Citywide Blackout is the home for artists of all kinds, from filmmakers to musicians to authors and everything in between. The show also covers comic-cons, book expos, and film festivals.
New EP from Gabby & The Gondolas gives listeners a musical snapshot
Since hearing, “Pottery God” from Gabby & The Gondolas, it was clear this was a band to watch. The mix of sounds and honest lyrics were refreshing and compelling to listen to and it’s clear there’s more to come.
In this interview, Max and Curtis chat with Kyle Neveau, the band’s founder. We talk about how Gabby came to be and the origin of this unique band name. We do a deep dive into their EP “Pollyanna” and the diverse sounds and stories that make it up. It’s described as “a snapshot in time” and we go into what that means and the timeframe Kyle wanted to capture.
Kyle also talks about the move he made from San Clemente, California, to Knoxville, Tennessee, and his experiences over the last couple years. The episode wouldn’t be complete without talking about the stealer cover art for “Pollyanna,” and we give a shoutout to the artist behind this amazing creation.
Opening the episode is an excerpt from the debut single “Pottery God” and closing out the show is the follow-up, “Steamed Rice.”
Ben Chou meets the minds behind the movies at BAAFF
The Boston Asian American Film Festival has a special meaning for us, as it’s one that we had the pleasure of covering back in the show’s early days. In October, the festival returned for its 15th year and my co-host Ben Chou was there for it. In this three-interview collection he speaks with the great filmmakers whose works were screened as part of BAAFF.
First up is Michele Rae Jouse for her documentary, “Nurse Unseen.” The film explores the little-known history and humanity of the unsung Filipino nurses risking their lives on the frontlines while facing a resurgence of anti-Asian hate in the streets.
Michele talks about the personal connection to the story, as well as the much wider tale told through the 92-minute film. She and Ben look at the history behind the Filipino nurses, as well as the many interviews done as part of the writing process. They talk about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the healthcare community.
The next interview is with Director/Producer Jennifer Takaki, Executive Producer George Hirose and Producer Linda Lew Woo for the documentary “Photographic Justice: The Corky Lee Story.” Corky Lee passed away in 2021, a victim of the COVID-19 pandemic. The film is an intimate portrait of the life, work, and advocacy of pioneering Chinese American photographer Corky Lee. Takaki followed Corky Lee for nearly 20 years, documenting triumphs and tragedy.
Jennifer, Linda and George go into the 20-year process and all the things they saw and memorable moments of the filmmaking process, of which there were many. They talk about Corky’s five-decade career and the many, many things he photographed and the advocacy aspect of his work. They talk about the importance of having a good editor on the project and what they hope people take away from watching the film.
Closing out this episode is Jonathan Hsu, the producer of the narrative feature “Starring Jerry as Himself” and narrative short “Closing Dynasty (aka. Queenie).” The first film shows how a family documents how their immigrant father Jerry, a recently retired Florida man, was recruited by the Chinese police to be an undercover agent, only to discover a darker truth. The short shows us how on a school day, a 7-year-old hustles strangers for money on the streets of New York City.
Jonathan takes us through both films and the stories behind both and Ben offers his own perspective and how it impacted him. They talk about the shared theme of both films and how they were developed from there. Jonathan talks about personal connection with “Starring Jerry” and how the strong familial connection influenced the story.
Rhode Island Author Expo: Political chaos and real-life adventures across the world
As the big day approaches, here’s the final of the two-part series previewing the Rhode Island Author Expo, which takes place on Saturday, Dec. 2, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. It’s a free event with more than 100 writers, panels, raffles and more.
David Shoorens is up first and his book, “The Refuge,” may have that “ripped from the headlines” sound, but I assure you, it is a work of fiction….for now. The U.S. is a broken country, with a far-right president granted unprecedented power over their political opponents. We talk about the story and how it came to be, the characters that inhabit it, and his take on the world as it is now.
Closing this episode out is Thomas Brillat with his first book, “Ekaternia.” The main character Ekaternia is a relative of Tom’s and he talks about how he learned of her story, and how he turned these family tales into a completed book. He goes into the more memorable stories and how he wrote what was effectively a ‘practice book’ before writing this one.
Author’s debut memoir shows hope amidst a battle against addiction and abuse
Maya Golden’s life seems perfect—award-wining journalist, loyal wife, and a new mom. But in private, she battled addiction, perfectionism, and rage from sexual abuse at the hands of many people. In her new memoir, “The Return Trip,” (Rising Action Publishing Collective) Maya shares her journey to end the secrets of her life and the three moments of divine intervention that saved her.
In this interview, Curtis and Max talk with Maya about what inspired her decision to share her story, how it helped in the healing process and what she hopes readers take away from it. We look at the writing process and how the story was helped by her editor and the many writing groups which she’s a member of.
Pitching a story is old hat for a veteran journalist like Maya, but a novel is an entirely different matter, and we look at how long it took before a publisher says “yes.” Maya talks about the challenge of coming up with a title that really encompasses the story. We also look at the next book she has in the works and the new paths it’s taken her down.
Lessons from fish and lessons from life
It’s that time again—the return of the annual Rhode Island Author Expo, happening on Dec. 2, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. As part of our coverage, I’m once again previewing this event by speaking with a handful of the 100-plus writers that you can meet there.
Opening this episode is Brielle Lilygarten, who’s released two children’s books: “Fishy Fishy” and “Fishy Fishy Goes to School.” Brielle and I talk about how she’s made the pivot from middle school teacher and realtor to children’s writer. We look at the lessons she hopes that readers take from these books and what we can expect down the road.
After that, it’s Paul Mainville for his book, “Fifteen Miles: One Man’s Journey to Find Family and Self.” It’s based on Paul’s journey to meet his birth family years after learning that he was adopted. Paul talks about the process of writing his debut book and what he experienced reliving this part of his life. We go into the significance of the title and if we can look forward to another book in the future.
Maggie Giles takes us on a “twisted” murder case
It all starts out with a simple jewelry heist…until things take a most unexpected turn!
When cracked open, the case morphs into a full-fledged murder investigation with an unknown drug that seemingly connects a string of deaths. Quite a story, eh? Well, buckle up, because in this episode, Curtis and I talk shop with author Maggie Giles for her new book, “Twisted.” Along with being a great crime thriller, the story explores the different sides of crime and mental health and asks the question: How much are we responsible for when we aren’t fully in our right mind?
Maggie shares the origin of this story and all the different changes she made from first draft to finished product. This includes cutting down the narration from multiple points of view to just a few. She shares the lengthy research she had to do and how her time with Women’s Fiction Writers Association—including being in charge of social media—benefitted her during the story crafting process and in promoting her works.
Maggie takes us into the minds of her characters, which run the gamut of personality types. She talks about who made the final cut and which names got left behind (and may come back in a future book?).