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Inside Podcasting

Inside Podcasting (Jun 30th, 2017)

Did you catch the June 16 issue of Inside Podcasting? We included an in-depth look at women in the world of podcasting, and it turned out to be a far richer, more varied subject than we even realized going in. We featured an interview with Elsie Escobar from Libsyn about women podcasters for our premium subscribers. We also included our staff's picks for best female podcasts, so you'll get some tips as to some great shows out there hosted, curated, or produced by women. 

That piece was just one example of the premium content we're working on that's available to subscribers only. To get access to this and other upcoming Inside special reports on all things podcasting, sign up today for just $10 a month. Here's where to go for the Inside Podcasting upgrade.

-Yancy

"The Animals" is a new literary podcast that looks at the love affair between writer Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy. Isherwood based much of his novel "A Single Man" on his relationship with portraitist Bachardy. The novel was written during a rough patch in the couple's relationship, and Isherwood went as far as to kill off the character in his story who was based on Bachardy. Simon Callow ("Four Weddings and A Funeral") and Alan Cumming ("Eyes Wide Shut") play Isherwood and Barclay for the podcast, reading from letters between the two to trace the course of the love affair. The title of the podcast refers to the lovers' totemic names for each other. (Cumming won a Tony for the revival of "Cabaret," based on Isherwood's famous "Goodbye to Berlin.") – LAT

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ESPN's "30 For 30" series spins off their hugely popular sports documentary franchise into the podcasting world. The series, kicked off to celebrate the network's 30th birthday, quickly evolved into being the sports series that even non-sports fans have a hard time resisting, focusing as it does on compelling contained dramatic narratives. Last year's Oscar-winning monolith "OJ: Made In America" took the series to new heights of acclaim and notoriety, so a podcast makes sense. The first episode of the podcast focuses on Reebok's 1992 "Dan and Dave" campaign, wherein decathletes Dan O'Brien and Dave Johnson were turned into popular cultural figures ahead of their coming Olympic performances. Also to be featured in the five-episode first season: A story about the bootleg "Yankees Suck" t-shirts that became collectibles after being sold near Fenway Park. – USAT

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As wedding season draws near, The New York Times' "Modern Love" podcast features two stories about marriage. The first is Ada Calhoun's "The Wedding Toast I'll Never Give," read by Kathryn Hahn ("I Love Dick"). The story focuses on lessons that are learned "but seldom shared" over the course of an 11-year marriage. Next up is Craig Bridger's "Men Don't Care About Groomzilla," read by John Cho ("Star Trek"), which illustrates a man's transformation into "someone he doesn't recognize" as he plans his wedding. – NYT

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Season two of "Homecoming" will debut on July 19th. The podcast features big names Catherine Keener, David Schwimmer, and Oscar Isaac in a thriller about former military caseworker Heidi Bergman (Keener) who by the end of the first season has begun to uncover repressed memories of her past work. Gimlet Media has released an audio trailer for the second season, which will pick up with Bergman as she "comes to terms with her recovered past." Series creators Eli Horowitz and Micah Bloomberg are back for the second season, along with new cast members Michael Cera, Mercedes Ruehl, and Alia Shawkat. – EW

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New York Public Radio's podcast production division, WNYC Studios, is teaming up with the Museum of Modern Art for "A Piece of Work," a ten-episode series that focuses on contemporary artwork from the MoMA's collection. The show will be hosted by art school graduate Abbi Jacobson ("Broad City"), and each episode will focus on a different theme, a la "pop art," "abstraction," etc. The different themes will be largely represented by one piece of work, which the host and her guests will focus on in-depth. Joining Jacobson will be a wide range of guests, including MoMA curators as well as celebrity guests Questlove, RuPaul, and Hannibal Buress. (See the Podcast Spotlight below for more art history.) – VULTURE

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PODCAST SPOTLIGHT

"THE LONELY PALETTE"

For each episode of host Tamar Avishai's independent art history podcast, "The Lonely Palette," the host focuses on one work of art, often a painting. Charmingly, the host camps out near the artwork in question and records the commentary of passersby, whose comments about a particular work range from honest banalities ("It looks pretty chill") to more thoughtful observations ("It just exudes peace."). Avishai's unpretentious approach and hushed passion are ideal for a series that carries the tagline, "the show that returns art history to the masses one painting at a time."

The latest episode focuses on a sculpture, namely "Guanyin, Bodhisattva of Compassion," currently reclining at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, where Avishai is an adjunct lecturer. Before we even get to hear about the work in question, Avishai talks about the way museum rooms are "deliberately curated" to make sure the viewer gets the most out of the artwork. She talks about only realizing she'd been "handled" by curators after walking through the low lighting and taking a seat directly before the statue. Museum curators, it seems, need a handle on empathy to guide the public, who can often pass right by a work if it's not presented in a beguiling or flattering context. 

And then there is "Guanyin" itself, sculpted with undefined sexuality, combining male and female sections in one body as it casts "the warmest, most loving face that’s ever been carved out of empress tree wood gaze" ever so slightly downwards. The statue was designed to capture one of the tenets of Buddhism, namely the acceptance of "gentle impermanence." With this in mind, Guanyin is mean to be seen contemplating the moon in a pool of water. Avishai goes deep on the piece's history (it is layered with gold leaf, which would seem to contrast with much of Buddhism's message), but condenses the most interesting info down to about 20 minutes of storytelling that sounds less like a lecture and more like what the best museum buddy of all time might whisper to you as you passed the benevolent icon. The easygoing intimacy Avishai sees in "Guanyin, Bodhisattva of Compassion" (which she compares to Van Gogh's "Postman") is a trait her own storytelling is graced with. And now, via "The Lonely Palette," so are we.

THE BASICS
Title: "The Lonely Palette"
Episodes Available: 19
Episode Length: 30 mins
Where to Download: Soundcloud
Host: Tamar Avishai

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