With barbershops shuttered, now is as good a time as any for the glowering David Frum to let hair his down. The Canadian-born, Washington-based political pundit and former speech writer for George W. Bush does so, metaphorically at least, on the most recent episode of The Femsplainers, a lively wine-spritzed podcast co-hosted by his wife, the author-journalist Danielle Crittenden.
The pair’s topical chat occasionally gets political – the conservative Frum is obsessed with the shortcomings of the current President – but never gets too heavy. The episode is one of three recommended podcasts, which include a history lesson on the Canadian-American roots-rock legends The Band and a cold-case chronicle about a young B.C. woman missing since 2002.
Do you know how the Band’s song The Weight came to be? Strumming his Martin guitar, Robbie Robertson peeked inside the instrument and noticed an inscription that noted the town where it was made: Nazareth, Pa. Something clicked; the song’s opening line came to Robertson: "I pulled into Nazareth, was feelin’ about half past dead.” You can learn about that on the unfancy, informative The Band: A History or by watching the 2019 documentary on the group, Once Were Brothers, out now on DVD and streaming platforms. The podcast plays host to an Instagram Live chat with the film’s Canadian director Daniel Roher on May 27. Feel free to ask Roher more about The Weight: Why did Fanny need a load off, anyway?
The Femsplainers, which describes itself as the “gossipy, smart, witty conversation" you’d have if all of your girlfriends were experts on the hot-button topics of the moment, is a smartly gabby series hosted by the aforementioned Crittenden and Christina Hoff Sommers (the author of Who Stole Feminism? and The War Against Boys). Recent episodes are devoted to such topics as Mrs. America, the new Cate Blanchett-starring Hulu series about the movement to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s. In this week’s episode of The Femsplainers, Crittenden allows her husband-guest Frum to mention his self-explanatory new book Trumpocalypse only briefly before getting into the couple’s mellowing conservatism, the marital implications of self-isolation and Frum’s lax homemaking skills when it comes to table crumbs.
On Canada Day weekend in 2002, 21-year-old Lisa Marie Young left a house party on Vancouver Island, getting into a red Jaguar with a man, never to be seen again. The mystery of her vanishing stills lingers in her hometown of Nanaimo, B.C., where urban-legend embellishments obscure hard facts. With her new true crime podcast, former CBC producer Laura Palmer heats up a cold-case in a respectful, human way. Yes, the first season of her new series Island Crime is called Where is Lisa?, but Palmer takes time to ask “Who is Lisa?” before digging into her disappearance.
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