WDEK Podcast Ep. 74: Tamara Best, Rob Cantrell & Chris Opperman - 9/24/19
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While Christian is traveling for work, we are pleased to have Duane Harriott, join us as Shonali's guest co-host. Duane is a wedding DJ, a legendary DJ on WFMU, a composer AND one of the stars of the Other Music Documentary which was released over the spring of 2019. Shonali and Duane discuss the power of the wedding DJ and strangers eating your food.
Their first guest is writer Tamara Best. (Timecode at 10:33) Her articles have been published in the New York Times, Time Out and The Daily Beast. She is the assistant managing editor of The Daily Beast. Her work centers on the intersection of identity and culture for communities of people of color. Tamara is of West Indian descent and also lived in Atlanta as did Shonali. They discuss Tamara's success in NYC as a writer and her parents' pride. Tamara specifically shares her insight as to the urgency of the work (Fairview, Slave Play, Strange Loop, What To Send Up When It Goes Down) of a slew of African American playwrights who have recently burst onto the theater world. She and her husband a psychologist have healthy intellectual sparring matches. He happens to be in the audience and we notice his facial expressions throughout the night. HA! Tamara is in the process of writing her own play titled Hindsbury Hill, a tribute to her family. We look forward to seeing it when it is finished!
Our next guest is comedian Rob Cantrell (Time code 31:52) Rob so graciously performs some stand up for our studio audience in which he kills the Red Room. Notice the two Bhowmik sisters laughing on both sides of the room. (Time code 42:06) Duane and Shonali talk to Rob about the "magic trick" of comedy and bombing. He grew up in DC later moved to small town Virginia and eventually started his comedy career in San Francisco. Duane and Rob bond on both being parents and Scorpios. Rob is a very successful comedian who toured with Tracy Morgan this summer. His tour story will blow your mind. Highlights include gyros, a blue turtleneck and leather shoes. (Time code 52:40 - 59:01) Duane also has a Tracy Morgan story! #OtherMusic (Time code 59:40)
Our last guest is composer, teacher & musician Chris Opperman. His Wikipedia page is outrageous. Chris realized he wanted to be a composer when he first heard the music of Frank Zappa. He went to Berklee and he came up with his indie hit song Ain't Got No Beef as a result of a homework assignment after a visit to Taco Bell. Check out his orchestration for a 54 piece orchestra for Steve Vai's For the Love of God here. Duane and Chris have some Frank Zappa talk on which Shonali is clueless. Chris performs for the first time performs two piano pieces by other composers. The first song (1:18:17) is Ann Southam's Pond Life. His second performance is Ellen Zwilich's Lament (1:22:27). If are interested in learning more about classical music, Chris has hundreds of Spotify playlists which he made for his students at Montclair State University. Check them out. Also stay tuned for Chris' Chamber Music from Hell project which is based on the concept of "What would Aliens write if they made BeBop music?"
What a show! Thank you all! Our next show is October 29, 2019 with comedian Clare O'Kane, artist Trish Tillman and music by Lauren Maul. See you there! Also please share our podcast with your friends and family. They will thank you. Follow us on all social media @wdekpodcast