Friday, March 19, 2021

Podcasts and Catch-Up

 This has been a busy three weeks.  We got our second Covid shots (yay!) and have been dealing with a lot of other pop-up issues that have taken a lot of time.  I'm still working in the studio, finishing up a double portrait for a friend and working on a new painting of my own.  I'm going to have some paintings in a veterans' invitational art exhibit in St. Augustine in July, which is really cool.  More info on that later.

Do you listen to podcasts?  I do.  When I'm on the road, even if it's just a run to Asheville about 20 minutes away, I've usually got one playing.  Most of mine, with two exceptions, are about art, history, or the military.  Here's what's on my phone:

For art podcasts:

- John Dalton's "Gently Does It".  John interviews artists, with occasional gallery owners or others involved in the art world.  He generally talks to figurative artists, meaning those whose work is about people.  I've found a lot of very impressive and inspiring artists to follow.  John talks to them about what motivates them, their background, technical aspects of their work, you name it.  A lot of the experimentation that I've been doing over the past year originates in these interviews.  I'll hear something that the artists do that I will then try out in the studio, or I'll see some really cool work and try to reverse-engineer what they did and how they did it.  If you're a figurative artist, this is a must-listen.

- Antrese Wood's "Savvy Painter".  Take everything I just said about John and repeat it here.  Antrese has a warm and engaging personality that really brings out the best in her interview subjects.  Where John has more figurative artists from around the world, Antrese has a few more American artists in a slightly wider range of genres.  If you're a painter, this is a must-listen.

- Michael Faith's "Art Affairs".  This is a relatively new addition to my podcast library.  Michael is another good interviewer.  His focus leans toward young emerging artists, and there's not as much technical discussion as John or Antrese will do, but that's fine. 

History podcasts:

- Mike Duncan's "Revolutions".  I've been a fan of Mike's for several years now.  He did a very long series on "The History of Rome", from before its founding until the end of the western empire.  Then he launched into the "Revolutions" series, which looks at a variety of western-world revolutions: the English, American, French, South American, Haitian, and now Russian events.  Mike has a polished, professional, engaging, and humorous style that keeps it all interesting.  You know the phrase, "those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it"?  Well, it's clear that we know a lot about history, but we repeat it anyway.  I heard about things throughout the Roman series as well as every Revolutions event that are being repeated, in slightly different ways, today.  That's not always a good feeling.  Highly recommend Mike's podcasts.

- The Leakey Foundation's "Origin Stories".  This series explores the foundations of humanity, what it means to be "human", where we came from, and how millions of years of development are still evident today.  There are interviews, recorded lectures, and other very professionally-done presentations.  There have been episodes on what is being learned from a 13-million-year-old pre-human fossil, a single cave in Spain that has over a million years worth of fossils, Denisovans, and a fascinating Carl Sagan presentation.

- The BBC's "In Our Time".  This one has been going on for over a decade.  The host, Melvyn, gathers a few experts in a particular subject together and they'll have a lively discussion about it.  You might hear one about Marcus Aurelius one time, China's Cultural Revolution another, as well as episodes about Thomas Jefferson, the Zong Massacre, coffee, or W H Auden.  It has a huge range of subjects.  Great stuff.

Military podcasts:

- The US Naval Institute's "Proceedings".  I've been out of the Navy for over 20 years now, but I'm still very interested in what's happening in "my" branch of the service.  I just found this one recently, so I'm kinda binge-listening to get familiar with today's issues.  For example, I listened to one that discussed Desert Shield/Storm and its lessons learned, then another on what China learned from our experiences in Desert Storm and how these findings have influenced the development of their strategy.  Hint: it's not good for us.  The podcast covers pretty much the entire range of Navy activities, so if you're interested in maritime operations, there's something here for you.

- John Spencer's "Urban Warfare Project".  This one is hosted by the Army's West Point academy.  Where the Navy's "Proceedings" covers the entire Navy, this one focuses on a particular segment of Army operations.  As a guy who spent time in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and spent time with Army soldiers involved in house-to-house combat operations, this is of particular interest to me.  Urban warfare is a very tough subject.

Other podcasts:

- Kristi Piehl's "Flip Your Script".  I first learned of this podcast when they contacted me to do an interview.  And I've become a fan.  Kristi is an excellent interviewer.  She talks to people who have seriously changed the direction of their lives.  In my case, it was from a Navy officer to an artist.  Some of her subjects changed their lives very deliberately, while others had a change forced on them by life circumstances.  In every case, these are compelling and often inspirational stories.

- Holly Priestley's "Deliberate Living".  Holly could be a subject for Kristi to consider.  Holly left her day job two years ago, moved into a Ford Econoline van with her dog, and has been living on the road ever since.  She has traveled all over the western United States, generally going north in warmer times and south in cooler times.  She is definitely not homeless, she did this by choice.  Holly's podcasts include interviews with others who are fellow "rubber tramps" in vans or RVs, presentations on how she has rigged her van and makes a living on the road, and loads of other topics.  Full disclosure: Holly is my niece.

So there you have it: my podcast list.  There were quite a few others that have been on my phone over the years but have fallen off for various reasons.  Some just ended, others got boring, and some didn't live up to my expectations.  These, though, are the winners.  Check 'em out!