Jakob Lazzaro, Justin Curto and Libby Berry Can't Let Go of heavy weights and past regrets, the busiest month in music history, fake news: the print edition, and the stress (and stress reliefs) of three separate new apartments. Stories featured in this episode hail from Gimlet Media, Pitchfork and NPR. Transcript below.
[Music: Little Lily Swing]
Jakob Lazzaro: Hello, welcome back to Can't Let Go, the NBN podcast where we discuss the news stories and the personal stories from the past week or very long six month passage of time that we can just not get out of our heads. I'm your host, Jakob Lazzaro, and I want to welcome you back to me hosting my own podcast after a sixth month break. I was working for WESA in Pittsburgh, which was great, and then I was studying abroad in Hong Kong. Both of those are places where you don’t just make your own podcast because I was busy. But now I’m back here, so I can do that. Anyway, with me I have two guests – Justin Curto on my right, and Libby Berry on my left. Guys, do you want to introduce yourselves?
Justin Curto: Hi, I’m Justin.
Libby Berry: Hi, I’m Libby.
Justin: That’s two former NBN Editors-in-Chief.
Jakob: That’s true.
Libby: We have a lot of power in this room.
Jakob: That’s true. I’m intimidated actually, because I have two formerly powerful people on either side of me.
Libby: Yeah, the key word is formerly.
Jakob: Alright, so my news story is more of a news media organization story. In my last month in Hong Kong, I came across this podcast called Heavyweight. And the premise of the podcast – it’s made by Gimlet Media, which also makes Reply All and a lot of other really nice podcasts – is that the host Jonathan Goldstein basically solves people’s problems in his own kind of like very awkward way. For example –
Justin: Put a weight right on me.
Jakob: That’s basically the concept of the show. There’s episodes like this guy from the most recent season who moved into an artist's loft colony in Los Angeles to be, like, hip and a hip cool person, but he was socially awkward so he never talked to any of his roommates and they thought he was weird so they kicked him out of the apartment and he felt bad about it. And he also got banned from this pizza shop, which was his sole source of social interaction…
Libby: [incredulously] How do you get banned from a pizza shop?
Jakob: They thought he was stealing slices. But he wasn’t! He just rollerbladed everywhere and rollerbladed in, looked at the fridge and rollerbladed back out. Which looked like he stole the slices, but in reality he was a vegetarian and they only had pepperoni.
Justin: I don’t listen to Moby. But, he’s vegan. So, he’s cool.
Jakob: Yeah. If you want a podcast about an awkward guy solving people’s life problems, would recommend.
Libby: My question is, though, can anybody submit their life problems to this guy?
Jakob: I think they solicit email submissions at the beginning of each season, so they’re probably taking them now since they just finished the last season. So if you’ve got like a heavy weight weighing on you.
Libby: You know I have so many heavy weights!
Jakob: Email Jonathan and be like yo…
Libby: Help me out.
Jakob: Yeah. And maybe you’ll be a podcast episode. Each one is titled with the name of the person, so yours would be called ‘Libby.’
Libby: So the thing I can’t let go of today… You know, I woke up this morning, just scrolling through Twitter as I do.
Libby: And I saw that, you know, I was just living in D.C. for the past six months so I follow a lot of D.C. journalists on Twitter. They’re all tweeting about this fake version of The Washington Post that was getting passed out in D.C. today. The Washington Post PR page tweeted out that this is not a real product of ours, like this is not real information, and I was like what’s going on here? I took a look at it, and it’s basically a fake version of The Washington Post that’s in this alternate world where President Trump has resigned office. Mike Pence has become president, you know, there’s fake stories about the world breaking out into celebration.
Justin: What was the… can you scroll up?.
Justin: What is the slogan there? “Democracy Awakens in Action.” [Laughter]
Libby: Yeah. It’s interesting that they’re changing this… They’re using this fake paper as a way to try and motivate people.
Justin: It also says May 1st, 2019.
Libby: That’s like, I was reading in this article that that’s, like, their goal is like a vision of an uprising that drives him from office by May 1st of this year.
Jakob: It’s just a very weird thing. You know, I don’t want to dunk on activists because they do a lot of very important work et cetera, but like what was this supposed to accomplish, honestly?
Libby: I mean, I guess it’s supposed to grab people’s attention. But yeah, my concern is just kind of feeding into something that’s already been used as an attack against real journalism and real information by this administration. I think supporting that work is a little more effective than using this medium of actual fake news.
Jakob: Speaking of the facts, Justin. What’s your news story for this podcast episode?
Justin: My news story is not one singular story. It is an event. I got on Twitter yesterday, and as Libby follows a bunch of D.C. people, I follow a bunch of music journalists.
Jakob: What a twist.
Justin: Cause that’s my thing. I see people talking about, like, oh my god there are all these album release announcements. I’m getting a big important music announcement every five minutes, what’s happening? And I’m like, oh my god! What is happening? And then I go on Pitchfork, and I just look at the news feed, and I’m like oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! We see so many big things, I can give y'all a taste of it. We start the day with an African desert art installation that’s gonna play the Toto song for all eternity.
Jakob: I like it. It’s a good song.
Libby: It is a good song. I actively listen to it on Spotify.
Jakob: I think we should all actively listen to it.
Libby: It was in my top 100 of the year.
Jakob: That’s impressive, actually. [Laughter]
Libby: I don’t know what that says about me as a person.
Justin: So, we have…
Jakob: It says you bless the rains a lot. [Laughter]
Justin: We have Kanye West and Kim Kardashian confirming their baby boy on the way.
Jakob: A very relevant music story.
Libby: And it’s a different surrogate this time. I read that their other surrogate was unavailable, the one that had Chicago West.
Jakob: Wait, Chicago West?
Libby: It is Chicago West.
Jakob: Wow, I feel out of touch. I did not know that.
Libby: Keep up with the Kardashians, Jakob.
Justin: We have The Cranberries, a band which I adore.
Libby: I also love The Cranberries.
Justin: Sharing music from their final album before Dolores O’Riordan died. We have, Alicia Keys is going to host the Grammys this year!
Libby: Is she really?!
Justin: Yeah. See, so much of this stuff got lost because so much happened yesterday. Of course, there’s a lot of spice peppered in between here. There’s a lot of people pulling their R. Kelly collaboration songs, but we don’t need to get in to that. Biggest news of the day, though, was the Bikini Kill reunion tour. They were a big riot girl/punk sort of band.
Justin: That’s a very punk name.
Justin: Yeah. And all their music just got back on Spotify recently, and there’s a new box set announced, so it was kind of a long time coming but also I never thought they’d reunite. Karen Oh, from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who I love. She has new music out, but I haven’t listened to it yet.
Libby: “Maps” used to be my go-to song on Rock Band.
Justin: “Maps” is one of the best songs ever made.
Libby: It’s so good!
[Music: “Maps” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs]
Justin: Now it’s time for our personal stories on Can’t Let Go. I always end up being the one to say that. Anyway, mine will just kind of end up being a general thing which is that I’ve moved back to Evanston, Illinois because I was also abroad in the fall. I am living off campus for the first time, and I’m not just living in any off campus situation. I’m in a five bedroom apartment with five other people, so six people total.
Jakob: And you have one bathroom.
Justin: I was getting there.
Justin: Yes, and we have one bathroom. It’s such an adjustment of living situations, including figuring out dishes. We got into a little thing about like, they had this thing where everyone had a day where they were supposed to do dishes, and I was like why can’t everyone just do their own dishes? And they were like, because the dishes piled up last quarter. And I’m like, what I here is that some people aren’t doing their own dishes, so tell me. Who was not doing their own dishes?
Jakob: Justin like I’m ready fucking throw hands!
Libby: I don’t wanna touch other people’s dishes!
Justin: Yeah! So I’m like let’s all do our own dishes. So we’re all doing our own dishes now, but somehow they pile up. And, I don’t know. Some people in that apartment, I can say cause she’s my friend, Paola De Varona.
Jakob: Ooh. Ooh!
Justin: I see a fuckin’ blender there. Like. On a Monday night. And all these pans and everything.
Justin: All these blender parts are sitting there and I’m like, Paola what the fuck is the blender still doing here? And the other thing that gets me, is our bathroom has two sets of lights. You have the lights by the door, and there’s another light switch by the mirror. I never turn on the light switch by the mirror because I feel like it’s enough light to use the light by the door, but some people do. But the thing is, no one ever fucking turns off the light. Sometimes, we walk through the house and someone will be like turn off the kitchen light, we’re not rich! But there’s never that same sort of fervor...
Justin: There’s never that same sort of passion about the bathroom mirror light. The upshot of all this is that I am living with a group of friends whom I love, but there are just some adjustments. And apartment people, if you’re listening, all is great. I don’t hate you, but please turn off the bathroom mirror light.
Jakob: I came back to the U.S. on Jan. 2nd, and I had a very hectic five days before classes started because my subletter only sold me his bed, bed frame, shower, shower curtain and microwave, so that was all that was in my apartment. So my apartment was, like, completely empty, right? First day was driving around the Chicago metropolitan area. I went to IKEA. I went to three thrift stores. I went to Trader Joe’s. I went to Target. I went to the grocery store. So I bought a shit-ton of groceries. I bought all my furniture. I spent the next three days putting together my two IKEA furnitures and putting everything away and cleaning my apartment. And it was all set, and I felt, like, mentally stable. Relaxed. And then I started class on Monday. And then I just had class and work all through the week. So, I didn’t have a weekend to just go and do something to myself for a while, it felt like. And it was kind of stressful. But on Saturday, the most recent Saturday, my iPhone battery has been dying for a while, so I had to go to the Apple store and get it replaced. And I decided since I’m going all the way into the city anyway, I might as well wander around and go see a few things, have some time to myself. Enjoy Chicago, because I really like living in Chicago.
Libby: Yeah, and you've been gone for so long.
Jakob: Yeah, I’ve been gone for like six, seven months, right. So I did miss it. So after getting my iPhone battery replaced, it was snowing. So I biked in the snow from Lincoln Park where the Apple store is to Streeterville. Went to Cafecito, which is a Cuban cafe I had heard was good, it was very good. Then, I took the ‘L’ to the Garfield Park Conservatory and walked around the ferns and the cacti for an hour and a half, which was nice, and then I came back to Evanston. And, you know, it was snowing, and it was just a very kind of I am back in Chicago kind of day. I had the snow, I had, like the city, I had some time to kind of just do me and not be worrying about all these things I had to do. And that’s my personal story, because it was nice to just have a moment for self care. And I believe having a moment for self care is very important.
Justin: I was just confused because I thought the story was about picking up your furniture.
Jakob: No, that was just like the buildup. Because it was like, oh my god, it was so much.
Justin: I see you have some visual inspiration.
Libby: Oh, I definitely have some visual inspiration. So, keeping with – I guess – adjusting to new apartments, I moved in to a new apartment with a few of my friends. And yesterday, we all went to see a movie together, which was really fun. And we saw Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Now, this is what I can’t let go of this week because it was my second time seeing the movie. I liked it that much. And just to set the scene, I’m not a huge superhero person. I didn’t really watch a lot of superhero movies growing up.
Justin: Did you watch Black Panther?
Libby: I haven’t seen Black Panther, which I know is terrible and it’s definitely on my list because I know it has to be great.
Jakob: It’s okay, I also haven’t seen Black Panther. I also haven’t seen The Avengers, so Libby, you’re not alone.
Libby: I’ve seen Wonder Woman, and I’ve seen the second Batman – the one that has Heath Ledger in it – but that’s pretty much it.
Justin: Where’s Rachel?
Justin: Where is she?
Libby: I guess I saw Deadpool 2. I haven’t even seen Deadpool 1. Only Deadpool 2. So, this is not a movie I would typically choose to see.
Jakob: Very not on brand.
Libby: Not on brand.
Jakob: Very off brand, I suppose.
Libby: But, you know, I was like it’s getting good reviews over winter break, so I was like I’ll go when I’m home. Because seeing a movie in Normal, Illinois is like, so cheap every time. You can go for a matinee and it’s like $3.99.
Jakob: Oh, I miss those prices!
Libby: And the main reason I went was because John Mulaney is in this film. It is his film debut. And I’m a big John Mulaney fan. I think that John Mulaney is my ideal man in this world. Unfortunately, he is married. And he really loves his wife.
Libby: Like, a lot of his comedy deals with how much he loves his wife and respects her. I’m not trying to break up that marriage – not that I could – but I’m just like, you know, I just want him to be happy and support him in his film debut. He stars as Spider-Ham, which he is a small pig in this movie! It’s definitely gonna be an Oscar contender. I feel that Disney probably though they had this category locked up with Incredibles 2, but having seen both movies…
Jakob: You pull for Spider-Ham.
Libby: I would, I would. I’m a big Disney person, so this is kind of a big step for me.
[Music: Little Lily Swing]
Justin: This has been Can’t Let Go.
Jakob: Thanks, Justin. So that’s going to wrap things up for this week. This and all other NBN podcasts can be found on iTunes and the Google Play store. Please go subscribe to get a notification whenever there is a new episode. Our show’s theme is “Little Lily Swing,” which is by Tri-Tachyon, and we use that under a Creative Commons Attribution License. I'm Jakob Lazzaro, your host.
Justin: I'm Justin Curto.
Libby: And I'm Libby Berry.
Justin: And this is NBN Audio.
[Music: Little Lily Swing]
Libby: Hi Daniel Mackenzie. I know you listen to this podcast.