OK, One Last Thing From 2019…

My favorite podcasts of 2019! I provide these in no particular order, but know that these are the podcasts that elicit a “I must listen ASAP once I see this in my podcatcher” response.

Click on the images to go to their sites.

TRUE CRIME:

These three are among my go-to podcasts about true crime. There is a consistent quality to these pods. They engage different parts of the world, focus on different aspects of the narrative, and provide unique access to varied levels of life experience. Casefile is perhaps the most serious, though both it and True Crime Garage showcase great research and preparation.

TCG’s end-of-the-year series on JonBenet Ramsey brought something new to that case, and made me rethink what I thought I knew. Also, their investigation of The Delphi Murders was powerful.

True Crime Garage

Casefile is – to me – the premiere Australian true crime podcast. An excellent team of researchers, evocative writing, and a perspective that highlights the real people at the center of these horrific stories make it indispensable. To see for yourself, check out the Beth Barnard story in Case 80.

Casefile

MFM doesn’t need an introduction, but make sure you’re checking out Nick Terry’s awesome animations of clips from the show.

My Favorite Murder

THAT BINGE LIFE:

I love discovering podcasts that you just HAVE to binge. You NEED TO KNOW. You NEED to follow the story. When it comes to this, I think there are a number of AMAZING podcasts out of Australia and Canada that REALLY do this well. Someone Knows Something, a podcast by Canadian award-winning filmmaker and writer David Ridgen is particularly strong (currently between seasons, but see Season 4 – from 2018 – especially).

In 2018, my favorite binge was The Australian’s pod The Teacher’s Pet, which is freaking infuriating and intense. Their effort this year, Who The Hell Is Hamish? is also very strong.

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Broken Harts
88 Days
Who the Hell is Hamish?

CRIME, COMEDY, CRYPTOZOOLOGY, UFOLOGY, HIGH WEIRDNESS, UNCANNY VALLEY, ETC:

The LPOTL crew is pure joy for me. Henry, Marcus, and Ben are hilarious and irreverent, yet showcase great research and a well-crafted perspective on everything strange and uncanny. Just listen to the Spring-Heeled Jack episode (151 – Horrors of the UK) to get a feel for this essential podcast!

Last Podcast on the Left

STAR TREK NERD ALERT:

I’m not even a little embarrassed to say that Ben Harrison and Adam Pranica have the Star Trek watch through thing locked down. Their expertise in film production and great mixture of reverence and willingness to poke fun at all things Trek make this really enjoyable – and hilarious – listening. Check out Episode 132: Captain Potter (TNG-S6E7) to experience The Greatest Gen in full effect.

The Greatest Generation

THE REASONS WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS:

I listen to a bunch of political/current events/history podcasts, but these two are among the best. Robert Evans (follow him on twitter) runs Behind the Bastards. His intense journalism in war zones around the world led him to start profiling the bastards who have made the world the way it is today – from Jerry Falwell to Muammar Gaddafi. One of the most disturbing episodes was The School That Raped Everybody. You need to be in a good mental space while listening to that one. As Robert demonstrates, always keep your bricks, machetes, and bolt cutters handy.

Behind the Bastards

Knowledge Fight is such a niche thing and I’m totally confused as to why I love it so much. I mean, a podcast breaking down the insanity of Alex Jones? I think part of the interest for me is that the hosts have a funny repartee batting Jones and his stupid conspiracy theories into the ground (like that scene in Casino).

Knowledge Fight

Becoming The Student, #15: Mar Cus

One of the most significant relationships of my adult life has been with a former student and current colleague, Marcus Miers. Right now he’s finishing up his MFA at The University of Wisconsin at Madison, but he undertook his BFA at The University of Missouri. Marcus was among the most interesting, confusing, and outstanding students I’ve had at Mizzou. He is, so far, the only student I’ve had as an undergraduate who came back to work in the classroom with me as an assistant in the very classes in which he distinguished himself.

The semester where he worked with me as an assistant to my Color Drawing courses remains a highlight of my teaching experience. As fun as that was, however, his participation in Color Drawing as a student was more transformative to me. He consistently challenged the premise of each project. He pushed me to go beyond my standard explanations. He devoted significant time and intellectual effort to grasp as much as possible in the classroom.

At one point during his second tour of duty in Color Drawing (this time in Intermediate Color Drawing), Marcus turned away from the assignment I gave. We had been working from the model for weeks, and his work was large, energetic, and chromatically intense. Yet one day, out of the blue, he simply set up his easel outside the parachute I’d hung as a barrier to block general views of the model. I had learned to trust him, though I found it somewhat cheeky of him to ignore just about every aspect of the project I’d just assigned. I sat back and watched as the beginnings of what would – eventually – become the foundation of his MFA work began to gestate right before me.

Forgoing the figure, Marcus turned instead to direct perceptual effects. He would not turn back. Light and color, intensely dense and saturated, were the basis of his rigorous investigations. The work (here’s an example) became smaller and, oddly, more spectral. It hovered over the counter-intuitive field of non-focus that forms the basis of all representation. He was seeing through depiction toward an intensity of hue and luminosity that is basically felt rather than taught. It makes perfect sense that he would soon become passionate about Josef Albers (and in particular Albers’ notion of halation). I learned more through witnessing that single aesthetic and educational maneuver┬áthan I had in my previous years of teaching combined.

~

MarCusPortraitMar Cus (High Waters and Duct Tape)

Charcoal and Pastel on Paper, 30 by 20 inches. 2014.

~

Below I’m posting three contemplations on Marcus that I made prior to the portrait above. They were created after a photo I took of Marcus at the Milwaukee Art Museum last year.

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The Sublimity of the Duct Tape Painter (Portrait of Marcus Miers with Tears)

Dimensions variable, 2014. Created in Sketchbook Pro and Artrage with alterations in Afterlight. April, 2014.

 

2014-04-04 22.22.42The Apotheosis of Mar Cus (Portrait of Marcus Miers with a Rocket)

Dimensions variable, 2014. Created in Sketchbook Pro and Artrage with alterations in Afterlight. April, 2014.

1977309_10104000276785119_1550973951_nThe Artist is Absent (Marcus Missing From the Milwaukee Art Museum)

Digital painting, Dimensions variable. Created in Sketchbook Pro and Artrage with alterations in Afterlight. April, 2014.

I am so thankful that Marcus has participated in my life over the years. We have shown work together (more than once). We have traveled together. Next year I will curate an exhibition of his work at Imago Gallery and Cultural Center in Columbia, MO. Knowing Marcus (and his brother Sam) has been so rewarding, so educational, so important. I’m just grateful to get to celebrate him and share the images above with everyone.

On top of it all, it’s his birthday today. So happy birthday, sir. Thank you for your friendship and encouragement.

~

To close, here’s a little throwback:

DSC06563Marcus working on one of the last figure drawings he made in Color Drawing. October, 2010.

~

Visiting The Milwaukee Art Museum with Marcus

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My good friend and former student Marcus met up for a day at the Milwaukee Art Museum today. While there, we took in the wonderful and hilarious Thomas Sully exhibition that was on view. We visited old favorites, like the two Richard Diebenkorn works they own. We also enjoyed a couple new friends, like the Audubon piece below:

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While taking in the Thomas Sully: Painted Performance exhibition, I decided to do a number of quick sketches. I spent between 30 seconds and two minutes on these pieces. If you click on my drawing, you’ll see what the original piece looked like.

They really reminded me of the fantastic Kyle Staver’s work. Staver, who just recently had a show at Tibor de Nagy in NYC, often uses classic themes and large, dynamic compositions in her work. She also manifests a unique sense of the shaping of forms, particularly in how she develops the figures in her paintings. Sully, though very different from Staver and far removed from her in time, also had a feeling for the strange shapes that flesh may take on. What he lost in correct anatomy (foreshortening, proportion) was gained in drama and formal structure. The strange figures he painted often loom from the surfaces in terms of their abstract shapes rather than their representational effect. In some way Sully feels like a progenitor of Staver.

Anyway, here are the sketches – click to see the originals. Enjoy!

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Sketch of Thomas Sully’s Self Portrait, 1807.

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Sketch of Thomas Sully’s portrait of Mary Ann Paton, 1836.

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Sketch of Thomas Sully’s portrait of Major Thomas Biddle, 1832.

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Sketch of Thomas Sully’s portrait of Mary Siddons Whelen, 1812.

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Sketch of Thomas Sully’s portrait of Rosalie Kemble Sully as The Student, 1848.

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Sketch of Thomas Sully’s portrait of John Terford David, 1813.

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Sketch of Thomas Sully’s portrait of Mrs George Lingen, 1842.

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All in all it was a pretty nice day.┬áHere’s one more shot of Marcus for the road…

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Hanging At My Mother-In-Law’s House

My wife and I have been married nearly 10 years now, and over that time we have spent most of our holidays and vacation time with her mom (between distance and financial constraints it’s been harder to get back to my family, though we have gotten better at seeing them more frequently in recent years). We’ve just come to expect heading up along routes 70 and 55, taking that slight left onto 39, passing the amazing windmill fields, then hitting route 43 and closing in on the Milwaukee suburbs.

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Above: A shot of some windmills at the Mendota Hills Wind Farm along interstate 39 in northern Illinois.

Ah, going to Momm’s (we add an ‘m’ to signify the difference between my mom and my wife’s mom). There’s food and beer and entertainment; she’s the type of mom who likes to provide all of these things. It would be realistic to say that I look forward to these visits to my Momm’s simply because I don’t have to be in charge, or have to be anywhere, or put on real pants during the day. Did I mention the free food? And the free Wisconsin beer? Yes.

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Above: Momm’s cat Keegan is in the Christmas tree…

But hanging at Momm’s doesn’t just come down to getting to relax and drink beer and watch football. I think the best part since Miranda was born has been seeing her (Miranda) fall in love with her Grandma and “The Uncles” during the holidays. The sort of intentional play and interaction we try to maintain with her all the time is exactly what they do for her there. Playing with blocks, reading books, putting puzzles together, letting her commandeer their phones to watch cat videos or “Whip My Hair”; they do it all. And beyond all of this, Grandma instantly becomes the go-to bathroom escort for little miss Miranda Grace, which really does free up time for Alison and I. Grandma seems to love it, though.

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Above: Miranda learning some geography with her Mom and Grandma.

I think that the thing I get the most out of, however, is getting to do a few minor jobs around the house. Over the years I’ve gotten the chance to do a few different things. Hanging some pictures here and there. Putting up a gate. Snow blowing or shoveling. Refurbishing the garage door opener. Rehanging the blinds and putting in new curtain hardware. Installing doors. Fixing base plates for the screen door. Painting a few rooms. Doing dishes. That’s how I tell Momm that I love her and appreciate getting some time off to drink beer and watch football. And wear sweatpants all day long.

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Above: One of my favorite tidbits at Momm’s house – a Pacific Northwest Native American style whale. Acrylic on linen, 16 by 16 inches.

Some highlights of this last trip were Momm playing Kinect games… getting Thai food with her good friends from MN… watching one of her favorite movies (House of D) with her… talking Packer football… discovering an amazing book of poetry (I still have it with me, Momm).

Here’s to many more memories! Love Love!