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Episode 80: Nathan Rabin, You Don’t Know Me But You Don’t Like Me

This week we’re joined by returning guest Dave Housley (author, most recently, of the story collection If I Knew the Way, I Would Take You Home) to discuss this 2013 book by the former editor of The A.V. Club, in which he investigates the cult fandoms of both Phish and Insane Clown Posse. Rabin went to several Phish shows and the annual Gathering of the Juggalos to figure out what makes these bands so popular. He also had a bit of a breakdown, during what sounds like a pretty rough year.


We talk about what separates mediocre writing about pop culture from great writing about pop culture, and how we make those distinctions when choosing essays for Barrelhouse. We also talk about constructing a narrative arc out of your own experience, and how to write about personal trials and tribulations. Oh, and aliens. We talk a bunch about aliens, because Dave is a pretty big fan of aliens, or rather alien-related television programming. It’s even led him to online friendships with several members of the group MUFON (the Mutual UFO Network).

Links! We’ve got links! To all sorts of stuff we talked about during this week’s program. First off, here’s a link to Dave’s story involving aliens, “How We Got From There to Here,” on the website of the now-defunct Pindeldyboz. And here’s a link to Dave’s website, where you can find everything Housley-related.

If you’d like to read the recap of the Two and a Half Men finale Tom talked about during the show, you can do that here, via Vulture. You can read the Roy Orbison stories we talked about here (spoiler: they’re great!). And you can read Joe Bonomo’s craft essay here, on the Brevity site. Finally, Dave’s book of paranormal erotica–which he wrote along with Barrelhouse friends Matt Perez and Becky Barnard–is available via Amazon, for the low low price of $1.99.

Oh, and we’re in the last week of our annual fund drive, so if you haven’t yet, please kick in a few bucks. As of this posting, we’re 85% of the way funded, and we just need one final push to get us over the top. If we hit our goal, we’ll do a bonus episode–available to everyone–chosen by you, the listening public.

As always, we’d love to hear your feedback on what we talked about during the show. You can email us, hit us up on Twitter, or just leave a comment here on the site. If you like the show, please consider writing us an iTunes review, and tell your friends about us! We rely mostly on word-of-mouth to reach new listeners.

You can stream the episode below, by clicking on the little player thingy, or you can download the mp3 file. Or find us in the iTunes store, where you can subscribe (for free) and never miss another episode.

Thanks for listening!


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Episode 72: Ravi Mangla, Understudies

This week’s book is a Tom pick, and was also the runner-up to The Silver Linings Playbook in last year’s donor voting. Ravi Mangla’s Understudies came out earlier this year from San Francisco-based Outpost 19. You can read a brief excerpt on the Outpost 19 website.

Also: It's November, which must mean it's National Novel Writing Month. This week we dig into the NaNoWriMo forums to see what the participants are struggling with: how to name alligators and horses, gas masks for animals, living in a clock tower, and a world where houses are sort of like computers or something?

You can stream the episode right here on our site, by clicking on the little player thingy below. You can also visit us in the iTunes store (link below) where you can catch up on back episodes and subscribe (for free) so you never miss another installment.

As always, thanks for listening to the show, and helping to spread the words to your literature-loving friends. If you’ve got feedback for us, we’re happy to hear it. You can email us, Tweet at us, or just leave a comment here on the site.


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