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Behind The Lines: A Podcast Reviewer Podcasts Herself

Guesting on the Arts Review and Commentary Podcast

The Studio In It’s Glory

Everyone’s doing it right now, it’s become like drinking craft cocktails from mason jars, slapping pineapples on all your accessories or eating quinoa in everything.

Yep, podcasting is the new DIY butter kit, easy enough anyone can do it at home. So, just like 500,000 other people/groups, my friend Omar started a podcast and asked me to come on.

I’m basically a whore for any situation in which I can speak/sing into a mic so it took precisely .23 seconds to say yes. The podcast is Arts Review and Commentary (ARC)– a great show that acknowledges art does not exist in a vacuum. Omar goes beyond reviews of movies, TV and theater, by contextualizing them in the world in which we live. Two great episodes to check out are Episode 48: #metoo in the Performing Arts and the thought-provoking Episode 26: Entertainment in the Nuclear Age and Godzilla.

Omar Being So Professional

One night my favorite Crazy Ex, Phil, and I talked about how much we love CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and should we start a podcast? That’s when Omar invited us to join him and talk about the show and mental health in general.

Easy peazy, I mean, I live tweet Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and I’m an advocate for mental health–especially #endthestigma and #IDontMind. Not to mention, we all know I can’t get enough of the sound of my own voice, so this seemed like the perfect way to spend a Sunday evening with friends.

We showed up at the studio and, you can see by the photos here, he’s not effing around. There were three high-quality mics, tons of wires and knobs and a Mac… it looked impressive and suddenly I worried that not having any written notes and bringing two bottles of wine with me weren’t the “professional” thing to do.

After soundcheck, and a bottle of Bulgarian Cabernet, we went live. Omar did his usual intro and then looked to me to introduce myself and, I swear to you, I froze. What is my name, and why am I here? I felt a bit better knowing it took him three tries to do his intro properly. Thank god for editing!

It wafun, once I got comfortable. We started off talking about mental health and how it’s portrayed in TV and films, especially compared to our personal experiences. This was the time for me to really get on my soapbox–I probably droned on for five full minutes–I imagine a good deal of that will end up on the cutting room floor.

After that we narrowed in on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and this is where the fun really began. We are theater people, Omar and I actually do musical theater, so we wandered off on favorite musical numbers (mine is a tie between “Tap That Ass” and “Unfortunately, I Want To Have Sex With You”); a particularly spirited game of Marry/Bang/Kill various characters (Marry Greg, Bang Heather, Kill Josh) and general thoughts on the show.

Then, the real question: how do we feel about how this show portrays mental illness. Here is where it got tricky. I didn’t know what to say next, because we’d literally talked/recorded for about 90 minutes at that point. With the average episode being 40 minutes long, who knows what will be included?

And that’s where the really scary part of being a guest on a podcast comes in: I don’t know what will make the final cut. Hell, I don’t even really know everything I said. Sometimes we just got to chatting and laughing and forgot the mics were even on, and it’s insane to me that I don’t know what’s going to be used. Will it be our in-depth conversation about the brilliance of the song

Mjolnir

My Diagnosis,” in which Rachel finally feels like her diagnosis gives her the power to fight back? Or is it going to be me talking about how the most relatable song this season, so far, has been the one about her mom called “Maybe She’s Not Such a Heinous Bitch After All?”

I’m fascinated by the process, I’m excited to find out what is produced, and I loved the conversation we had and the topics we addressed. But I wasn’t prepared for this feeling of vulnerability, not stemming from the very personal stories we told or the songs we (well, I) sang, but from turning over these stories and conversations to someone else. It’s so strange to sit there and talk about your life and your thoughts and emotions and just say, “Here, friend. Take this and make it cohesive and interesting and real and reflective of your vision for your show.” That’s what it is, his show. It’s his mission statement, his story to shape and to tell. I have worn a string bikini on stage for 300 people and didn’t feel quite so naked as I did with this process. Luckily, I trust Omar. His show is really well done. It is thoughtful, never exploitative and, at least in a podcast, I have no worries about a wardrobe malfunction.

Follow Arts Review and Commentary on Facebook for updates and watch for this episode, #50, to air Sunday, February 18th.

So, TNWU community, who among you has a podcast? Has been on a podcast? Am I being a total drama queen for the sake of storytelling? Also, is it weird that as strange as this made me feel, I’m kind of feeling addicted and brainstorming ideas for a podcast of my own?  

 

Written by Meg Williams

A lover of so many things: dogs, wine, books, my husband and theater. I'm a pretty unapologetic nerd AND geek. I'll talk Star Trek (DS9 is the best) or Buffy all day, but I also love Broadway and I'm an actress and singer in another part of my life. I'm studying to be a Sommelier so I talk about wine and cocktails A LOT. Usually I'm at home in front of my computer, a TV or with a good book, drinking wine and snuggling with my two pups.

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