Originally from Iowa, Jim Stramel is a longtime resident of Richmond. As a college student in Florida, he hopped in a van bound for Virginia and hasn't looked back. Jim started making films on 16mm, work that culminated in his first full-length movie Thrillbillys (2001). Since then, Jim has moved on to making horror films, such as Degenerates Ink. His latest work is the webseries Reviled, which explores the dark world of zombie pit fighting.
Over a couple of beers, Colin talks with Jim about how he got his start making films, his influences, "Old" Richmond, and why he likes working with musicians. Hopefully after this conversation, Sony will be calling soon!
Court Carney, a professor at Stephen F. Austin University, returns to the podcast to talk about a course he recently taught on the late, great AMC show Mad Men. As Court makes clear, the show is a rich text that tells us a lot about 1960s history.
Mad Men first garnered attention for its stark portrayal of gender roles, but the series became iconic for its modernist look, sharp writing, morally and psychologically complex characters, and intricate plot lines. And because you can't have a conversation with Court without talking about music, Dr. Carney examines how the Mad Men soundtrack--using everything from the Beatles to Sergio Mendes--heightened the drama. Also, Colin and Court talk about 1980s synth pop and the memoir by Wilco front man Jeff Tweedy.
A professor at the University of Georgia, Scott Reynolds Nelson is the author of several books and recently was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship. But as he tells Colin, he was not interested in history as a young man enamored with comic books and computers. Still, history proved a much safer path than the one he was pursuing, one which might have ended him up in jail. In his work, Scott has combined economic history, social studies, and folklore. He is perhaps best known for his book on John Henry, which became the basis for not only a children's book but a musical. As he tells Colin, Steel Drivin' Man started as a mid-life crisis and middle finger to the profession. By breaking all the "rules," he had great success.
Scott also talks about his books on the Civil War, how wheat led to the collapse of monarchs in Europe, and why his work on the panic of 1873 made him very popular during the depression of 2008-2009. On this episode, we cover everything from cyberpunk to the birth of rock and roll!