Richard Shindell: Throwing stuff at the wall

 Singer songwriter Richard Schindel returns to perform at Six String Concerts on Saturday, February 24th, 2024. We spoke recently about his latest endeavors.

Shindell described his recent past as, “I’ve been living here in Buenos Aires and… I’ve been writing poetry. I recently started a substack project, which comes out once a week, which is very eclectic.” The eclectic nature of his Substack is evident in the breadth of topics and genres Shindell covers, from short essays to photographs to even recipes, such as his mother’s sweet potato pone recipe. As he puts it, it functions to “broaden [his] creative practice and just throw a lot of stuff at the wall.”

Listen in to hear more about what stuff sticks to the wall, what falls off, and why we each have night-driving anxiety. Then, get tickets for his Feb 24 concert.

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National Geographic Herbal: Mimi Prunella Hernandez

Drive through rural Ohio, and you’ll see thousands of stands of trees, surrounded by brush and plants. You may wonder, “Could I eat any of those?” At times like this, you really need someone like Mimi Prunella Hernandez, who holds a master of science in herbal medicine and is a registered herbalist with the American Herbalist Guild. Her recently released book, National Geographic Herbal, 100 Herbs from the World’s Healing Tradition, documents edible and medicinal herbs.

Hernandez says that the book was the result of “a couple of lectures [she] did at a medical school in Portland,” with her storytelling ability being one of the most noteworthy aspects.

I come from a lineage of storytellers

-Mimi Prunella Hernandez

We discuss which herbs are best for the garden and which are surprisingly useful, such as the invasive kudzu plant. She describes how to make tea from honeysuckle and how to learn to enjoy even bitter plants like dandelion and burdock roots or artichoke leaves. Hernandez also gives her top herbs to grow in a summer garden, such as basil and oregano, among others.

Listen in to learn more!

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Joy Clark: Lyrically welcoming her Guest

New Orleans singer-songwriter, lyrical guitarist, and composer Joy Clark will appear with Six String Concerts in Columbus on Friday, November 10th with guitarist and singer-songwriter Brooks Williams. I spoke with her about how she grew up playing music in church, her latest single “Guest,” and how she plays guitar lyrically.


Doug: Joy, what is a lyrical guitarist?

Joy Clark: That’s a good question. Thank you for having me first. The way I play is pretty melodic. And even if I’m soloing or playing something that’s not so singer-songwriter-esque, it’s still very lyrical. So the way I approach playing guitar is as if I’m playing and singing words, even if I’m not.

Doug: So what does mean on the finger level: are you just staying longer [on the strings]? You’re not playing staccato? And, I say this having very little musical ability, so I’m just curious. I’m always fascinated when I see somebody described that way and I’m like, man, I wish I knew what they meant.

Joy Clark: There are many approaches to playing guitar, but it just means I’m not only strumming, I’m picking out… This is a good question. This is hard to explain.

Doug: You’re strumming and picking.

Joy Clark: I’m strumming and picking, but in the absence of actual lyrics in the song, it sounds as if I’m playing lyrics.

For the rest of our interview, check out the link below, and then see Joy Clark on November 10.

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Craig Carothers: Singer-Songwriter and much more

Image from PublicDomainPictures on Pixabay

His website describes Craig Carothers as a renaissance man who is a singer, songwriter, producer, recording engineer, background singer, booking agent, graphic designer, photographer, Tex Mex connoisseur, left wing inactivist, and a collector of exquisitely obsolete gadgets. And during our talk, he added another label: “a novelist of sorts,” since his work is “trying to incorporate other people’s stories and … [create] songs to try to get to a particular kind of a point.”

We also discussed how long it can take to write a song and how Carothers whiles away time during long drives between gigs.

He will appear with Six String Concerts on October 6th.

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Cartoon Crossroad Columbus

It’s been a long journey for cartoons and comics, which started in newspapers and broadsheets and on low-grade comics paper (some of which is slowly collapsing in boxes in my house). But comics and cartoons are big business now: witness the MCU and to a lesser and darker extent, the DC Universe.

But no matter what your comics or cartoon interests are, you can find like minded people at this years Cartoon Crossroad Columbus (CxC) from September 27 to October 1.

I spoke with CxC’s co programming chair Ben Towle, who described Columbus as a hub for cartoon and comics interests. From the CxC to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library at Ohio State University to Columbus College of Art and Design’s comics and narrative practice program, Columbus has many ways to learn about, celebrate, and engage with comics.

Guests at CxC this year include Raina Telgemeier, who Ben describes as “if you are a parent and you have kids who are or have been eight to ten years old, I can guarantee you they know who Raina Telgemeier.” Daniel Clowes will also give a talk about his work, which ranges from Ghost World to Art School Confidential to Wilson to this year’s Monica.

So get out of the house before winter arrives and see some creativity in action.

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And the Readers’ Choice Award Goes to… John Scalzi!

Ohio writer John Scalzi will be honored at a reception on September 21, 2023, as part of the 2023 Ohioana Awards at the Ohio Statehouse. Ohioana Book awards have been bestowed on many famous Ohio authors, from James Thurber to Toni Morrison.

Listen in for our discussion of his most recent book, The Kaiju Preservation Society”, his well-known blog Whatever (including his recent take on House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan’s preposterous letter to Georgia Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis), and Scalzi’s music CD called “Eternal.”

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Brendan Ballou on the Problems with Private Equity

I recall hearing “greed… is good” spouted by Micheal Douglas’s sleazy character, Gordon Gekko (a lizard, get it?), in the ’80s movie Wall Street, but it seems that it’s gotten much worse since then. See The Wolf of Wall Street, possibly another movie to inspire youth to be disregard decency in pursuit of ever more excess. Sounds like a recently deposed presidential failure, no?

Eighties Wall Street raiders never went away, and they’re gaining ground, according to federal prosecutor Brendan Ballou, in the form of private equity firms. Ballou views such firms as a threat to the economic stability of the country. His recent expose, Plunder: Private Equity’s Plan to Pillage America, was published in May, and his New York Times op-ed the same month shines more light on the issue.

Listen in to hear more about the problems with private equity, problems that Ballou sees as aided by the US government.

For more about the dangers of private equity, listen to Terry Gross’s Fresh Air take on “How private equity firms are widening the income gap in the U.S.

Briefcase by Shahid Abdullah from Pixabay

Flames by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

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Darrell Scott is Justified

You may have heard of Darrell Scott through the repeated use of his song “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” on the TV show Justified, but his back catalog is full of equally compelling Americana and country music.

My family is from Harlan County, Kentucky, on both sides. They moved away from Harlan and the coal mines just over 100 years ago. They went to tobacco farming… So I have a 200 year plus history in Kentucky with my family.

Darrell Scott

Scott sings movingly of the coalminers’ plight after their mineral rights were snatched up cheap. Justified frequently “put [the song] in such a dramatic and closing place within the show” that viewers took noticed and learned more about an artist whose songs have also been covered by Garth Brooks, Patty Loveless, Kathy Mattea, The Chicks, Keb’ Mo, and Faith Hill, among many others.

But as famous as he’s become through the years, being a songwriter brings a certain amount of anonymity. “That’s the illusion in the music industry. We all pretend that the person singing the song is the one who wrote it. And that’s fine,” Scott says wryly, “As long as the royalties come through.”

Darrell Scott will be in Columbus on Saturday, May 13, 2023 with Six String concerts.

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Big Pharma needs to take its beating: Ohio Poet Laureate Kari Gunter-Seymour

Each Ohio Poet Laureate gets to choose a personal project. The current poet laureate, Kari Gunter-Seymour, chose to focus on addiction. “I feel so strongly about the way addiction is being treated in this country, almost ignored,” Gunter-Seymour says. Addiction is, in many ways a peculiarly Ohio issue, since “Ohio has come in second many times for overdose deaths.”

Her passion is evident in not only her poetry project with Ohio prisoners overcoming addiction but also in her views on the true culprits: “Big Pharma needs to stand up and take its beating for what it has done to the population of our country.”

Aside from working with addiction and recovery, Gunter-Seymour has strong ties to the Women of Appalachia project, which involves the 420 counties in Appalachia:

Our work is informing folks all over the country and across the pond that Appalachians in general, and in particular, women are not barefoot, we have teeth, we are not underfed, we’re not over fed, we’re not under-groomed. Most of us are well educated. And if we’re not educated in school academic settings, we’re highly educated in horticulture and animal husbandry, and those other things that those who are caretakers of the land learn, and they get passed down from generation to generation.

You can see and talk with Ohio Poet Laureate Gunter-Seymour when she appears at the Ohioana Book Festival on April 22, 2023

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Trauma is on my phone: Prince Shakur

Former Ohioan and author Prince Shakur published his debut memoir  When They Tell You to Be Good in October 2022. It received both the Library Journal and Okayplayer Best Memoir of 2022. In it, he delves into his childhood and growing up as gay and black in the midwest.

In our interview, we discussed his memoir, upbringing, family trauma and his experiences with state run violence, the aftereffects of which he sees as always close to him, as close as the images on his cell phone. He will appear at the 2023 Ohioana Book Festival on Saturday, April 22, 2023.

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