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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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.

JOY CLARK AT PRIDE-FEST FAUBOURG BEER NOLA.
PHOTO CREDIT NKECHI CHIBUEZE

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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