🎤 K-drama + telenovela 💁♀️ bad #girlboss behavior ⚓️ sad cruising 👗 pockets! 🎞 movie theaters🍿
🍭 👂 You're in for a treat! 🌈 🤸♀️
Today is Monday, July 18. There are 79 days until I go on my next Disney Cruise. In case this email is too long, the show of the summer is here, this show is so beautiful I will give you a noogie if you listen at anything other than 1x, we’re investigating who shat on the floor at a wedding here.
ps If you are pleased with Podcast The Newsletter, please spread the word.
👋q & a & q & a & q & a👋
What did you want to be when you were eight?
I wanted to be an architect. It sounds completely unrelated but architecture and Sonoro have something in common – they both combine my love for creativity and building things.
Why is Sonoro so important?
Sonoro is run by a 100% Latinx team and our shows are developed by 100% Latinx writers and creators, in English, Spanish and Spanglish. We know that there is not just one type of Latinx experience, or one type of story that Latinx writers want to tell. So we empower creators to tell their stories across genres – sci-fi, romance, thriller, horror, fantasy, documentary. Their stories don’t have to fit into a particular mold or narrative. That’s why Sonoro is so important and so unique as an entertainment company – we understand our creators and our audience because we are them, and there’s no other company speaking to marginalized communities the way we are.
What’s your goal for Sonoro?
Ultimately, the goal for Sonoro is to change the representation of media and entertainment, in audio and beyond, in front and behind the mic/camera. We do this by supporting diverse creators and stories, and the podcasts we create are the first critical part of changing the landscape.
Tell us about Love and Noraebang. How would you describe it in 10 words?
The rom-com for rom-com lovers -- with a twist.
How did the show change from the moment the idea was born to the final result?
Love & Noraebang always aimed to capture the joy and delight of romantic comedies. That was our North Star throughout the whole process, and we really stuck with it. But what was exciting for us was embracing the intricacies and cultural specificities of the vibrant Korean and Mexican communities, both in the US and abroad. In particular, we chose to pull inspiration from the k-drama and the telenovela so that our romantic comedy would feel different than other stories in the genre – audio or otherwise. I really don’t think there’s anything like it.
What do you love about working in audio?
I love audio because it still feels like it’s just the beginning – there is still so much opportunity to try something new and have it work really well. And I think that’s what is so exciting for Sonoro’s team, for our partners, our creators and the talent. It is this feeling of creativity and, frankly, fun that is really energizing.
🚨If u only have time for 1 thing🚨
🎙️I have been telling people to get excited for the best show of the summer, and it’s here. Love and Noraebang is an audio drama from Sonoro that’s part K-drama, part telenovela—the love story Jaesun (Justin H. Min,) the heir to a Korean chaebol, and Ana (Francia Raisa,) a Mexican American entrepreneur. It is so LA, it feels like a cartoon bursting with laughter and heart, and the music is a chorus of K-Pop, Reggaeton, Pop Ballads, Latin Trap, and Noraebang. Meet the amazing(!) cast (including Randall Park) on the website. God. Damn.
✨The final episode of Feed the Queue’s season one featured an episode of We Share the Same Sky. If you haven’t listened yet, it features the best episodes of the best podcasts that didn’t get enough attention, hand-picked by me and my co-host Adela Mizrachi of Podcast Brunch Club. Listen to twelve amazing podcast episodes here, including pieces from Imaginary Advice, Rumble Strip, It’s Nice to Hear You, and more.
🎙️I didn’t know who Jason Reynolds was before I learned of My Mother Made Me, but maybe you do. Jason is a prolific young poet and writer of graphic novels and children’s books, but I think he was born for audio. His careful words roll through your ears and his voice takes over your brain. I am someone who listens to shows at 1.5x, 2.4x, 2,7x, 3x (thank you, Pocket Casts!) but I think I would bop anyone in the nose who listened to this at anything other than 1x. For Radiotopia Presents, Jason introduces us to his mother with My Mother Made Me, a show about their relationship and the things they’ve taught each other over the years. Jason visits his mother on Sundays, and we get to join him, experiencing the house sounds and tiny moments between them as if we were there. I brought my husband to hear the debut at the 2022 Tribeca Festival as an Official Audio Storytelling Selection (the first podcast featured by Tribeca Audio Premieres.) Justin is used to me dragging him to podcast events, but he was so floored he was speechless and on the way home, ordered every single one of Jason’s books. When I came home from grocery shopping two days later, I found him finishing one of them on the floor with my cat. I don’t know how else to tell you that this show is magical. Listen here.
🎙️I saw that there were three new episodes of the movie podcast MUBI, hosted by Rico Gagliano, and thought I’d listen to one, but it kind of derailed my whole morning and I ended up listening to all three. The new season is a celebration of movie theaters and the notable moments that have happened in them. It’s an academic, emotional, historic look at these special places that aren’t just nostalgic but the origins of explosive moments in history. The first episode takes us to France in the 40s to visit Henri Langlois’ Cinémathèque Française, an underground, experimental 38-seat theater that played “dangerous” movies in Nazi occupied France. Henri hid movies from the Nazis, risking his life to save cinema. And when he was fired (basically for being a bit strange and protective of his films, as far as I can tell) it launched protests all over the world. Episode two focuses on New York City’s The Elgin, where a midnight showing of a strange film called El Topo kicked off the idea of the “Midnite Madness” movie craze. Episode three is in suburban Minneapolis, where a neighborhood theater called The Westgate turned Harold and Maude it into one of the biggest cult hits of all time. This show is for history people, movie people, people who want to travel with their ears, and people who love listening to beautifully made things. Listen here.
🎙️I assumed Who Shat On the Floor at My Wedding? was a comedy drama, but the second you start listening you realize it’s an investigative non-fiction series, set on solving a mystery that occurred on August 11, 2018 at the wedding of Karen Whitehouse and Helen McLaughlin. (Someone shat on the floor.) Someone barfed under a dinner table at my wedding, and I considered taking the vomit to a lab for testing. But this is next level. If you weren’t listening to any of the hilarious details and one-liners, you’d think you were listening to a podcast from a newsroom. With hints of American Vandal, Who Shat? has the right feel but I would have loved to hear Keith Morrison narrating it. You guys I’m on pins and needles. Who shat? Listen here.
🎙️The idea of women wanting pockets in everything has almost become a tired joke at this point. Like lol yes wouldn’t it be better if all dresses had pockets, why don’t they, a man obviously made this because it doesn’t have my needs/interests in mind. But seriously—why doesn’t women’s clothing have more pockets!? It’s something women pretty anonymously want but aren’t getting. This episode of Visible Women gives us the history of pockets, reveals the ancient, patriarchal reasons we don’t have them, and looks closely at our current options. ASOS used to offer a “pockets” filter system but it’s now gone. Why? Why isn’t there a way for women to search for clothes with pockets? And what do we do about it? Caroline has set up an automatic email you can send ASOS to request pockets in their clothing, or at least a way to find clothes with pockets. There is a lot of fucked up shit in the world right now that might seem more important. But a lack of pockets is much bigger than the biggest dude pocket ever. It’s about how women are treated in the world and how they move around it in. Listen here.
🎙️Your favorite beauty talk shock jock Jackie Johnson of Natch Beaut is on maternity leave (congratulations to Jackie! Little Sandy has arrived!) but didn’t want to leave her listeners hanging, so she has been inviting her funny friends on for Natch Beaut takeovers. It’s always fun to hear how some of my favorite podcasters (like Alison Rosen) will handle an episode of Natch Beaut. But an episode with improv geniuses Lauren Lapkus and Mike Castle was the funniest. Lauren gets into character as “Red Carpet Queen of America” Big Sue (who has lots of lawsuits and a new Brazilian Butt Lift) and Mike is her lawyer Brian DeBlush (and also her husband IRL) and the two take Natch Beaut off into directions its never seen before. (And this show is pretty nutty in the first place.) I was snorting my coffee out of my nose. Big Sue and Brian DeBlush should NOT be on a beauty podcast, which means on Natch Beaut, they totally should. Listen here.
🎙️Hosted by Mohawk and Tuscarora writer Falen Johnson, Buffy takes us through the life and legacy of Buffy Sainte-Marie, whose folk music and social activism has been impacting the world’s culture for 60 years. It starts with Buffy’s birth in Saskatchewan, Canada to Cree parents and her adoption into a family in Massachusetts, and moves through her music, difficult marriages, and her impact on Indigenous resistance and American pop culture. She was everywhere—on Sesame Street for years, a guest on Johnny Carson, and the first Indigenous woman to win an Oscar. Why aren’t we talking about her more? Through interweaving stories from Buffy herself and a thorough timeline of her life, Falen shines a light on her talent for songwriting, music, and her beautiful voice, and the waves she made in music, art, and politics. This reminds me a bit of Finding Fred (which I wrote about for the Bello 100) and Finding Raffi—it’s a loving tribute to a person with a big story that we should all know. Listen here.
🎙️It’s always fun to hear podcasters get mad, and on the #Girlboss Celebrity Book Club episode, Chelsea Devantez and Gaby Dunn (of Just Between Us and Bad with Money) get mad. They take us through Sophia Amoruso’s memoir #Girlboss, which is a guide to being a terrible boss and a portrait of a woman without any awareness of the kind of #girlboss she’s become. Chelsea and Gaby take us through the cruel stories, possible fabrications, and Sophia’s journey from socialist to capitalist. The memoir is basically a guide on how to exploit people. If Sophia realized how unlikeable she comes off in this book, I don’t think she would have published it. But aren’t you glad she did? Getting to hear the inner thoughts of maniacs always offers valuable advice. So maybe this was a great advice book after all. It sounds like a frustrating hate-read, but leant itself to a fun episode of Celebrity Book Club. It kind of feels like Sophia has gotten away with murder, but it’s cathartic to hear her roasted. Listen here.
🎙️I’m hardcore struggling with the news that Caleb Hearon and Shelby Wolstein’s Keeping Records is taking a break, and Caleb is leaving. This show is hands down one of the funniest things I listen to every week. It’s totally unhinged and not about the theme at all (asking people what media they would send into space to allow aliens to understand us better) but ends up being about Caleb and Shelby’s life and friendship and the everyday things that makes life hilarious. Listen here.
🎙️Two months ago a Redditor posted about being expected to stay in his Swedish friend's bedroom while the friend ate dinner with his family, and the internet exploded. Sweden, a country we usually praise for its perfection, was put on blast for being inhospitable. On Endless Thread, Amory Sivertson and Ben Brock Johnson broke down the story to explain why it hit such a nerve, how Swedes feel about it, and Amory actually talks to the Redditor who started the whole thing, to discover…plot twist!…he’s Swedish. This story goes beyond dinner etiquette and expands into a conversation about what Sweden's cultural norms reveal about the country's history, but also its reckoning with racism, nationalism, and xenophobia. Listen here.
🎙️How many times have you heard a podcast tell a story about suicide and remind listeners to call the Suicide Hotline if they are experiencing dark thoughts and wondered why on earth is that number so long and can we please make it easier to remember? Since July 16, people can simply dial 988 to get support. On Death, Sex & Money, Ana Sale talks to Karen Sylvester, director of training and fundraising for the Wyoming Lifeline, about why this is such a big deal and why we might not be ready for it. In her warm but direct style, Ana Sale asks tough questions about who is calling, what will happen if the amount of calls increases, and even Karen’s own experience with mental health. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, dial 988. Listen here.
🎙️You knew I was going to write about this. First Person tells the story of Charles Falls Jr., or Chillie, the guy behind the popular YouTube page "Chillie's Cruises." Chillie goes on more than 20 cruises a year (those cruise countdowns must get confusing) and after years of being marooned on land due to Covid, he’s risking a return to sea, despite having a slew of health problems. I love cruises more than most people, but along with the live shows and roller coaster slides and all you can eat frozen yogurt, there is a definite sadness to them, maybe one reason I find them interesting. First Person sets sail with Chillie for a mini documentary that made me sad. Reporting for his YouTube channel, he’s alone, and without the energy to enjoy everything the ship has to offer. This is a weird, wonderful slice of life piece that is so character driven that you’ll end up feeling love for Chillie. Maybe not cruises, but Chillie. And maybe you’ll feel a sadness for him. Listen here.
🎙️You never know what you’re going to get when you listen to The Times: Daily News from the LA Times. Gustavo Arellano kind of plops you at a LA Times news desk for something super LA-centric, history, US news, or an interview with luminaries like Jane Fonda. What Happened to Laura Lee is a two-part piece that kept surprising me, developing into a different story than I had been expecting. Laura Lee has to have been one of the first troubled child stars—she acted in the late 1940s and early 1950s before kind of spinning out of control, getting married a few times, screwing a lot of people over (I’m skipping a bunch of parts) then disappearing. Her sister Barbara Wright Isaacs searched for her for 55 years, believing "she's either got to be dead or doesn't want to be found."Reporter Stacey Perman found a letter that suggested that Laura-Lee died in1979 of cancer. “What happened to her?” is a complicated question. If after I die it takes two podcast episodes to tell my life story I’ll know I did something very cool or very bad. Listen to part one here.
🎙️The topic of plant-based meat is usually a siloed one. Is it good for the environment or my body? A recent episode of Climavores encapsulates what this show does best. It looks at an important issue, in this case plant-based meat, from two angles—climate and food. Tamar Haspel and Mike Grunwald break down the actual impact you’re making eating plant-based, whatever your reason. If you want a podcast episode that’s going to tell you “go meatless because it is absolutely better for the world/your body,” this is not it. This is a textured conversations about the twisty ways our choices change the world, and makes us think about whether or not the way we eat is actually doing what we think it is. It also brings up an important question: what happened to the plant-based meat boom? Its popularity is dwindling, and Tamar and Mike talk about what would need to be done to make it a more regular part of our diets. Listen here.
🎙️Another show to come out of Anna Hossnieh’s NextUp mentoring program is Black Fat Femme, which shares lessons from two of the leading queer, fat and Black changemakers about what it means to love oneself unapologetically in a world that is often like “don’t.” Hosts Jonathan Higgins and Jordan Daniels set the table by getting into what it means to live at the intersections of Black, Fat and Femme. The first episode was a giggly, joyous, thoughtful conversation about the radical idea of self-love. Jonathan and Jordan have an interesting perspective and have created a space I think people of all kinds will want to be a part of. Listen here.
🎙️I love you!
This week we’re getting to peek into the listening life of Lygia Navarro, an award-winning journalist focused on narrative audio and magazine reporting. Lygia is currently a producer and audio editor on the anti-racism podcast Don't Call Me Resilient at The Conversation.
The app you use to listen: Generally Apple Podcasts, but also other apps when special shows are only available there (ie: Audible for the excellent show Punk in Translation on the Latinx roots of punk rock).
What speed do you listen to podcasts? I can only handle 1x. I read quickly, so am good at scanning text, but I get overly distracted while listening to audio. So I listen to podcasts with my whole attention, and turn it into an intentional experience. Otherwise I miss details.
How do you discover new shows? Everywhere! I have a lot of friends outside of journalism who give me great podcast recommendations. And then I always keep my eye out on Twitter for the latest shows made by friends or by journalists or outlets I admire. The shows I gravitate towards are podcasts made by--and about--BIPOC folks, queer communities and other people whose stories have never been prioritized in mainstream media.
One show you love that everybody loves. Suave, by Futuro Media. That Maria Hinojosa and team won a Pulitzer for this show was a celebration--of lives and stories that many of us have had a hard time getting editors and outlets to sign on to for years. The depth and intimacy of the show are stunning. That is how you put yourself into your reporting, rather than pretending like journalists are emotionless beings with mics/pens/keyboards. Maria's relationship with her source--over decades--made the story all the richer.
One show you love that most people don't know about. I really, really enjoyed Going Wild with Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant from PBS Nature. Dr. Wynn-Grant is a Black ecologist who has worked all over the globe, and the show is about her experiences as a Black woman scientist. There is no field tape, it's just her telling stories--and it's riveting. The nuances with which she talks about how her professional experiences intersect with being a mother, being a Black woman and being an American out in the world are just gorgeous. I really hope the show comes back for another season!
Anything else you want to say…I'm excited to see what's in the future for kids podcasts. I have a kid who is obsessed with podcasts, and we've found some fun shows (especially in the realm of science, like Tumble and Brains On!, both of which have produced Spanish translations of their English podcasts, which is great for Latine/o/a/x communities). But there is a huge need for more diversity in kids podcasts, and I'm looking forward to seeing what new innovative and inclusive shows come out of the current boom in kids programming.