Episode 21: Elder Up with Carla Gover

We’re joined by Carla Gover, a musician, dancer and activist whose work is informed by her deep Appalachian roots. We talk about breaking regional stereotypes, building connections across different communities, the wealth extraction that underlies Eastern Kentucky’s problems, and the importance of learning “granny skills,” especially during the pandemic. Afterwards, Sarah and the artist-soon-to-be-formerly-known as Emily discuss liberal snobbery towards the South, the Texas freeze, and get a preview of one of your What the Folk hosts’ new moniker! We also give a shout out to our What the Folk Fam, as we have now officially dubbed thee, our lovely listeners. 

Featured music is “I’m a Snowflake” and “Dangerous Women” by Carla Gover, courtesy of the artists.



Episode 20: Exist Loud with Talia Keys & Melahn Atkinson

We are joined this week by SLC-based musician Talia Keys and her partner Melahn Atkinson. Besides offering a whole host of amazing livestream events in these strange times, Talia and Melahn have also been working with the houseless community in Salt Lake City. This interview covers a lot of ground: showing up for ALL your neighbors, being an out-and-proud radical in Utah, running Rock Camp SLC during the pandemic, and giving so few fucks you incur the wrath of bigots. Afterwards, Sarah and Emily read an update from Talia about the destruction of Camp Last Hope and talk about how our system conspires to keep folks houseless.

Featured music is “We’re Here” and “Guns Out” by Talia Keys & The Love, courtesy of the artists


*Venmo: @ blacklivesforhumanitymovement
*Facebook Page

Episode 19: Coming to Terms with Reality with Tongo Eisen-Martin

We’re kicking off the first week in February with an extra What the Folk Wednesday drop! We sat with the newest poet laureate of San Francisco, Tongo Eisen-Martin, to talk about poetry as a tool for radicalization, the gentrification of American cities, how the current political moment we’re in is a rerun and how to reclaim our consciousness from the inherent violence of the colonial project. Afterwards, Emily and Sarah ruminate on what the folk they learned from this incredibly thought-provoking interview.

All featured poetry by Tongo Eisen-Martin, courtesy of the artist. 
Follow Tongo on Twitter and Instagram

What the Folk · Episode 19: Coming to Terms with Reality with Tongo Eisen-Martin

Episode 18: Truth, But Make It Funny with Ron Placone

Comedian Ron Placone joins us for this joint! We talk about Ron’s journey into standup comedy, digital rights issues, pushing back against the current of corporate media, The People’s Party, and, of course, cats cats cats. Lightening the collective mood while taking on the heavy stuff is the vibe here. Afterwards, Emily and Sarah talk about the first feels around the Biden administration, Democrats Democrating and bad neolib “feminist” readings of Bernie memes.

Follow Ron

The People’s Party
Fight for the Future

Featured music is “Love Me I’m a Liberal” and “Bezos is Surveilling Your Town” by Ron Placone, and “I Miss You” by Emily Yates, courtesy of the artists.

What the Folk · Episode 18: Truth, But Make It Funny with Ron Placone

Episode 17: Courage in the Face of Fear with Maya Azucena

**Content Warning: discussion of sexual assault and cult violence**

In the last days of 2020, we got up early, brewed some coffee, and sat down (er, Zoomed) with Maya Azucena, singer-songwriter and cultural ambassador, who has been riding out the pandemic in Turkey. Maya’s inspiring, infectious — and highly danceable — music has taken her on a worldwide outreach journey, and we hope you enjoy coming along for the ride as much as we did. We talk about the power of personal storytelling to connect across differences, how to have a global artistic career, and what it really means to be fearless. Afterwards, you can hear Emily and Sarah discuss their respective hair journeys and then switch to the much lighter topic of the riot at the Capitol. If you feel the analysis of last Wednesday’s events has lacked certain insights, as well as fashion critique and a (hopefully mostly accurate) summary of what happened at Jonestown as it relates to the ongoing Q phenomenon (and cults in general), have we got the commentary for you.

Follow Maya

Featured music is “Fearless,” “You Matter” and “Prettiest” by Maya Azucena, courtesy of the artist.

What the Folk · Episode 17: Courage in the Face of Fear with Maya Azucena

Episode 16: Queering the Age of Aquarius with Dr. Serena Chopra

We deep dive with Dr. Serena Chopra, a multitalented and multifaceted teacher and artist. Join us for a fascinating and thought-provoking conversation about the different approaches to time, what we mean when we describe something as “queer,” turning our personal trauma into collective defense, and the role of mysticism in creating what comes next. It’s not just about examining the structures we live in, we also have to turn those structures on their heads to approach them differently. We hope you leave this conversation with the same sky-eyed perspective we did. Afterwards, Sarah is all jazzed up on Aquarius vibes and Emily talks about energy, because we’re both kind of hippies.

Featured poem is “Seduction After the Great Plains” by Dr. Serena Chopra. Featured music is “Love Yourself” and “The Only Point” by our own Emily Yates – a preview of her about-to-drop new album, Notes to Self and Others. All tracks appear courtesy of the artists

Connect with Dr. Serena Chopra


The Brain is Wider Than the Sky


Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity by José Esteban Muñoz

The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study by Stefano Harney & Fred Moten

A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia by Gilles Deleuze

Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others by Sarah Ahmed

Les Guerilleres by Monique Wittig

The Portable Kristeva by Julia Kristeva

Occasional Work and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture by Lisa Robertson

Your Healing Is Killing Me by Virginia Grise

Ideal Suggestions: Essays in Divinatory Poetics by Selah Saterstrom

What the Folk · Episode 16: Queering the Age of Aquarius with Dr. Serena Chopra

Episode 15: The Times, They are a-Rhymin’ with Dr. Matthew Heidtmann

Happy episode 15 of What the Folk! In this episode we are joined by historian, writer and educator, Dr. Matthew Heidtmann. We talk about the importance of teaching history, making academia accessible to a wider audience, and all those great myths of imperialism and exceptionalism that we swim in as Americans. History may not repeat, but it definitely rhymes. Then afterwards, Emily and Sarah talk about pandemic politics and gendered culture…but also about Finding Nemo and small town Colorado restaurant drama. 

You can follow Dr. Heidtmann here and on Twitter: @EastCoastMatt

Featured music is “Foreign Policy Folk Song” by our own Emily Yates. 

You can follow Dr. Heidtmann at https://matthewheidtmann.com/Twitter: @EastCoastMatt

What the Folk · Episode 15: The Times, They are a-Rhymin’ with Dr. Matthew Heidtmann

Episode 14: Superheroes and Glitterature with Baruch Porras-Hernandez

The lovely and hilarious Baruch Porras-Hernadez is in the house with big sparkly Aquarius energy. We talk about his journey from actor to performance poet and comedian, healing familial toxic masculinity, and how to joyfully make a living as an artist. We also get some pointers on Zoom theater as we hear about how he staged his solo show, “Love in the Time of Piñatas,” in his bedroom. And there’s a special sneak peak at the team of Queer Latinx superheroes that will be coming soon to save the world! And if that’s not enough excitement and intrigue for you, stick around for Sarah and Emily’s thoughts on pandemic braining and how, er, hopeful (?) they are now that good ole Uncle Joe is for realsies the prez.

Twitter: @baruchisonfire
Instagram: baruchporrashernandez

Featured poems are “The Trees, They Hate the Birds the Most” and “Oh the Places You Will Go, Fearing for Your Life, While People Do Drugs” by Baruch Porras-Hernadez, courtesy of the artist.

What the Folk · Episode 14: Superheroes and Glitterature with Baruch Porras-Hernandez

Episode 13: Building Unions & Busting Borders with Dr. Tracy Ferrell

On this episode we are joined by Dr. Tracy Ferrell from CU Boulder. We discuss the challenges and opportunities around labor organizing in academia, the campus experience under Covid, and her research around immigration and medical marijuana patients. We also talk about the power of stories to inspire empathy and break down borders. After the interview, Emily envisions a self-sustaining system and Sarah attempts to quote Ram Dass and Jason Molina with questionable accuracy. Oh yeah, and I guess there was an election or something? Soooo we hope you enjoy profanity.



Featured songs are “Bastille” and “Riverboat” by The Red Tack, and “The System Isn’t Broken” by our own Emily Yates, courtesy of the artists.


What the Folk · Episode 13: Building Unions & Busting Borders with Dr. Tracy Ferrell

Episode 12: Good Vibes Only with Melody Walker

Happy (?) day after election day! We recorded this episode in October, so we made some bad predictions with our guest, musician Melody Walker, mostly involving aliens. We also talk about Front Country’s fantastic new album, Impossible World, which is out now for your ears’ enjoyment. But that’s just for starters in this lively and insightful discussion, which includes performative class and inclusion in country music, the potential futures of the music industry in a post-Covid world, self-accountability, and a pitch for a Christopher Guest-style comedy about paranoid militias. Good vibes all around!

Featured songs are “Amerikan Dream” and “Broken Record” by Front Country, courtesy of the artist.




What the Folk · Episode 12: Good Vibes Only with Melody Walker