This show is for your inner child of curiosity.
Think of it as a weekly deep dive into a wide variety of subject matters with 100 experts. On the first season, we've had designers, actors, infectious disease experts, recruiters, cannabis experts, chefs, musicians, illustrators, film directors, architects, permaculturists, runners, meditation teachers, linguists, sex educators, sound mastering engineers, and others. Some are old friends, some are people we've just met, but all are human beings in the world who've agreed to have a conversation with us about the things that they know.
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Skipper Chong Warson
Recorded in their child's bedroom on a weekday, Laura and Skipper chat about his academic background in writing (English literature, playwriting) as well as his professional background as a product design director (think desktop and mobile apps among other mediums) and how that plays into storytelling, most recently resulting in the creation of How This Works, this podcast.
They also talk about their life together — newsflash: they're married and living in the San Francisco Bay area, having moved from New York City a couple of years ago. Along the way, they get into some of the differences between life in SF and NYC. They also talk about their upcoming wedding anniversary after getting married next to Jane's Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Along with talk about his name change from Starr to Skipper (and not Optimus Prime) at the age of seven, they bring in a few questions posed from the listening audience including lessons learned from the first season of the show, calling people the name they want to be called, how crucial listening is in making a podcast, the ubiquity of imposter syndrome, using the five (5) whys to get to the root cause of a challenge as developed by Sakichi Toyoda at the Toyota Motor Corporation, team falling asleep during movies versus team staying awake during movies, and why Skipper color codes versus alphabetizing the books in his background — see photo below.
View of the three shelves behind Skipper's standing desk
Laura and Skipper also reference the following previous episodes, in order of being published, including:
Jack Kahana, the first episode
Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, the third episode
Selena Rosanbalm, the sixth episode
Cassandra Carlopio, the 15th episode
Kat Hantas and Nicole Emanuel from 21Seeds, the 17th episode
Sally McRae, the 18th episode
Piper Payne, the 20th episode
Stay tuned after the outro music for a bit of tape where Skipper pauses for a bit of background noise and how from where Laura's sitting, the microphone makes it looks like his nose is a black bit of foam.
Special Guest: Skipper Chong Warson.
American Museum of Natural History in New York CityHow to move across the country with design thinking, pt. 1 of 2How to move across the country with design thinking, pt. 2 of 2Making "Black Sabbath" and "Paranoid"Design Voices from FjordFjord Fika on Apple podcastsImposter syndromeStarbar"Outliers: The Story of Success" by Malcolm GladwellJane's Carousel1922 Ohio carousel in Brooklyn besieged by SandyDetermine The Root Cause: 5 WhysWhy do many mistakenly think human blood is sometimes blue?SNL season 46 finale cold open - What I Remember About this YearJohn Wick (2014)The Matrix (1999)Keanu ReevesThe Mosquito Coast on Apple TV+The Mosquito Coast (1986)The Mosquito Coast by Paul TherouxThe Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)Wireframe with Adobe’s Khoi VinhInvisibilia from NPR99% InvisibleAdrianne Lenker (from Big Thief)PrinceJapanese BreakfastBillie EilishBTSBTS performs 'Fix You' (Coldplay cover) from MTV UnpluggedBLACKPINKCustom lathe cut vinyl records from Vinylus"St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves" by Karen RussellIntro and outro song: "Zombie Nation" by Jose Travieso
Call for questions
Tomorrow, we're recording the last episode of the first season where we turn the tables and Skipper's wife Laura asks him the questions. Go to Instagram @howthisworksshow to reply directly to the story or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks so much!
Skipper talks to Sarah Sudhoff about how she works as an artist, her background as a photographer, arts administrator, and photo editor — and how all of that plays into her work today.
Recorded late on a Sunday night, Skipper and Sarah talk about her identity as being half Cuban, how she got her first camera in the fifth grade, how being in a military family influenced her world and personality at a young age, being both the science nerd and the jock, and how she studied astronomy in college before she decided to pursue photography as her bachelor's degree — though she'd really like to work with NASA still. Following that, she worked for Citysearch before landing at Time magazine and received a M.F.A. in Photography from Parsons School of Design in New York.
We get into how she wears many hats as an artist, how she multi-tasks as a single parent in her home life, how she collaborates in her work with others, and the necessary resilience of applying for as well as receiving/being rejected for exhibitions, grants, endowments, and fellowships. She and Skipper also talk about the notion of making daunting life decisions at 19 versus 29 or 39. We also talk about several of her works in particular: Point of Origin, her most recent El Recuerdo project which started as a response to Deborah Brown’s paintings but then evolved to be a tribute to her grandmother and Sarah's biracial heritage, The Reading Brain, 60 Pounds of Pressure, Will You Hug me Forever, and her upcoming work Labor Pains.
Video from El Recuerdo: Rope by Sarah Sudhoff
Video from El Recuerdo: Water by Sarah Sudhoff
Sarah says that she's finally feeling worthy to apply for a Guggenheim and MoMA this year — to which we say, Break a leg!
When pressed, she talks about how art is hard and her advice for her two children if they wanted to go into some kind of artistic profession.
Stay tuned for a bit after the outro music where after Skipper rambles on for a bit and Sarah asks simply, What's the question?
Special Guest: Sarah Sudhoff.
WAVESErika BlumenfeldRick WilliamsThe Daily TexanRick StengelParsonsSorority RushAnnie LeibovitzJames NachtweyAndrew HetheringtonPoint of OriginDr. James "Red" DukeDeborah Brown: Nomad ExquisiteEl RecuerdoEl Recuerdo: RopeWill You Hug Me Forever60 Pounds of PressureThe Reading BrainNancy Littlejohn Fine ArtJohn Simon Guggenheim Foundation - How to Apply"Contract with the Skin: Masochism, Performance Art, and the 1970s" by Kathy O'Dell Audiobook of "Becoming Supernatural" by Dr Joe DispenzaAudiobook of "Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself" by Dr Joe DispenzaSarah SudhoffIntro and outro song: "Zombie Nation" by Jose Travieso
Chris Landon (replay)
This episode originally played 16 Feb 2021. We'll be back in next week with a new episode with Sarah Sudhoff followed by the final episode of the season.
This episode's subtitle should be, So many movies, so little time.
We start in Chris' childhood where he describes sneaking into his parents' room to watch Hitchcock's "Psycho" around the age of five, making short films in high school with his friends including a zombie sequel to "Xanadu" (which became a cult college favorite), feeling underwater after "Another Day in Paradise", leaving Los Angeles (and writing) before beginning to approach his work "like a job", "Disturbia" as a mix of Hitchcock's "Rear Window" and a John Hughes movie, "Happy Death Day" and "Happy Death Day 2U" as mash-ups of "Groundhog Day" with horror tropes, writing his most recent movie "Freaky" with Michael Kennedy, working on the adaptation of "My Best Friend's Exorcism" by Grady Hendrix, and signing up to help reboot the "Paranormal Activity" franchise.
But it's not just movies — though there are a ton of movies that we talk about — it's also about how all horror films aren't all about slash, blood, and gore. Chris talked about one of his aims to use the "genre as a Trojan horse" and how he's going to "smuggle much weightier themes inside of a movie that just looks cute and fun and scary", citing "Get Out". We also get into how 'best of' lists or a list of favorites can be problematic, how there are so many films to choose from. Chris also talks about how he discovered his authentic voice, not taking criticism personally, and focusing on being a better listener which has improved his life as a husband, a father, and made him infinitely happier with his solo and collaborative work.
Stay tuned after the outro music to hear Skipper say, "I see" — which kicks off Siri and reaks some frustration. This is a good reminder that voice user interfaces (voice UI) are always listening. And we're talking about you — Siri, Alexa, Cortana, etc.
This episode was edited and mastered by Troy Lococo.
Special Guest: Chris Landon.
The Science Behind How We TasteAlfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" (1960) — With Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh."I Spit on Your Grave" (1978)"Halloween" (1978) — Directed by John Carpenter. Fifteen years after murdering his sister on Halloween night 1963, Michael Myers escapes from a mental hospital and returns to the small town of Haddonfield, Illinois to kill again."The Exorcist" (1973) — Directed by William Friedkin and produced and written for the screen by William Peter Blatty, based on the 1971 novel of the same name by Blatty. With Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Lee J. Cobb, Kitty Winn, Jack MacGowran, Jason Miller and Linda Blair. When a 12-year-old girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her."The Shining" (1980) — The movie follows a writer (Jack Nicholson) and his family who agree to watch over a hotel while it is closed for the winter."Xanadu" (1980) — With Olivia Newton-John, Gene Kelly, Michael Beck, James Sloyan. A struggling artist living in Los Angeles meets a girl who may hold the key to his happiness and converts a dilapidated auditorium into a lavish rollerskating club.Cary Woods — A film producer best known for producing worldwide blockbusters such as "Scream" and "Godzilla", the beloved independent films "Kids", "Cop Land", and "Gummo", and modern classics like "Rudy" and "Swingers".Larry Clark — An American film director, photographer, writer and film producer who is best known for his film "Kids" (1995) and his photography book "Tulsa" (1971). His work focuses primarily on youth who casually engage in illegal drug use, underage sex, and violence, and who are part of a specific subculture, such as surfing, punk rock, or skateboarding.Current and online version of L.A. 411"Another Day in Paradise" (1998) — With James Woods, Melanie Griffith, Vincent Kartheiser, Natasha Gregson Wagner. In
Carl Welty (replay)
This episode originally played 9 Feb 2021. We'll be back in a few weeks with the last two episodes of our first season.
In this episode, Carl talks to Skipper about his work as an architect, how the term sustainable design isn't good enough anymore, how linear perspective was developed in 1413, and his work on Banning Ranch Park and Preserve.
Starting with being born in Roswell, New Mexico, living in Turkey, and then settling in California, their conversation gets into how sustainable design (the idea of using less) really needs to shift to the idea of regenerative design (works more like nature or generates energy), passive solar, how today's lumber is different than old-growth lumber, Formosan termites, building with cold form steel or light gauge steel, Filippo Brunelleschi, Albrecht Dürer, the Acjachemen in Orange County, and the history of the Banning Ranch site.
Here are two examples from Carl's work — the top one's a concept from Banning Ranch and the bottom one's the Waterwise Community Center in Montclair, California.
Stay tuned after the outro to hear Carl talk more about Chinese landscape painting.
This episode was edited and mastered by Troy Lococo.
Special Guest: Carl Welty.
How an Alien Autopsy Hoax Captured the World's Imagination for a DecadeKen HaggardZero Net EnergyFormosan subterranean termiteFilippo BrunelleschiAlbrecht DürerMan Drawing a Lute (The Draughtsman of the Lute) from Fine Arts Museums of San FranciscoBanning Ranch - About UsJanuary 4-5, 2017 Oral Argument Cases in Banning Ranch caseAcjachemen or JuaneñoWaterwise Community CenterMachines as the Measure of Men: Science, Technology, and Ideologies of Western Dominance to Collections by Michael AdasThe Measure of Reality: Quantification in Western Europe, 1250-1600 by Alfred W. CrosbyCarl Welty ArchitectsIntro and outro song: "Zombie Nation" by Jose Travieso
Nova Stanley (replay)
This episode originally played 26 Jan 2021. We'll be back in a few weeks with the last two episodes of our first season.
Nova Stanley is 17 — and we talk about his work as an artist, about his attending one of the top fine arts high schools in NYC during a pandemic, and his experience as a transgender male.
Along the way, we get into so many topics — how Nova only snaps with his thumb and little/pinky finger (on both hands), how he comes from a family of artists and creators, getting inspiration from nature and his sisters (versus media and friends), how he's missing Brooklyn after his family temporarily relocated up-state, Soul (the Pixar movie), how he started working in digital media on his dad's computer, what remote school looks and feels like in one of the top fine arts schools in NYC, making a portfolio to apply to colleges, the impact of social media — even Instagram — on him, his exit from social media (mostly), his experience as a trans male, binge watching all 15 seasons of Criminal Minds, and his love of My Brother, My Brother and Me, a podcast by the McElroy Brothers.
Since recording this episode, Nova has exited Instagram and Tumblr. Here are three views of the work pinned to the wall above Nova's desk, something he mentions during the show:
Nova cites a statistic around how one out of every 200 people identify as trasngender. But upon digging into the actual article from the American Journal of Public Health (cited in the show notes), it turns out that they discovered in 2016 that the ratio was 390/100,000. And as a fraction, that works out to 0.0039. 1/200 is 0.005, fairly close. The article also posits that the fraction of the transgender population is going to rise as more people come out and transgender identities are normalized.
Throughout the episode, we hear Nova's life as one full of interuptions and household goingson, including the family pets. Stay tuned for one of those bits after the outro music.
This episode was edited and mastered by Troy Lococo.
Special Guest: Nova Stanley.
When you just need "something different."
Tired of news, routines, and quarantine? Programs like "How This Works" are a great momentary escape because it's different every time, with topics you wouldn't have thought to look into but are very glad you did after each episode. Thanks Skipper!