The bulk of this week’s show is comprised of two pre-recorded interviews with special guests. The first was a conversation between Phil and Eric Kurland, the pre-eminent authority on the art, science and history of 3-D. The second was recorded last weekend on Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood outside the Broadwater Plunge (with a live audience of one, who ends up playing a supporting role), as Dean and Phil hoped to catch up with their friend Eric Mark about his recent trip to the Sundance Film Festival, the successful sci-fi podcast he produces, his many game show appearances and the harrowing health travails he has endured. Only the last of these really gets much coverage in a freewheeling, head-spinning, hilarious conversation on the mean streets of Hollywood.
This week’s show is a bit of a pastiche, cut together from snippets of different conversations Dean and Phil have had these past couple weeks. So, after a hilarious “audio check” cold open, if you hear references to topics not yet covered, don’t worry, it all weaves together wonderfully by the end in what might just be one of our best shows of the year! Phil discusses the forthcoming Netflix reboot of Beverly Hills Cop and the (unwanted by the producers) role he might play in it, and whether its filming location means he lives closer to Detroit than Dean does! The subject of “soft tissue” and the importance of stretching and yoga get discussed in the wake of Phil learning about what it means to “pop a rib”. The reason firefighters carry axes gets explained. The graphic design creative explosion that was the late 70s and early 80s is the subject of a gallery exhibit at the Pacific Design Center and it leads Dean to reminisce. When he was in London, did Dean experience the magic of the Elizabeth Line? And did he get to England through the worst itinerary ever? And what exactly did he get wrong when describing the Billy Wilder failure Kiss Me Stupid? These questions all get answered and the great improv comic turned successful character actor Mike Hagerty gets remembered in “Celebrity Deaths”. And if that weren’t enough, Phil takes the time to interview Russ Haslage about his career in radio, the “wonder” of Subspace, and the history of the fine works by The Federation (and how YOU can help)!
Best laid plans … Phil had to hit the road for an emergency trip this week, which inspires him to ask Dean whether “plans” are a thing of the past, a luxury one is foolish to consider in our contemporary world. Of course plans are being made to re-start motion picture and television production, and your friends in podcasting will analyze these plans and how movies and TV shows will be different both on-screen and behind-the-scenes as the industry moves forward. A headline-making shakeup in show business occurred at the vaunted comedy institution Second City in the wake of recent social justice protests. This will get discussed in depth, as will America’s empathy deficit, with some insightful analysis and heartfelt and hilarious stories about empathy, or the lack thereof, from Dean and Phil. So, buckle up, and if this week’s show seems a bit all-over-the-map topically (technically?), well rest assured, that’s because it IS coming at you from … all over the map!
Phil Leirness is joined by music journalist (and friend of the show) Yoshi Kato, who briefly fills in for a tardy Dean Haglund, to discuss the lives and legacies of six notables from the world of music in “Celebrity Deaths”, as well as to set the table concerning a later discussion of Asian Pacific American Heritage month and the 1961 film Flower Drum Song. Dean then arrives just in time to remember a prolific character actor, the decorated police officer who played Eddie Haskell on TV’s “Leave it to Beaver”, and the great Fred Willard. Dean and Phil then answer an email from a loyal listener about an upcoming Michael Bay film set in the world of Covid-19. This leads to a fascinating discussion and argument before attention is turned to the ramping up of film and TV production and the announcement that the Venice Film Festival will go ahead as planned this September. Dean then sings the praises of two different television series, Phil sings the praises of two classic movies about gambling. Then the conversation turns to the careers of Sessue Hayakawa, one of the first heartthrobs of the silver screen, the hilarious and brilliant Jack Soo, and the tragically overlooked Reiko Sato.
We were going to say that after a one-week absence (during which they released a spectacular pre-recorded episode with a special guest), your friends in podcasting come out with guns blazing … And then, as they were getting set to record, ANOTHER mass shooting in the USA occurred. Dean and Phil address the event and get into a seriously fascinating conversation about rage and despair and about how people can obtain the tools necessary to explore these bedrock emotions without being taken by them. Then, in the return of “Live Events of the Week”, Tchaikovsky and a non-binary gender identifying performer are celebrated, and Dean discusses his “Down Under Bucket List”, including scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef (a list item he has checked off, thank you very much!). Romantic comedies and diversity both get discussed in the wake of Crazy Rich Asians‘ box office success (and surprisingly decent reviews) and the documentary profile Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda gets recommended. Finally, the Chillpak Morgue is opened for “Celebrity Deaths” where the lives, accomplishments and lasting impacts of a true American hero, a giant of international diplomacy, the Oscar-nominated actress who founded modern improv, the journalist who coined the phrase “champagne wishes and caviar dreams” and the Queen of Soul are all remembered. All that AND Phil finally learns the usage of modern-day pronouns!