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
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
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.
**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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
***AUDIO NOTE: There was an issue with Sarah’s track, sorry for the fuzz!***
CONTENT WARNING: DISCUSSION OF SEXUAL ASSAULT
We’re joined by Alex Scott, a 7th generation Oklahoman, a former public school teacher, an active community organizer, and candidate for Oklahoma State Senate. In 2018, she became the youngest member to ever serve on the Norman, OK City Council, ousting a well-funded incumbent on a shoestring budget and grassroots power. We discuss the importance of getting involved locally, the terrifying pushback she has received for her actions, and how she got ripped off a flagpole at a certain Tulsa rally for someone who shall remain unnamed (see episode 1A for more on that).
Follow Alex on Twitter: @RealAlexScott
Then afterwards Emily and Sarah discuss their husky, wildfire smoke soaked voices, riff more on the idea of local action, and Sarah uses the word “magic” a whole bunch.
Featured music is “When the Zombies Come” by our own Emily Yates.