hr 32 min
Dec 26, 2019
Hello and Welcome--Trailer
Welcome to the first (short!) preview episode of I'll Follow You, hosted by Allison Felus.