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Working

Working

Slate Podcasts

70
Followers
138
Plays
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About Us

Hosts Rumaan Alam, Isaac Butler, and June Thomas interview creative people about how they write, compose, paint, and more.

Latest Episodes

Joe Sacco’s Journalistic Comics

This week, Isaac Butler talks with journalist and cartoonist Joe Sacco. Sacco is a Maltese-American cartoonist and journalist best known for his comics journalism. His books Palestine and Footnotes in Gaza have been critically praised and have won him several awards, including the American Book Award. His most recent book is Paying the Land. They talk about how he draws stories out of people and then draws those stories onto the page. Sacco talks in-depth about his creative process, which does not include story-boarding, and about how he gains the trust of his subjects—mostly by learning how to listen. Afterward, Isaac and co-host Rumaan Alam discuss what they found most striking about the interview and how Sacco’s advice can be applied to their own work. Send your questions about creativity and any other feedback to working@slate.com. Podcast production by Morgan Flannery. Host Isaac Butler Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

63 min1 d ago
Comments
Joe Sacco’s Journalistic Comics

Arranger Alex Lacamoire Breaks Down His Process for Hamilton

This week, host Isaac Butler talks shop with Alex Lacamoire, who was the arranger, music director, conductor, and orchestrator for Hamilton. In the interview, Alex explains what an arranger does and details some of the specific creative decisions that went into songs like “You’ll Be Back,” “Ten Duel Commandments,” “That Would Be Enough,” and “Burn.” After the interview, Isaac and co-host June Thomas answer a listener question about how to set aside time and energy for creative work when you have a full-time job. In Slate Plus, Alex talks about a song from Hamilton that was particularly hard to get right. Send your questions about creativity and any other feedback to working@slate.com or give us a call at (304) 933-WORK. That's (304) 933-9675. Podcast production by Cameron Drews. If you enjoy this show, please consider signing up for Slate Plus. Slate Plus members get benefits like zero ads on any Slate podcast, bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Dear Prudence—and you’ll be supporting the work we do here on Working. It’s only $35 for the first year, and you can get a free two-week trial. Sign up now to help support our work. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

52 min1 w ago
Comments
Arranger Alex Lacamoire Breaks Down His Process for Hamilton

Rumaan Alam’s New Novel Started With a Daydream

This week, host June Thomas talks to novelist, critic, and co-host of Working Rumaan Alam about his new novel Leave the World Behind, which has already garnered critical acclaim and a nomination for the National Book Award. In the interview, Rumaan talks about the origins of the novel, his writing process, and how he was able to craft memorable characters despite being, in his words, “face blind.” After the interview, June and co-host Isaac Butler talk about the prophetic nature of Leave the World Behind and Rumaan’s approach to character development. In Slate Plus, Rumaan recommends a piece of short fiction to give listeners a taste of his work. He also talks about works of art that have inspired him and shares an anecdote about Denzel Washington. Send your questions about creativity and any other feedback to working@slate.com. Podcast production by Cameron Drews. To listen to Teamistry, the podcast about teams who work together in new and unexpected ways, click here: https://link.chtbl.com/teamistry?sid=podcast.working If you enjoy this show, please consider signing up for Slate Plus. Slate Plus members get benefits like zero ads on any Slate podcast, bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Dear Prudence—and you’ll be supporting the work we do here on Working. It’s only $35 for the first year, and you can get a free two-week trial. Sign up now to help support our work. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

47 min2 w ago
Comments
Rumaan Alam’s New Novel Started With a Daydream

Director Phil Alden Robinson on the Making of His Cult Classic, Sneakers

This week, host Isaac Butler cracks the code of the heist film genre with Phil Alden Robinson, director of the 1992 cult classic Sneakers. In the interview, Phil talks about Sneakers’ nine-year writing process, the film’s alternate endings, and how he landed a cast of cinema legends, including Robert Redford and Sidney Poitier, to portray his meticulously crafted characters. After the interview, Isaac and co-host June Thomas talk about Phil’s ability to strive for perfection while also being a super nice guy. In Slate Plus, Phil talks about his favorite heist movies. Send your questions about creativity and any other feedback to working@slate.com. Podcast production by Cameron Drews. If you enjoy this show, please consider signing up for Slate Plus. Slate Plus members get benefits like zero ads on any Slate podcast, bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Dear Prudence—and you’ll be supporting the work we do here on Working. It’s only $35 for the first year, and you can get a free two-week trial. Sign up nowto help support our work. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

55 min3 w ago
Comments
Director Phil Alden Robinson on the Making of His Cult Classic, Sneakers

Critic Charles Finch on Reading Hundreds of Books a Year

This week, host Rumaan Alam talks about the aims of literary criticism with novelist and book critic Charles Finch. In the interview, Charles discusses the impact of platforms like Goodreads (where anyone can be a critic) and explains why it’s so hard for people to make a living writing book reviews. He also talks about how a book’s popularity can affect his response to it and how it’s possible to get burned out from writing too many reviews. After the interview, Rumaan and co-host Isaac Butler discuss their relationships to criticism, as people who both write reviews and produce creative work. In Slate Plus, Rumaan asks Charles about the critics he admires most and the titles he would assign if he were teaching a course on criticism. If you enjoy this show, please consider signing up for Slate Plus. Slate Plus members get benefits like zero ads on any Slate podcast, bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Dear Prudence—and you’ll be supporting the work we do here on Working...

52 minSEP 27
Comments
Critic Charles Finch on Reading Hundreds of Books a Year

How Scrapbooking Connects Craft and Personal Reflection

This week host June Thomas talks about the underrated art of scrapbooking with Ali Edwards, who managed to turn her love of crafting into a full-time career. In the interview, Ali discusses her most popular scrapbooking projects, like “December Daily,” and explains why the practice of pairing photographs with words and artistic flair can lead to personal growth and reflection. After the interview, June and co-host Rumaan Alam talk about the benefits of documenting memories. In Slate Plus, Ali reminisces about one of her favorite high-school teachers. Send your questions about creativity and any other feedback to working@slate.com. Podcast production by Cameron Drews. If you enjoy this show, please consider signing up for Slate Plus. Slate Plus members get benefits like zero ads on any Slate podcast, bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Dear Prudence—and you’ll be supporting the work we do here on Working. It’s only $35 for the first year, and you can get a free two-week t...

50 minSEP 20
Comments
How Scrapbooking Connects Craft and Personal Reflection

How a Costume Designer Dressed Two Seth Rogens in American Pickle

This week, host Isaac Butler learns the finer points of costume design from Brenda Abbandandolo, who recently dressed two different characters played by Seth Rogen in American Pickle. Brenda also designed costumes for The Disaster Artist, directed by and starring James Franco, and spent some time working on SNL’s digital shorts. In the interview, she talks about how costumes can communicate information about characters and how practical choices, like giving a character an umbrella, are a crucial part of her job. After the interview, Isaac and co-host Rumaan Alam discuss how the trends and norms of the real world are reflected in Hollywood’s costume design choices. In Slate Plus, Brenda talks about two different styles of costume design that have influenced her work. Send your questions about creativity and any other feedback to working@slate.com. Podcast production by Cameron Drews. If you enjoy this show, please consider signing up for Slate Plus. Slate Plus members get benefits ...

47 minSEP 13
Comments
How a Costume Designer Dressed Two Seth Rogens in American Pickle

Kimberly Drew on the Life-Enhancing Power of Art

This week, host Rumaan Alam talks about the importance of museums with writer and art advocate, Kimberly Drew, whose Tumblr blog Black Contemporary Art set her apart as one of the most promising young voices in the visual art world. It also led to a job as social-media manager at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. In the interview, Kimberly discusses her new book, This Is What I Know About Art, and talks about the role art has played in peoples’ lives during the pandemic. After the interview, June and co-host Rumaan Alam talk about which museums they’re excited to go to when institutions reopen. Send your questions about creativity and any other feedback to working@slate.com. Podcast production by Cameron Drews If you enjoy this show, please consider signing up for Slate Plus. Slate Plus members get benefits like zero ads on any Slate podcast, bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Dear Prudence—and you’ll be supporting the work we do here on Working. It’s only $35 for the fir...

44 minSEP 6
Comments
Kimberly Drew on the Life-Enhancing Power of Art

How Kurt Andersen Succeeds in So Many Creative Fields

This week, host June Thomas talks to novelist, journalist, editor, and radio host Kurt Andersen, who talks about the curiosity and drive that has fueled so many of his creative pursuits. He also discusses his latest nonfiction book, Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America, and he ponders the legacy of Spy magazine, a publication he co-founded in the 1980s. After the interview, June and co-host Isaac Butler discuss the difference between generalists, who know a little bit about a lot of topics, and specialists, who have a specific area of expertise. Send your questions about creativity and any other feedback to working@slate.com. Podcast production by Cameron Drews. And if you enjoy this show, please consider signing up for Slate Plus. Slate Plus members get benefits like zero ads on any Slate podcast, bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Dear Prudence—and you’ll be supporting the work we do here on Working. It’s only $35 for the first year, and you can get a free two-week tr...

42 minAUG 30
Comments
How Kurt Andersen Succeeds in So Many Creative Fields

The Pulitzer Won’t Change Playwright Michael R. Jackson

This week host Isaac Butler traces the creative origins of Michael R. Jackson’s Pulitzer-winning musical A Strange Loop. In the interview, Michael talks about his early songwriting attempts and the gradual process of turning a monologue about his experiences as a young, Black gay man into a one-man show and then turning that one-man show into a “proper musical.” After the interview, Isaac and co-host June Thomas discuss Michael’s distinction between an “autobiographical” work and a “self-referential” work. In Slate Plus, Michael talks about two celebrity encounters, one with Liz Phair, whose music inspired a lot of his work, and one with Tyler Perry, whose work was satirized ruthlessly in A Strange Loop. Send your questions about creativity and any other feedback to working@slate.com Podcast production by Cameron Drews. And if you enjoy this show, please consider signing up for Slate Plus. Slate Plus members get benefits like zero ads on any Slate podcast, bonus episodes of ...

53 minAUG 23
Comments
The Pulitzer Won’t Change Playwright Michael R. Jackson

Latest Episodes

Joe Sacco’s Journalistic Comics

This week, Isaac Butler talks with journalist and cartoonist Joe Sacco. Sacco is a Maltese-American cartoonist and journalist best known for his comics journalism. His books Palestine and Footnotes in Gaza have been critically praised and have won him several awards, including the American Book Award. His most recent book is Paying the Land. They talk about how he draws stories out of people and then draws those stories onto the page. Sacco talks in-depth about his creative process, which does not include story-boarding, and about how he gains the trust of his subjects—mostly by learning how to listen. Afterward, Isaac and co-host Rumaan Alam discuss what they found most striking about the interview and how Sacco’s advice can be applied to their own work. Send your questions about creativity and any other feedback to working@slate.com. Podcast production by Morgan Flannery. Host Isaac Butler Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

63 min1 d ago
Comments
Joe Sacco’s Journalistic Comics

Arranger Alex Lacamoire Breaks Down His Process for Hamilton

This week, host Isaac Butler talks shop with Alex Lacamoire, who was the arranger, music director, conductor, and orchestrator for Hamilton. In the interview, Alex explains what an arranger does and details some of the specific creative decisions that went into songs like “You’ll Be Back,” “Ten Duel Commandments,” “That Would Be Enough,” and “Burn.” After the interview, Isaac and co-host June Thomas answer a listener question about how to set aside time and energy for creative work when you have a full-time job. In Slate Plus, Alex talks about a song from Hamilton that was particularly hard to get right. Send your questions about creativity and any other feedback to working@slate.com or give us a call at (304) 933-WORK. That's (304) 933-9675. Podcast production by Cameron Drews. If you enjoy this show, please consider signing up for Slate Plus. Slate Plus members get benefits like zero ads on any Slate podcast, bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Dear Prudence—and you’ll be supporting the work we do here on Working. It’s only $35 for the first year, and you can get a free two-week trial. Sign up now to help support our work. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

52 min1 w ago
Comments
Arranger Alex Lacamoire Breaks Down His Process for Hamilton

Rumaan Alam’s New Novel Started With a Daydream

This week, host June Thomas talks to novelist, critic, and co-host of Working Rumaan Alam about his new novel Leave the World Behind, which has already garnered critical acclaim and a nomination for the National Book Award. In the interview, Rumaan talks about the origins of the novel, his writing process, and how he was able to craft memorable characters despite being, in his words, “face blind.” After the interview, June and co-host Isaac Butler talk about the prophetic nature of Leave the World Behind and Rumaan’s approach to character development. In Slate Plus, Rumaan recommends a piece of short fiction to give listeners a taste of his work. He also talks about works of art that have inspired him and shares an anecdote about Denzel Washington. Send your questions about creativity and any other feedback to working@slate.com. Podcast production by Cameron Drews. To listen to Teamistry, the podcast about teams who work together in new and unexpected ways, click here: https://link.chtbl.com/teamistry?sid=podcast.working If you enjoy this show, please consider signing up for Slate Plus. Slate Plus members get benefits like zero ads on any Slate podcast, bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Dear Prudence—and you’ll be supporting the work we do here on Working. It’s only $35 for the first year, and you can get a free two-week trial. Sign up now to help support our work. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

47 min2 w ago
Comments
Rumaan Alam’s New Novel Started With a Daydream

Director Phil Alden Robinson on the Making of His Cult Classic, Sneakers

This week, host Isaac Butler cracks the code of the heist film genre with Phil Alden Robinson, director of the 1992 cult classic Sneakers. In the interview, Phil talks about Sneakers’ nine-year writing process, the film’s alternate endings, and how he landed a cast of cinema legends, including Robert Redford and Sidney Poitier, to portray his meticulously crafted characters. After the interview, Isaac and co-host June Thomas talk about Phil’s ability to strive for perfection while also being a super nice guy. In Slate Plus, Phil talks about his favorite heist movies. Send your questions about creativity and any other feedback to working@slate.com. Podcast production by Cameron Drews. If you enjoy this show, please consider signing up for Slate Plus. Slate Plus members get benefits like zero ads on any Slate podcast, bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Dear Prudence—and you’ll be supporting the work we do here on Working. It’s only $35 for the first year, and you can get a free two-week trial. Sign up nowto help support our work. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

55 min3 w ago
Comments
Director Phil Alden Robinson on the Making of His Cult Classic, Sneakers

Critic Charles Finch on Reading Hundreds of Books a Year

This week, host Rumaan Alam talks about the aims of literary criticism with novelist and book critic Charles Finch. In the interview, Charles discusses the impact of platforms like Goodreads (where anyone can be a critic) and explains why it’s so hard for people to make a living writing book reviews. He also talks about how a book’s popularity can affect his response to it and how it’s possible to get burned out from writing too many reviews. After the interview, Rumaan and co-host Isaac Butler discuss their relationships to criticism, as people who both write reviews and produce creative work. In Slate Plus, Rumaan asks Charles about the critics he admires most and the titles he would assign if he were teaching a course on criticism. If you enjoy this show, please consider signing up for Slate Plus. Slate Plus members get benefits like zero ads on any Slate podcast, bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Dear Prudence—and you’ll be supporting the work we do here on Working...

52 minSEP 27
Comments
Critic Charles Finch on Reading Hundreds of Books a Year

How Scrapbooking Connects Craft and Personal Reflection

This week host June Thomas talks about the underrated art of scrapbooking with Ali Edwards, who managed to turn her love of crafting into a full-time career. In the interview, Ali discusses her most popular scrapbooking projects, like “December Daily,” and explains why the practice of pairing photographs with words and artistic flair can lead to personal growth and reflection. After the interview, June and co-host Rumaan Alam talk about the benefits of documenting memories. In Slate Plus, Ali reminisces about one of her favorite high-school teachers. Send your questions about creativity and any other feedback to working@slate.com. Podcast production by Cameron Drews. If you enjoy this show, please consider signing up for Slate Plus. Slate Plus members get benefits like zero ads on any Slate podcast, bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Dear Prudence—and you’ll be supporting the work we do here on Working. It’s only $35 for the first year, and you can get a free two-week t...

50 minSEP 20
Comments
How Scrapbooking Connects Craft and Personal Reflection

How a Costume Designer Dressed Two Seth Rogens in American Pickle

This week, host Isaac Butler learns the finer points of costume design from Brenda Abbandandolo, who recently dressed two different characters played by Seth Rogen in American Pickle. Brenda also designed costumes for The Disaster Artist, directed by and starring James Franco, and spent some time working on SNL’s digital shorts. In the interview, she talks about how costumes can communicate information about characters and how practical choices, like giving a character an umbrella, are a crucial part of her job. After the interview, Isaac and co-host Rumaan Alam discuss how the trends and norms of the real world are reflected in Hollywood’s costume design choices. In Slate Plus, Brenda talks about two different styles of costume design that have influenced her work. Send your questions about creativity and any other feedback to working@slate.com. Podcast production by Cameron Drews. If you enjoy this show, please consider signing up for Slate Plus. Slate Plus members get benefits ...

47 minSEP 13
Comments
How a Costume Designer Dressed Two Seth Rogens in American Pickle

Kimberly Drew on the Life-Enhancing Power of Art

This week, host Rumaan Alam talks about the importance of museums with writer and art advocate, Kimberly Drew, whose Tumblr blog Black Contemporary Art set her apart as one of the most promising young voices in the visual art world. It also led to a job as social-media manager at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. In the interview, Kimberly discusses her new book, This Is What I Know About Art, and talks about the role art has played in peoples’ lives during the pandemic. After the interview, June and co-host Rumaan Alam talk about which museums they’re excited to go to when institutions reopen. Send your questions about creativity and any other feedback to working@slate.com. Podcast production by Cameron Drews If you enjoy this show, please consider signing up for Slate Plus. Slate Plus members get benefits like zero ads on any Slate podcast, bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Dear Prudence—and you’ll be supporting the work we do here on Working. It’s only $35 for the fir...

44 minSEP 6
Comments
Kimberly Drew on the Life-Enhancing Power of Art

How Kurt Andersen Succeeds in So Many Creative Fields

This week, host June Thomas talks to novelist, journalist, editor, and radio host Kurt Andersen, who talks about the curiosity and drive that has fueled so many of his creative pursuits. He also discusses his latest nonfiction book, Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America, and he ponders the legacy of Spy magazine, a publication he co-founded in the 1980s. After the interview, June and co-host Isaac Butler discuss the difference between generalists, who know a little bit about a lot of topics, and specialists, who have a specific area of expertise. Send your questions about creativity and any other feedback to working@slate.com. Podcast production by Cameron Drews. And if you enjoy this show, please consider signing up for Slate Plus. Slate Plus members get benefits like zero ads on any Slate podcast, bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Dear Prudence—and you’ll be supporting the work we do here on Working. It’s only $35 for the first year, and you can get a free two-week tr...

42 minAUG 30
Comments
How Kurt Andersen Succeeds in So Many Creative Fields

The Pulitzer Won’t Change Playwright Michael R. Jackson

This week host Isaac Butler traces the creative origins of Michael R. Jackson’s Pulitzer-winning musical A Strange Loop. In the interview, Michael talks about his early songwriting attempts and the gradual process of turning a monologue about his experiences as a young, Black gay man into a one-man show and then turning that one-man show into a “proper musical.” After the interview, Isaac and co-host June Thomas discuss Michael’s distinction between an “autobiographical” work and a “self-referential” work. In Slate Plus, Michael talks about two celebrity encounters, one with Liz Phair, whose music inspired a lot of his work, and one with Tyler Perry, whose work was satirized ruthlessly in A Strange Loop. Send your questions about creativity and any other feedback to working@slate.com Podcast production by Cameron Drews. And if you enjoy this show, please consider signing up for Slate Plus. Slate Plus members get benefits like zero ads on any Slate podcast, bonus episodes of ...

53 minAUG 23
Comments
The Pulitzer Won’t Change Playwright Michael R. Jackson
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