Hey, everyone. Welcome back to 1.5x Speed. The days are long, the sweats are copious. Summer is here. As always, you can reach me at email@example.com or find me on Twitter.
The Draymond Green Podcast
Let the man do whatever he wants.
If you’ve been following the NBA finals, you might already be familiar with the minor hullabaloo around Draymond Green’s podcasting adventures last week. But just in case: Green, the decorated enforcer for the Golden State Warriors, hasn’t been playing so well against the Boston Celtics in this concluding series, and that’s kicked off a simmering narrative around whether his microphonal extracurricular activities have been distracting him from helping the Warriors bag their sixth championship — or if Green’s podcast could well be a liability in some other way. After the Warriors’ (thrilling) game-three loss last week, a reporter raised the question as to whether Green was concerned if he could be giving away some aspects of the team’s game plan on his podcast, particularly with the immediate post-game episodes, often recorded hours after the actual match, where he usually dispenses with some rough insider analysis. (As one would expect, Green is not particularly concerned. Meanwhile, he played better in the Warriors’ game-five win on Monday, but fouled out, again.)
The whole brouhaha is hilarious. But also, very annoying! Let Draymond Green podcast! I’m pro-speech on this kind of thing in principle; and since I’m pro-Winning Time taking full liberties with its handling of Showtime Lakers lore (legal threats by Jerry West be damned), it’s only consistent that I’m pro-Draymond Green saying and doing whatever he wants in his spare time. There are far worse “distractions,” and the dude’s performance probably has more to do with the fact that, oh I don’t know, he’s quite a bit older than the Celtics players he’s tasked with defending against. (Usual disclaimer here about how I say this as a completely washed 32-year-old who’s done absolutely nothing with his body.)
Additionally: The guy is pretty engaging behind the mic! And he freely talks shit! (“Sorry this podcast is probably doing better numbers than yours … Y’all going to get this podcast.”) This is the primo stuff. Traditional sports media wishes it was this interesting.
Now, this is the part where I dutifully lay out the broader trend of professional athletes moving into podcasting as a way to gain more control over their stories, or at the very least lay the foundation for a potential lucrative media business to shore up their post-athletic careers. To that end, let me refer you to the always-great Hua Hsu, who denoted that particular development last year. My own knowledge of the subgenre is really only limited to the NBA. (Though, I assure you, if Daniel Ricciardo were to start a podcast during the active Formula One season, I’d hate-listen to that thing in a heartbeat.) With the exception of what newly retired J.J. Redick has been doing with The Old Man & the Three, I’m mostly conceptually interested by shows hosted by active players: Very quickly, it becomes a question of how a player manages, relates, and responds to the boundaries of their self-perceived public persona. Oftentimes, in practice, the resulting podcasts, like The ETCs with Kevin Durant, are not particularly noteworthy, perhaps underscoring the need for actual independent interlocutors to extract anything tangible from these media products. But the thing about Green is that the dude really doesn’t give a shit about public personae. That, combined with the fact that he remains very much in the thick of the action, makes The Draymond Green Podcast so utterly fascinating. Let the man podcast.
Anyway, Celtics in seven.
Tribeca Festival’s ‘Audio Storytelling’ Selections
Something a little different here. As you read this, the Tribeca Festival — once just the Tribeca Film Festival until the program recently expanded and rebranded to include other media like television, video games, and podcasts, which it categorizes as “audio storytelling” — is smack dab in the middle of its two-week run.
I couldn’t personally make it out to New York for the thing, but I would’ve loved to have checked out B.J. Novak’s Vengeance, which is mounting a challenge to Only Murders in the Building in terms of extravagant portrayals of death and podcasting, and I imagine it would’ve been something to directly experience the geological tremors unleashed by the screening of Taylor Swift’s short film, All Too Well, along with her declaration of intent to someday direct a feature film.
But we do have the internet, which means we’re still able to keep tabs on some of the podcasts that are being given the spotlight. This is the second year that narrative audio, encompassing both fiction and nonfiction, was added to the festival; last year’s picks included a short from James Kim, a fiction series called Brooklyn Santa, and Frontline’s Un(re)solved, among others.
Some notes on this year’s batch. On the fiction side, Lauren Shippen (Passenger List, The Bright Sessions) debuted a new project, Mirage Diner, which carries much the same theatrical genre-heavy vibe as her previous work, though this one carries an interest in Americana that reminds me of the Night Vale universe. Contiguous in aesthetic, another indie-flavored entry is The Hollowed Out, heavy on mysterious small-town goings-on. As is fashionable with fiction podcasts these days, multiple entries come packaged with celebrity talent: The End Up, starring Himesh Patel and Merritt Weaver (and executive-produced by Sam Esmail, no stranger to podcasts); Conference Call, starring Elizabeth Henstridge, Christopher Abbott, and others; a Gimlet production called Gay Pride & Prejudice, featuring Jesse Tyler Ferguson; plus an Audible production called The Big Lie, which apparently isn’t about the Big Lie you and I are currently terrorized by, but which features Jon Hamm, who really needs a good role onscreen sometime soon — poor guy has been pigeon-holed into playing mean law-enforcement types for too many years now, though I didn’t quite mind that about his role in Top Gun: Maverick.
To round things out, there are three other fiction selections: Day by Day, about a bitcoin trader with an opioid habit who “joins five other addicts recovering with a controlling female counselor”; Vapor Trail, whose description gives a little Before Sunrise; and Modes of Thought in Anterran Literature, a genre-fiction piece that takes the form of college lecture recordings, which I’m frankly surprised is a conceit that hadn’t already been done before. (Maybe it has? The podcast universe, after all, is very big.)
On the nonfiction side, there are two picks we’ve already covered in the past newsletters: Oprahdemics and the new season of Stolen. The Pittsburgh-based Hatch Arts Collective has an entry called Once Removed, described as “an audio documentary play about what it means to inherit a history of silence as a queer person from the upper Midwest.” Crooked Media, working through its deal with Audacy, is also present with Mother Country Radicals, a documentary project about the Weather Underground and the revolutionary seventies by Zayd Ayers Dohrn, the son of Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers.
That theme of familial impact seems to run strong in this year’s nonfiction picks: There’s Stolen, of course, but also the latest production from Radiotopia Presents, My Mother Made Me, which comes from the writer Jason Reynolds collaborating with his mother, Isabell. I guess the countercultural decades also make up another noticeable theme: Divine Intervention, from Brendan Hughes, dives into the travails of the Catholic anti-war movement in the ’60s and ’70s, while I Was Never There follows mother-daughter duo Jamie and Karen Zelermyer looks into the disappearance of their friend Marsha Ferber, an investigation that doubles as an examination of the countercultural movements of the ’70s and ’80s as well as a reflection on their own choices as a family through those eras.
Okay, that’s all I got for this description-heavy blurb. Note that almost all shows will be publicly available by the end of the festival. My Mother Made Me drops on July 13. You can peruse the official list and description of those projects here. Maybe I’ll make it out there in-person next year.
➽ The New York Times “Opinion” section’s latest podcast, First Person featuring Lulu Garcia-Navarro, launched last week.
➽ Shout-out to Time to Say Goodbye, which is losing a co-host this week …
➽ True-crime corner: Recently picked up the first episode of Vigilante, which follows Allie Conte, a writer with a newly minted private-investigator license, as she tumbles down the rabbit hole of a famous search-and-rescuer in Texas who’s spent decades trying to solve his daughter’s murder, with occasional destructive consequences. The series is rough around the edges, but I’m intrigued.
➽ Congratulations to the podcast teams who won a Peabody, which were announced last week: NPR’s Throughline, MSNBC’s Southlake, and Rumble Strip’s Erica Heilman! Full list of winners here, nominees here.
And that’s a wrap for 1.5x Speed! Hope you enjoyed it. We’re back next week, but in the meantime: Send podcast recommendations, feedback, or just say hello at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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