INTERNET RADIO'S CREAM OF THE CROP
Reviewed by Gabe Ferreria
I tend to present myself as a man who has no doubts about the career path he has chosen to follow. Most people who know me well would be quick to assume that being a graphic designer is a calling; a few of my friends have even pointed out that I am very “lucky” to have found something I am so passionate about. Here is a secret (jump in joy: you’re the first ones to learn this!): up until very recently, I constantly questioned myself about being in what I thought was the narrow field of graphic design. Here I am, creating posters, visual identities, and magazine covers while some other professionals are building airplanes, curing AIDS, and revolutionizing the way humans interact. How depressing is that?
At the height of this self-inflicted crisis I came across Design Matters, a podcast that opened more doors than I could have ever hoped from a set of digital sound waves. Debbie Millman, the powerhouse that runs the show, describes it as a “thought-provoking internet podcast which profiles industry-leading graphic designers, change agents, artists, writers, and educators.” For the three years that Design Matters has been in production, Millman has interviewed 162 designers. Yes, 162 of them, and all of them good. “Why the fuck should I care about it?,” you ask. Well, read on.
What’s most impressive about the podcast is that each interview goes far beyond the world of art and highlights the power of creative thinking in problem solving and innovation across all industries. In the episode with British designer Eddie Opara, for example, Millman and Opara discuss the first few steps of social media taken in 1998 (five years before Myspace was even created!) by a group of designers at MIT Media Lab, of which Opara was part. And guess what: those same people were the ones behind much of the way we experience the internet today. If you don’t think that’s relevant, consider the fact that social media and browsing websites account for about 18 hours of your day.
Clement Mok is yet another interesting individual profiled by Design Matters. Mok, the Creative Director at Apple responsible for the implementation of the design philosophy we still see today, goes into detail about the absurd way Steve Jobs treated his employees and how long it took for him to agree to the work his team had been doing. Partially shaping the world’s most valuable company wasn’t enough for Mok, who became the man responsible for making Sushi accepted in the United States. It sounds crazy, I know, but I swear I’m sane. Go give it a listen.
It is a little unfortunate that I can’t force you to listen to Design Matters. It really is more fun than scrolling down your newsfeed and it will fill your brain with good thoughts. If you are a designer, you are probably damaging your career by not knowing that this invaluable resource is available to you, for free, at soundcloud.com/designmatters. The entire collection is also available on iTunes, and there are even a couple of special episodes on YouTube.
Call Chelsea Peretti
Reviewed by Rose Feduk
Every Monday, Chelsea Peretti takes calls from her fans for about an hour and a half and turns it into a podcast. The hilarious thing about this podcast is that Chelsea has no patience for people who call in and have nothing to say or those who expect her to initiate the conversation. Oftentimes Chelsea will make jokes at their expense while the caller is explaining why they have shitty reception or how broken up they are about the recent death of one of their friends. And without any remorse, she’ll interject with obnoxious sound effects like sexy music, audience applause and, my favorite, a slot machine jackpot noise that lasts for an excruciating (probably) 15 seconds.
Though there are many oblivious derfs that are generally a waste of time, some people do end up being conversational and interesting, and discussion topics range from deodorant preferences, to poodles, to crack cocaine. The only way this podcast gets better is when Chelsea decides to invite some of her notable comedian friends, like Adam Scott or Moshe Kasher, to join in on the fun. Knowing that I probably won’t ever call Chelsea Peretti for fear of being rejected by her, I’m content listening to Chelsea destroy the confidence of other goofballs just like me.
Here's the Thing with Alec Baldwin
Reviewed by Marco Beltran
Alec Baldwin’s podcast, or the podcast version of his radio program, is ridiculous in terms of how amazing it is. Here’s the Thing is in its infancy as a show, with a mere 38 podcasts under its belt, but it’s already had an insane range of celebrities involved with it within the first few episodes. It’s not just limited to movie stars; it’s had writers, television hosts, and athletes showcased on a bi-monthly basis. Let me give you an example: the guest on first episode was Michael Douglas. Within a few months, he’s already had the likes of Fred Armisen, Billy Joel, and David Letterman to have some surprisingly deep conversations.
On top of that, his voice is perfect for listening. It’s soothing, as if you were listening to your gravelly-voiced grandpa having an interesting conversation with Kristen Wiig in your dreams. It gets kind of tense for me sometimes, because it’s too calm. Halfway through an episode I expect him to yell for no reason, or just scream at a guest to show how passionate he is about their work.
This may be because Alec Baldwin is a great actor, or he’s just personable, but he always seems to be genuinely interested in what people are telling him. If anything, this podcast is great for hearing people that you wouldn’t normally hear in a podcast.