By BZ Douglas
All songs included with permission from the artists.
Support BZ's work on Patreon www.patreon.com/bzdug
BZ ListeningJul 04, 2022
80. Curtis Eller - Banjo Player and Songwriter
Curtis Eller is a banjo player, songwriter and rock & roll singer who's songs describe a dreamlike vision of American history where all points in time have collapsed into one. A twenty-year show business veteran, Eller has developed a devoted international following with his band, The American Circus.
I'm giving away two tickets to see Curtis in Cleveland on Saturday, July 15th at the Wizbang Circus School and Theater. To enter, just share this episode and follow Curtis on social media and send a link to your post or a screenshot to email@example.com. All Patreon supporters will automatically be entered. The winner will be announced on July 12th.
Links to follow and support Curtis Eller:
Songs used in this episode:"Sweatshop Fire" (Fireside Chat no. 13) "Busby Berkeley Funeral" (NPR Tiny Desk Contest 2015) "Poison Melody" (Official Video) "Conscientious Objector" (NPR Tiny Desk Contest 2022) "After the Soil Fails" (Barn Session) "Save Me Joe Louis" (Live at The Ferret, Preston UK, 2019)
79. Jimmy Falun Gong - Host of the "Programmed to Chill" podcast
Jimmy Falun Gong is the pseudonymous host of the podcast “Programmed to Chill”, which describes itself as a show about “business, crime, parapolitics, and esoterica”. Jimmy does multi-part deep dives into the history of intelligence agencies, who financed hitler, the industrialists who profited and persisted after WWI and II, international spycraft, and it only gets darker and weirder from there. He’s got a wry and dry dry style of breaking down his research on dark and slippery topics that I enjoy quite a bit.
We talk about our paths to paranoia, why more people should be more paranoid and attentive to local issues, some of his podcast’s greatest hits, the origins and reasoning for Jimmy’s cheeky alias, and much more.
P2Chill Links: https://linktr.ee/ProgrammedtoChill
Unedited episode available to Patreon supporters: https://www.patreon.com/bzdouglas
78. Talking about Walking The Wire with Philip Fairbanks
In part 2 of my interview with Philip Fairbanks we discuss Walking the Wire, a new podcast series releasing in April that will re-examine David Simon's groundbreaking series, "The Wire", episode by episode. This Friday at 9pm EST Philip will be joining me for a livestream Q&A on YouTube, Facebook, or via Twitter Spaces.
Follow Walking The Wire on Twitter:
Q&A Livestream Links:
77. Talking with Philip Fairbanks, Author of "Pedogate Primer" (Part 1)
Look for part 2 of this interview in a couple days. This Friday at 9pm EST Philip will be joining me for a livestream Q&A.
If you're a Patreon supporter, a PDF copy of Fairbanks book is available for you at https://www.patreon.com/bzdouglas.
FOOTNOTES:https://philfairbanks.com/ Fairbanks' recent "Reverse Madoff" story Pedogate Primer: The Politics of Pedophilia CIA Memo on "Conspiracy Theory" Lance deHaven-Smith on State Crimes Against Democracy
76. Talking Anarchy with Video Essayist Anark
I recently watched the excellent video essay, "A Modern Anarchism Part 1" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ag9EcQsqP_8), and immediately reached out to the creator, Anark, to schedule an interview. On today's episode, we dive right into discussing how we each came to adopt anarchy as our political identities, how we practice anarchy individually, and then swim around in some philosophical waters as we envision the many facets of a modern anarchism.
Anark's video is described as follows:
"This video is the first in a several part series where I am developing a modern synthesis of anarchism. It is not intended as an introduction to anarchism, but instead a broad coverage of anarchist ideas, discussing the state, Capital as Power, kyriarchy, the mega-machine, queer anarchism, Black anarchism, social ecology, decolonial ideas, and much more... Here we will lay out the anarchist mode of structural critique and apply this theory of power to a variety of hierarchical power structures."
Follow and Subscribe to Anark:
75. Year in Review with Mustache Bob, Brenton Lengel, Contraband and Conor Kelly
It's time for a review of 2021 and what the major events of the last year mean for us going forward in 2022.
*** PANELISTS ***
74. Talking with Nico Walker, Author of "Cherry"
My guest today, the first of the new year, is Nico Walker, author of the novel, Cherry. The book is a fictionalized account of an unnamed character who follows a path very similar to Walker’s own life story. He joins the army at 19, serves in Iraq as a medic, spirals into heroin addiction as he deals with crippling PTSD, and finally sets off on a spree of bank robberies.
This interview actually came about because Nico reached out to me a few weeks ago following the publication of my investigation into Tony Viola’s wrongful prosecution. Walker was Viola’s cellmate a decade ago, and the two have kept in touch over the years.
On today’s show, Walker and I discuss Iraq, the spirals of addiction, the futility of the drug war, and the frustrating tragedy of Viola’s case.
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Likes, Shares, and Subscribes are free, and they help with the Algorithm gods!
This Friday I’ll be doing a livestream year in preview and Q&A on YouTube, Twitch, and Twitter Spaces. I’ll preview some of the stories I’m looking into, and share some ideas on other projects I’m hoping to produce.
72. The Dan Kasaris Investigation - The story, how it started, and where it's going
A meta discussion of my latest story investigating allegations of prosecutorial misconduct against Dan Kasaris and Mark Bennett.
Read the full report here: https://bzdouglas.substack.com/p/unreliable-witnesses-suppressed-evidence
Please support my independent journalism by becoming a paying Substack subscriber or Patreon supporter.
71. The Prosecution of Tony Viola: Unreliable witnesses, suppressed evidence, and a dead whistleblower
The story of Tony Viola told in the press up until now leaves one with the impression of a devious criminal who was defrauding banks out of nearly fifty million dollars through a complicated mortgage fraud scheme with a cast of shady operators. If the news coverage was to be believed, the affable, honorable, and generous person Viola’s friends and family all knew was merely a facade hiding a duplicitous, unscrupulous, greedy monster.
Visitors of FreeTonyViola.com will find a much different story. It’s a scrappy but fairly polished little website managed by Viola himself, setup with the express purpose of providing journalists and lawmakers with evidence of Viola’s innocence by exposing the flagrant prosecutorial misconduct he has endured.
Several local and national journalists have quietly taken an interest in his case, but have either been intimidated by the possibility of litigation, too busy to thoroughly vet Viola’s claims, or stymied by editors and publishers.
Visit https://bzdouglas.substack.com to read the full story.
70. Getting to know BLM Cleveland
My interview with LaTonya Goldsby and Kareem Henton, President and Vice President of Black Lives Matter Cleveland. We discuss this local organization's history, and the important work they are doing in Cleveland and the surrounding areas to help the Black community, demand for justice for victims of police violence, and push for major reforms policing in our area.
A major topic of discussion is the potential impact of the passage of Issue 24, which would establish meaningful citizen oversight of the Cleveland police through an amendment to the city charter.
** Links to follow and support BLM Cleveland **
** More about Issue 24 **
Citizens for a Safer Cleveland:
69. The Killing of Vincent Belmonte (Video Podcast)
I have been approved to utilize the Video Podcast feature on Anchor.fm, so to test it out I'm posting my full report on Vincent Belmonte's killing by East Cleveland Police officer Larry McDonald. If your podcast app doesn't support video, you can watch the report on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8R0yFss27M
On January 5th, 2021, Vincent Belmonte was killed by East Cleveland police officer Larry McDonald. McDonald was pursuing Belmonte on foot and claims that Belmonte turned, pointed his gun, and threatened to shoot McDonald. We can only take McDonald’s word on this, because he shut off his bodycam moments before this alleged threat from Belmonte occurred. Based on information currently available to the public, the case hinges entirely on believing McDonald and ignoring the physical evidence. Based on McDonald’s and the East Cleveland Police Department’s reputations, there is no reason to give him the benefit of the doubt.
68. Monday with Mariah: Chasing Justice in East Cleveland
Mariah Crenshaw of Chasing Justice, LLC has been tracking officer training closely for nearly 3 years now. Prior to that, Crenshaw assisted the Department of Justice in their administration of the federal consent decree that was imposed on the city of Cleveland.
For the first “Monday with Mariah”, she joined me in my home to go over some details about Larry McDonald and the East Cleveland police that didn’t make it into my report. That conversation organically moves into a discussion about the investigation and legal actions Chasing Justice is engaged in regarding officer training.
67. Believe in Ghost!
Taking the podcast back to its musical roots today with NYC-based alternative band, Believe in Ghost! On today's show we talk about their new EP, "BOO!", their musical origins, how they navigated the pandemic, and the beef behind their new song "Keep in Touch"Bandcamp Spotify Soundcloud
66. Debunking Shontel Brown's Stump Speech with Dr Richard Montgomery
I covered a Shontel Brown campaign event this weekend, and captured her having a "Please Clap" moment all her own.
(This audio is from the YouTube report, which provides more detail, but functions perfectly as a podcast. https://bit.ly/shontel-brown)
Joining me is Dr. Richard Montgomery, who shares his reactions to Shontel Brown's stump speech.
Dr. Montgomery former mayoral candidate for the city of Euclid, as well as an activist who follows Cuyahoga county politics very closely.
I was first referred to Dr. Montgomery while working on the documentary series State of Injustice, about the systemic abuses of the Euclid Police Department, and the failures of that city’s mayor and city council to hold them accountable.
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### FOOTNOTES ###
"What Cuyahoga County Residents Need to Know about Shontel Brown and her Campaign for Congress" by Keith Wilson
"Shontel Brown outraises, outspends the field in Cuyahoga Council District 9 Democratic primary" by Andrew J. Tobias, Cleveland.com
"Former Cuyahoa County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora Convicted of Racketeering" - FBI.gov
"Marcia Fudge issued Hatch Act warning over political remarks at White House" by Sabrina Eaton, Cleveland.com
"Fudge reprises Friends for Fun at Frederick’s" by R. T. Andrews, realdealnews.com
“Former deputy of Cuyahoga County auditor sentenced to prison for bribing Frank Russo and Jimmy Dimora” By James F. McCarty, The Plain Dealer
“Shontel Brown must resign as Cuyahoga County Democratic Party chair” by Editorial Board, Cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer
“Shontel Brown Approved Major Contract, Then Contractor Backed Her Campaign” by Matthew Cunningham-Cook, Sam Allard for The Intercept
“Nina Turner Opponent Shontel Brown Is Low-Key Pleading for Super PAC Support”
by Ryan Grim, The Intercept
Armond Budhish on Racism
Shontel Brown YouTube Channel
Secretary Marcia Fudge Visits Lock 3
Peanut Butter Jelly Time on Green Screen
65. Talking Activism and Ableism with Tim Collingwood
Tim Collingwood is a local actor, playwright, stage manager, arts advocate, and activist. On this episode, we discuss his experiences and perspectives in activism as a person on the autistic spectrum.
64. State of Injustice - A Belated Announcement!
Please enjoy this unscripted, unedited, emergency episode announcing the release of my new documentary series State of Injustice!
Our Indiegogo Campaign to fund the pilot season ends on Wednesday 3/24. For the last day, I'll be co-hosting an all day stream-a-thon from BLM Cleveland. You can catch that stream via one of the links below. We're going to have some pretty incredible guests and discussion throughout the day, so please pop by and say hi! I never hear from you lovely listeners enough.
Stream-a-Thon LinksState of Injustice YouTube Live State of Injustice Facebook Live
The stream will also be running concurrently on BLM Cleveland and BZ Listening pages, but I'd really rather drive up likes and subscribes on the doc's channels.
63. Talking Impeachment with John Bonifaz, President of Free Speech for People
My guest today is John Bonifaz, the Co-Founder and President of Free Speech For People. He previously served as the Executive Director and then General Counsel of the National Voting Rights Institute, an organization he founded in 1994, and also served as the Legal Director of Voter Action, a national election integrity organization.
John joins me to have a discussion about the hot topic of impeachment. We go through the arguments in the book Bonifaz co-wrote with Ron Fein and Ben Clements, THE CONSTITUTION DEMANDS IT: The Case for the Impeachment of Donald Trump.
Follow John and FSFP:John Bonifaz Free Speech for People The Impeachment Project Impeach Donald Trump Now
62. Special Report on the Cleveland Warriors Semi-Pro Football Team
Today’s episode is taken from a video report I posted on Wednesday. It’s the story of the Cleveland Warriors, a semi-professional football team in the National Public Safety Football League, and how their management snuck Tamir Rice’s killer, Timothy Loehmann, onto the team. When black players found out and complained, they were pushed out themselves.
I am very happy to report that this morning I awoke to learn that the president and vice president of the Warriors have both resigned in the wake of this scandal.
State of Injustice
This documentary series will examine Ohio city by city, in order to expose all of the ways that the state's law enforcement departments and judicial systems are failing its citizens. The series will begin in Euclid, Ohio, with the death of Luke Stewart.
Support BZ's WorkPatreon Substack
61. Discussing the Capitol Hill Fascist Insurrection
BZ & DZ sit down with local activist Devorah Phillips to talk about the fascist riots at the Capitol on 1/6.
60. Talking ADHD with Dr. Joel Schwartz
My guest today is Dr. Joel Schwartz, a clinical psychologist who specializes in working with adults with childhood trauma, neurologically diverse children and adults, and is a strong proponent of the neurodiversity paradigm.
I share a bit about my experience living as an ADHD'r, and learn about how understanding has evolved in the 30ish year since I was diagnosed.
Articles:Ten Minutes of ADHD-ing or What a 1930s Anti-War Novel Has to do With Neurodiversity Reframing ADHD
59. Emanuel Franklin Jr. - Father of Desmond Franklin
A few weeks ago I assisted the People's Archive of Police Violence in Cleveland in setting up and conducting an interview with Emanuel Franklin, father of Desmond Franklin.
On April 9, 2020, plainclothes Cleveland Police officer Jose Garcia, badge #2168 shot and killed Desmond. Garcia drove in an unmarked car, fired five shots into Franklin's moving vehicle, killing Franklin, whose car crashed into a cemetery wall. Special prosecutor Daniel Kasaris, from Ohio Attorney's General Dave Yost's office has taken the case and is currently considering whether to present to the Grand Jury. Meanwhile, Garcia remains on paid leave.
How You Can Help
If you live in Ohio, call the Ohio Attorney General's office (1-800-282-0515), and urge them to take this case to the Grand Jury to seek indictment of Officer Garcia.
If you are a Cleveland resident, call City of Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson (216-664-2000) and demand the firing of Jose Garcia by Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams for the murder of Desmond Franklin.
Don't stop there, demand that Calvin Williams be removed, and in 2021 vote Mayor Jackson out of office.
58. November Coverage Catchup
Today’s guest is technically me, as I’m re-broadcasting an interview I gave with Brenton Lengel on his YouTube channel a few weeks ago about an article I published at the end of October: "Euclid officer Matthew Rhodes and officials throughout Ohio facing charges of homicide, dereliction of duty due to non-compliance with state-mandated training"
Most Recent Video Report:
Caught on Body Cam: East Cleveland Commander Attempts to Steal Drugs Seized as Evidence
48hr Virtual Music Festival Event Page
Livestream will be broadcast on my Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter
57. Cuyahoga County Ballot Panel Discussion
BZ Douglas moderates a panel discussion with local activists about who they're voting for up and down the Cuyahoga County ballot, and how they feel about their choices.
Panelists:Mariah Crenshaw - Chasing Justice, LLC Kareem Henton - Black Lives Matter Cleveland Keith Wilson - Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus
56. Mariah Crenshaw - Chasing Justice, LLC
Today's episode contains bombshell revelations that have the potential to shake Ohio law enforcement to its core.
My guest is Mariah Crenshaw of Chasing Justice LLC. According to her research, a significant portion of officers in the state ("40-60%" in her opinion), are currently operating while designated as "cease function" according to Ohio Revised Code 109.803 and Ohio Administrative code 109:2-1-12.
Crenshaw has widened her focus to EVERY DEPARTMENT IN THE STATE. Requesting 10s of thousands of records, cataloging, annotating, organizing, databasing, and preparing materials that could be used in lawsuits all over Ohio.
55. Tim Tolka - Author, Blue Mafia
(Audio fixed, if there's an audio gap in the intro, re-download the episode)
Today my guest is Tim Tolka, author of Blue Mafia, which is best described by the closing line of the first chapter:
“This is the story of two police departments, their turbulent relationship with the local community, and how a 'crazy' lawyer risked everything to bring in a higher authority.”
Blue Mafia has many lessons for other cities in Ohio and across the nation. It is also a harrowing tale of how the gears of our legal and civic machinery can chew up activists, lawyers, and victims of police violence.
Brian "BZ" Douglas is an independent movement journalist and podcast producer. All work is 100% reader/viewer supported.
Podcast: "BZ Listening" on all the podthings
54. Jadon Woodard - Musician
Today the show is returning to its roots, showcasing criminally overlooked grassroots artists, with one my favorite acts and friends from NYC, Jadon Woodard.
We talk about his origins in music, the ups and downs, and his days free-styling on the trains of NYC alongside Charley Crockett as part of "The Train Robbers".
This episode contains tracks from Jadon’s brand new album, “Late to the Party”, along with some audio from Train Robbers circa 2013.Spotify Instagram Twitter Facebook
53. A People's Archive of Police Violence in Cleveland
Today I am interviewing members of the People's Archive of Police Violence in Cleveland. I first learned of them while covering a Black Lives Matter Cleveland "Defund the Police" protest on the fourth of July, where volunteer Emily Forsee spoke about the importance of documenting police brutality. In this episode I’ll be speaking with Emily and two of the creators of the archive Carol Steiner and Keith Wilson, to discuss some of the work they've done, why they're doing it, and how you can help.
When I interview musicians, I typically intersperse four or five songs throughout the interview. Today I'll be doing the same thing but using stories from the archive, specifically the 2015 People's Tribunal on Police Violence collection. You will hear the stories of Alicia Kirkman, Brenda Bickerstaff, Clarence Jones, and Bernadette Rolen.
Visit archivingpoliceviolence.org or @policeviolence_cle on Instagram for more info.
Support my independent journalism:
Stoner Morning Show Interview Teaser
Here's a teaser of my very first guest appearance on another podcast: Stoner Morning Show.
The host, Shawn Wickens, is an old friend of mine from my improv days in NYC. Last year he mentioned on Facebook that he wanted advice on how to start a podcast, and I told him everything I learned in exchange for him being a guest on my show.
I can’t thank him enough for returning the favor so that I can talk a bit about the work I’m doing now, how I came to do it, how I will be doing it, and why I think it’s important.
Support my work:Follow on Twitter Become a Patreon Supporter Subscribe to my free newsletter
52. Kareem Henton - Co-founder of Black Lives Matter Cleveland
Kareem Henton joins me today to discuss what first roused him to activism, how BLM functions as an organization nationally and locally, and what his greatest hopes and fears are for the outcome of this national protest movement.
A lot has happened since my last episode. Let’s see: Bernie dropped out, a global pandemic broke out, which caused the economy to fall off a cliff, a national uprising against the police is in full swing, and on a personal note, as of last Friday I am officially a published journalist. For the story behind that story, check out my interview with Brent Lengel on his YouTube channel.
Other orgs that need support:The Bail Project Cuyahoga County Jail Coalition Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition
If you have any extra cash to spare, please consider supporting me on Patreon. I’ve decided to take the leap and quit my full-time job as a web developer in order to pursue journalism as a new career, and the only way I can pull it off and remain completely independent is with your support
51. Devorah Phillips - Bernie Victory Captain and Delegate
On today's episode I interview local delegate and organizer for the Bernie campaign, Devorah Phillips. We chat about what led her to becoming a Bernie Sanders supporter, our recollections of the 2016 campaign, the lessons learned and ongoing frustrations with the primary process, and what a delegate does and how to become one.
Most importantly, we discuss the benefits of canvassing, not just for the candidate, but for yourself and your neighbors
Go to events.berniesanders.com to join the movement, take our government back from the wealthy, and make some history.
50. Not BZ, Us!
Today I’m going to do something a little different, which might draw in some new listeners, but that’s not the point. The point is for the weeks remaining before the Ohio primary on March 17th, I am going to devote this podcast to advocating for Bernie Sanders.
Listeners will know that I’ve taken quite a long stretch between episodes recently. A big part of the hiatus has to do with my Bernie journey, going from donor and online-only supporter to an active volunteer that makes calls, performs data entry, and finally this weekend door-to-door canvassing.
Initially, I thought I’d make this episode all about my longer Bernie journey, how I first became aware of him, and what his candidacy means to me. Instead, I decided I’d kick things off by talking about the my first weekend canvassing.
Find a Bernie event near you: http://events.berniesanders.com/
49. Atomic Houdini - Creative Person
Today my guest is painter, musician, and all around creative person, Atomic Houdini.
The podcast is still officially on break, but I wanted to chat with Atomic Houdini about his upcoming art show / release of his album Dandelion Fireworks. He’ll be displaying fourteen paintings based on each song from the album, the first five of which you’ll hear in this episode.
That show will be going up on Saturday, February 29th at Negative Space from 4:30 to 7:30. For more info, click here.Facebook Instagram Soundcloud
48. An Existential (State-of-the) Podcast
An improvised attempt to explain the present state of and future plans for the podcast.
If I had to put it into bullet points:I'm putting more time into volunteering for Bernie Sanders The fuckeditude of the world at large has had me rattled A random opportunity came up for me to perform in an incredible new play as part of CPT's Entry Point Shoutouts and love to all the Patreon supporters and my wife Deb The podcast will go on, but the frequency and subject matter is going to vary a bit more. Bullet Point that I'm very curious to see if anyone read
:party-hat: :mushroom-cloud: :fire: :fire:
I believe the official slogan is "Worst Year Ever"
47. Justus - Trap Soul/Rap Artist
I first saw Justus performing a couple weeks ago at the McFarland Manor November show. On today's episode, I chat with him about his creative process, how he became "big in Algeria", his terms of success, and the lessons he's learned navigating Spotify's playlist algorithm.
Justus has a new track Risky debuting today, December 11th, on Spotify. Listen thru until the end of the episode to hear it, and be sure to add it to your playlists if you dig it!
Follow Justus Online:Instagram Spotify
46. Shawn Wickens - Artist / Comedian
Today I’m bringing a new thing to the show with my guest Shawn Wickens, who will forever hold the distinction of being the first comedian on the podcast. I met Shawn about twelve years ago, back when I was going through my improv comedy phase. He happened to be passing thru Cleveland a couple of weeks ago on his way to play a show in Louisville, Kentucky, and swung by the house to catch up.
We chat about the improv scene circa 2007-8, how he came to found the Bad Theater and Film festivals, and his latest endeavor co-hosting The Stoner Morning Show with fellow comic Lex Morales, which just kicked off its own podcast this week! Be sure to check out stonermorningshow.com for all the 411 about this 420-themed show.
This show is ad-free, and that’s all thanks to my Patreon supporters. I recently updated some of the benefit tiers, and anyone donating $3 or more per month is supposed to get a shoutout on the show’s footnotes for that month. Since it’s Thanksgiving this week, and I’m way overdue on the shoutouts, I’d just like to take a moment to thank my first two BZ Backers: Michael Hornsby (this months winner of the swag giveaway) and Michael McFarland (a former guest and incredible musician, artist, and producer). And lastly, my boss at Blackbird Digital Pat Walsh, who kicked in $12 month to earn himself a BZ Producer credit, and includes a plug.
It’s not even hard for me to talk up Blackbird as an agency. I’ve been a web designer and developer for over twenty years, working at over a dozen international and local agencies, and Blackbird is far and away my favorite. Blackbird combines award-winning web design, acute knowledge of technology, and marketing savvy to help your organization. We specialize in developing for WordPress and HubSpot, but never shy away from working in something new if necessary. The sites we build are always set up with self service in mind, so you won’t have to come back and request help every time you want to make changes. To learn more visit Blackbird.digital, and if you sign on as a client, I'll probably be the one coding your site!
If you would like to become a supporter, just click here!
45. Christopher Johnston - Author/Playwright
Today my guest is writer Christopher Johnston, and we’re discussing his book “Shattering Silences: Strategies to Prevent Sexual Assault, Heal Survivors, and Bring Assailants to Justice”.
Chris also has a new play with Playwright’s Local, Live Bodies for Sale. The show premieres tomorrow Friday November 22, and will run until December 15th. You can find more information and tickets at playwrightslocal.org.
Additional links:Cleveland Rape Crisis Center Greater Cleveland’s Coordinated Response to Human Trafficking The Joyful Heart Foundation Human Trafficking at Human Scale in Live Bodies for Sale 5 Must-See Productions: Fall Theater Preview 2019
44. Ben Paul Williams - Singer-Songwriter
My guest today is actor and musician, Ben Paul Williams. I first met Ben about 10 years ago at a little open mic in Astoria Queens. We chat a bit about his stage career, the recent pull he’s been feeling to getting back to performing original music, and play a little catchup since the last time we spoke.
So suffice to say, Ben has been one of my favorite people for quite a while. If you are in the Milwaukee area or have friends thereabouts, be sure to catch Ben at Linneman’s Riverwest Inn this Sunday, November 24th. After that, keep an eye on https://www.benpaulwilliams.com/ for more shows.
43. Cal Folger Day - Singer-Songwriter / Composer
Today my guest is Cal Folger Day, a singer-songwriter that’s a bit hard to pin down genre-wise, but if I had to slap a label on her, it’d probably be “Avant Folk”, similar the band Cutleri, who I had on earlier this year.
Cal is based out of Dublin, Ireland, but I met her around 2010 back when we were both living in New York City. We chat a bit about her early days in the thrall of classical music, her time in NYC, the differences between Ireland and the US, and her latest endeavor writing and performing “verbatim pop operas”, which I didn’t even know was a thing until I started doing background for this interview.
I highly recommend checking out this audio documentary by “The Lyric Feature”. It chronicles the process of creating one of these operas “The Woods and Grandma”, which is based on stories of Lady Gregory, Yeats and George Bernard Shaw as told by the Gregory granddaughters Anne and Katherine.
Just a reminder that this Wednesday November 13th is the deadline to sign up as a Patreon supporter at any level for a chance to win a signed copy of “Snow White Zombie: Apocalypse” by Brenton Lengel, my Halloween guest. This is the latest patron perk that I’m calling these “Swagstakes”, where once a month I choose a supporter at random to receive some swag from a guest.
42. Brenton Lengel - Writer - "Snow White Zombie Apocalypse"
Today my guest is playwright and author, Brenton Lengel. Brent and I go back nearly ten years, when I first met him at an open mic in New York. In this episode we spend a bit of time catching up and tracking the arc of his writing career, but the main reason I invited Brent onto the show was to talk about his new comic “Snow White Zombie Apocalypse”, published by Scout Comics.
I’m going to quote the synopsis from Scout’s website now since I never pass up an opportunity to save myself some time writing these intros:
Snow White awakens to True Love's Kiss... twenty-eight days after the zombie apocalypse! With the Seven Dwarves dead, the quintessential fairytale princess must join forces with her polyamorous Prince Charming and his tough-as-nails paramour, Rapunzel, to wage a losing battle against death itself. Bound by love and driven apart by jealousy, can this unlikely trio find a way to put aside their differences, or will they be devoured by the reanimated denizens of their once enchanted kingdom? Based on the hit play by the same name, Snow White Zombie Apocalypse is a story of deep woods and old magic mixed with a healthy dollop of blood, sex, kung fu and gender politics. Y'know, fairy tales as usual.
The comic is now available in shops all over the country, or you can order it online at scoutcomics.com.
Brent was also gracious enough to sign and donate a copy that I will be giving away to one lucky Patreon supporter. If you’d like a chance to win, sign up to support the show at any level at patreon.com/bzdug before Thursday November 14th (two weeks from today). At that time I will print out all the supporters names, toss them into one of the many hollowed out skulls I have lying around the house, and select the winner.
41. N6664 - Doom Chip Performance Artist
Today’s guest is “Doom-Chip” performance artist, N6664, aka James Barney. I had heard chip-tune music before (for those who haven't, it's a style of synthesized electronic music generated using the sound boards from vintage gaming consoles), but never anything like this. It was discordant, disturbing, and disorienting. My first thought was, “This might not be a good fit for the podcast, shit, he seems like such a nice guy!” However, over the last year I’ve gotten to see James performing live several times, and that re-contextualized everything for me. James’ intention with N6664 IS to sow discordance, disturb, and disorient.
Aside from his music, James and I also discuss his new podcast, ToddCast, a show devoted to celebrating Todd Rundgren. I have to admit I’d never listened to Rundgren before, but after hearing James’ passion for Todd in our interview, I’m definitely going to go back and correct that omission. You can find his show on iTunes or Spotify by searching for “ToddCast Cleveland”.
40. Deb Zep - Singer/Songwriter/Soulmate (Wedding Anniversary Tribute)
Hello and welcome to an especially schmultzy episode of BZ Listening. Today is my seven year wedding anniversary with my amazing wife Deb Zep. Unfortunately, she’s not here to celebrate with me because she is off on a 10 day vacation in Italy with her sister. So I am role-playing the life of a single father for the next week, but what could be a better anniversary gift for a full-time mom than time away from her kids? Well, I figure dedicating my 40th episode to her is a nice cherry on top.
Kicking things off will be a storytelling show we write and first performed as part of the Pandemonium festival at Cleveland Public Theater. The recording is from our second time taking the show out, to the Akron storytelling show “Bigger than a Breadbox” produced by Wandering Aesthetics. In the show, we tell the story of how we first met, with bits of our songs peppered throughout.
Following that will be some of my favorite covers and originals listed below.
Deb Zep Online:http://debzep.com https://www.facebook.com/debzepmusic https://www.instagram.com/dzdebzep/ https://soundcloud.com/debzep
Tracks:BZ & DZ: A Musical Love Story (performed at Wandering Aesthetic's Bigger Than a Breadbox) Here With Me (feat. Marbar on guitar) Stand By Me Hound Dog (BZDZ) Don’t Let Us Get Sick Without You (BZDZ) Home Just Be You Astoria Shore
The War On Everyone by Robert Evans - Chapters 4-7
The podcast will be returning in September, but I wanted to share the new audiobook “The War on Everyone” by former guest, journalist Robert Evans. This is the second half, Chapters 1-3 are in the previous episode.
Robert is the host of one of my favorite podcasts, “Behind The Bastards”, where he profiles some of the worst people in history. The work he has done to catalog the history of White Supremacy in America provides so much essential context for our current political climate. So with his permission, I am republishing the entire book in two parts this week. You can also find the book at http://thewaroneveryone.comChapter 4: How to Build an Army
Louis Beam was once a normal American soldier. But in the wake of the Vietnam War, he would painstakingly craft a vicious fascist insurgency. When Beam’s ground-level activism met Pierce’s propaganda, the result was the birth of a terrorist movement that still stalks us to this day.Chapter 5: The Hidden Civil War
Inspired by Beam and Pierce, a young man named Bob Mathews attempted to spark a Second American Civil War. Whether he succeeded or failed is still up in the air.Chapter 6: The Perfect Soldier
In his life and death, Timothy McVeigh represented the best-case scenario for the kind of warriors Louis Beam wanted to inculcate through his “leaderless resistance” strategy. His story is a tale of triumph for American fascism.Chapter 7: The Digital Reich
This is where we are now: an era where a distributed network of individual extremists are able to radicalize each other and inspire acts of violence worldwide. This is not the result of an unhappy accident, or an unforeseen consequence of the digital era. It’s the result of decades of careful planning.
The War On Everyone by Robert Evans - Chapters 1-3
The podcast will be returning in September, but I wanted to share the new audiobook “The War on Everyone” by former guest, journalist Robert Evans.
Robert is the host of one of my favorite podcasts, “Behind The Bastards”, where he profiles some of the worst people in history. The work he has done to catalog the history of White Supremacy in America provides so much essential context for our current political climate. So with his permission, I am republishing the entire book in two parts this week. You can also find the book at http://thewaroneveryone.comChapter 1: The Eternal Fascist
There is nothing new under the sun. In this chapter, you’ll learn about “Ur-Fascism”, and how humor and irony have historically been used to enable its rise.Chapter 2: An American Fascist Faith
The Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting, the Poway Synagogue shooting, the Olympic park bombing and dozens of other terrorist attacks all have one thing in common- Christian Identity. In this chapter, we delve into a cultic belief system at the heart of American fascism.Chapter 3: The Apostle of Fascism
William Luther Pierce is the most important Nazi you’ve never heard of, and his work has helped inspire a generation of terrorists- right up to the present day.
39. Save the Footlight - Laura Regan, Owner
Welcome to a special episode of BZ Listening. The podcast is officially on vacation, but I wanted to help spread the word about a fundraiser for The Footlight, a venue in Ridgewood Queens that is very near and dear to my heart, as are its owner Laura Regan, and her husband Tim. The Footlight opened just as I was departing New York for Cleveland, but I got to produce the very first show that graced its stage, the finale of my variety show, The BZ Douglas Carnivale. On today’s episode, Laura and I discuss the genesis of the Footlight, how it has become an artistic incubator and a space that fosters community, and finally the financial troubles she is facing due to a landlord that is not honoring his obligations, and the systemic problems that the city has with regulating building owners.
Beloved Ridgewood Bar and Music Venue Struggles with Landlord's Negligence
38. Jane Arnoff Logsdon - Stand Up to Trump CLE Organizer
On today’s episode, at the top I announce a brief break from the show, and some state of the podcast reflections as the show nears its first anniversary. There may be a surprise episode or two, but no regularly scheduled music until September.
Today’s guest is Jane Arnoff Logsdon. I met Jane randomly last year when we were both cast in a play as part of the Marilyn Bianchi Kids Playwriting Festival. As castmates do, we became friends on Facebook, and before long Jane started inviting me to Stand Up to Trump CLE events, but I wasn’t able to make any of them.
On July 12th, the family and I attended “Lights for Liberty”, which was in coordination with events across the country, organized by Cleveland Jobs with Justice, Indivisible CLE, the Immigration Working Group of Cleveland, Action Together Lakewood Area, Women’s March Northeast Ohio, Stand Up to Trump CLE, the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus, Cuyahoga Democratic Women’s Caucus and the InterReligious TaskForce on Central America. The purpose of the event was to call for an immediate end to immigrant detention and family separation and to defund ICE.
To my surprise, the MC for the event was my old castmate Jane! A few days later, I reached out to ask her to be on the show, and I am very excited to share our conversation about activism, organizing, and just how fucked we are under Trump.
37. Justin Curry - Violinist
Justin Curry has been playing violin since he was 16, and has performed all over the US, and internationally. We talk about how he started playing following a severe injury (content warning, if you can’t handle graphic stories about kneecaps going where they shouldn’t, then be sure to skip the 13-14minute mark), and then get into much more pleasant stuff like how he taught himself to play, the intractable problems of racism, and the rocky relationships behind some of his songs.
Visit justincurryviolin.com for shows and to hear more of his music.
36. Henry Black - Singer/Songwriter
Henry Black was born in Medicine Lake, Montana before the turn of the last century. Upon moving to New York City in late-2015, he rose to prominence among the acclaimed singer-songwriter scene. In 2019, he formed a seven-piece group comprised of two guitars, three keyboards, a backing vocal section, and a rhythm section in order to recreate the swirling, thunderous ambience of his classic records.Official Website Spotify Facebook Instagram
35. Pat Hull - Singer/Songwriter
Today’s guest is one of the first musicians I befriended in New York City, Pat Hull. Pat is a singer-songwriter from Connecticut currently based out of Chico, CA. He has a unique finger picking style, but what really sets him apart is his counter-tenor vocal range.
Be sure to swing by pathullmusic.com for all his music, merch, and upcoming tour dates.
34. Zen Soundscapes at IngenuityFest
Today, my guests are Amanda Nyx, a painter, teacher, and installation artist, along with former guest of the show, musician Michael McFarland. I’m such a huge fan of the work Amanda and Michael do in the Cleveland area, especially their work on the McFarland Manor shows, so I wanted to have them on to help spread the word about their new project for Ingenuity Cleveland, entitled “Zen Soundscapes”
In our chat, we go over the purpose of Ingenuity Cleveland and how getting involved with that space took Amanda and Michael in new directions as artists. Amanda goes deep on the history and purpose of zen gardens, and Michael explains how their project will be taking the traditional zen garden and enhancing it with technology.
Most importantly, the reason I recorded and am releasing this today is to help Amanda and MIchael spread the word about their fundraiser for this project.
All donations made before August 1st will be 100% matched by Cuyahoga Arts & Culture Match Fund through a partnership with a new crowdfunding platform, ioby, which worked with Michael and Amanda to secure these matching funds.
33. Killy Dwyer - Mockstar, MC, Performance Artist
Today, my guest is Killy Dwyer, who bears a lot more labels than simply musician. Killy is an actor, comedian, performance artist, MC, and ultimately deserving of her invented label of “mockstar”.
I met Killy about ten years ago at Penny’s Open Mic (now the Open Mic Under St. Marks), just as I was starting to play music. It was because of the love and support from people like Killy, that I found the confidence and ambition to go further into this music thing I discovered so late in life.
Killy is the host of “Mock-u-Mental”, a bi-weekly show on RadioFreeBrooklyn.com that airs every other Friday from 8-10pm. Mock-u-mental is a tasty comedy music treat for your ear holes, served up with a healthy dose of live jams and interviews with comedic musicians AND their moms, topped with listener questions, comments, requests and hate mail and paired with a feel good Friday drinking game.
32. Roger Hill - Writer/Director of Huckleberry
Today’s episode is the first with a prerequisite. Usually I have musicians on this show, and if you haven’t heard them before, no big deal. Today, however, I’m talking with Roger Hill, director of the film “Huckleberry”, and if you haven’t seen it, then you should save this episode for after you have, because we gonna spoiler.
You can buy or rent Huckleberry on Amazon, or it’s free with Prime, or if you want the full movie experience, you can catch an upcoming screening of Huckleberry followed by another Q&A at the Cleveland Cinema in Shaker Square on Thursday July 18th at 7pm.
Please do take the time to rate and review the film on Amazon, it really does a lot to help the visibility of smaller indie films like these. If you’re so inclined, do the same for this podcast as well, though not on Amazon. I don’t think Bezos has his filthy mitts in podcasting yet.
Follow Huckleberry:Facebook Instagram
31. ManorFest 2019 Featured Act Highlights
Two weeks ago I had the pleasure to attend and privilege to produce a portion of the first ever ManorFest at the McFarland Manor. The manor is a house venue in Gordon Square that puts on shows the last Friday or Saturday of every month, usually. The fest was an incredibly successful and heroic effort on the part of its producers, Michael McFarland, Amanda Nyx, Cassie Bishop, and Mikey Silas. Apologies to Blindside Avenue for recording diffculties, and to Noon and Daniel J two performers who I didn't get the recorder set up in time for on Saturday.Performers and Times: Wildcard Leader (5:02) Horizon Lights (8:22) Steve Wright (11:22) Jason Patrick Meyers (14:46) Michael McFarland (18:19) Jul Big Green (25:09) Shy Moon (30:27) Saint Joan (33:59) BZ Carnivale Opening Song feat. Deb Zep & Michael McFarland (38:03) BZDZ (40:49) Corry Michaels (44:28) Guggy (48:41) Malik X (54:32) Reginleif (57:28) BZDZ Encore (1:01:32)
Apologies to Blindside Avenue for recording difficulties, and to Noon and Daniel J two performers who I didn't get the recorder set up in time for on Saturday.
30. Lulu Friesdat - Election Security Journalist
Happy Almost-Birthday America!
Now I know you’re excited to light off your fireworks, to bbq in the backyard, and to see all the people waving your flag and wearing it as a swimsuit, BUT first we gotta talk about some serious problems with your election systems.
My guest today is Lulu Friesdat, Communications Director of SMART Elections, a new non-partisan project dedicated to elevating the issue of election reform to an urgent national priority.
Lulu is an Emmy award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose election security investigations have received over 4 million views on Now This. They’ve also resulted in a top Florida election official’s conduct being declared illegal, and voting machines in Wisconsin being decertified. Her work has been featured on Politico, MSN.com, the Young Turks, The Hollywood Reporter, The Christian Science Monitor, Salon, and Truthout. She has worked as an editor and producer in broadcast television for over 10 years, including assignments with NBC, CBS and ABC News/Nightline. Her first documentary Holler Back – [not] Voting in an American Town was featured in The Hollywood Reporter as part of a group of “thoughtful and provocative” films being made by women. It received a Best Documentary award and aired on public television.
Follow Lulu on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/lulufriesdat
Visit https://smartelections.us/ to see all the reporting we discuss in this episode, and learn about how you can take action to make America a democracy worth celebrating on the fourth of July.
28. Matt Pless - Punk-Folk Musician
Today my guest is Matt Pless, a punk/folk/protest musician that I first encountered at Occupy Wall St, which we reflect on a bit, in addition to the standard questions I get into with every musician. Like many other artists I've interviewed, it's a goddamned national tragedy that Matt isn't more widely known.
From his bio:
Combining elements of folk, punk, pop and rock, Matt Pless can lyrically turn a phrase with the best of them and has been compared to some of the preeminent songwriters of our time.
A consummate performer with a high-energy stage presence, Matt Pless travels the road continuously entertaining and astounding his audiences. With guitar and harmonica as his tools of choice and words as his main characters, he has shared the stage with the likes of Maroon 5, Rilo Kiley, Alkaline Trio, Arlo Guthrie, Bad Brains, Fallout Boy, All Time Low and others.
Matt’s extensive touring schedule has taken him to Europe, and across the U.S. multiple times playing venues from bars to boxcars and basements and everything in between...wherever there are people to hear his music.
And almost anyone can relate to a Matt Pless song. His unique gift for writing lyrics and melodies that appeal to the core of the human condition is, like Matt himself, an experience.
27. Brent Kirby - Rock Musician
Brent Kirby’s been called by many of his peers one of Cleveland’s hardest working musicians and his actions prove that. In 2013, Brent Kirby was voted “Best Singer” and also “Best Male Vocal” by the Cleveland Scene, and 2012, he was voted “Best Musician”. When he is not playing solo or with his band, called His Luck, he writes the tunes and fronts the Jack Fords (2007, 2009 Best Rock Band Cleveland Scene), leads the monthly revival of Gram Parsons with his band The New Soft Shoe, and plays drums for the talented Cleveland holiday band, the Ohio City Singers. His 10 x 3 Songwriter showcase weekly series at Brothers Lounge has created an encouraging, vibrant original music scene.
26. Michael Dylan Brennan - Mayor of University Heights - Part 2
If you haven’t listened to part one yet, I would definitely recommend it, because that’s weird, but it’s your life.
Next Monday my musical guest will be Brent Kirby, and the following Thursday I’ll be releasing my interview with a local director, Roger Hill, to talk about his new film Huckleberry. So if you want a spoiler free experience, I highly recommend you watch the film, which is available to rent or buy on Amazon, or free with Prime.
25. Michael Dylan Brennan - Mayor of University Heights - Part 1
This may have been the most difficult interview I’ve ever had to edit, which is a direct result of the fact that it was one of the easiest interviews I’ve ever conducted with a total stranger. I did my best to whittle down our five hour conversation, but there was no way this episode wasn’t going to be a two-parter.
In part one, I chat with the mayor about his mother’s work with the National Organization for Women, his early political experience in college, his work as a trial lawyer, how Trump’s election inspired him to run for office, and how he came to run for mayor. We also talk about “The Lawn Incident”. We go off on a tangent or two about national issues, but most of that will be in part 2, which will be out next Thursday.
24. Memorial Day Mixtape
I took the weekend off, and so no new musical guest this week. Instead, I've put together this mix tape of all the musicians featured so far on the show.
Check back tomorrow for part one of my interview with Michael Brennan, mayor of University Heights.
Tracks:1:40 - The Year Ahead by Ray Flanagan 5:05 - After Laughter by Charley Crockett 8:50 - Lenny Bruce by Curtis Eller 14:18 - Black Magic by Hannah Stak 17:23 - Montana Sky by Apostle Jones 22:45 - Apocalypses by Kate Hart 26:20 - One Foot in the Mud by Larry Elefante 28:33 - Glow by Cutleri 32:23 - Flawless by Indre 36:03 - When It's Dark by Madeline Finn 40:43 - Second Life by Michael McFarland 43:48 - Piece Movement by Xe La 47:00 - One More Soul by Robinson Treacher 52:30 - My Blood is Red by Molly Ruth
23. Molly Ruth - Full Moon Outlaw
This week I’ve got another guest that I met while I was living in New York City, Molly Ruth. We talk about how growing up in NYC shaped her and the state of the city, the meaning behind some of her song lyrics, and her time at Standing Rock.
In a pinch I’ve described Molly as a cross between Patsy Cline, Bob Dylan, and Joan Jett, but that isn’t nearly as accurate as the bio on her website:
“Every song is a blood-sacrifice. Sometimes she howls to the animal kingdom, sometimes sermonizes in a spirit language, sometimes she is wailing a bitter, jealous country ballad that leaves your heart ragged and your soul purified. “
I’ve been a huge fan of Molly’s since the first time I saw her perform nearly 10 years ago, and am very excited to have the opportunity to introduce her music to my audience. So much so that I’m gonna change things up this episode and lead right in with a song.
22. Robinson Treacher - Singer/Songwriter
Today’s guest is Robinson Treacher, a singer-songwriter with a heart and voice of gold that I met nearly 10 years ago at a family-owned cafe in Queens called Waltz Astoria.
We talk about Robinson’s formative experiences with music, his creative process, the spiritual undertones of his lyrics, and his newfound love of house shows. This is one of the first guests I’ve had on the podcast that spent time in the open mic scene of NYC during my formative years, so we take a stroll down memory lane discussing some of the spots that were our most and least favorite to play.
You can find all of Robinson’s music and upcoming tour dates at RobinsonTreacher.com.
21. XE La Soul - Part 2
More songs and stories from Xe La. We don't have the budget for one of those fancy "Previously on BZ Listening" intros, unfortunately, so you'll have to go back and listen to part one to see what you missed!
Unexpected Bonus! The Dominic & Charlie Podcast
Over dinner I explained to my sons how I prepare for an interview on my podcast, that it's almost all figuring out good questions.
While I recorded an interview with a remote guest in my office they did this. They're really excited about it, so maybe consider this a pilot episode...
20. XE La Soul - Jung Punk Musician
My guest today is Alexander Alvarez, aka XE La SOL. Alex is a man who has a very pure and complicated relationship with music and the world, and one of the most beautiful hearts and minds I’ve had the privileged to watch unfold on this show.
You can listen to the episode and find links to Xela’s projects at http://bzdug.com/podcast/xela
One of the questions I ask every guest is “What is your measure of success?”
It was after talking with Xela, that I realized my own answer, which is that I’ve already succeeded because I have chosen to make music and support others who do.
That’s the sort of truth that bubbled up in my brain after four hours chatting with today’s guest. So I’ve decided to break his interview up into two parts. Today is part one, and next Monday come back for part two.
You can find links to Xela’s projects at http://bzdug.com/podcast/xela
19. McFarland Manor - Cleveland House Show Venue
In part two of my interview with Michael McFarland, we chat about the history of McFarland Manor.
McFarland Manor is a Cleveland house venue in the Gordon Square District, organized by Michael McFarland, Cassie Bishop & Mikey Silas. The Manor hosts monthly concerts, generally on the last Friday or Saturday of each month.
McFarland Manor on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/McFarlandManor
18. Michael McFarland - Indie Rock Musician
This week my guest is indie-rocker and musical architect, Michael McFarland. We ended up covering a lot of ground, so I had to break this interview up into two parts. Today’s episode covers Michael’s childhood being homeschooled by his two exceptionally brilliant parents, what it was like gigging as a teenage musician (I even got him to recall his most cringe-inducing lyric from those days), his creative process, how he’s managing to achieve a middle class career in music, and his new conceptual sci-fi music project “Hello Headrush”.
The second part of the interview will drop tomorrow, where we discuss the origin of McFarland Manor, the Cleveland house show Michael co-produces with former guest Mikey Silas and future guest Cassie Bishop.
For any of you in the area, the next McFarland Manor show is coming up this Saturday April 27th.
17. Madeline Finn - Songwriter Singer
On today’s episode, Madeline Finn and I talk about her early start in music, the lessons she learned as an American Idol contestant, and how she plans to move forward as a musician using Patreon to sustain herself and leveraging that commitment to fans to fuel her creativity. This one runs pretty long, closing in on the 90 minute mark, but I promise you I cut everything that I could. In any case, I blame Madeline, she was such a fun guest. No joke, I could have interviewed her all night.
16. Indré - Singer/Songwriter
Welcome to another Music Monday, today my guest is Indré, a local singer/songwriter that splits her time between Cleveland and Akron. I caught one set by her at the Winchester open mic in Lakewood and immediately booked her for an interview, and as the featured act for the my next house show, which is this Saturday, April 13th if you’re in town.
In our chat today, I learned that Maddie was singing by the age of three (and she has the receipts), that she spent some time towards a Public Relations degree at Kent State before deciding to focus on music full-time, how her first album came to fruition, would she eat crickets if there were a global food shortage, and on and on. I could keep summarizing, but that seems pointless. It’s all in the interview
If you’re listening to this episode in Cleveland on the day it drops, you can catch Indre at Mahall’s tonight at 7pm.
For anyone out of town or out of time to catch those shows, you can find Indre’s links in the footnotes for this episode or visit bzdug.com
15. Personal Day: Trans Issues with Valouria Douglas
Today’s episode is part two of a new segment on the show, “Personal Days”, where I talk with friends and family about issues we are currently dealing with or have in the past. The subject of for this personal day is transgender issues, because my brother Carl has decided to transition into my sister, Valouria or Val for short.
If you haven’t heard part one yet, I highly recommend you go back and listen to that episode where I interview trans-advocate and mother of two trans children, Sara Kaplan. I shared that discussion with Val before we spoke to serve as a primer for our interview.
This is the most important episode of the show that I’ve produced thus far, because until now, none of my family have really been talking about it. I know mom is very interested in hearing this conversation because Val has always been pretty terrible at keeping in touch, or opening up about herself without a nudge, or sometimes a very aggressive shove.
This discussion made me so damn grateful for my family. Mom, I love you, and I love that you are probably already looking into ways to support your daughter in her new journey. I also need to give a big love shoutout to Val’s wife N’Lou, who was immediately on board and ready to help dole out makeup tips.
My heart truly sinks when I think of the transgender people who have had to walk this road without support from their families. My hope is that anyone who’s listening this and has less than friendly feelings towards transgender people, especially within your family, you’ll think a bit about all of the difficulties they have to endure and the persecution that the world heaps upon them, and realize you can do a lot to make their life better. I love you all, and thank you for listening.
Valouria's Website: http://argylebox.com
Goldfish "We Come Together" Music Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-tNUur2YoU
14. Personal Day: Trans Issues with Sara Kaplan
Today kicks off a new series on the show that I call “Personal Days”, where I focus on a topic that hits close to home for me. This first one is on trans-rights and acceptance because this year, my brother Carl has come to the realization that he wishes to transition into becoming my sister, Valouria.
My discussion with Valouria, which is essentially the first conversation she and I have about her transition, will be out tomorrow. But before I reached out to my sibling, I contacted an old friend from high school, Sara Kaplan.
Sara is the proud mother of two trans children, and as such, is a vociferous advocate for trans-rights. I wanted to understand what she has been learning going thru the process of helping her children transition, and how I can be a good brother to my new sister.
Sara's story in the SF Chronicle: https://projects.sfchronicle.com/2017/transgender-child/
Sara's Public Display of Self Love: http://publicdisplayofselflove.com
Welcoming Schools: http://www.welcomingschools.org
13. Cutleri - Avant Folk Trio
I’ve known Cutleri for about a decade going back to when I first started playing music in 2009.
It was at Penny’s Open Mic that I first discovered Cutleri when they were the featured guest. They immediately stood out, from the sheer number of instruments and musical toys amassed around them. Heidi Harris would play everything from piano or blower keyboard to thunder-makers and finger chimes, Christen Napier perfectly plucked away at her banjo while Jessie Shaffer shifted from barnyard fiddling to concert soloist mode on her violin. All the while the trio is tossing out haunting harmonies and rattling their ankles, which were just covered in bells.
Cutleri is truly a band to behold, which is why I booked them for my variety show the Carnivale as many times as I could. Several years back, Cutleri had to disband as the three sirens set sail for separate seas. They recently reunited to record a new album, and hope to continue to circle back to each other over the years. Today we talk about how and where they came together, how they approach songwriting, and what projects they’ve been working on in the years since Cutleri was playing regularly in NYC.
They may not be playing live anymore, but you can still find their music on Spotify and Bandcamp, and you can follow them at the links below:
Vote for BZ Listening as "Best Local Podcast" in Cleveland Scene's 2019 list:
12. Larry Elefante - Musician
Today my guest is Michael Rutushin, aka “Larry Elefante”. On the show we talk about Michael’s musical family, his first gigs, his worst gigs, and his new album, “I Get Sentimental” recently released on vinyl by way of a successful kickstarter campaign and now available on Spotify and Bandcamp.
As always, if you like the show, please throw the episode a good rating, and like the page on Facebook. If you live in my neck of the woods, you can vote for BZ Listening as “Best Local Podcast” on the 2019 Cleveland Scene Best of Cleveland list until April 11th. If it’s any sign of my commitment to publishing an musician episode every Monday, and I’m recording this intro at 2am in my downstairs bathroom so I don’t wake the fam.
Also coming up on the show, this evening I will be interviewing an old friend from high school who is the mother of two trans children, which has roused her to become an activist for trans rights. This is an issue that has hit home for me recently, but I’ll get into that when the episode airs.
For now, please enjoy my interview with Michael Rutushin of Larry Elefante.
11. Steve Holecko - Political Director CCPC
Today my guest is Steve Holecko, Political Director of the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus or CCPC for short. This is by far the longest episode I have released, so I will keep the introduction short.
As the seemingly endless marathon that is the 2020 democratic primary gets underway and starts to take up all the political oxygen in our brains, I thought it was important to make sure to keep my ear to the ground more with local issues.
For the first half hour, Steve and I discuss his background in political organizing and the campaigns that first activated him, and talk a bit about our experiences with Bernie Sanders' 2016 campaign. From there we move on to discussing CLASH, the Cleveland Lead Advocates for Safe Housing, and the work they are doing to force the city to deal with a lead paint problem in older houses and rental units that is causing lead levels to skyrocket in children. Then we spend the last half hour discussing the Green New Deal Town Hall that the CCPC is helping to organize.
The town hall is actually the reason I am releasing this episode today. If you are in Cleveland, and would like to attend, it will be held at the Brooklyn Branch of the Cuyahoga County Library at 7pm on Thursday, March 21st. I would be there, but my wife and I have our first show booked in quite some time. I will be bringing Steve back again regularly, and we’ll hear how this town hall went in a few weeks.
As always thanks for listening! Do all the like and subscribe things, and consider telling someone about the show with your mouth! It's great.
Green New Deal Town Hall:
10. Robert Evans - Journalist
Today my guest is Robert Evans: journalist and host of the “Behind the Bastards” podcast. I first noticed Robert’s work in 2013 when he was writing for Cracked.com, a comedy site that did a surprising amount of important reporting and political commentary. The piece was entitled “6 Myths About Drone Warfare You Probably Believe”, and it kicked off a long running series that came to be known as Cracked's “Personal Experience” articles. They ran the gamut from Sex Workers (both voluntary and involuntary), Ukrainian rebels, drug dealers and undercover agents, and eventually evolved into a podcast.
In 2018 Evans kicked off a new show, Behind the Bastards, where he profiles the worst people in history along with a comedian, to lighten the mood. Robert’s has also done extensive reporting for Bellingcat.com, a relatively new but important journalistic outfit. He penned an in depth report on radicalization through online subcultures, a topic became incredibly important since I recorded this interview on March 10th. Just five days later, the Christchurch New Zealand mosque massacre occurred. The following day, Evans published a follow up piece on Bellingcat, and was quoted in a Washington Post piece covering the attack.
The subject of Robert’s podcast on the week leading up to the shooting was eerily prescient. He profiled George Lincoln Rockwell, a man Evans calls “the grandfather of all modern fascists”. Over the course of three episodes, Evans lays out how Rockwell is the original holocaust denier, coined the term “white power”, and devised tactics that fascists and their sympathizers continue to use this day. It is highly relevant, and highly essential.
Be sure to follow Robert on Twitter @IwriteOK and consider supporting his GoFundme campaign, "The War on Everyone"
9. Kate Hart - Musician
Kate Hart is a Cleveland pioneer of “nerd folk”, a genre she may or may not have invented. Please do let me know on twitter or elsewhere if she’s wrong because Kate is also a scientist, and therefore very much would appreciate the criticism, so she can correct that claim.
In today’s interview, we talk about her work as a chemical engineer for a green energy startup in Akron that specialized in waste heat recovery, which apocalypse she thinks would be most fun (if we survive catastrophic climate change), and what she learned after challenging herself to write one song a week for a year.
You can find the album that resulted from that challenge, titled “2018”, at katehart.bandcamp.com.
8. Mikey Silas - Musician
Today’s episode is with another rising star of the Cleveland music scene, Mikey Silas. Mikey’s stage presence is as big as his heart, and is a font of positivity and encouragement, both in person and online. I first heard him at an open mic in 2018 and was instantly captivated by his soulful vocals and passionate performance style. If you dig Mikey’s work, be sure to visit mikeysilas.com and follow Apostle Jones on Facebook and Instagram.
7. Occupy Wall Street Reflections
Living in New York during OWS is something I will always treasure. I first heard about something going on downtown from a few friends’ posts on Facebook. It wasn’t long before I realized that this was a historical moment, and so I tried to participate as much as I could.
At the time, I was working full-time at an ad agency cranking out animated banner ads (for Citibank, ironically). Deb and I were not yet married, and we were 8 months into occupying our new roles as parents with our first son, Dominic.
I started spending my lunch breaks down at the park, holding up a sign that read “I have worked in advertising for 13 years for corporations such as GE, Pfizer, Merck, Wells Fargo, Citibank, HSBC, and many more. I know this beast, and it is not human. END CORPORATE PERSONHOOD” On the weekends, the whole family would go down together for a few hours to talk with people or play some music. My favorite song to perform down there was Sixteen Tons, by Merle Travis.
A few weeks into the occupation, I had a flash of inspiration. I remember, I was smoking a cigarette on my apartment stoop, when I suddenly realized that the people’s mic, the only means of amplification permitted in Zuccotti, would be an amazing way to propose to Deb. I spent the next week looking through antique flea markets for a reasonably priced ring, writing a speech that would work within the people’s mic format, and organizing some friends to meet us at the Park the following Saturday. Deb thought we were just heading down there to hang out and play some music again.
I knew that my idea was going to go over great with Deb and our friends and family, but I had no idea that the damn video would go viral! I uploaded it to YouTube on Saturday evening, October 15th. On Monday, friends started messaging me that my video was featured on Gawker.com. By the end of the next week, we'd been featured in The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, Gothamist, The New York Daily News, and dozens of blog entries, with over 100 thousand views.
The experience galvanized our support for the movement, and we used every media inquiry into our story as an opportunity to articulate specifically why we were supporting OWS. We then became aware of Parents for Occupy Wall Street, and figured that be a good entry point for going deeper into supporting the occupation.
On October 21st, the group organized a sleepover in Zuccotti park, which ended up being quite a fiasco. So much so that the night after, Deb and I decided to sit down and record a recap of what transpired.
If I weren’t spread so thin with work this month, I’d love to have done a full episode discussing all the aspects of OWS that we witnessed and participated in, but I just don’t have the damn time. Shit, I wanted to have this episode prepped and ready to drop a week ago, but it took me this long to write and record this introduction. So in the meantime, please enjoy this time capsule recollection of the night Deb, Dominic, and I spent in Zuccotti park, and thanks for listening.
6. Hannah Stak - Musician
5. Holly LeCraw - Author/Activist
During our discussion, we reflect on the work we did with New York Election Justice, and how we’ve been staying active and maintaining our sanity since Trump’s election. I hope to have more members of the New York Election Justice team on the show in future episodes, but Holly and I became very close friends during our work together, so she was my first choice for diving back into this period of my life.
4. Curtis Eller (2014) - Musician
In this interview, recorded back in 2014, we talked about Curtis' early years growing up with a father who ran a small time circus, honing his craft in New York City, the time he got to play a Pete Seeger song for Pete himself, and how he developed his unique performance style.
Be sure to visit www.curtiseller.com to hear more of his music and to find out when he’s coming through your neck of the woods.
3. Charley Crockett (2018) - Musician
Over the years , we've remained close even when we weren’t in proximity. You can check out the previous episode to hear more about Charley’s early days. In this episode, I caught up with him when he rolled through Cleveland as part of what he describes as a “never-ending tour” promoting his new album “Lonesome As a Shadow”, and riding a rising wave of well-earned success. Be sure to follow him on Instagram @charleycrockett, and check out his website, CharleyCrockett.com for tour dates.
2. Charley Crockett (2014) - Musician
Later this week I'll be posting a brand new interview with Charley Crockett from May of 2018, when he came thru Cleveland to perform at the Beachland Ballroom main stage.
1. Ray Flanagan - Musician
A Brief Introduction
I came to the craft of music late in life. I waded into the waters of the New York open mic scene back in 2009 as a stand up comic, and came out a musician. The open mics are also where I met my wife, Deb Zep, who I’m now raising two rambunctious boys with in Cleveland Ohio.
Over the last decade I’ve been very privileged to have forged friendships with dozens of incredible performers. On this show I’ll be sitting down with them, as well as other interesting folks I’ve had the fortune to cross paths with.
Thanks for listening, be sure to subscribe on your preferred podcasting app, and follow me on twitter at twitter.com/bzdug or my website: bzdug.com
Check back tomorrow for the first full episode with local Cleveland rocker, Ray Flanagan.