Your biweekly pop culture book club.
Remembering Betty White
When Betty White died on New Year’s Eve, it was a shocker—even though she was 99 years, 11 months, and two weeks old. It seemed impossible to conceive of living in this world without White, who brought us so much joy via a television career that has spanned the entire length of the medium’s history.
We talk about the heartrending outpouring of celebrity grief that accompanied the news—including an amazing story involving Steve Martin and Linda Ronstadt—and walk through the highlights of her career, from her pioneering days in early television, to her sitcom queen era on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Golden Girls, to her meme-friendly 2010s revival. Take a moment to stop and celebrate the extraordinary life of a true icon with us.
When Women Invented Television by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong How to Be Golden by Paula Bernstein Betty White: 100 Remarkable Moments in an Extraordinary Life by Ray Richmond My Little Golden Book About Betty White by Deborah Hopkinson
Celebrity Death Culture with Kirthana Ramisetti
The new novel Dava Shastri’s Last Day by Kirthana Ramisetti tells the story of an aging music mogul who plans her own assisted death after a devastating cancer diagnosis—but decides to let news of her passing leak a little early so she can read what she assumes will be her glowing obituaries. Instead, she witnesses the public revelation of some of her darkest secrets. In this episode, we talk to Kirthana about the celebrity death news cycle as well as the deep love of music that informs her book.
Dava Shastri’s Last Day Kirthana Ramisetti online
Talkin’ the History of Rock Concerts with Marc Myers, the Rock Star of Music Journalists
From radios to records and teens with allowances to teens with part-time jobs, the history of the American concert began in earnest with technological and cultural changes after World War II. That history may be shorter than a lot of music fans think. Rock journalist and author Marc Myers recalls that timeline in his unputdownable new book Rock Concert: An Oral History as Told by the Artists, Backstage Insiders, and Fans Who Were There packed with nearly 100 interviews with the musicians, fans, sound engineers. roadies, and music executives who are part of helping all of us enjoy decades of important life moments via live music performances. From the Beatles and Dylan to the iconic Live Aid, Myers helps us remember some of our most favorite concerts, shares with us his personal memories, and offers a fascinating take on what could be a very exciting future of live music performances.
Rock Concert: An Oral History as Told by the Artists, Backstage Insiders, and Fans Who Were There MarcMyers.com Jazzwax.com - Marc Myers writes daily on jazz legends and legendary jazz recordings
What Makes Samuel L. Jackson One Bad M**********r, with Gavin Edwards
It’s hard to imagine a time when Samuel L. Jackson wasn’t the unassailable pinnacle of Hollywood cool, but cool is made, not born. And that’s where Gavin Edwards’ new biography of the actor, Bad M**********r, comes in. Edwards charts Jackson’s rise from his southern upbringing to his radicalization at Morehouse College, through his struggles with addiction and, finally, his triumph as the highest-grossing actor of all time. In this episode, we talk to Gavin about the definition of cool, Jackson’s contentious relationship with frequent collaborator Spike Lee, and what Gavin discovered from watching all 140 of Jackson’s films.
Bad M**********r: The Life and Movies of Samuel L. Jackson, the Coolest Man in Hollywood by Gavin Edwards Gavin Edwards on Twitter Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: The Story of Schitt’s Creek by Daniel Levy and Eugene Levy Hip-Hop (And Other Things) by Shea Serrano Not All Diamonds and Rosé: The Inside Story of The Real Housewives from the People Who Lived It by Dave Quinn The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family by Ron Howard and Clint Howard Storycraft and Wordcraft by Jack Hart Capote’s Women by Laurence Leamer
The History of 20th Century Fox … Before Disney
Decades before it came under Disney control, 20th Century Fox was one of the most respected, innovative movie studios in Hollywood, under the leadership of legendary, complicated, producer Darryl F. Zanuck. The bad: he was a notorious and habitual user of the casting couch, and he was certainly never mistaken as one of Hollywood’s nice guys on any front.
Zanuck did truly love movies, and finding the best ways to tell fantastic stories, and that led to early movie musicals featuring future icons like Betty Grable and Shirley Temple; the first CinemaScope production with The Robe; and classic cinema like The French Connection, part of that gritty, reality-based style of moviemaking of the 1970s.
In this episode of Pop Literacy, we are thrilled to welcome bestselling author Scott Eyman, who talks to us about his terrific new book 20th Century Fox: Darryl F. Zanuck and the Creation of the Modern Film Studio. A chat with Scott is getting access to the incredible knowledge of a Hollywood historian and lifelong movie fan, and we promise, it will send you off to grab your own copy of this engrossing read.
20th Century Fox: Darryl F. Zanuck and the Creation of the Modern Film Studio by Scott Eyman Scott Eyman on Twitter Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli: The Epic Story of the Making of The Godfather by Mark Seal The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures: A True Tale of Obsession, Murder, and the Movies by Paul Fischer
Lynette Rice on the Backstage Drama at ‘Grey’s Anatomy’—and Why We Keep Watching
Lynette Rice has covered Grey’s Anatomy from the beginning: as it became a culture-defining phenomenon in the 2000s, as it faced cast meltdowns and blowups, as it cycled through stars, as it killed off McDreamy, and as it aged into an old reliable in an otherwise uncertain network television landscape (18 seasons and counting!). She delves into it all in her oral history How to Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey’s Anatomy. In this episode we talk to Lynette about the show’s heady early days, Isaiah Washington and Katherine Heigl’s fraught departures, and how it’s kept going for this long.
How to Save a Life by Lynette Rice Lynette Rice on Twitter Forever Young by Hayley Mills Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
A new fave?
I stumbled upon this podcast after hearing they did an episode on boybands and their significance on pop culture. I thought the episode was very thorough in its discussion. Looking through their episode archives, it looks like they have a great variety of guests that ranges from authors to screenwriters. Glad to gave discovered this podcast and looking forward to future eps!