Look. I know I only update my blog about twice a year. This is my greatest shame. The plus side is, my lack of attention to the website means I’ve been busy with paid assignments, and I will have some exciting news to share on that front very soon.
So with that in mind, here’s everything I’ve been up to since May 2019 (oy)…
I’m working on a podcast! That’s the biggest news. It’s a show about Father Coughlin, the fascist, anti-Semitic “radio priest” who seduced America during the Great Depression… from right outside my Michigan hometown. With our modern-day return to fascist demagoguery, conspiracy theories, and violent hate groups, the world Coughlin created seems to be coming back in style. I want to explore my personal obsession with him and investigate the lasting influence he’s left on our country.
I completed a pilot for the show with the good folks at Michigan Radio, and I’m currently shopping for institutional partners to turn it into a full series. Read more about it here. I also appeared on WDET’s Detroit Today to discuss Coughlin’s legacy with Stephen Henderson.
If you’d like to talk about ways we can partner on this, get in touch!
Last year I delivered my first professional talk, entitled “The Freelancer Writer’s Survival Guide”. I delivered the talk at the Detroit Writing Room, a new venue in downtown Detroit for aspiring and professional writers to congregate; my talk was the first to be delivered at the location. The whole thing went well. I was glad to have attracted an engaged, curious, intelligent audience.
I also gave a similar talk to my alma mater, the Michigan Daily at the University of Michigan, and journalism and film production classes at Huron High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
If you’d like to hire me to speak to your organization about freelance writing, film criticism, or public media, you know where this is going -- get in touch!
In May 2019, I attended the Cannes Film Festival. It was my first-ever trip to the Croisette. You can read my review of the Brazilian competition feature Bacurau in The Economist; here are my other festival reviews of Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life and Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse.
I also wrote this longread for Jewish Currents about the new films by Ken Loach and the Dardenne brothers, and what they tell us about the state of social realism in movies.
In October 2019 I attended the Third Coast International Audio Festival, the world’s biggest gathering of audiomakers, in Chicago. I’ve covered the event many times before and it’s always a wonderful experience. This year I got to file a feature on the wonderful podcast Ear Hustle for The Economist.
I also profiled Third Coast’s outgoing executive director, Johanna Zorn (pictured above), for Michigan Alumnus magazine. Go Blue!
In The Moment
In September 2019 I partnered with the good people at Moment magazine to launch Chai Brow, a new weekly arts and culture column covering film, TV, books, and anything else I can think of from a contemporary Jewish lens. In 2020 we’ve transitioned the column to biweekly. It’s been a lot of fun sounding off on all kinds of stuff for them.
Read my columns on:
My semi-weekly stint as a film critic for NPR continues. Reviews of:
Odds and Ends
I wound up doing a mini-media bliss to discuss Halloween horror movies. I appeared on Michigan Radio’s Stateside about horror movies with Michigan connections (discussed: It Follows, Evil Dead, The Crow, Don’t Breathe, Only Lovers Left Alive).
I was also interviewed for Washington Post’s The Lily to discuss my love of cult movies (tied to a discussion of Disney+’s planned Hocus Pocus sequel).
For my old friends at Current, in November 2019, I profiled Nanfu Wang’s chilling documentary One Child Nation, about the personal and political repercussions of China’s “One Child” policy. Still slightly unbelievable to me that it didn’t get an Oscar nomination.
For Detroit’s SEEN Magazine, back in February 2019, I wrote a critical appreciation of Troy, Michigan native Steven Yeun on the occasion of his barnstorming work in the film Burning.
That's all I have for now. I will be scaling back my freelance work going forward, but will still try to find occasion to post here. Hopefully it won't be another eight months before I do.