The Blarg No. 41: Sean David Christensen

I’m working on something very exciting and very big. Well, I think it’s very exciting and very big, but I can’t talk about it. I hate that. When I’ve got an idea cooking that can lead to something awesome, I want to talk about it with everyone who asks me what I’m up to. Unfortunately, that same stage where I want to tell everyone about something is the same stage where the idea tends to fall apart, because people aren’t as excited as I am, or they try some devil’s advocate sort of thing. All of it is well-intentioned, I’m sure, but it also has an awful deflating effect on me which often leads me to abandon the idea, to lose faith in it. I’m not letting that happen this time. This idea is too important—direction of life changing level.

In the meantime, I’ll settle for teasing the idea and hope that in itself will generate some excitement and keep me going. There is a lot of groundwork ahead—a lot of meetings, conversations…hard, organizational shit that is not my strong suit, that I loathe doing. I am much more of an idea man, like Michael Keaton’s character in Night Shift (if you haven’t seen that movie, I highly recommend you do so). In a perfect world, I’d offer up the idea, the motivation behind it, and then someone else would swoop in and take care of the logistics, but what are you gonna do? Anyway, as they say, watch this space.

This week’s episode is a conversation with Sean David Christensen. Sean is promoting his short film, The Duel, which has had screenings at the Athens International Film and Video Festival and the San Francisco Documentary Festival, and can be seen at the Marfa Film Festival this July. He’s also done a number of other short films which you can find on Vimeo, he’s a frequent storyteller at Chatterbox and Bar Flies, and he’s in the band Maggie Dave. I had a great time talking to Sean, and you should definitely check out his work. The soundscape at the end of the show was created by Rafael Anton Irisarri.

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The Blarg No. 40: Clottee Hammons

Where does anyone find the time to do everything? Really, if anyone has any tips, I’d love to hear them. My plate is overflowing, and while I can’t discuss all the projects heaped up on it, nor would you want to hear it all, there are a lot of irons, and they’re all in the fire—including that annoying metaphor-mixing iron. Between the regular work week grind, the show, Four Chambers, writing, these other projects I’m trying to get off the ground, I feel like I haven’t had time to sit down and catch my breath, to relax for even a brief amount of time. Last night, I had a mild anxiety attack. I freaked the fuck out. Everything’s fine, don’t worry about it.

Normally, I can cope by taking a few moments to sit down and play guitar. For me, playing allows the stress to fall away—rather than looming deadlines, meetings, a never-ending to-do list, I’m concentrating on chord progressions, notes, my mind weaving in and out of the melody. I haven’t allowed myself enough time for that. I need to get back to it. I’m working on creating exclusive audio content for supporters of our Patreon account, and coming up with riffs to open/close those programs is easily the best part for me. The healing powers of music, etc…

On this week’s show, our 40th (another milestone!), I talk to artist, writer, activist, community organizer, and all around amazing person, Clottee Hammons. Clottee is the founder and director of Emancipation Arts, which “provides educational information and discussions relevant to American Chattel Slavery through collaboration and arts programs.” The 20th Annual Emancipation Marathon will take place on June 24th from 10 am to 5 pm at the Phoenix Changing Hands location, and prior to that, there is a meet and greet on June 18th at Copper Star Coffee from 10 am to 1 pm. Go to the Emancipation Arts Facebook page for details.

Best,

Jared

Listen to LE 40 – Clottee Hammons

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The Blarg No. 39: Russ Kazmierczak

I’m not a natural salesman. Never have been. If I’m excited, or passionate about something, or I want to recommend something (book, music, etc.), then I can be pretty persuasive, but that’s not really salesmanship—plus, it’s limited to other people’s work. Selling my own work makes me extraordinarily uncomfortable. So being in the position of having to try and sell this show to people, to sell stores on the idea of carrying The Arg in Blarg, honestly, I hate the whole process. The thing is no one else is going to do it, and it’s my show, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. My first stab was popping into Stinkweeds this weekend (one of my favorite music haunts), and I was expecting to talk to someone who was not Kimber Lanning, but guess what? I froze for a moment. I think I pulled off my pitch, but I don’t know. We’ll see. Fingers crossed.

A couple more things for this week: First, because I know you were all curious, and waiting for the follow up on my promise to Jia Oak Baker to a bread and butter pickle and peanut butter sandwich…I did it. It’s done. I substituted almond butter for peanut, but it still counts. It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever tasted, I’m still not a fan, and I still think that bread and butter pickles are an abomination. Second, the first Patreon exclusive content is going up this week. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but definitely by Friday. It’s Limited Engagement Recommends, and it’s just going to be me talking about stuff that I really love that I think other people should love, too. This could take the form of one thing, multiple things, book, music, movie, show, another podcast—who knows? It’s not really a review, because I’m only going to talk about stuff I like, and life is too short to waste time on things I either don’t enjoy or couldn’t care less about. If that sounds like something you might be interested in, then head over to our Patreon page, and contribute at the Subscriber Level, which is ten bucks a month. I’m going to do other bonus Subscriber Level only content as well, this is just the first thing.

On the show this week, I talk to Russ Kazmierczak, the writer and artist behind Amazing Arizona Comics. Russ also created and hosts Phoenix Tonight, a late night talk show, and the Stuck in Traffic podcast. The man likes to stay busy. We recorded this the weekend before Phoenix Comicon, which we were both going to, and we’re both proud nerds, so we talk a fair amount about that. Also, apologies to Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore’s hot pants. Get more info on all things Kazmierczak at the Amazing Arizona Comics website.

Listen to LE 39 – Russ Kazmierczak

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The Blarg No. 38: Second Anniversary Bash!

We just got back from Phoenix Comic Con. I want to say I’ve been going for the last four years—it might be five, but I am pretty sure it’s four, so let’s go with that, shall we? Anyway, where was I? Aw, yes, I’ve been going to Phoenix Comic Con for the last four years, and I think I’m finally starting to get the hang of it. I’ll let you know if I’ve actually got it next year. I will also let you know my thoughts on THIS year’s experience in an upcoming edition of the show. I had a great little chat with the panelists/judges of this year’s Nerd Slam—perhaps the most unique show from a recording perspective that I’ve ever done—and I’ll post that sometime soon. The whole reason I am even bringing it up right now is because one of the panelists, Ernesto Moncada, is part of a really cool show that will have finished its run before I post the interview, and I want to be sure to plug it. The show is a musical adaptation of the beloved film Labyrinth called The Goblin King’s City, and it has two remaining performances, June 3rd and 9th at Unexpected Gallery on 734 W Polk St. Please go and support your local artists.

The only other thing I’ll say about Phoenix Comic Con in this week’s Blarg is that I may have developed a little man-crush on the author Sam Sykes. I’m not sure yet. I have to read one of his books, and if I like it, then I’ll know. He’s a wise-cracking smart-ass, and I want to grab a beer with him. For some reason he reminds me of Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy—both physically and personality-wise. Hopefully I can convince him to be on the podcast. Again, I have to read one of his books first.

This week’s show is our second anniversary bash. Two years. TWO YEARS! For the 2nd anniversary, I asked Four Chambers Press founder and editor-in-chief Jake Friedman to interview me about the show, and the book we released covering every episode of the first two year, The ‘Arg’ in Blarg, which he sort of did. Really, Jake did a bang up job…of making me feel uncomfortable. Which means he did an all around bang up job. Thanks, Jake!

Listen to this week’s show: LE 38 – The Second Anniversary Show

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The Blarg No. 37: Andrea Scarpino

Well, it’s done. The Arg in Blarg, which covers the first two years of Limited Engagement, is now available. As of now, the only place to buy the book is in the shop on ltdengagementpod.com. I’m looking to get into some local bookstores and other retail establishments, and do some additional events to promote it, and of course I’ll let everyone know as things get confirmed. The book looks great—I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. Janell’s design was amazing as always, and the folks over at Biltmore Pro Print did a bang up job putting it together.

Friday was the launch for the book as well as the second anniversary of the show. It was great. I was pretty nervous about being the interviewee, but Jake Friedman did an excellent job, and we had a great conversation. With that one in the can, the live show is effectively on hiatus until the fall, but we will continue to post a new show every week, so please keep coming back.

This week’s show is a conversation I had with poet Andrea Scarpino just prior to the launch of her new collection, Once Upon Wing Lake. It’s a beautiful collection, and I highly recommend that you pick up a copy. We had a deep and open conversation about family, perception, and writing artfully about painful personal experience.

Listen to the show here: LE 37 – Andrea Scarpino

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This Week: Jia Oak Baker! Plus, Ready to Launch!

I have been talking about this book a lot, and I am probably not going to be able to stop any time soon. The Arg in Blarg is a collection celebrating our first two years’ worth of conversations with local writers, artists, musicians, arts and culture titans, and Robyn Hitchcock. Our second anniversary show, kicking off our third year, will take place at HUB Modern Cooperative (either back on the patio or inside the C-Mod building, it depends on the weather) on this coming Friday, May 19th at 7 pm, and that is where we are launching the book. If you can’t make it to the live event, you can purchase a copy through our newly redesigned website (thanks to Janell), or if you are feeling more generous, you can visit our Patreon page and become a patron.

Limited Engagement is the most satisfying, fulfilling project I’ve ever done, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s worth something. We spend a lot of time and a decent amount of money on this show, and I think it’s an important platform for creatives in Phoenix, as well as a great resource for aspiring creatives. I would think this if someone else were doing this show as well, but they’re not—at least as far as I know. Anyway, if you feel similarly, I hope you’ll consider supporting the show either through purchasing the book and other items that will find their way into the shop, or becoming a patron.

This week, I talk to poet and photographer Jia Oak Baker. Jia’s chapbooks Crash Landing in the Plaza of an Unknown City (Dancing Girl, 2015) and Well Enough to Travel (Five Oaks, 2015) are both fantastic, and she’s been published in many journals. Jia was one of the first guests I talked to, and it’s the only conversation I didn’t manage to record, so I’m thrilled she was willing to stop by the house and do it again. It was a great conversation. Probably even better than the first one.

Listen to LE 36 – Jia Oak Baker

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This Week: Jon Rauhouse! Plus, We did it!

Well, we did it. It’s done. The Arg in Blarg: Limited Engagement, The First Two Years is in the can and off to the printer. Nothing to do now but wait. I hate waiting—gives me indigestion. I’m really proud of the finished product, which is due in large part, as is the case with most things, really, to Janell Hughes, who not only did the layout and design, but the lion’s share of the transcriptions as well, whilst I fretted over writing all the various bits and pieces connecting the damned thing together. I’m so glad it’s over. I did mention that I was proud of it right?

The Arg in Blarg features a section devoted to each episode from the first show with Bill Campana on May 20th, 2015, all the way through the 34th show with Sally K. Lehman and Jessica Standifird, which was posted just last week. There are also a few other odds and ends, including a gallery featuring all of the promotional flyers. The book is being published through Four Chambers Press, and we’re launching it at our second anniversary show on May 19th, please join us if you can. Failing that, the book will be available on our website. I’m looking to partner with a few local establishments as well. If you’re interested, hit me up.

On the show this week, we have local music legend Jon Rauhouse. Rauhouse came to prominence in the band Grievous Angels, has worked with Archers of Loaf frontman Eric Bachmann, Jakob Dylan, Kelly Hogan, Sally Timms, and many are no doubt familiar with Jon’s work as a part of Neko Case’s amazing band. We had a great conversation about the life of a professional musician, his work with Neko Case (who might be my favorite singer of all time), and his beautiful playing bookends the show. On May 20th, you can check out the Jon Rauhouse Combo at the Sun Punchers album release show at The Newton on May 20th at 7:30 pm.

Listen to LE 35 – Jon Rauhouse

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