Winamp Logo
Fun 2 Know Podcast Cover
Fun 2 Know Podcast Profile

Fun 2 Know Podcast

English, Music industry, 1 season, 54 episodes, 3 days, 5 hours, 5 minutes
Featuring interviews with writers, musicians and artists with host (and former FRESH AIR researcher) Dan Buskirk
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 53 - Artist/Musician Steven Erdman

Here's the part where I give a brief introduction to this episode's guest, something particularly difficult with a guest as extravagantly talented as Steven Erdman. He might be best described as a one-man production company, having skills as a graphic artists with hand-illustrating skills, a songwriter and producer, an animator and filmmaker, and set designer and creator and over the last thirty odd years has worked on projects at Nickelodeon and MTV, contributed artwork to numerous publications and gave birth to the weirdo rock sounds of Lard Dog & The Band of Shy, known for their surreal theatrical performances. Erdman has rubbed shoulders and collaborated with a cavalcade of well-known talents, over the course of the episode we'll hear anecdote about everyone from James Brown, Van Morrison, Natasha Lyonne, Clarence Reid aka Blowfly, The Sun Ra Arkestra's Marshall Allen, one-time bandmate Norah Jones, and more. It all makes for a decidedly epic and entertaining conversation, as Erd discusses his many setback and drive to keep creative, or as he proclaims, to “Yam On!”
6/12/20242 hours, 46 minutes, 15 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 52 - Saxophonist/Poet Elliott Levin

On today's show saxophonist, flautist, composer, poet, Elliott Levin. Levin is a Philadelphia-born talent, who has traveled far and wide in his career, establishing himself as an iron man of music, ubiquitous across the city of Philadelphia since the 1970s, playing countless gigs across numerous styles.  Soon after picking up the saxophone, Elliott fell under the spell galvanizing jazz pianist Cecil Taylor while Taylor taught at New Jersey's Glassboro State College. Levin first found acclaim touring around the world with Philly International giants Harold Melvin & The Blues Notes for over a decade and his career in jazz and improvised music has seen him performing and recording with The Sun Ra Arkestra's Tyrone Hill & Marshall Allen, Mother of Invention keyboardist Don Preston, Sonic Liberation Front, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, The West Philadelphia Orchestra and Odean Pope's Saxophone Choir and his poetry has been published in The L.A. Weekly.  I'd been wanting to get Elliott in front of a microphone for sometime, and our conversation didn't disappoint. When I spoke to Elliott has was just back from a tour of Mexico and earlier this month he celebrated his 70th birthday with a concert in Philadelphia, leading a band featuring 99 year-old Sun Ra Arkestra bandleader Marshall Allen. We discuss his upbringing in West Philly, college in the turbulent early seventies, touring the world with The Blue Notes, his collaborations with Marshall Allen, poetry, his friendship with hippie legend Buzzy Linhart, a saxophonist's life during quarantine and more, as well as hearing a bit of the music Elliott has recorded over his career.
11/10/20231 hour, 22 minutes, 20 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 51 - Novelist Mike DeCapite

On today's show, it's the second appearance of writer Mike DeCapite (previously on F2N Ep. 20), whose latest novel, JACKET WEATHER was published in late 2021 by Soft Skull Press, home to works from everyone from Dennis Cooper to Noam Chomsky. DeCapite is originally from Cleveland and the son of novelist Raymond DeCapite, a novelist whose well-reviewed work was first published in 1960. Mike DeCapite moved from Clevleand to Brooklyn in 1987 and moved in the circle around fellow Clevelanders Pere Ubu, the seminal art punk group. DeCapite's poetic fiction would be appear in various publications over the years and his naturalistic slices of life have always revealed a deep connection to music and has made fans of an impressive range artists of various backgrounds; JACKET WEATHER includes blurbs from filmmaker Kelly Reichardt, Sonic Youth bassist Lee Ranaldo and writer Lucy Sante. DeCapite's 1998 novel THROUGH THE WINDSHIELD drew raves for Mike's story of kicking around with small time gamblers in the city of Cleveland, an excerpt from Mike's unpublished follow-up RUINED FOR LIFE would appear along with his father's work in Harper's THE ITALIAN AMERICAN READER, and now JACKET WEATHER arrives, further refining DeCapite's anecdotal storytelling to a fine point. The novel centers around a relationship DeCapite begins with June, a figure of romantic interest DeCapite had known casually back in the 1980s where she was doing P.R. for Pere Ubu. Now decades later, DeCapite is taken a back by the strong attraction he feels to a woman extracting herself from a curdled relationship. With the lightest of touches across bite-sized chapters, DeCapite casts an alluring story of unsentimental optimism in the just-dimming light of middle-age. Publishers Weekly said: "Spare and lyrical . . . DeCapite has a poet’s eye for the city’s majestic details, and illustrates how his characters come to see the same things differently over the years . . . A worthwhile meditation." — from Kirkus Reviews: "So very real . . . A sad but sweet song about the uncertainty of middle age and how funny it is when time slips away." We try an keep things loose and casual of these Fun 2 Know interviews, so much so people often think I'm just interviewing friends, but here I actually AM interviewing one of my closest friends, although it has been decades since I hung with Mike after work every Monday in San Francisco, where Mike would serve some ambitious entries and we'd talk movies, music and writing. The last time I talked to Mike was just before pandemic restrictions hit in 2020, now, three years later, Mike was in Philly to do a reading with Warhol biographer Victor Bockriss and we sat down at the kitchen table the following day to record this interview where we talk about JACKET WEATHER, seasonal memories, '90s Dylan, middle-aged love, writing about sex and divining renewed inspiration.
5/18/202353 minutes, 9 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 50 - Filmmaker Rob Burson of HELL OF A HEARTACHE

It is the interview I conducted with director Sean Baker that planted the seed for today's episode, which is the long-delayed fiftieth episode of Fun 2 Know. It was three years ago that Rob Burson was in pre-production for his debut film HELL OF A HEARTACHE when he stumbled across the Fun 2 Know interview with Sean Baker, whose films PRINCE OF BROADWAY and THE FLORIDA PROJECT were inspirational as examples of vivid, compelling character studies made on a strict budget. Rob “friended” me on Facebook after hearing the interview and we would occasionally discuss film on-line while I was vaguely aware he was shooting a modestly-budgeted feature with a small crew near his home in Arizona. Then almost a year ago, just before X-mas, Rob asked me if I'd like to take a look at his feature, humbly asking me to keep my expectations low. Knowing the difficulties of such a limited budget I was prepared to look at the film with a forgiving eye but instead was a bit dumbstruck at the captivating, sure-footing telling of washed-up country star Bobbie Thompson and his unexpected saddling with a thirteen year old girl who may be his daughter. While the story of this pairs' relationship is humorous and engaging enough to sustain the film, HELL OF A HEARTACHE also reverberates with other ideas and themes, including modern masculinity and the lingering effects of violence against women throughout our society. Sharing the film with friends and family I'd become convinced HELL OF A HEARTACHE was a little miracle of a film, a masterful and very affecting work that somehow seemed to arrive out of nowhere with Burson, not only writing and directing with great feeling and subtly but delivering a performance any seasoned actor would be proud of. Yet, Burson hadn't acted since high school and his turn to filmmaking didn't come until he was in his late forties. We'll unravel just how this film got made in our interview, but I should first mention that all this led to the upcoming East Coast premiere of HELL OF A HEARTACHE on Thursday, December 8th at the Rotunda, on the 40th block of Walnut Street in Philadelphia, as part of the Bright Bulb screening series. Not only will we see HELL OF A HEARTACHE, currently unavailable through your favorite streaming service, but it will be followed by a Q&A with Rob, on his first trip to the East Coast. The screening is free and included is a second feature, from Australian director Gillian Armstrong, director of MY BRILLIANT CAREER and STARSTRUCK, we'll be seeing her nearly-lost 1987 feature HIGH TIDE, starring Judy Davis which also tells the story of a performer uniting with her abandoned daughter.
11/30/202240 minutes, 12 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 49 - Austin Thereminist Aileen Adler

On today's show: Austin, Texas musician and thereminist, Aileen Adler. I first met Aileen back in the late '80s during the halcyon days of Tower Records, when we both worked at store #173 on South Street in Philadelphia. I moved to Alaska and then San Francisco in the early '90s, around the same time when Aileen moved to another artist's hub, Austin, Texas. We lost touch with each other for a couple decades after that, finally meeting up again in the Facebook era. From there it was that sort of half-awareness you got from social media, I'd see pictures of Aileen looking striking in theatrical clothing, entertaining at events, but what it was she was actually doing was somehow lost on me. Reading that she was back in Philly for a visit, I thought it would be a perfect time to crack the mystery of Aileen Adler. Aileen was always a dynamic character, and I wasn't disappointed. We discuss her early years arriving in the Philly, her move to Austin, singing and adopting the electronic instrument the theremin, visiting Morocco, blacksmithing and collaborating of John “Drumbo” French from Capt, Beefheart's legendary Magic Band. We'll also hear some samples of Aileen's music, with the group the Temple of Ape Collective, joined by the didgeridoo from her album, THEREMIN FOR THE MASSES, which you can discover at as well as Aileen's theremin joined by the pianist and composer Catherine Davis.
5/24/201943 minutes, 57 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 48 Guitarist Nick Millevoi

Our guest today, guitarist Nick Millevoi. To quote his bio, “Nick Millevoi is a guitarist and composer whose music searches for the sonic cracks between jazz, rock and roll, noise, and modern composition.” Nick has performed with Mostly Other People Do the Killing, Nels Cline, Marc Ribot, and Jamaaladeen Tacuma, the duo Archer Spade with trombonist Dan Blacksberg as well as making five full-length albums with the trio Many Arms. Since 2016, Nick's main vehicle is The Desertion Trio, featuring Johnny deBlase on bass and Kevin Shea on drums. Their first two records also featured Jamie Saft on organ and their third, the just-released TWILIGHT TIME on the Long Song label features guest stars Ron Stabinsky on organ and Sun Ra Arkestra vocalist Tara Middleton. It's a collection of radically reworked tunes from the oldies era and has already won notice from Rolling Stone magazine, who listed the new record's title cut as a “Song You Need to Know” in their May issue. Nick has drawn a lot of press over the years, he also writes for a number of guitar magazines, but I never really read his origin story On today's interview we talk about Millevoi's earliest music loves, playing his 8th grade graduation party, confronting the jazz curriculum in college, deflecting law school, touring with Many Arms, the music of Neil Young, Nirvana and Dick Dale, the inspirational Wildwood New Jersey, making the new record and future records he is destined to make.
5/10/20191 hour, 33 minutes, 24 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 47 Bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma

Today, bassist extraordinaire, Jamaaladeen Tacuma. Jamaaladeen was our guest back in Episode 11 of the podcast, where we talked about growing up in Philly, his discovering the bass in his teen years, his joining Ornette Coleman's electric Prime Time band while still a young man, as well as his world travels and his love of fashion. A few months back I had him back as a guest on my show on WPRB-Princeton, at the time promoting his annual Outsiders Festival, where he's brought a number of improvised music line-ups for some incredible shows in Philadelphia. The 2018 edition brought back Ornette's Prime Time Band, now led by Coleman's son Denardo. I've edited the promotional conversation, but that still left much of interest. We discuss Jamaaladeen's recent TONIGHT SHOW appearance, his friendship with the band The Roots, the return of Prime Time, winning the Benny Golson award, working with the kid's rock sensations The Wiggles, Jamaaladeen's Red Carpet Room boutique, having kids, saxophonist Keir Neuringer and the Japanese sci-fi classic THE MYSTERIANS.
11/12/201848 minutes, 48 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 46 - Music Historian Elijah Wald

On today's show: music historian Elijah Wald. I was just hanging out in my South Philly neighborhood when I happened to get introduced to Elijah, a music historian who has written over a dozen books, mainly on the subject of roots music but also on subjects as diverse as hitchhiking, the cultural phenomenon known as “the Dozens” and the genetics industry. Elijah won a Grammy for his liner notes in 2002, had the book he co-authored with Dave Van Ronk adapted for the Coen Bros. 2013 film, INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS as well as making the scene as a guitarist rooted in the folk blues tradition. It's just one of Elijah's books that we focused on in this episode, the 2009 publication, “How the Beatles Destroyed Rock 'n' Roll: An Alternative History of American Popular Music” from the Oxford University Press. The Beatles don't actually appear until near the book's climax, the book's main focus is as a corrective to past musical tomes that distort 20th century history by focusing on the canon of artistically “important artists” at the expense of minimizing many of the commercially dominant artists of their day. It's a rich and challenging book, impeccably researched as well as being highly-readable. We'll dive into the books many ideas, along the way discussing, Guy Lombardo, Paul Whiteman, Tom Waits and Ricky Nelson, as well as The Stones, The Beatles, Dylan and the Three Degrees as well as examining how gender biases cloud the story of 20th century music. You can find out more about Elijah at elijahwald–dot-com
8/14/20181 hour, 5 minutes, 47 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 45 - Guitarist Monnette Sudler

Early on in the show's history I had Monnette on the short list of Philly-area musicians with which I wanted to interview. I'd long been a fan of the records she recorded in the mid-1970s for the prestigious Steeplechase label, a Danish label who continues today to make important records for artists who have gone slept-upon back here in the states, artists including Archie Shepp, Chet Baker, Jackie McLean, Dexter Gordon, Anthony Braxton, Andrew Hill and more. Monnette was spotted at the Newport Jazz Festival playing in Sam Rivers band by staff at the label who would go on to produce a trio of Monnette records starting in 1976 with TIME FOR A CHANGE then LIVE IN EUROPE and BRIGHTER DAYS FOR YOU. Ms. Sudler has continued to record regularly, playing over the years with the late drum great Sunny Murray, Kenny Barron, Dave Holland, and many more and has a plethora of awards she has collected across her active career. Monnette talks about her beginnings in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, her collaborations with vibraphonist Khan Jamal, her teaching and poetry and at the end, talks candidly about some of the personal and physical obstacles she's faced along the way, including her experiences at Muncie State Penitentiary. It's makes for one of the more moving conversations I've captured here at Fun 2 Know and I want to thank Monnette for sharing her story.
5/10/20181 hour, 26 minutes, 16 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 44 - Musician Kenn Kweder

F2K Episode 44: The enduring musician, Kenn Kweder It's the show's proud third appearance from our most popular guest, musician Kenn Kweder. Kweder (who appeared previously in Ep. Six, Ep. Seven, and Ep. 30 of the FUN 2 KNOW podcast) has been a beloved fixture of the Philadelphia music scene since rising up from the Philly streets in the mid-seventies with his band, The Secret Kidds. In his first interview here we talked about his near-brush with national attention and its comedown but Kenn's real triumph is his unwavering dedication to live performance, playing a hundred-plus gigs every year for decades and being one of the free-est souls you'll ever meet. On this latest show we talk about Ken's influences and legends like Capt. Beefheart, The Stones and Bob Dylan whose performances he has witnessed over the decades. We also talk about what still drives him at sixty-five, hear near-unbelievable stories from a lifetime spent singing in bars, pay tribute to the drug Propofol, discuss the era of Trump, the MeToo movement, modern audiences and the glory of dying while on-stage. The ridiculously entertaining conversation with Kenn began as I was still setting up the mics, and Kweder went into the story of opening up for Patti Smith in 1975...
5/2/20182 hours, 20 minutes, 4 seconds
Episode Artwork

Excerpt from forthoming F2K ep. 44: Kenn Kweder on Patti Smith

Kenn Kweder talks about his 1975 gig with Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye at Glassboro State College in New Jersey. From the soon forthcoming episode 44 of The Fun 2 Know podcast...
4/19/20184 minutes, 59 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 43 - Trumpeter Jaimie Branch

On today's show, with trumpeter and composer Jaimie Branch. I'd seen Jaimie's name in the credits of releases by bassist Jason Ajemian, in the large band of Keefe Jackson, with cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and saxophonist Jarrett Gilmore but she didn't really capture my attention until her stunning debut with her band Fly or Die arrived on the International Anthem label in early 2017. This rock-solid quartet featuring former Fun 2 Know guest Tomeka Reid on cello, newly-minted Philadelphian Chad Taylor on drums and Jason Ajemian on bass provide a spacious landscape for the propulsive trumpet and compositions of Ms Branch, over a beautifully-paced record that pulls you through it like a great record should. Branch has collected plenty of accolades for the record, including winning Top Debut in the NPR 2017 Jazz Poll (she topped my ballot as well) Jaimie was listed in the June 2017 Rolling Stone as “10 New Artists You Need to Know” and the Village Voice called Branch “fearless” and described her album as “eerily beautiful.” Jaimie and her band Fly or Die rolled into town in late January, sharing a bill at The Rotunda on the University of Pennsylvania campus with improvisational group Sirius Juju. I'd hoped to get there early and interview Jaimie backstage but I've worked with enough band to know that traveling from town-to-town with five or six people is an inexact science so instead of having an hour to unwind into conversation we had about twenty minutes before the band downstairs began to dominate the scene with a wonderful set of music. This makes for a nice, concise episode of Fun 2 Know, where we enjoy a few cuts from Jaimie's “Fly or Die” debut, a snippet from her recordings with the trio Princess Princess, an previously undistributed date she was selling at the show as vinyl in a plain paper sleeve, plus hear Jaimie talk about how ten years of gigging has made her an “overnight sensation.”
3/8/201835 minutes, 14 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 42 - Film Writer Matt Prigge

On today's show, Matt Prigge. Matt has written about film since the late 1990s, originally at The Philadelphia Weekly, then for four years as the film editor at The Metro, the free commuter paper that has editions in New York City, Boston and Philadelphia. Matt is a particularly engaging writer with an unusually firm grasp on a wide range of cinema, finding what is worth celebrating in everything from low-grade action films to finessing the metaphors in the work of Lars Von Trier. We get rolling on a tangent-rich conversation but also chart and mourn the decline of independent weekly newspapers, that served the variety of cultural function for city dwellers until the new millennium when many of their services could be transferred easily to the internet. Across the country those papers have withered and died since the internet's rise and lost is the paper's role as a magnet that brought journalists and artists under one roof to share ideas and energy. Along the way we also discuss growing up in Mechanicsburg PA, Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray, Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom,” Richard Lester, The Beatles “Help!” Fellini meets Michael Jackson, Stanley Donen. Woody Allen, the cinema of Calista Flockhart. The politics of “Die Hard,” TheArchers - Powell and Pressburger, the late films of Billy Wilder, John Huston, the key to Tarantino. the late Alan Rickman, “listicals,” “Smokey & The Bandit,” writing about The Marvel Universe. “Twin Peaks: The Return,” Steven Soderburgh, Frederic Wiseman and Matt's new job teaching at NYU.
2/2/20182 hours, 9 minutes, 1 second
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 41 - Heather Henderson And Emery Emery

On today's show, Heather Henderson and Emery Emery, who together host both the award-winning Ardent Atheist podcast as well as the podcast, Skeptically Yours. I've known Heather since back in the early 2000s, when she was part of the Philly-based burlesque troupe The Peek-a-Boo Revue, who specialized comedy and satire along with classic strip routines. Heather was a memorable performer with the troop, but I knew that her experiences as a performer went back to the 90s, with a stint as a dancer on the very popular locally-produced shows Dancing on Air and Dance Party U.S.A., which like their Philly-launched forerunner American Bandstand featured teens dancing in a studio set to the latest pop and dance hits. Heather also acted, appearing in Mannequin 2 and Annapolis as well as singing with the r&b group Soulamite. In 2010, Heather relocated to Los Angeles where she continued as a burlesque performer and also met her partner comedian Emery Emery, who toured extensively as a stand-up and has worked as an editor and producer of many stand-up projects, including editing the hit stand-up doc, The Aristocrats. Together they launched the Ardent Atheist podcast in 2011 and soon after Skeptically Yours. Heather is also a member of Penn Jillette's No God band, and is currently studying film production at the Art Institute in Los Angeles. I caught up with Heather and Emery on their trip back east as they were attending the Pennsylvania State Atheist/Humanist Conference where they recorded an episode of The Ardent Atheist and caught up with old friends. Over the course of our talk we discuss Heather's growing up in Camden, her “baby Heather” phase, Philly pungency, L.A. sun, Jews for Jesus, Mother Theresa, modern attention spans, Penn Jillette, the death of Prince and more.
11/27/20171 hour, 25 minutes, 56 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 40 - Michelle Ausman and Kimberly Vice of Hestina

On today's show, our guests are Michelle MF Ausman and Kimberly Vice of the musical duo Hestina. Named after a genus of butterflies, the duo's 2016 nine-song release, BLOSSOM TALK is a tour-de-force of harmony vocals, literate lyrics and rhythmically-propelled melodies that haunt long after they hit their climax. With the easy accessibility of modern music, favorite songs can come and go fast but Hestina's music lingered with me and got replayed regularly over the last year and a half. Visiting their website at hestinamusic dot com a few weeks back I had discovered that the duo have moved recently from New Orleans and relocated in the Fun 2 Know Podcast's hometown of Philadelphia Pennsylvania. A few Facebook messages later, like magic we were talking in our kitchen and even knocking out a few beautiful tunes live. What an ingratiating pair, we talked about about New Orleans vs. Philly, early mix-CD revelations, religion, singing harmony, pleasing your parents, bars that never close, Jeff Buckley the modern grind and more. We'll also hear a few cuts from their release BLOSSOM TALK, available at iTunes and other on-line outlets.
11/14/201755 minutes, 50 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 39 - Director Sean Baker and Film Critic Piers Marchant

On today's show: Film director Sean Baker and film critic Piers Marchant. First, a very recent conversation I had with filmmaker Sean Baker. I was so taken with Sean Baker's 2015 film TANGERINE, famously and beautifully shot from an Apple iPhone, that I started tracking down his earlier work, four fascinating films, including two brilliantly-executed micro-budget indies, 2004's TAKE OUT set in the world of NYC Chinese food delivery, and 2008's PRINCE OF BROADWAY, about an African immigrant selling knock-off designer bags who is unexpectedly left alone with a baby that might be his son. Baker's 2012 film STARLET centered around a friendship between an elderly widow and a sweet up-and-coming adult film star, played by Muriel Hemingway's daughter, Dree. But it was the 2015 film TANGERINE that was Baker's breakthrough, hitting the zeitgeist right as transgender issues were making big news and following two streetwalkers on a wild and unapologetic 24-hour tour through the Hollywood strip, and featuring incredible performances from first-time actresses Mya Taylor and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez. The pair were later part of the first Academy Award campaigns for openly transgender actresses. Now Baker follows-up TANGERINE with THE FLORIDA PROJECT, a fascinating ramble around the world of budget motels in Kissimmee, Florida. The film is mostly seen from the perspective of six year old Moonee, played by newcomer Brooklyn Prince and through her eyes, the rundown, kitschy motels and gaudy tourist traps seem just as enchanted as Disney's Magic Kingdom one town over. Her mother is played by Bria Vinaite who gives a downright feral performance as Moonee's loving but distracted mom and Willem Defoe exercises his compassionate side as the diplomatic motel manager Bobby. It's a film that vibrates with real life and its episodic quality allows the tightening dynamics of the plot to escape notice until its emotionally-tumultuous finale. It's also a film that captures childhood more vividly than any film in recent history as well as further exploring the themes of work, morality and people on society's fringes that is the hallmark of Baker's ever-more impressive filmography. I was given a chance to talk to Baker just before THE FLORIDA PROJECT screened at the Philadelphia Film Festival and when I saw the schedule I realized I was given 20 minutes just before Baker was due to walk on the festival's red carpet for a Saturday evening featured screening. I found Baker to be completely direct and unpretentious and would have loved to have him on for a more leisurely interview but as it was I was able to squeeze a few more minutes out of him for a half-hour of conversation. We talk about Baker's New Jersey roots, discovering Cassavetes, Ken Loach and the Dardenne Brothers, working with first-time actors, 70s Hollywood film, The Our Gang series, shooting on video and film and knowing how the movie is going to end. After the interview we'll go to an even more recent discussion with film critic Piers Marchant from PHILADELPHIA MAGAZINE and The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Piers and I get into a much more leisurely conversation, discussing Baker and THE FLORIDA PROJECT but also, BLADE RUNNER 2049, The Coen Brothers, George Lucas, the state of modern Hollywood and some of our favorite films of the 2017.
10/27/20172 hours, 7 minutes, 18 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 38 - Poet Maryan Nagy Captan

On today's show: a conversation with poet and author Maryan Nagy Captan Maryan is a poet, writer and performer currently centered in Philadelphia. Born in Cairo, Egypt, Mayan's parents immigrated to the U.S. in the 1990s where they earned a somewhat hard-scrabble living and raised two girls. With English as a second language, Maryan approached language with a linguistic curiosity that helped fuel her early creativity. In recent years, Maryan has indulged her love of travel, visiting and sometimes teaching writing to young people in Vietnam, Portugal, San Francisco and as we discuss, The Lakota Native reservation in Pine Ridge South Dakota. Maryan also has unleashed her first chapbook this year, a beautiful volume entitled COPY/BODY, published by Empty Set Press. Across the interview we discuss the immigrant experience, small town America, Maryan's love of hip-hop, the 2008 Bonnaroo Festival, soul great Solomon Burke, author Gwendolyn Brooks, performing for audiences, living well beneath the poverty line, feminism, teaching Lakota youth, where to sit in a sweat lodge, Maryan's emo phase and more, as well as hear Maryan performing her own work.
10/20/20171 hour, 30 minutes, 53 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 37 - Film Journalist Travis Crawford

In the 90s I began seeing Travis Crawford's byline pop up in assorted magazines, and over the years he has written for publications including Film Comment, Filmmaker, Fangoria and increasingly in the liner notes of archival DVDs. Currently he writes regularly for the U.K. Publication, the Calvert Journal. Crawford's always intelligent and passionate writing, often about films that mix genre conventions with exploratory filmmaking, has made his a byline worth seeking out. Personally, his biggest impact was made in his years as a film programmer at the Philadelphia Film Festival, whose highlight was always the sidebar “Danger After Dark,” a series of films curated by Crawford that brought some of wildest and most thrilling films to the festival and promoted the work of major directors who had been otherwise under-represented. Film is a major passion of mine but we haven't had a guest to discuss film with on the show since we had Reelblack Cinema's guru Mike Dennis on twenty episodes ago. Travis and I have chatted across Facebook a lot but I'd only met him fleetingly before the Fun 2 Know mobile studio trekked down to quaint Wilmington, Delaware, still basking in its Revolutionary-era charm. I usually try to pry out the guest's origin story but listening to Bill Ackerman's excellent Supporting Characters podcast, it seemed that Bill had already completed that job. Instead, we engage in a more freewheeling, loose conversation, one hardly influenced at all by the slowly emptying bottle of Lillet Blanc that mysteriously evaporated over the two-plus hours of talk. We discuss our theater going experiences across Delaware, Philadelphia and San Francisco, the work of Dario Argento and Brian De Palma, the current state of the great directors of the 70s, Lindsey Lohan, film distribution today, the limitation of the TV medium, Asian cinema, clawing out a living, bad jobs, film snobbery, Michael Shannon, the new Twin Peaks and much more, So let's head over now, you can imagine the late afternoon sun slowly dropping in the sky while we sit in the dining room of a bed and breakfast with every detail in the room rich in Colonial detail, as we mull over nearly a hundred years between us of film-viewing thoughts and memories.
8/28/20172 hours, 29 minutes, 41 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 36 - Comedian Ritch Shydner

On today's show, a conversation with author and comedian Ritch Shydner. Ritch Shydner rode in on the wave of the 1980s stand up boom, playing stages coast-to-coast, working with the best comedians of the era along the way appearing on HBO, David Letterman, both Jay Leno and Johnny Carson's TONIGHT SHOW as well as working and writing on shows incl. ROSEANNE, MARRIED ...WITH CHILDREN, and THE JEFF FOXWORTHY SHOW. Shydner took time off from doing stand-up in the late 90s but has returned in recent years, I had the good fortune to see Ritch play the Borgota in Atlantic City a few weeks back where he took control of a crowded house and again delivered his lean compact set like the seasoned professional that he is. It's all in Shydner's recent memoir, “Kicking Through the Ashes: My Life As a Stand-Up in the 1980s Comedy Boom” on the Mr. Media imprint, a highly-readable book, where Shydner is witness to the birth of modern comedy while working with people of the stature of Jerry Seinfeld, Steve Martin, Robin Williams and Sam Kinison, as well as taking the stage on some of television's most-watched programs. But deeper down in the details there's a beautiful quiet desperation where struggles with economics, status, and chemical abuse, all led to a personal and professional collapse. Plus, there's jokes. I wanted to talk to Shydner about the book but I also wanted to talk about our shared past. We both grew up in the same small Southern New Jersey town, Pennsville, a town of about 14,000, historically tied to the county's DuPont chemical plant and later, The Salem Nuclear Power Plant. It's the kind of small town kids dream of escaping when growing up and Shydner's success was a sort of inspiration and source of local pride. Although I had never met Ritch before, I did attend kindergarten with his younger sister, Rhonda and I believe Ritch was friendly with my cousin Cheryl since high school. As I'd hoped, that Pennsville camaraderie kicked in right away, and we talked about Ritch's opening for the Ramones, working for Roseann Barr, taking bad advice from Sam Kinison making a lethal faux pas with Johnny Carson, his friendship with cult comic Bill Hicks, being competitive with his stand-up ex-wife, knowing who to make fun of, swimming in chemical waste and more.
6/9/20171 hour, 41 minutes, 17 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 35 - Musician Brandy Butler

On today's show, vocalist, bandleader and songwriter, Brandy Butler I first met Brandy Butler when she worked with my wife at a Philadelphia charter school, when Brandy was fresh out of college and teaching music to elementary school kids. I was aware that Brandy and her band Saigon Slim were performing around town in the same era when the Philly band The Roots were affiliated with Black Lily night at the club The Five Spot, when it was a showcase for talent like Jill Scott, Floetry and Jaguar Wright. We lost touch for a bit when Brandy moved to Switzerland to become an au pair but were happy to hear later of the success she had touring Europe with assorted bands as a vocalist, and making recordings with Chamber Soul, The Foxionaires and others. In 2013, Brandy was a contestant on the Swiss edition of The Voice, making Brandy an instant celebrity within Switzerland's borders. All these experiences influenced Brandy's latest recording, INVENTORY OF GOODBY (named after the Anne Sexton poem perhaps?) and it's a gorgeously realized full-length song cycle, inspired by a transformative whirlwind romance with another artist, a project that came into shape while Brandy was recovering in the deserts of the American southwest. We talk about all these things as well as Black theater, Stevie Wonder, Swiss village life, not being Aretha Franklin, Schlager music, the lure of television, finding your voice, love, sex and Millie Jackson, as well as hear some cuts from Brandy's new album. You can find the album, Brandy Butler and the Broken Hearted – INVENTORY OF GOODBYE on Amazon and other outlets, see a video for one of its songs, ”Spell” at youtube and discover all things brandy butler at
5/26/20171 hour, 14 minutes, 10 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 34 - Entertainer John Davidson

Today's show: entertainer John Davidson. The family traveled up to Saratoga Springs last month as my wife appeared in the pilot of a TV program called "The Caregiver Connection," following the stories of people involved in health care in America. The pilot was hosted by a guitar-strumming John Davidson, who has been an ubiquitous TV presence since the 1960s, appearing as a host with Fran Tarkenton and Cathy Lee Crosby on the ABC hit THAT'S INCREDIBLE, acting in various TV shows, recording a number of records for the Columbia label and singing and dancing on Broadway in Rodgers and Hammerstein's STATE FAIR and most recently touring as The Wizard in the hit show WICKED. It's been awhile since we've seen John in the spotlight and I wasn't sure what to expect, so it was a pleasant surprise to find the entertainer, now in his 70s, to be such a warm and open human being, taking time after along filming day to sit down and talk about his career, knowing Walt Disney, working with Carol Burnett, Telly Savalas, the Cowardly Lion Bert Lahr, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, growing up as the son of a preacher, playing John Davidson, atheism, hosting THE TONIGHT SHOW, the era of Donald Trump and even performing a few of his original songs for us. You can find out more about what's going on with John today at Johndavidson-dot-com, and thanks to producer Todd Kwait for sharing his insight and talent with The Fun 2 Know podcast.
4/21/201758 minutes, 1 second
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 33 - Saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa

On today's show, composer, alto saxophonist and the new Director of Jazz at Princeton University, Rudresh Mahanthappa. Rudresh Mahanthappa came out of Boulder Colorado, was educated by Berklee College of Music and DePaul, and received national attention not long after moving to New York in 1998 where he soon beginning collaborating with the then up-and-coming, now major jazz force, pianist Vijay Iyer. Besides making a series of major statements with Iyer, Mahanthappa has collaborated with guitarist Rez Abbasi and trumpeter Amir ElSaffar for some of the freshest and most-ground-breaking jazz releases of the last decade. He's won the yearly Downbeat Poll multiple times, has had a string of recordings under his own name for Innova, Pi Recordings and the Clean Feed label.and BIRD CALLS, honoring the work of Charlie Parker is his latest on the ACT Music label. Rudresh has reached out to the Princeton community, checking in with WPRB in Princeton, where DJs have been playing his music for over a decade. He dropped in to WPRB's studios late in his first semester teaching there, and was very warm and open, excitingly talking about his plans for the Princeton Jazz program but he also talks about learning his craft in primary school, taking the alto saxophone into the future, working with the elusive Bunky Green, losing a sax in Hurricane Sandy and what's next in his recording and performing career. Artists like Rudressh and Vijay Iyer and their many collaborators, as well as guitarist Mary Halvorson, pianist Matthew Shipp, bassist William Parker, flutist Nicole Mitchell, and still-vital elder statesmen like drummer Jack DeJohnette, composer Henry Threadgill and countless others are what make the weekly jazz show I program at WPRB-Princeton seem to endlessly rejuvenate, despite uninformed naysayers repeating that “jazz is dead” nonsense.
12/19/201645 minutes, 3 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 32 - Harpist Mary Lattimore

Mary Lattimore has been lending her harp to a number of avant rock recordings for over a decade, as well as releasing her own haunting improvisational work for labels including Thrill Jockey and Ghostly International. Our conversation was recorded just days before Mary left Philadelphia (where she lived for a decade) to relocate in Los Angeles. We talk about her relationship with the harp, the music scene that came together in Philly in the 2000s, making music with Thurston Moore, Jarvis Cocker, The Arcade Fire, The Valerie Project, and Kurt Vile, composing music for soundtracks, playing the classical world vs. the rock world, The American Harp Convention, NKOTB, gentrification, her move to L.A. and more. You can find out more about Lattimore's work at marylattimore,net
12/2/201650 minutes, 50 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 31: Violinist Diane Monroe

On today's show, violinist Diana Monroe. I spent most pf the 90s living in San Francisco and when I returned to my old home of Philadelphia around 2000, I was struck by how rich a pool of musical talent existed in Philadelphia, particularly across the world of Philadelphia jazz. A great place for talent spotting is in Bobby Zankel's incredible jazz orchestra, The Warriors of the Wonderful Sound a striking group led by saxophonist and composer Bobby Zankel whose numbers can swell to a dozen and beyond, all instrumentalists that can play the music to the highest standards. But for me, Diane's fiery and passionate violin playing always stood out as particularly beguiling and brilliant. Entering her name in Google and looking at her credentials informed me on how rich and varied her career has been, from leading the string quartet in Max Roch's ground-breaking Double Quartet, to playing with Wynton Marsalis and Yo Yo Ma and touring with Barbara Streisand, Monroe has been a first-rank session musician and in recent years has turned her attention to jazz improvisation. We finally got to sit down and have a conversation at the studios of WPRB to talk about her music and her life recently, we'll hear that conversation as well as sample her music, in duo with vibraphonist Tony Micelli, with Max Roach's Double Quartet, with The String Trio of New York and finally, alone with a solo piece. I was completely charmed talking the Diane and impressed at how completely she's committed herself to the music.
11/4/20161 hour, 36 minutes, 43 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep 30: Singer-Songwriter Kenn Kweder

It's the return F2K's most popular guest, musician and songwriter Kenn Kweder. Our two-part episodes 6 & 7 squeezed in a lot of Kweder's story, growing up in Philly and playing hundreds of gigs a year for decades on stages between New York and Baltimore but mainly in and around Philly, where Kweder is nearly a household name. In the year and a half since he has been on the show Kenn has been the subject of a feature-length documentary, ADVENTURES OF A SECRET KID: THE MASS HALLUCINATION OF KENN KWEDER. Directed by John Hutelmyer, the feature has screened locally and is currently playing the festival circuit. We discuss the film and as you'd guess, a lot more in a slightly melancholy conversation in which Kenn recounts a number of friends who have passed away over the years, but also touches on Pokemon, Miley Cyrus, maintaining friendships in the world of social media, playing prisons and casinos, the secrets of Lithuania, Philly free form radio pioneers, the secret accelerator of the cocaine epidemic, and the proper way to handle yourself in a crack house. We'll hear some excerpts from The Leaves, the mysterious Nikki Jaine and performance poet pioneer Marty Watt. Kenn also brings his guitar and we'll hear a trio of tunes before the episode runs its course.
8/15/20162 hours, 20 minutes, 31 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 29: Music Journalist Kurt Gottschalk

Today it's conversation with writer, music journalist, WFMU DJ and record producer Kurt Gottschalk. Originally out of Illinois, Kurt's earned a masters at the Columbia School of Journalism in 1997. He has written about arts and politics for All About Jazz, Signal to Noise, Time Out-New York, The Village Voice, The Wire and publications in Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Portugal and Russia. He has twice been recognized for "best feature writing" by the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalist. He also has hosted the Miniature Minotaur radio show on WFMU. He's also the author of two works of fiction, LITTLE APPLES: A STORY CYCLE and SENTENCES. Kurt's cover story on guitarist Loren Connor is the cover story of the June 2016 issue of the British magazine The Wire. I became familiar with Kurt in the most modern of ways, a mutual Facebook friend neither of us really know saw our shared interests and recommended that we became Facebook friends. We both have avid interest in jazz music, 20th century rock and pop music and experimental sounds. We met for lunch about a year ago when Kurt was down from New York City for a Philadelphia trip and when we planned to meet up in early summer for a show from the Philadelphia chamber choir The Crossing I took the opportunity to sit Kurt down to record a conversation at the show kitchen table studio. We discuss Kurt's love of avant gardist Anthony Braxton as well as his record collecting roots, getting cheated by the Kiss Army, living in Chicago in the 90s, John Zorn's New York, Kurt's work with guitarist Loren Connors, the late Bernie Worrell and being visited by Prince in his dreams.
7/8/20161 hour, 25 minutes, 1 second
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 28: Painter Skirmantas Pipas

Today show, an epic conversation with artist and painter Skirmantas Pipas. Skirmantas Pipas is a Lithuanian-American artist in the process of painting fantastic otherworldly landscapes that serve as History Paintings of a world yet uncharted. I first met Skirmantas (aka "Skip") when he briefly worked at a Philadelphia cafe in my neighborhood, a lovely spot called The Chapterhouse, where Skip revealed himself as an unusually thoughtful and perceptive 29 year-old. Only after getting to know him better did he share his story as a 21st century American Immigrant relocating from Lithuania to Philadelphia in the years after the Soviet Union's collapse. Living under the Soviet system and the West, has given Skip a rich perspective on our country and our moment in time. Over our expansive conversation Skip discusses arriving in the U.S. as a non-English speaker, navigating the city's somewhat insufficient English as a Second Language program, attending art school, we discuss modern Lithuania, ROBOCOP, Iphones, I-Pads, Gaming and the internet, and the interests and concerns that Skip is working into his paintings. There is an eloquence to Skip's insights that I found particularly intriguing as I pieced together this episode, I think you'll enjoy the ideas he brings to this week's show. The F2K studios went mobile to the back room of Skip's West Philly apartment, and you will a steady array of passing sounds in the background, circular saws, car alarms, sirens, crashes from the other room that I'm embracing as a certain aural scenery of the bustling neighborhood of West Philly.
6/27/20162 hours, 6 minutes, 26 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 27: Novelist Beth Hahn

Today our guest is novelist Beth Hahn. Beth received her masters in writing from Sarah Lawrence and has had her short fiction published in The Hawai'i Review, The South Carolina Review, The Emrys Journal and Necessary Fiction. Her debut novel THE SINGING BONE through Reagan Arts in hardcover, e-book and as an audio book as well. The book is a sort of psychological thriller following Alice, who along with three friends in 1979 fell under the spell of a con man named Jack Wyck. A horrible act of violence occurred that changed the course of these people lives and the story continues twenty years later, when true crime fans begin to search for the answer of what ever happened to Alice after these violent events. We talk to Beth about the novel, its writing and its ramifications as well as talking music, the 1970s, religious cults, free range kids, teenage girls, and "zebra wealth"...
6/13/20161 hour, 28 minutes, 45 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 26: Director Jeremy Saulnier - Musicians The Blair Bros

Today, our first show to feature two segments, and three guest as we welcome film director Jeremy Saulnier and Will and Brooke Blair, known professionally as The Blair Brothers. The Brothers are childhood friends of Saulnier's who have scored all three of his features as well as writing and performing with two popular Philadelphia bands over the past decade and a half, the hip-hop group Infectious Organisms and the dreamy pop rock group East Hundred. The third Blair brother, Mason Blair, was the lead in Saulnier's 2014 breakthrough film BLUE RUIN playing the haunted murderer at its center and he has supporting roles in both Saulnier's first film, 2007's MURDER PARTY, a gore satire about young artists in Brooklyn as well as Saulnier's latest, THE GREEN ROOM. THE GREEN ROOM gives Saulnier's nuanced work a wide release for the first time as the film is being marketed to young audiences as a seat-clutching thriller. It succeeds admirably on that level, helped immeasurably by performances by a top-flight set of actors, including Anton Yelchin of Jim Jarmusch's vampire pic ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE and Chekov in the Star Trek reboots, Imogen Poots from Terrence Malick's most recent film KNIGHT OF CUPS, Alia Shawcat of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT and the Starship commander himself, Patrick Stewart. We discuss Saulnier's body of work as well as Brooklyn today, film funding, what Saulnier's future looks like and what THE GREEN ROOM might be saying about America today.
4/29/20161 hour, 21 minutes, 53 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 25: Jim Slade of Nixon's Head

On today's show, musician blogger and label owner, Jim Slade. I met Slade back in the mid-80s, when his band Nixon's Head was a regular in Philadelphia area clubs. A five-piece rock and roll titan, The Head specialized in loud rock and roll inspired by 60s garage pop nuggets and the early New Wave all brought to life by a quintet of close-knit friends. Their shows are some of the most joyous rock and roll shows I've ever witnessed and they were a big part of a under-documented Philly scene of the mid to late 80s, sharing gigs with similarly-minded bands like The Ben Vaughn Combo, Baby Flamehead, Sky-Grits, The Wishniaks, Electric Love Muffin as well as the Dead Milkmen, whose reputation spread world-wide. You can check out all these bands and more on a compilation called “You're Soaking in It” a compilation produced by New York rocker Palmyra Delran, released in 1988 on Apex Records Although the Head broke-up for a few years in the early 90s they soon reformed and have continued on for over three decades now, recording a number of releases, their most recent being the 2014's MOD!, a dual disc with the band The Donuts. In late April, the band will play a one-time only gig at The Boot & Saddle in Philly as THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, performing a set of your favorite Clash tunes, as long as your favorites are pre-COMBAT ROCK. Outside of his time with The Head, Slade is the Moderator on the popular music blog ROCKTOWNHALL, a spirited forum to discuss the aesthetics of classic rock and roll, you can find them at Slade also founded the Groove Disques label, which besides releasing Nixon's Head music has distributed releases from the bands Trollyvox, The Knife and Fork Band, Dave Ragsdale and the Stiff Records tribute disc, "The Stiff Generation." You can find out more at I met with Slade a few weeks back at the Fun 2 Know kitchen studio, our conversation fueled by Jim's as-yet unfinished memoir, entitled AND IT WAS ALRIGHT, named after a line form the Velvet Underground tune “Rock And Roll.” It is an inspiring honest and intimate look at growing up in love with rock and roll in the 70s and 80s that also touches on family strife and the struggle of a young man to forge a place in the world. It's a music-drenched, extended conversation between two rock and roll disciples, littered with many asides and a batch of great tunes from across Nixon's Head's discography, hope you enjoy it.
4/15/20162 hours, 34 minutes, 21 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 24 Bassist William Parker

F2K Ep. 24 William Parker Among the most prominent New Yorkers in the world of contemporary jazz and creative music, Parker first gained notice playing with the groundbreaking pianist Cecil Taylor in the 1980s and has gone of to release dozens of his own recordings on numerous labels internationally as well as on his on Centering label. Parker has worked extensively with many of the most-uncompromised talents of his time including David S. Ware, Matthew Shipp, Billy Bang, Charles Gayle and Jeanne Lee. For me, he is a favorite artist among musicians worker today with an endlessly searching quality that makes each of his many diverse releases a discovery. Much like his music, I was delighted to find the man to be of big ideas and goods humor and our time together seemed to go by much too soon. We discuss Parker's beginnings on the bass, his love of foreign films, The NYC "Loft Scene" of the 70s and 80s, "The Hallelujah Stage," his late collaborators Billy Bang & David S. Ware, his poetry and other writing, The Vision Festival and future projects. This conversation took place in May of 2014
4/4/20161 hour, 2 minutes, 31 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 23: Cellist Tomeka Reid

Episode 23: Cellist Tomeka Reid We caught our guest today composer and cellist Tomeka Reid in the midst of a career moment. She arrived in New York City from Chicago on January 1st 2016 to join her quartet for their NYC debut, just two days after Ben Ratliff described Reid in the NYTimes as “A new jazz power source.” Over the next two weeks she played with a dizzying number of the East Coast's established and up-and-coming talent in gigs and jam sessions in DC, Philadelphia and Connecticut. In the midst of all this activity we convinced Ms. Reid take the train down from New York to join us in the studios at WPRB, where I host a weekly jazz show. Ms. Reid moved from the D.C. area to Chicago in 2000 as has recorded with flutist (and former F2K guest) Nicole Mitchell, drummer Mike Reid, vocalist Dee Alexander and the elder statesmen Anthony Braxton and Roscoe Mitchell among others. Ms. Reid also co-leads the internationally recognized string trio, Hear in Now who have performed in Poland, Paris, Rome, Venice, Milan, Italy and Switzerland. Over the course of the conversation we talk about the three albums she had released in 2016, Her love of Chicago, her experiences at part of the legendary AACM collective of musical improvisers, teaching and touring, the importance of women mentors, the differences between the classical and jazz worlds and more. You'll also hear me at peak enthusiasm for the chance to speak with a musician whose work I was right in the midst of a music lover's habit of compulsive playing and replaying, they're such fresh and engaging releases that reward one's savoring.
1/22/20161 hour, 12 minutes, 23 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K 22: Artist Stephen St Francis Decky

Multi-disciplinary artist Stephen Decky originally came out of Southern New Jersey but has flourished in his many artistic endeavors since moving to Northampton, Mass. twenty years ago. His paintings present Decky's uniquely sweet but treacherous world filled with anthropomorphized fruit and critters, angels and demons and 50's-styled spaceships that buzz his wide-open skies.. Decky has also created foam and cloth sculptures of these creatures that he has animated in his short films and more recently multi-media installations. Decky has also recorded and occasionally performed live with a trail of musical conglomerations, incl. Jeezus Jones Must Die, The Look-Ups, The Space Drunks & Steepletop. and the music we'll hear their music throughout today's episode in from Decky's voluminous catalog. I first met Stephen in 1985, when he was a teenage usher at the Deptford GCC movie theater and I was a 20 year old assistant manager. It was quickly obvious that he was furiously creative, already writing novels, painting a number of hand-stretched canvases and playing music with anyone he found game. Unusually sweet-natured and unpretentious and to this day the most-vigorously creative person I've ever met, I knew as a teen that Stephen was facing some particularly difficult challenges and I appreciate that he speaks about them so openly and honestly with the Fun 2 Know podcast. His final triumph over these adversities make this an unusually inspiring edition of the show. Today, Stephen teaches animation at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston where he received his masters. His work is represented by the William Bacsek Fine Arts Gallery in Northampton and you can find out more about his work at his website:
10/30/20151 hour, 26 minutes, 30 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 21: The Sic Kidz' Mick Cancer

Mike Ferguson, aka Mick Cancer of the Philly punk band The Sic Kidz is our guest. The Sick Kidz, the brainchild of Ferguson, were willed into existence as a literary prank come to life. The band can make their claim as being Philadelphia first punk band as that cultural revolution blew its shockwave out from New York City and across the globe. The Sick Kidz were fueled by Mike's deep love of music, being a witness to the birth of rock and roll in the 50s. to the counter-culture revolutions of the 60s, to the Southern pop of the 70s and the original punk wave as the 70s turned into the 80s. With the Sick Kidz, and his extravagantly theatrical alter ego Mick Cancer, Mike has turned a fan's love into a slow but steady stream of potently fun recordings with the bands Pink Slip Daddy, Das Yahoos and most recently the country punk of Dixy Blood where he has been re-dubbed “Clarence Cancer.” He's a longtime collaborator with popular producer and performer Ben Vaughn and Palmyra Delran of the NYC band The Friggs, and has shared intimate friendships with the late legends Alex Chilton and Lux Interior of The Cramps. We talk to Mike about his love and rock and roll and honky tonk music, the artists whose paths he crossed, his musical career and a couple of new projects coming our way.
10/19/20152 hours, 2 minutes, 55 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 20 Novelist Mike DeCapite

Writer and novelist, Mike DeCapite is on today's show.. In the late eighties DeCapite began building a cult audience for his free-floating fiction when punk legend Richard Hell's literary magazine CUZ excerpted DeCapite's unpublished novel “Through the Windshield” in its first three issues. The novel is a gorgeously-written reverie to Mike's hometown of Cleveland as seen through the eyes of a young working class dreamer being given a tour of racetracks and betting parlors by his tale-spinning older friend, Ed. DeCapite's love of music imbues his work, which contains many musical references and his work has attracted an audience especially among musicians. Mike has done numerous liner notes for releases from the jazz band Curlew and as we post this episode, Mike has just completed a reading with the acclaimed singer/songwriter Amy Rigby in their hometown of New York City. Coincidentally, our last guest, documentarian Robert Gordon mentioned after our interview that he was still hoping to direct a film based on DeCapite's THROUGH THE WINDSHIELD as his first fictional film. Mike's work, as well as the work of his novelist father Raymond DeCapite can be found in Harper's ITALIAN AMERICAN READER, Red Giant Books has reissued a paperback edition of THROUGH THE WINDSHIELD and you can get a kindle edition of the fascinating book through Amazon, as well his short work CREAMSICLE BLUE and chapbooks RADIANT FOG and SITTING PRETTY. You can find Mike and buy his work direct at I've known Mike since the mid-90s when we struck up a fast friendship over the counter from the record store where I was working, Streetlight Records in the Noe Valley neighborhood in San Francisco. We met weekly for a few years Monday nights at his place for dinner while Mike was working on his wonderful but as of yet unpublished novel, RUINED FOR LIFE. Meeting in the Chelsea neighborhood of NYC, we discuss Cleveland, Alice Cooper, Dylan, writing strategies, the changing landscapes of New York and San Francisco, drinking, not drinking, autumnal love and much more. Mike is one of my most lively and humorous conversationalists I've even had the pleasure to know and its a special pleasure to capture some of his wit and wisdom for the show.
10/5/20152 hours, 7 minutes, 32 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 19: Documentarian and Author Robert Gordon

Writer, film director and musicologist Robert Gordon is a specialist in the music and history of the town of his where he still lives, the legendary American Music hub of Memphis Tennessee. He's written about Muddy Waters. Al Green, B.B. King, Otis Redding, Alex Chilton and beyond. Many writers have charted the course of Memphis music but almost none have done it with the emotional depth and deep historical knowledge that Gordon has and his works always stood out to musicians and music lovers as the work of a deeply-devoted fellow soul. Since 2003 Gordon has transformed himself from writer to filmmaker, making acclaimed documentary films, contributing to Martin Scorsese's THE BLUES series, adapting his Muddy Waters bio for the PBS "American Masters" series and producing works on ultimate cult band Big Star and Memphis' powerhouse r&b label, Stax Records. Gordon's vast curiosity and sense of history takes him away from music for his first theatrical film, the documentary BEST OF ENEMIES, co-directed with Morgan Neville whose documentary on the lives of backing vocalists 20 FEET FROM STARDOM won the "Best Documentary" Oscar in 2014. . BEST OF ENEMIES explores the debates between Conservative publisher William F. Buckley, and historical author, satirist and playwright Gore Vidal. Their ten articulately cantankerous bouts, held during the fledgling ABC Network's coverage of the Presidential conventions of 1968 are forever remembered for the moment when Buckley angrily lashed out at Vidal, threatening violence and calling Vidal “a queer” after Vidal labeled Buckley a Crypto-Nazi. The network news divisions saw big money in name-calling debates and the film suggests we've been down a dreary road ever since. We discuss BEST OF ENEMIES before falling into a conversation about Memphis music and arts, discussing Alex Chilton, Jeff Buckley, Tav Falco and Panther Burns, Isaac Hayes and the photographer William Eggleston.
9/8/201557 minutes
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 18 Journalist & Author Tara Murtha

Tara Murtha award-winning journalist and author of a new volume in the 33 1/3 book series on Bobbie Gentry. Murtha began to make waves with her writing in the early 2000s, focusing both about issues of social justice and writing about pop culture for the Philadelphia Weekly. Her coverage of criminal abortion Dr. Kermit Gosnell garnered attention and more accolades beginning in 2011, and she has worked for The Gun Crisis Project, RH Reality Check and the Women's Law Project. We talk about her experiences in journalism later in the interview, the opening subject at hands is Murtha's first book, inspired by the 1967 Capitol Record LP by Bobbie Gentry, ODE TO BILLIE JOE. The record was the debut of the 23 year old singer-songwriter and its title track reveals the mystery of a young man's death cryptically discussed over the evening's meal. There has been decades of conjecture over what Billie Joe and the song's narrator threw off that bridge but over time another mystery has emerged as the popular entertainer Gentry has disappeared from the stage, with no public appearances in over 30 years now. Murtha examines Gentry mysteries and career throughout her sharp and concise book and we'll learn a little about what she's found out as well as talking about Zelda Fitzgerald, female identity, letting Bjork be Bjork and we'll also here a bit from Murtha's favorite Gentry tunes After we finish geeking out on the music end we lead into a conversation about Murtha's experiences in the world of modern journalism, of “The Journo-Bro” as well as Tara's role in bringing light to the crimes of Kermitt Gosnell.
7/10/20151 hour, 38 minutes, 49 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep.17: Flutist Nicole Mitchell

Nicole Mitchell, flutist, composer and bandleader is our guest on today's show. . Around 2001, Ms. Mitchell began to receive notice for her work around Chicago, quickly releasing a flurry of releases on the Delmark, RougeArt nad Firehouse 12 labels, all capturing her spirited flute and her deep well of memorable compositions. Her reputation began to stretch out to Europe and worldwide collecting accolades and commissions and fronting groups like The Black Earth Ensemble, The Black Earth Strings, Ice Crystal and Sonic Projections. In 2009, she became the first female President of the AACM, the legendary Chicago-born collective whose initials stand for The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians and has been home to many of the greatest jazz musicians of the last fifty years. Ms Mitchell has been a Downbeat poll winner, was the Chicago Tribune's 2006 "Person of the Year," and in recent years has left her home in Chicago to live and teach in California at UC Irvine. If musically Mitchell wears her passions on her sleeve, she did in conversation too, easily discussing family dearths, the racism and other obstacles she has faced as well as her worries and fears. But she also laughs easily and often. We talked about musicians Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy and her teacher Jimmie Cheatem as well as The Hunger Games, the travails of being an adjunct professor, jazz in Chicago, dwindling student diversity, the writings of sci-fi author Octavia Butler and more.
6/26/201555 minutes, 20 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 16: Reelblack's Mike Dennis

On today's show Filmmaker Mike Dennis. Mike is the founder of Reelblack, currently in its 16th year. Through Reelblack Mike has exercised his multifaceted talents as a production house for hire, as a producer for his own films, making content for their YouTube channel ReelBlack TV (currently at 5 million hits and climbing) and as a promoter of over 200 film events in and around the Philly area. Check out their regularly updated website at Besides being a ingratiating conversationalist, Mike is a graduate of film programs of both NYU and the American Film Institute. Mike's own story as a filmmaker spans a fascinating era in black cinema, heading to New York at few years after Spike Lee broke out of NYU with SHE'S GOTTA HAVE IT, then going to school in LA in the 90s, where he interned on THE COSBY SHOW and was a witness to Hollywood in the years when films like The HOUSE PARTY series, MALCOLM X and Mario Van Peebles POSSE were being produced. We get to hear how Mike's career found its feet amongst this history as well as some more free-wheeling talk about black film today, John Waters, Eddie Murphy, Steven Speilberg, The Rock, TV's EMPIRE and BLACK-ISH, the blaxploitation era and more.
6/15/20151 hour, 47 minutes, 50 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 15: Antibalas Trumpeter Jordan McLean

Jordan McLean on today's show, the composer, Antibalas trumpeter and co-founder of the System Dialing record label. Antibalas is the Brooklyn Afrobeat band that took the lead in re-popularizing the classic sound of Fela Kuti's revolutionary music beginning in the late 90s. Antibalas' success and McLean's probing playing has presented numerous musical opportunities for the trumpeter, including collaborations with David Byrne, Angélique Kidjo. Daptone Producer Mark Ronson, The Roots, St. Vincent, TV on the Radio and Valerie June. But it was his collaboration with jazz legend Ornette Coleman that led to this discussion. In 2009, McLean, Amir Zev, and Adam Holzman, partners in the band Droid, worked together with Ornette on a series of recordings that would be released late in 2014 under the title “New Vocabulary.” The recordings brought Coleman's saxophone into soundscapes unlike anything he had recorded over his 40 odd year career. I heard a few jazz purists complain, but that's certainly nothing new when it comes to the music of Ornette and I found the record to be hugely enjoyable, and not just for another rare chance to hear the octogenarian blow his horn. I found McLean to be an exceedingly earnest gentlemen and we hit it off with a great, free flowing conversation. He has a seeming ocean of varied music to draw from and we'll feature excerpts of his work with Antibalas, Droid, his solo trumpet and electronic project World Gone Mad and McLean's Piano Music & Song Trio. Over the course of our discussion we talk about McLean's NYC education, the early years of Antibalas, Lily Tomlin, McLean's time spent playing in the groundbreaking Tony-award winning Broadway play FELA!, a musical drama set during Fela last show at his legendary Nigerian nightclub The Shrine as well as McLean's collaboration with the great Ornette Coleman.
5/29/20151 hour, 7 minutes, 29 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 14: KID'S CORNER Host Kathy O'Connell

Kathy O'Connell, the Peabody award-winning host of WXPN's KID'S CORNER and formerly KIDS AMERICA is our guest. In a medium famous for its transient careers, Kathy has remained an institution in Philly, broadcasting her children's live call-in talk show for over twenty five years, bringing generations of kids to their radios with her gregarious nature, her library of music for for taking calls from kids engaged by a wide variety of topics the show has touched on over the years. Kathy's skills flow so naturally in part because she spent a good portion of her youth as a somewhat crazily devoted fan of kid's show legend Soupy Sales, who ruled the New York airwaves in the 1960s. Kathy haunted the show's taping with a small army of similarly obsessed, mostly young girl fans, and fomented a relationship with the comic in his later years. While Soupy and his wife Trudy became like parents to Kathy, the story of her own family exudes some very real drama, as well as her travels throughout her radio career, including a late 70s stint at New York's fabled listener-funded community station WBAI of the Pacifica network. Along the way a lot of old show biz names are dropped, we talk about kids today, the joys of television, The Beatles, John Lennon's death and lots of discussion about the life and career of Soupy Sales, with Kathy's dog Colby occasionally calling from off-stage.
5/21/20151 hour, 58 minutes, 36 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 13: David West Pt. 2

Lucky Episode 13: David West Part 2: Our second of a two-part episode with San Francisco poet David West. In this second part, our discussion travels beyond history and biography and into the realm of pure conversation and gives us a look at how David uses the knowledge and wisdom he has collected to navigate the world. The topics swing through everything from Thelonious Monk, W.B. Auden, Shakespeare, Dante, Mark Twain, The Pussycat Dolls, Hip-hop, the politics of protest, Obama, cultural inertia, and television, but as rambling as things get, David always brings it back to poetry, letting us see the world through the poet's eyes.
5/8/20151 hour, 16 minutes, 34 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 12: Poet David West

David West, revered San Francisco poet is our guest for Part One of a two-part episode. Like Bucky Sinister, whose interview kicked off our first podcast, David West was a prolific participant of the San Francisco spoken word scene of the 1980s and 1990s, a scene that spawned such memorable writers as Daniel Higgs, Michelle Tea and the Sister Spit collective, Eli Coppola, Beth Lisick, David Lerner and many more. Week in and week out, David West would bring the reading's volume down to stillness as his gentle voice and his writing brought a ragged range of characters to life, some transcendent and some miserable, but David made them all human and beguiling in their own way. As wise and he was funny, David has slipped away from the world of readings to quietly ponder Shakespeare, politics and the arts while bringing a certain grace as a secretary hiding away in the business world. This episode was recorded in David's Bernal Heights kitchen as the sun and a bottle of red wine slowly disappeared. Unfolding like most of the sprawling two-part episodes of FUN 2 KNOW, the first part tells David's origin story, traveling from factories in Ohio, to an ill-fated stop at Harvard onto the mid-seventies world of Harvey Milk's San Francisco and beyond. The second part turns from biography of conversation, and David is a fount of insight and humor into people and today's world.
5/1/20151 hour, 13 minutes, 36 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 11: Jamaaladeen Tacuma

Bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma is in the interview chair this episode. Not to discount the hard work that makes it possible, but for the music lover, Tacuma's career seems like a dream. After a couple years woodshedding on the electric bass as a North Philly teen, his talent is spotted and he is whisked away to the major leagues of jazz, first with organist Charles Earland, who had a sizable hit with the tune “Black Talk” in 1969 and then famously with jazz legend Ornette Coleman in his ground-breaking band, Prime Time. In 1975, at the age of 18, Jamaaladeen packed his bags and relocated for six months to Paris with Ornette's band, playing and recording the classic LP DANCING IN YOUR HEAD. From there Jamaaladeen's world expanded, playing international stages, releasing his own records and playing with Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana, The Roots, Nona Hendryx, Kip Hanrahan, The Golden Palominos, and James Blood Ulmer on numerous and far-reaching sessions. Jamaaladeen's playing exhibits a good-humored excitement that flows from the man himself as we meet for the first time on mic. He talks about the Philadelphia he grew up in, his insights into Ornette, his appearance on Saturday Night Live, his interest in fashion and design, his exclusive clothing boutique and his new acquisition, the acoustic bass.
4/3/20151 hour, 9 minutes, 17 seconds
Episode Artwork

Fun2Know Ep. 10 Greg Proops Pt 2

Greg (WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY?) Proops' weekly podcast THE SMARTEST MAN IN THE WORLD delivers comedy and political wit by the bushel as he records the show from stages around the globe. Greg Proops also has a monthly spin-off podcast, The Greg Proops Film Club where he hosts and discusses classic films. Discussion of film and classic Hollywood takes up a big part of this week's program but we also discuss Greg's on-running chat shows, feminism and misogyny, family, Udo Kier, Ian Banks, Fiona Apple, Paul Mooney, silent film, True Jackson VP and we hear Greg's Jeff Goldblum imitation, not once but twice.
3/20/20151 hour, 29 minutes, 21 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 9: Comedian Greg Proops Pt 1

Greg Proops has been a showbiz fixture for over the last 25 years, as a popular stand up, and as the guy with the glasses from the long-running "Whose Line is it Anyway." He's been the voice of "Bob the Builder," the announcer in the "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" pod race scene, as well as being seen in a myriad of other appearances. Proops' own podcast "The Smartest Man in the World" was cited in 2014 by Rolling Stone as a top comedy podcast and is a weekly live monologue by the gifted improviser that swings through current events, pop culture, film and music geek valentines, and surreal flights of fancy, all with an old time Lefty passion that is unheard of in the old media. Greg was passing through Philly on a three-night stand at he Helium comedy club in Philly when he stopped by to be interviewed at our Center City kitchen table. In Part One we talk about everything from class, the U.S. military, today's San Francisco, Ringo, Leslie Gore, and Proops' many stops along his 30-odd year career. Part Two drops next week.
3/13/20151 hour, 26 minutes, 30 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 8: Poet Al Young

Al Young's credentials are voluminous. He was appointed poet laureate of California in 2005, by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger no less, Al Young has been honored with Fellowships from Guggenheim, Fulbright, and the National Endowment for the Arts, he's won the American Book Award twice, he's written for Rolling Stone, and authored many volumes of essays, poems and five novels, including SITTING PRETTY, SNAKES and SEDUCTION BY NIGHT. We discuss Mr. Young's trail from Mississippi to Detroit in the 1940s. His time in NYC, his friendship with Charles Mingus, his screenwriting days with Cosby, Poitier & Pryor and his undying love for jazz.
3/2/20151 hour, 54 minutes, 22 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 7: Philly Musician Kenn Kweder Pt. 2

Ep. 7: KENN KWEDER Pt. 2 The second and final part of our conversation with Kenn Kweder. Kenn survives beyond the record industry's cold reach to deliver a series of riveting indie releases straight from the heart of Kweder. A true troubadour, Kweder plays a near 300 gigs a year that gives him perch to observe the endless mating ritual of the young. Kweder shares all he has observed in this raucous talk, sharing his philosophies on the modern world, people's changing relationship to music, and the wisdom of “The Sandwich Trick.” Plus, Kweder meets Dylan! All music from Kenn Kweder – KWEDEROLOGY Vols. 1&2
2/13/20151 hour, 49 minutes, 9 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 6: Philly Musician Kenn Kweder Pt. 1

Songwriter and Rock Star Kenn Kweder sits down to tell his epic story. First climbing to local Philly fame in the late 70s with his band the Secret Kids, a great batch of songs and the charisma of their frontman led Kweder and the band to be branded, “This Next Big Thing” from out of Philly. Whether it was a record company recession or Kweder's reputation for drunken recklessness that foiled this big break is uncertain but Kweder's commitment to music never waned. Still playing a near 300 gigs a year, the troubadour has soldiered on, his passion for life and music intact. In the first of two shows, Kweder discusses his working class roots and his rise to local legendhood.
2/6/20151 hour, 36 minutes, 5 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 5: FRESH AIR's Amy Salit

Longtime FRESH AIR producer Amy Salit joins F2K for a Conversation. A lifelong music lover with roots in community radio, Amy is starting her 30th year a producer on the National Public Radio interview institution. We talk to Amy about growing up a young Jewish Beatles fan in Lubbock Texas, her radio beginnings at WCUW in Worcester, Mass., Amy's thoughts on the changing spirit of Austin's SXSW festival, the current state of the music industry and some of Fresh Air's most memorable guests.
1/23/20151 hour, 17 minutes, 56 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 04: Sculptor Al Farrow Part 2

Sculptor and visual artist Al Farrow's hosts F2K in his San Rafael studio for the second and final part of a discussion of his life and work. In this second half Al talks about the rising political content in his work that sometimes hampered him commercially and finally his breakthrough in his sixties with an ambitious series of religious reliquaries made of bullets, gun parts and bones.
1/9/201554 minutes, 13 seconds
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 03: Sculptor Al Farrow Pt. 1

Sculptor and visual artist Al Farrow's hosts F2K in his San Rafael studio for part one of a two part discussion of his life and work. Farrow's journey has taken him from working class roots in Brooklyn to San Francisco in the summer of 1967 to Marin Country, where he scuffled to create art that contains messages of beauty, struggle and politics. The artist's series of religious reliquaries composed of gun parts, bullets, and bones showed with Shepard Fairy's work in D.C. in 2008 and has been collected by The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
12/23/20141 hour, 22 minutes, 1 second
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 2: Musician Henry Plotnick

Henry Plotnick, an minimalist electronic musician who has just unleashed his second release BLUE FOURTEEN at the age of thirteen, joins F2K in conversation. Sitting at his keyboard on his bedroom floor, Mr. Plotnick discusses his musical education, his love of jazz, and the sad state of Bar Mitzvah playlists. The show wraps up with a live performance with Henry at the keys.
12/12/201448 minutes, 1 second
Episode Artwork

F2K Ep. 1: Comedian and Writer Bucky Sinister

Episode 01: Bucky Sinister In this debut episode we have an interview with poet/writer/comedian Bucky Sinister. Mr. Sinister discusses the 90s San Francisco poetry scene where he hosted infamous weekly reading at the dive bar The Chameleon, his Arkansas upbringing, his transition to sobriety and stand-up comedy and making a safe place for women to say "shut up" to men.
12/4/20141 hour, 9 minutes, 37 seconds