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Brian Heater

Brian Heater (@bheater ) is a senior editor at Engadget and the founder of indie comics site, The Daily Cross Hatch. His writing has appeared in Spin, The Onion, Entertainment Weekly and The New York Press. He hosts several podcasts and shares an apartment in Queens with a rabbit named Sylvia.

RiYL podcast 049: Cartoonist Bob Fingerman

Recommended if You Like is Boing Boing's weekly podcast of Brian Heater's cafe conversations with musicians, cartoonists, writers, and other creative types.

In April of last year, Image Comics published Maximum Minimum Wage, a hardcover compilation of Bob Fingereman’s long-running Fantagraphics series. To this day, Minimum Wage and the subsequent collection Beg The Question remain the cartoonist’s best known work, telling the close-to-home tale of an artist struggling with work, love and life in New York in the 90s. After a 15-year hiatus spent on various comics projects and a trio of prose novels, Fingerman picked up the story again in January with a new series bearing the same name, set three years after the end of its predecessor. I met up with Fingerman in the Manhattan apartment he shares with his wife to discuss returning to a project after nearly a decade and a half and how to get back into the mindset of younger, poorer time.

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RiYL podcast 048: 3D Systems CEO Avi Reichental

Recommended if You Like is Boing Boing's weekly podcast of Brian Heater's cafe conversations with musicians, cartoonists, writers, and other creative types.

When 3D Systems CEO Avi Reichental swung by New York to address the Inside 3D Printing conference in Manhattan, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to discuss the technology. The company has been at the forefront of the space since 1986, when co-founder Chuck Hull invented the process of stereolithography, which gave rise to the world of industrial additive manufacturing. The company’s been a player on the business side since then and has also spent the last several years developing a consumer facing arm for the quickly growing world of desktop 3D printing. We covered the viability of consumer technology, the on-going patent wars, and the recent controversies surrounding 3D printed weapons.

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RiYL podcast 047: cartoonist Box Brown, "Andre the Giant: Life and Legend"

Recommended if You Like is Boing Boing's weekly podcast of Brian Heater's cafe conversations with musicians, cartoonists, writers, and other creative types.

In this episode, we speak with Box Brown, the artist behind the newly-released graphic novel Andre the Giant: Life and Legend. By way of background, he also designed RiYL’s logo, so in a sense he’s been part of the podcast since the beginning. I’ve been aware of his work since the earliest days, when he first began exploring the medium. He posted his loosely autobiographical comics on message boards of established cartoonists like James Kochalka. He put his work out on floppies and webcomics. Those early strips were really rough.

I can’t think of a single cartoonist whose work I’ve watched progress from such an early stage. And it was no doubt that exact drive to put his stuff out in the world that helped Brown improve, culminating with the forthcoming release of his first full-length book, Andre the Giant: Life and Legend, which examines the man who became professional wrestling’s largest legends.

Brown and I met up at a coffee shop next door to Locust Moon, my favorite comic shop in Philadelphia. We discussed giving it all up to pursue your dream — and, like zine publisher (and friend of Brown) Robert Newsome before him, the cartoonist was more than happy to discuss his lifelong love of professional wrestling with a podcast host who’s only just beginning to familiarize himself with the subject.

Oh, and as we approach episode 50, I’m asking listeners to let me know which RiYL episodes have been their favorite, thus far. Please send any feedback to riylcast@gmail.com

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RiYL podcast 046: baseball statistics geek Ben Lindbergh

Recommended if You Like is Boing Boing's weekly podcast of Brian Heater's cafe conversations with musicians, cartoonists, writers, and other creative types.

My knowledge of sabermetrics is elementary, at best. I know that it’s utterly transformed baseball analysis and helped get a lot of plush clubhouse jobs for an army of number crunching math geeks. I know that it involves a close examination of traditionally undervalued statistics like on-base percentage and foul balls. I know it’s caused writers and managers to rethink the amount of emphasis put on traditionally overvalued indicators like batting averages and strikeouts. Ben Lindbergh, editor in chief of leading sabermetrics site Baseball Prospectus joined me in a Manhattan cafe blaring the hits of the 90s to discuss how a group of statistic geeks have transformed our national pastime.

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RiYL podcast 044: Molly Crabapple

Recommended if You Like is Boing Boing's weekly podcast of Brian Heater's cafe conversations with musicians, cartoonists, writers, and other creative types.

I speak with artist Molly Crabapple about her art exhibitions, murals, illustrations, and an increasing interest in social justice, which recently led Rolling Stone to call her “Occupy’s greatest artist.” It’s a fascination that has taken her around the world, to unexpected locations like the courtrooms of Guantanamo Bay.

This episode is brought to you by Hover, the best way to buy and manage domain names. Get a 10% discount when you go to Hover and use the code SNOOPY

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RiYL podcast 044: music booker and Israeli baseball player Shlomo Lipetz

Recommended if You Like is Boing Boing's weekly podcast of Brian Heater's cafe conversations with musicians, cartoonists, writers, and other creative types.

I met Shlomo last week at New York's City Winery, just before settling into another RiYL interview. The 6'4 mustachioed Israeli was making sure everything was all right with the the Old 97s' Rhett Miller, ahead of his show that night. Fascinated by meeting my first real life Shlomo (surprising, perhaps, given my own ethnic makeup), I Googled the venue's booker the following day, stumbling upon a Wall Street Journal story from 2012 about Israeli baseball -- a subject which I, admittedly, know nothing about. At the top was an image of the booker, full-beard, in a pre-pitch lineup. Down below, the paper described Lipetz as, "Israel's biggest baseball star." A day later, we sat down during a Bob Mould soundcheck to discuss how one earns such a title. Lipetz is characteristically modest, pointing out that he's the best at something in a country that seemingly barely knows it exists. According to the Journal story, some 1,000 of Israel's population of eight million play the sport. Still, how many of us can say we're the best at anything?

This episode is brought to you by Hover, the best way to buy and manage domain names. Get a 10% discount when you go to Hover and use the code SNOOPY

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RiYL podcast 043: musician Doug Gillard


Recommended if You Like is Boing Boing's weekly podcast of Brian Heater's cafe conversations with musicians, cartoonists, writers, and other creative types.

From Guided By Voices to Nada Surf, if you can think of a seminal indie rock band from the past 20 years, there's a pretty decent chance Doug Gillard's put in time among their ranks at some point or other. The journeyman guitar player also has a accomplished solo career, with his latest, Parade On, due April 8. Gillard joins us over some green tea and bourbon to discuss the Beatles, Ohio and playing with some of the best rock and roll bands going.

This episode is brought to you by Squarespace, the all-in-one platform that makes it fast and easy to create your own professional website or online portfolio. For a free trial and 10% off, go to squarespace.com and use offer code RIYL.

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RiYL podcast 042: Hospitality's Amber Papini and Nathan Michel

Recommended if You Like is Boing Boing's weekly podcast of Brian Heater's cafe conversations with musicians, cartoonists, writers, and other creative types.

Come spend 45 minutes in the Red Hook living room shared by Hospitality's singer and percussionist a day after the launch of their sophomore record. The expectations are elevated this time out, after the healthy amount of buzz generated by the band's self-titled indie-pop debut. You wouldn't know it from outward appearances, however. All is calm in the Brooklyn band's apartment. Dinner is on the stove and Michel is halfway through Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung. The tour, after all, is still a few months away.

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The Best of Wonder Wart-Hog

That Gilbert Shelton’s name isn’t immediately recognized by everyone who reads these words is a shame, one Knockabout Comics has spent the past half-dozen years working hard to correct. In 2008, the UK-based publisher issued The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers Omnibus, followed a year later by a collection of the delightful spinoff series, Fat Freddy’s Cat. The company took a couple of years off from the Shelton racket, issuing books by, among others, the cartoonist’s better known peer and fellow French transplant, Robert Crumb.

Late last year, however, the company returned with the final piece in Shelton’s puzzle: Wonder Wart-Hog. Like Shelton himself, the bestial hero is mostly forgotten outside of sequential art faithfuls and those who followed his skewed super heroics in sporadically issued comics collections throughout the 60s.

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RiYL podcast 041: Colin Spoelman, moonshine maker

Recommended if You Like is Boing Boing's weekly podcast of Brian Heater's cafe conversations with musicians, cartoonists, writers, and other creative types.

Colin Spoelman quite literally wrote the book on home whiskey distillation. It's a subject he knows a thing or two about, having transformed the output of a single internet-purchased pot still into a major microdistillery -- New York City's longest running, no less, at the ripe old age of four. It's a terrific book, though it did firmly crush any fantasies I had of running my own apartment-based distillery. Thankfully, however, there are more terrific whiskies in the world than ever before, thanks to a recent explosion in craft distilleries. The list certainly includes Spoelman's King's County, maker of some fine bourbon and the smoothest moonshine I've ever tasted.

This episode of RiYL is brought to you by:

Hover, the best way to buy and manage domain names. Get a 10% discount when you go to Hover and use the code CHARLIEBROWN

Audible, which is offering a free audiobook of your choice and a free 30-day trial membership. Go to audiblepodcast.com/riyl and choose from over 150,000 titles.

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RiYL podcast 040: Rodney Anonymous of The Dead Milkmen

Recommended if You Like is Boing Boing's weekly podcast of Brian Heater's cafe conversations with musicians, cartoonists, writers, and other creative types.

Over the past 30 years, Rodney Anonymous has become a sort of Philadelphia landmark like Ben Franklin's house or that big cracked bell. If you get a chance to visit him during your time in the city, it's the sort of thing you won't soon forget. I met the once and future Dead Milkmen frontman at Philly's top goth/industry record store, at which point we adjourned to a nearby tea shop, so at not to interrupt the employee's Magic: The Gathering tournament in the rear of the store. Three decades after forming punk's most hilarious band, Anonymous hasn't slowed down (save for the occasional slipped-disc of old age), nor have his opinions dulled a bit.

This episode of RiYL is brought to you by:

Squarespace: the all-in-one platform that makes it fast and easy to create your own professional website or online portfolio. For a free trial and 10% off go to Squarespace.com and use the offer code RIYL.

Shari's Berries: Get giant freshly dipped strawberries starting at $19.99 (over a 40% savings), or double the berries for just $10 more. Use the code “like” when you order.

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RiYL podcast 039: Generation Hex author Jason Louv

Recommended if You Like is Boing Boing's weekly podcast of Brian Heater's cafe conversations with musicians, cartoonists, writers, and other creative types.

When the next generation finds itself knee-deep in an occult revival, who better to call that Jason Louv. My two-time former roommate swung by New York City a while back to teach the kids in Bushwick a thing or two about magic. Louv has written a number books on the subject, including 2005's Generation Hex for Disinfo. His most recent volume, Monsanto vs. the World: The Monsanto Protection Act, GMOs and Our Genetically Modified Future, explores his newfound fascination with the genetically modified organisms of Monsanto.

This episode of RiYL is brought to you by:

Squarespace: the all-in-one platform that makes it fast and easy to create your own professional website or online portfolio. For a free trial and 10% off go to Squarespace.com and use the offer code RIYL.

Shari's Berries: Get giant freshly dipped strawberries starting at $19.99 (over a 40% savings), or double the berries for just $10 more. Use the code “like” when you order.

RiYL: RSS | iTunes | Download episode | Listen on Stitcher

RiYL podcast 038: Columbia librarian Karen Green


Peter Poplaski's cover for The Spirit Magazine # 30 (Kitchen Sink Press, 1981).

Recommended if You Like is Boing Boing's weekly podcast of Brian Heater's cafe conversations with musicians, cartoonists, writers, and other creative types.

Strange to think, more than twenty years after Maus became the first graphic novel to win a Pulitzer, the concept of comics as academic pursuit still seems foreign. Standing in front of Columbia's collection of bound sequential art, however, the day when comics are widely regarded as some of the finest literature and art available doesn't seem too far off after all. When Ancient and Medieval Collections librarian Karen Green started work at the university, Columbia's comics collection was a scant three titles. Now, thanks to her work, it's an impressive thing to behold.

In December, Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library acquired the archive of Kitchen Sink Press, which includes over 50,000 letters with cartoonists and "200 linear feet of material including editorial and business files, original art, handwritten letters and drawings."

This episode of RiYL is brought to you by Squarespace, the all-in-one platform that makes it fast and easy to create you own professional website or online portfolio. For a free trial and ten percent off go to Squarespace.com and use the offer code RIYL.

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RiYL podcast 037: Adult Swim's Joe Garden

Recommended if You Like is Boing Boing's weekly podcast of Brian Heater's cafe conversations with musicians, cartoonists, writers, and other creative types.

In this episode, former The Onion features editor and current Adult Swim employee Joe Garden explains why he purchased Firehose records on eBay after a dream told him to do so.

This episode of RiYL is brought to you by Squarespace, the all-in-one platform that makes it fast and easy to create you own professional website or online portfolio. For a free trial and ten percent off go to Squarespace.com and use the offer code RIYL.

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Comics Rack: January's best comic books

Philadelphia’s surely got more comic shops than a city of that size requires — and book and record stores for that matter. And of course I love the city of brotherly love for it. I stumbled upon this fact by accident, traveling there for week between jobs a few years ago and cataloging a massive walking trek to all corners of the city, focused on each and every comic place I could find in between. I liked the sentiment enough to repeat it last week before starting my new gig at Yahoo — though a nasty post-CES flu abridged the trip length significantly — and the number of comic shops visited as well.

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