Dancing About Architecture got its name from the Elvis Costello quote, "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture. It's a silly thing to want to do." This comes to mind today as I veer off for a week to talk about my other love, podcasts. It also comes to mind as Dancing About Architecture was the title of my ( now on hiatus ) podcast about music. I get a lot of questions from very in-the-know friends such as: what is a podcast?; How can I hear yours?; and Do people still listen to those? Well, 1 ) Go to iTunes; 2 ) Go back in time; 3 ) Yes, by the millions.
Like most tech trends, podcasts started out very strong with tons of buzz then faded away a bit in favor as other tech trends like Twitter, vlogs, and streaming got more popular. But in the past few years, podcasts have seen a resurgence as comedians, writers, and DJs have used the format to revitalize their careers and get bigger and better gigs. A few years ago guys like Jay Mohr, Adam Carolla, Marc Maron and Joe Rogan saw themselves skidding into middle-aged irrelevance. Now they have four of the biggest shows online that have translated into sold-out tours, acting gigs, and in Rogan's case, a Fear Factor comeback.
Outside of the obvious, where do we start to get into podcasts? Since you're reading Nightspots, you might be gay and in Chicago. In that case, you can go wacky comedy with PNS Explosion, straightforward entertainment and news with Feast Of Fun, or go for my favorite, How Much Do We Love. Hosted by Rob Lindley and Sara Davis, two Chicago stage vets, HMDWL explores three or four key trends and new products weekly like cocktail recipes, "soft pants", and what to watch on TV. Even if you're not into what they're talking about, these two besties' hilarious back-and-forth is worth the listen.
If you're exploring new music, as I often do, check out NPR's All Songs Considered, Hype Machine Radio or the kings of coolness, Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis' Sound Opinions, recorded right here in Chicago at WBEZ. No one speaks as knowledgably as these critics on the topic of tunes and with such a truly graceful repartee, you'll swear is scripted.
And finally, if you're just a pop culture junkie, you have to get into The Dinner Party and Slate's Culture Gabfest. Both similar in structure, flawlessly executed, and a complete joy every week, they are a must-listen if you plan on having any intelligent conversations in your lifetime but don't have the patience to read The New Yorker. Like a workout for your brain, both stuff days of pop culture facts into a joyous 30 minutes.
All of these podcasts can be found on iTunes.