Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in From Here To Eternity
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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.

Eater’s Digest
Everything You Need To Know About Natural Wine

Eater’s Digest is a treat for foodies and folks looking for the latest culinary darlings. This episode lets listeners in on the secrets of orange wine, delivering an encyclopedic explainer. Hosts Amanda Kludt and Daniel Geneen demystify natural wine by contrasting older, more traditional methods with commercial winemaking. Natural wines can be buried in a skull and aged under manure, or infused with mold to benefit your gut. Or their designation could simply mean they’re free of the artificial “mega purple” coloring many commercial wines contain. The topic is dense, but Kludt and Geneen will make you an expert, giving tips on identifying qualities in wine that you like, and how to order a glass without sounding like an asshole. Also a source for culinary news, they unpack the boycott of the Stephen Ross dynasty, including Momofuku, and lament papaya salad becoming the new pad thai. [Morgan McNaught]

Hey, Man
“Everything Just Becomes Light” With George Pitagorsky 

Seems like men could use some advice right now. Psychotherapist Avi Klein and novelist Sam Graham-Felsen are on it, hosting a podcast where men are free to explore emotionally vulnerable topics. Graceful, captivating, and mature, the show is infused with a dogged optimism regarding the benefits of conversation to improve lives, even with an upfront acknowledgment that any discussion cannot wholly resolve difficult problems. Episodes typically include a third perspective from a guest, supplied this week by long-time meditation expert George Pitagorsky. The front end of the show details the purpose and misconceptions of meditation. The crux seems to be using the practice to recognize the physical effects of emotion in order to manage emotional reactions; the rub seems to be that meditation is hard to master and easy to abandon. The real test of Pitagorsky’s teachings comes when the trio field a listener question from a man struggling with guilt stemming from his past problems with alcohol, and who hasn’t seen his ex-wife or child since his divorce. [Zach Brooke]

Mob Queens
F*ck, Marry, Kill

Fifty years later, the events of June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn are still unclear. Myths, legends, and misinformation about who threw the first brick, who said what to the cops, and who died (no one) make it difficult to piece together the specifics of how this historic series of events unfolded. Even the question of who was there continues to spark debate, but according to Mob Queens hosts Jessica Bendinger (writer, Bring It On) and Michael Seligman (writer, RuPaul’s Drag Race), the truth might come as a surprise. In this new podcast, Bendinger and Seligman explore the queer history of the mafia and its pivotal role in launching New York City’s early drag scene. As the hosts discuss in detail, mob stories are all about men. From The Godfather to Goodfellas to The Sopranos, women often appear as long-suffering wives, widows, cartoonishly vapid mistresses, or dead sex workers, taking a back seat to dominant male narratives. Anna Genovese, a complex drag heroine and one of mob history’s forgotten women, found herself at the center of it all—a fascinating story told in this and future episodes. [Sofia Barrett-Ibarria]

Patient Zero
The Triangle

Just how much does public perception influence the way we think about disease? Are we less likely to care about the very real suffering of others if we don’t fully understand their malady? It’s a startling question, one that gets at a certain inherent medical prejudice—and it happens to be the polestar guiding Patient Zero, a new podcast charting the discovery of Lyme disease, from the ascendant production team at New Hampshire Public Radio. Host and producer Taylor Quimby takes an epidemiological approach in researching how Lyme disease has become such a misunderstood affliction. There’s even a bit of a detective air to the show, which comes as no surprise, as Quimby was one of the producers behind last year’s standout true crime podcast series Bear Brook. All of these elements take what might have otherwise been a simple medical procedural and elevate it to another level, one full of intriguing questions that put listeners in an uncomfortable space, questioning their own unconscious biases and just how much we accept at face value without diving deeper. [Ben Cannon]

Present Company With Krista Smith
Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy has been quite the Chatty Cathy lately. The usually reclusive comedy icon recently took a lengthy trip down memory lane with Jerry Seinfeld on Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee. In anticipation of his starring role in the upcoming Netflix biopic Dolemite Is My Name (playing blaxploitation performer Rudy Ray Moore), Murphy sat down with former Vanity Fair editor Krista Smith on her new podcast, Present Company. (Both the podcast and Comedians In Cars are also produced by Netflix.) Even when he’s in soft-spoken mode, Murphy can still get you laughing with his riffs. He’s an obvious fan of Moore and his can-do spirit, even though both Moore’s stand-up and movies are undoubtedly awful. (Murphy considers Moore’s films to be stoner cult films in the same vein as El Topo and Putney Swope.) And since he’s “off the couch” and back to working, he mentions that he might host Saturday Night Live next season as well as go back to stand-up. On behalf of all the fans of Buckwheat and Gumby and Delirious and Raw, don’t toy with our emotions, Eddie. [Craig D. Lindsey]

Reckonings
Beyond Goliath

Host and producer Stephanie Lepp describes Reckonings as “an exploration in how we change our hearts and minds.” The majority of this episode is centered around former Facebook exec Tim Kendall, whose initial talks with Mark Zuckerberg about his vision for the company led to Kendall’s key role in creating its ad-based business model. (He would experience similar success as president of Pinterest.) Somewhere along the way, he noticed a disturbing trend: The time spent on his phone was stealing away the time spent with his children. His research on phone addiction ultimately led him back to the business model that he created, concluding that advertising plus artificial intelligence equals a voracious need for attention from its customer base. Sometimes the silence during this episode is more jarring than Kendall’s sobering commentary, each quiet moment hinting at uncomfortable realizations. Now the CEO of Moment, an app that coaches people on how to use their phones less, he is actively searching for ways to reverse this digital dilemma. With the influx of social media notifications that keep our phones buzzing ad infinitum, “Beyond Goliath” encourages us to swim against the technological tide. [Jason Randall Smith]

Sentimental Garbage
High Fidelity With Alan Maguire

Regular listeners of Sentimental Garbage—author Caroline O’Donoghue’s weekly love letter to the often disparaged literary genre of “chick lit”—might have been a little surprised to see Nick Hornby’s ode to commitment-phobic men, High Fidelity, appear in their feeds this week. While it isn’t traditionally considered chick lit (and is more often smeared with the even more unfortunate label of “dick lit”), Hornby’s 1995 novel has all the hallmarks of most mass-produced, female-centric paperbacks: It’s about relationships, breakups, and worrying you’ll end up alone in your thirties, featuring a protagonist who grounds all of their emotional decisions in pop culture references. The novel and its subsequent film adaptation are as much of a cultural touchstone for certain readers as Bridget Jones’s Diary is for others. O’Donoghue and guest Alan Maguire (Juvenalia) do a fantastic job breaking down exactly what makes Hornby’s brutal analysis of relationship woes so attractive to brooding, opinionated teenagers and jaded, opinionated thirtysomethings alike. They also attempt the impossible by recasting the near-perfect film adaptation with contemporary British actors in an effort to restore some authenticity. We certainly wouldn’t mind watching Domhnall Gleeson own a record shop. [Dan Neilan]

Slaughterhouse Road
Acts 1-3

Tammy and Jimmy, a teenage singer and her surfer love interest on Slaughterhouse Road, chafe at the restraints of their tiny, coastal Australian town, aching to run away and make a life for themselves in the city. Slaughterhouse Road is a horror-romance musical in three parts, tracing the arc of these characters’ teenage dreams and the grim reality of the capitalist grind and parental intrusion. The music ranges across Australian country and folk with contemporary rock tones, including love ballads like “Stick With Me (Like Honey)” and songs reminiscent of dark bush ballads, like “Welcome To Slaughterhouse Road.” Each song, beautifully performed, highlights both the agony of living in isolation with few options and the ecstasy of making your mark anyway. Combined with the narrator who knows too much and provides brutally honest commentary on characters’ lives, the score makes for the perfect exploration of a classic tale that forefronts the Australiana slang and cultural touchstones that give the story its charm. [Elena Fernández Collins]

Something Rhymes With Purple
Brabble

Did you know that the words “mouse” and “muscle” are related? It seems that ancient anatomists thought the movement of muscle under one’s skin resembled a mouse crawling beneath the flesh, so the Latin for “muscle” translates to “little mouse.” This is just one of many pieces of arcane trivia you’ll pick up listening to Something Rhymes With Purple. Hosted by lexicographer Susie Dent and writer Gyles Brandreth, this podcast is all about learning word origins, expanding vocabulary, and appreciating the English language. The latest episode concerns the hidden connections between words like “mortuary” and “mortgage,” as well as “pupil” and “puppet.” There’s also a segment where much-hated words are thrown into “word jail,” and it turns out Brandreth has a particular antipathy toward such innocuous words as “get” and “sat.” Dent is the more forgiving and knowledgeable of the two and is more than willing to bring lowbrow material to such a seemingly highbrow show. This is most evident in her absolute delight at the fact that the Anglo-Saxon term for intestines translates to “arse ropes.” Cozy and informative, this is the perfect podcast for those who luxuriate in language. [Anthony D Herrera]

The Secret Lives Of Black Women
Finding The Joy With Demetria L. Lucas

In this new series, best friends Charla Lauriston and Lauren Domino break down everything that modern-day black women are thinking about, talking about, and working through, from work-life balance to relationships. On this episode, the ladies sit down with cultural critic and writer Demetria L. Lucas to ask her about the experience of getting through a tough time, and how she handled her recent separation from her husband after a very public relationship. The women talk about the importance of knowing when enough is enough and following your inner voice. Lucas offers some poignant words on the subject and promises that a book of her best catch phrases is coming soon. Lauriston and Domino are unpacking and celebrating what it means to be a black woman and exploring the multifaceted lives of some of the most prominent women in the community. [Vannessa Jackson]

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