Comedian Steve Hofstetter: You only need 20,000 people

 Comedian Steve Hofstetter‘s videos have over a billion views on Instagram. His book, Ginger Kid, was a top five pick on Amazon and debuted at number one in its category. Hofstetter will be appearing at The Funny Bone in Columbus on Thursday, May 23rd. Listen in as we discuss his comedy style, views on cancel culture, comedy evolution, why he always has a show in Florida in the spring, and why a comic only needs 20,000 people.

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Hanif Abdurraqib: Writing Columbus for the world

Columbus author and native Hanif Abdurraqib is a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grantee, among many other accolades. We discuss his latest book There’s Always This Year: On Basketball and Ascension, a book that Hanif regards as one he had to grow into being able to write. We discuss Hanif’s writing process, his views on success, reflections on his family and experiences growing up in Columbus, Ohio, and the personal significance of his work. Listen in to learn more about how Hanif regards Columbus and its hidden or not so hidden treasures, like United Dairy Farmers. Udp8vcu9bICZdxM2Vvmp

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The Endless Grace of Deidre McCalla

Singer-songwriter Deirdre McCalla has a musical journey spanning five decades and a very successful recent album, Endless Grace, to bring to her Six String Concert on May 11. We talked about the the inspiration behind her hit song “Shoulder to the Wheel,” her journey in folk and Americana music, and her plans for a retrospective album in 2025 featuring new songs and acoustic versions of past hits. Listen in and then join her on May 11.

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Zoë Thompson’s new obsession: Mary Wollstonecraft

Poet, essayist and Ohio State University faculty member Zoë Brigley grew up in Wales, reading books by and about authors. She felt a particular draw toward the fascinating and controversial life of feminist icon Mary Wollstonecraft. Brigley’s most recently published book is a collection coauthored with Jenny Mitchell and Roy McFarlane called Family Name. In it, Brigley explores the life of this pioneer via found poetry in Wollstonecraft’s writing and Brigley’s own poetry. She delves into Wollstonecraft’s life, relationships, and contributions to women’s rights.

Brigley also shares insights into her role as an editor for Wales’s leading poetry journal, Poetry Wales. We discuss the selection process for published works and the importance of encouraging writers. Our conversation also touches on the art of writing, the intimacy of letters, and the joys of interviewing poets about their creative process.

After listening to this podcast, you can meet Zoë Brigley at the 2024 Ohioana Book Festival. And while you’re there, catch some of the eight authors I’ll be interviewing as well or listen to them live!

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What makes a good smelling Milky Way? Ask Dr. Jillian Scudder

Dr. Jillian Scudder, an astrophysicist and Oberlin College Associate Professor of physics and astronomy, discusses her journey through space, dinosaurs, and volcanoes and explains cosmic wonders such as why the Milky Way smells of rum and raspberries, the dimming of the universe, and diamond rain on Neptune. Also stay tuned for her upcoming graphic guide to the universe in 2024. Meet Dr. Scudder at the 2024 Ohioana Book Festival on April 20, when Craft host Doug Dangler will be hosting live podcasts!

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Nita Sweeney: Persistence Pays Off

Columbus-based wellness author Nita Sweeney was a Faulkner Society Award finalist and an Ohio Arts Council Governor’s Award nominee for her 2019 memoir, Depression Hates a Moving Target. The book was a number one Amazon new release in the mood disorders, bipolar disorder, and running and jogging categories. She has released three other books since then: a 2020 co-authored writing journal called You Should Be Writing: A Journal of Inspiration and Instruction To Keep Your Pen Moving; 2022’s Make Every Move a Meditation: Mindful Movement for Mental Health, Well-Being, and Insight. Her most recent publication is A Daily Dose of Now: 365 Mindful Meditation Practices for Living in the Moment.

Listen in as Nita describes her writing journey, challenges, and successes, and the persistence that helped land her first book deal and then meet her at the 2024 Ohioana Book Festival!

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Voting expert Ken Block: No appreciable fraud in the 2020 Election

When the Trump campaign hired voting expert Ken Block to investigate voter fraud after the 2020 election, he knew it would be contentious. But Block had studied voting fraud for a decade and he promised a fair and objective review of the votes to determine if there was fraud.

After an exhaustive search, Ken Block found no appreciable fraud in the 2020 election.

His findings form the basis for his new book: Disproven: My Unbiased Search for Voter Fraud for the Trump Campaign, the Data that Shows Why He Lost, and How We Can Improve Our Elections. He found minimal evidence of deceased voters and duplicate votes, debunked voter fraud claims, and provided suggestions for improving election integrity. Block also reflects on the impact of his findings on Trump supporters and his role within the Republican party.

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Do you like “Other Girls?” Leslie Mendelson thinks you should

Singer-Songwriter Leslie Mendelson will be in Columbus on March 15 with Six String Concerts. We spoke recently about her most recent album, In the Meantime, and her forthcoming album After the Party. The latter gave her the opportunity to work with multiple producers, a new way to create an album. The lead song on After the Party, “Other Girls,” examines what it’s like to discuss your emotional responses to other people to your partner, always a sensitive subject. It hit a chord with me, because, like many people, I’ve been in relationships with jealous and not jealous people. Leslie calls “Other Girls” a way to deal with jealousy and empower women. We ended by discussing her amazing opportunity to open for The Who and solo Roger Daltrey.

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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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