Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Assata Shakur (a.k.a. Joanna Chesimard), center, leaves court after being sentenced on various charges in connection with the 1973 murder of a New Jersey State trooper.

Drunk Black History picks up where Comedy Central left off, starting with Assata Shakur

Assata Shakur (a.k.a. Joanna Chesimard), center, leaves court after being sentenced on various charges in connection with the 1973 murder of a New Jersey State trooper.
Photo: Bettmann (Getty Images)
PodmassPodmassIn Podmass, The A.V. Club sifts through the ever-expanding world of podcasts and recommends the previous week’s best episodes. Have your own favorite? Let us know in the comments or at podmass@avclub.com.

An Arm And A Leg
David V Goliath: How To Beat A Big Hospital (Using Small Claims Court)

Illustration for article titled iDrunk Black History /ipicks up where Comedy Central left off, starting with Assata Shakur
Screenshot: Apple Podcasts

This well-produced but wonky show examining the American health care system likely has a hard ceiling of interest for each episode. That cap is obliterated, however, by the gripping modern folk tale of a single man standing defiant in the face of an unreasonable claims department. Jeffrey Fox isn’t an attorney, and he doesn’t have a law degree; he possesses only a working knowledge of California contract law and a lifelong passion for not being made anyone’s bitch. By the time he receives an exorbitant bill for a minor medical procedure, the military veteran and small business owner has made small claims court his new battlefield. Fox knows that despite whatever company representatives parrot about supposedly immutable policy, the letter of law might be quite different. So he walks listeners through the process of recouping $1,700 from a nameless, faceless health system, beginning with proving the overcharge and concluding with his plan to enlist the L.A. Sheriff’s Department in collection efforts. This is far from a one-time trick: Fox lays out the tools he used to win so that others might follow in his pissed-off footsteps. [Zach Brooke]


Drunk Black History
Joyelle Johnson/Assata Shakur

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Screenshot: Apple Podcasts

This new monthly podcast is here for all those history buffs who always wanted to see more brothas and sistas get their boozy due on the now-cancelled Comedy Central show Drunk History. Just like on that series, Drunk Black History hosts/comics Brandon Collins (Medium Popcorn) and Gordon Baker-Bone (Bad Advice Show) round up fellow funny people, get them liquored up, and make them do an oral report on an historical figure. The first episode sees them chopping it up with comedian Joyelle Johnson, who guzzles down dry cider and brown liquor and tells the story of Assata Shakur, the ultra-militant Black revolutionary (and godmother of Tupac) who was convicted of being an accomplice to the murder of a New Jersey state trooper—and who eventually escaped and later fled to Cuba. Johnson spins quite the slurring, shade-throwing yarn, which ends with a twist that explains why she decided to tell Shakur’s story. Of course, since this is an alcohol-fueled podcast, the trio also takes some uproarious detours, like a discussion of whether Arnold Palmer deserved to have a drink named after him and why Set It Off remains the best Black movie to watch with Black people in a Black theater. [Craig D. Lindsey]


Heavyweight
Annie

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Screenshot: Apple Podcasts

How much time do you spend lying awake replaying the moment something went wrong, wondering what could have happened differently? Gimlet’s Heavyweight asks you to explain that moment in 500 words or less, and host Jonathan Goldstein will help you out, complete with the disclaimer that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Annie has been left out of family gatherings for a pretty long time, without knowing why. She wants Heavyweight to help her find out why her uncle stopped calling. Goldstein explains that he wants someone to help Annie, but that it shouldn’t be him, so hosting duties are passed over to producer Kalila Holt. Though the episode is ostensibly focused on Annie, it’s the story of both women and their relationship to anger. Kalila let someone call her the wrong name once for way too long, while Annie always says what she means. Is there more danger in calling out the small slights, or keeping them inside? This episode is at its best when it lays bare the gender politics of anger: folks choosing to ignore, face, or trivialize the expression of fury. [Morgan McNaught]


The Indigenous Futures Podcast
Foundations Of Indigenous Science Fiction - Part One

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Screenshot: Apple Podcasts

Host Teo Montoya, a writer, electronic music maker, and self-proclaimed Indigenous Futurist, started this project to uplift “Indigenous voices as they vision a collective future.” Much of the science fiction that has historically dominated the genre is presented in a colonial context; by contrast, Montoya presents speculative fiction from Indigenous writers as a way of challenging that mindset, painting a picture of how the narrative tradition—oral histories, mythology, prophecy building—can be applied to science fiction. This episode discusses the work of writer Grace L. Dillon, who explores the concept of “Native Slipstream,” an avant garde narrative structure that transcends timelines (among other things), like Cloud Atlas. It’s a fascinating discussion of cultural identity and how contemporary Western traditions struggle to accept anything that exists beyond binary systems. The Indigenous Futures Podcast is here to celebrate the cultural impact of Indigenous art. [Jose Nateras]

Marnie Shure is editor in chief of The Takeout.

Cinematic Antihero

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