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The Department of Tangents Podcast

Years ago, playing a sort of improv game with friends in which we all picked super powers based on our personalities, I dubbed myself “Tangent Lad.” I was not a very strong superhero, and I could not defeat a super villain on my own, but I could distract them with Monty Python quotes and football trivia. I have many times since apologized to an interview subject in my capacity as a journalist by saying, “I am either very good or very bad at tangents, depending on how you feel about tangents.”

I had a rough time coming up with the concept and naming this blog/podcast. I knew I wanted to create a place where I could address things I’m passionate about – comedy, music, and horror. Finding a name that communicated all three of those things proved a bit impossible. I bugged my friends, and they all tried to help. To no avail. Then I thought, maybe I’m approaching this from the wrong angle. Maybe my lack of focus should be the focus.

As a journalist, I have written for The Boston Globe since 2000, starting out writing CD reviews and then writing a regular column on comedy for seven and a half years. I still contribute there, and to Kirkus Reviews, and other publications. I’m also a musician, and released my debut full-length album, Blue Skies and Broken Arrows, in March of 2015. And I’ve been publishing short horror fiction for a couple of years.

I like to climb into things I love and see how they operate. That’s what the Department of Tangents is for. I’ll be writing regular features, essays, and news bits about the big three – comedy, music, and horror – and offering clips from people I’ve taped interviews with over the past nearly twenty years of writing. Some of the best parts of the interviews I’ve done have been completely off-point and inappropriate for print. I’ll get to explore more of that here. I’m also hoping to convince some friends to tell me about the things they love that I might not even know about, and pass that along to you.

The DoT podcast might be short or long, depending on where the conversation leads. You cant purposefully create an interesting tangent in conversation – it has to happen naturally. But I can confidently forecast that there will be moments in the individual podcasts where things veer off wonderfully.

The main thing here is love. To write about the things that make I’ve loved forever, and some new things that might stand the test and be around, at least for me, for decades to come. I’ve had to be critical in my writing at times, and it might not all be nonstop roses here, but in the end, what I really want to talk about is the good stuff. That’s why I will regularly write about things I think are “Perfect,” even if someone can demonstrate empirically that they are flawed. Still perfect to me.

Also, fish.

I hope you, dear anonymous surfer person, will come to expect only the highest-quality, free-range, grass-fed tangents. And I hope some of you love the same things I do and find it useful. Or at least a welcome distraction until the others get here.

Oct 3, 2019

Sue Costello is someone I saw early on in Boston, specifically playing a show organized by Jimmy Tingle that featured Costello, Patrice Oneal, and Steve Sweeney. She has always been tough, and she wears her Dorchester roots with pride. We got into some thorny topics here, including pervasive sexism in the entertainment industry and her dealings with CBS as the Les Moonves scandal was breaking. She has survived sexism in comedy and in the television industry and come out of it trying to find a way to get people to communicate more productively, to get to a truth. As she says, the empaths need to grow some balls, because the bullies are winning.
That’s part of the philosophy behind her new talk show pilot, Simmah Down with Sue Costello. She wants people to be real about the ugly things in their lives and not be afraid to talk about them. The show is in a pilot stage now, but it’s up on YouTube now. Watch it here:
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You can keep up to date on news from Costello at <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank"></a>, and find her on <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Facebook</a> under Sue Costello and <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Instagram under iamsuecostello</a>. She’s also filming a new movie called <em>Mow</em>, which you can find on the social medias on <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">@mowmovie</a>. 
Our featured track this week is “Living Rock” from Rebecca Turner, from her upcoming album The New Wrong Way, out November 6. This will be Turner’s third album, and her first since 2009’s Slowpoke. Since then, she has continue to write and play, but family and work concerns kept her from finishing a new album. The New Wrong Way is a culmination of ten years of writing and tweaking the songs, which were recorded starting last winter. The featured track is the opening song from the album, a riffy roots-rock tune called “Living Rock.” Find out more about Rebecca Turner at <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank"></a>.