286 episodes

Music, Pop Culture and Technology from radio legend Alan Cross and TV's biggest geek Michael Hainsworth

Geeks and Beats Alan Cross and Michael Hainsworth

    • Music Commentary
    • 4.8, 213 Ratings

Music, Pop Culture and Technology from radio legend Alan Cross and TV's biggest geek Michael Hainsworth

    Mental Health and the Entertainment Industry with TSN’s Michael Landsberg

    Mental Health and the Entertainment Industry with TSN’s Michael Landsberg

    Wasn’t Kurt Cobain’s suicide a wakeup call? TSN’s Michael Landsberg knows how to talk about mental health issues. And on what would have been Robin Williams’ 69th birthday, the geeks speak about a topic that seems to have been largely swept under the rug by the entertainment industry.

    Robin Williams’ passing got us talking

    The entertainment industry can be all flashy lights, glitter, limousines, and big homes. It could also be a dark, lonely, and depressing spot to be in. The stories of celebrities taking their own lives have been sadly common in the past few years. It’s sad to think that our larger than life favourites weren’t as happy as we thought.  Let’s take Robin Williams – who would’ve turned 69 this week – as an example. After Williams died, we cried, laughed, and mourned. The reality set in and we were confused. How can arguably one of the most naturally gifted comics of all time take his own life?

    This unexpected bombshell lit the helplines up like Patch Adams’ red nose. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline saw a surge in callers. The loss of Williams had everyone reeling. Soon after his passing it was revealed that Williams had Parkinson’s disease. Scratch that –  Robin Williams had Lewy Body Dementia.

    He was drifting away

    Williams’ widow, Susan Schneider Williams, published an article called “The terrorist inside my husband’s brain” in the journal Neurology. She wrote about the joy of their relationship and she notes that many months before he died, Robin was under the care of doctors for many of symptoms including gastrointestinal problems, insomnia, and a tremor. He was treated with both psychotherapy and psychotropic medications. He went to Stanford for hypnosis to treat his anxiety. He exercised with a physical trainer. His voice weakened, left hand tremor was continuous and he had a slow, shuffling gait. He was beginning to have trouble with visual and spatial abilities in the way of judging distance and depth. His loss of basic reasoning just added to his growing confusion.

    The very complicated question

    In the article “Lessons On Depression From The Life Of A Beloved Celebrity” by Steven Schlozman, M.D. he answered the question of why Robin would take his own life.

    “This is, of course, a great and very complicated question”.

    “It’s not a great question because it’s perplexing; it’s a great question because it reminds us all that we are vulnerable to all sorts of diseases, and that these diseases sometimes win. Would the question be as potent if it concerned a different celebrity’s battle with cancer? Probably not, but it ought to be. Cancer, depression, substance use disorders…these are all diseases. They all have proven treatments, and we as a society need to remember that,” he wrote.

    “We also, however, need to remember that sometimes the disease wins. Whether the disease wins or not is not tied to talent or fortune; it is tied to the unique vulnerabilities of the individual and the disease from which he or she suffers.” Schlozman concluded, “We are all human, no matter how beautiful,

    • 37 min
    Before there was MTV with Tarzan Dan

    Before there was MTV with Tarzan Dan

    MTV is pushing 40?!? Tarzan Dan from YTV’s Hit List drops by Studio 3B to talk about those in music television who came before him, he and Alan swap tops on how to interview a rock star, and we find out how he reacted to landing in the pages of Canadian music history.

    MTV airing The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star” to launch the network was not the first music video ever broadcast. Nor was it the first music video ever made. 

    It was far from the first time music appeared on TV, that’s for sure. 

    But the two pop culture staples have often worked hand-in-hand for entertainment and cross-promotional purposes, a practice that dates back to at least the 1950s. 

    How old are music videos?

    What qualifies as the first music video is up for some debate.

    For example, waaaaaaay back in 1894, a pair of sheet music publishers, Edward Marks and Joe Stern, hired an electrician named George Thomas, along with some musicians, to promote the sale of their new song, “The Little Lost Child.” Using a very early form of movies, a series of images set to live performed music was displayed and came to be known as the “illustrated song.” Does that make it the first video? 

    Jump ahead to the late 1920s, as the “talkies” started to take the world by storm, and Vitaphone started producing shorts with bands, singers and dancers. Max Fleischer, an animator, produced a series of short cartoons called “Screen Songs,” which were kind of like a precursor to karaoke, in that the audience was encouraged to sing along. By the 1930s, we have the legendary incorporation of opera music into Looney Tunes cartoons — Elmer Fudd as a viking, anyone? —  followed soon thereafter by Walt Disney’s Fantasia, one of the most visually and artistically stunning creations of all time (think about how painstakingly it was produced and how incredibly imaginative it was at the time before arguing this point). 

    By the 1940s, we’re into the era of short films set to music, such as those from musician Louis Jordan, including a feature-length film called “Lookout Sister.” That’s been added to the LIbrary of Congress to be preserved for its historical significance. 

    Tony Bennett claims he created the first music video with 1956’s “Stranger in Paradise.” His label at the time filmed the crooner walking through London’s Hyde Park and added that song behind it. The video was sent to TV networks in the U.S. and UK and it played several times on American Bandstand. 


    About that Bandstand

    Two shows are inextricably tied to music and teenage culture in the United States: American Bandstand and the Ed Sullivan Show. 

    The so-called perpetual teenager, Dick Clark was the affable host who helped provide apple-cheeked youngsters a place to dance, wholesomely, to some of the country’s top pop bands. The show started on Philadelphia public TV in October 1952 and ran well into the 1980s, featuring a respectable variety of genres: doo-wop, teeny boppers, psychedielic rock, disco and hip-hop over the course of its 30 ye...

    • 48 min
    The Future of Headphones is 3D

    The Future of Headphones is 3D

    Audeze founder Sankar Thiagasamudram explains that the next big thing in audio is 3D in a way you didn’t know you were missing with your typical headphones today. The headphones of the future will be spatially aware, and adjust to your listening preferences using artificial intelligence. And the crazy thing is these headphones already exist.

    • 27 min
    My Fake Band

    My Fake Band

    What if that random joke you make turned into a party game? The Brothers Hermann of My Fake Band drop by Studio 3B to talk about kickstarting the Next Big Thing around the campfire. Plus: K-pop as the world’s conscience and a middle finger to Donald Trump.

    • 23 min
    First Woman in Space

    First Woman in Space

    The United States might have put a man on the moon first, but it was the Russians who first sent a woman to space. The Vintage Space star and author Amy Shira Teitel joins the geeks this week on a supporters-only livestream recording session and Q&A about Valentina Tereshkova, a woman 20 years ahead of her US counterparts.

    Russia won the female space race 57 years ago

    by G&B Senior Segment Producer Amber Healy

    From the early days of the space race, research supported the idea of women serving as astronauts and cosmonauts. Women tend to have smaller bodies in every measurable way, and since spaceflight often has to account for every ounce considering the price of rocket fuel, it just made sense to send lighter, smaller bodies into orbit.

    But in the 1950s and 1960s, sexism was still king in both the USA and the USSR. So women waited.

    The first woman in space, on June 16, 1963, was Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova. She was 26 at the time and one of several women recruited into an aggressive cosmonaut training program due to her early enthusiasm and skill for parachute jumping. The effort was backed by Soviet Premier Nikita Kruschev, who ordered a small group of women be selected and trained for a women-in-space program.

    Fearless female leadership

    Let’s not mince words here: Tereshkova was a badass from the word go. She joined a paramilitary flying club without telling her mother, spending her weekends training and completing 90 jumps before she caught the Kremlin’s eye. “I did night jumps, too, on to land and water — the Volga River,” she told The Guardian. “I learned to wait as long as possible before pulling the cord, just to feel the air; 40 seconds, 50 seconds… it’s not really falling; you experience enormous pleasure from the sensation of your whole body. It’s marvellous.”

    She joined the Communist Party in 1962, as would’ve been customary for the time.

    The Soviets, of course, sent Yuri Gargarin into space in 1961, but the director of cosmonaut training, Nikolai Kamanin, heard shortly thereafter that the Americans were preparing to train female pilots to be astronauts. Not wanting to be outshined, the Soviets started their program with five women, including Tereshkova, and had their training start before their male counterparts.

    The rules stipulated that the women had to be a parachutist and under the age of 30, standing less than 170 cm (5 ft 7 in) tall and weigh no more than 70 kg (154 lbs).

    Of the small class of specially trained women, only Tereshkova went to space, selected to pilot Vostok 6, while cosmonaut Valeri Bykovsky piloted the sister mission on Vostok 5. He launched on June 14; she launched two days later. Over the course of 70 hours in space, they came within 5km (3 miles) of each other while in orbit and exchanged messages. Tereshkova orbited the Earth 48 times, with European and Soviet TV beaming back images of her smiling from space.

    At the time, both Tereshkova and Bykovsky were record holders: she for being the first woman in space; he for spending more time in space alone than anyone — a record he still holds at just five days.

    Hers was not a flawless flight, however.

    • 38 min
    Isolating Richard Crouse

    Isolating Richard Crouse

    Pop Life host and entertainment gadfly Richard Crouse is cramped in his spacious home office talking to celebrities in his fabulous hair while he waits for COVID-19 to pass and he can get back to making traditional television. We talk about new media and “In Isolation With”, the revenue power of funeral services announcements, and the secret to a successful interview. Oh, and Alan and Michael have a revolting idea on how to cash-in on Coronapocalypse.

    • 31 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
213 Ratings

213 Ratings

Jimmy Kalaitzis ,

Great show! Musical clips FAR TOO LONG

I love the show. Alan and Michael have AMAZING chemistry.
I wish they did the show more then once a week.
My only critique is the music clips Micheal plays are way too long! Sometimes I forget I’m listening to a podcast I get so lost in the song.
Also the sound effects are a little dated and cheesy, it’s a crutch many radio people have.

I still think the show is tremendous!

Jooloponoppto ,

World's most popular podcast?

Not by a longshot. Never even heard of this show before. How can they claim to be the world's most popular? They're not even on any of the top lists.

High output 101 ,

Great show

Very entertaining

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