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Kickass News

Hosted by Hollywood producer and political media strategist Ben Mathis, KickAss News is a twice weekly podcast that features the most interesting personalities and thought leaders in politics, entertainment, tech, business, science, and more. Enjoy the podcast? Then please support the show and help keep us on the air by making a donation to our GoFundMe campaign at www.gofundme.com/kickassnews. Another way you can support the show is to subscribe to the podcast and leave us a review on iTunes to help keep us ranking strong on the top podcasts charts. For more information visit www.kickassnews.com. Thanks for listening!
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Now displaying: February, 2021
Feb 26, 2021

Oscar-nominated director Lee Daniels (Precious, The Butler) talks about his latest film The United States vs. Billie Holiday and how the 1971 movie Lady Sings the Blues inspired him to go into entertainment.  He reveals that he always has a personal connection to each of his films, that The United States vs Billie Holiday was the first movie that he has ever directed sober. and how his own struggle with drugs and alcohol gave him insight into Holiday’s lifelong addiction.  We discuss how the iconic song Strange Fruit that put Billie Holidays in the cross-hairs of a powerful drug agent who was intent on destroying her and why Lee believes that she deserves a place among America’s Civil Rights Heroes.  Plus Lee talks about his upcoming miniseries about another famous black entertainer Sammy Davis Jr.

The United States vs. Billie Holiday streams on Hulu beginning Friday, February 26.   Follow Lee Daniels on Twitter at @leedanielsent.

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Feb 22, 2021

Journalist and author Gayle Tzemach Lemmon talks about the women who fought ISIS in Syria.  She discusses how the female fighters of Kobani helped to deliver the first blow to the previously unstoppable forces of the Islamic State and how that victory convinced the US that it had a reliable partner against ISIS.  She shares the individual stories of some of the brave women she encountered, including some who rose to command both women and men in combat, and some who were forced to marry ISIS fighters, survived unspeakable brutality, and then went on the defeat ISIS on the battlefield.  Gayle reveals how the women of the Syrian Democratic Forces are now working to establish equality for women in Syrian and throughout one of the most hostile regions for women in the world.  Plus how ISIS reacted when they realized they were getting their butts kicked by a bunch of bad-ass women!

Order Gayle Lemmon’s new book The Daughters of Kobani: A Story of Rebellion, Courage, and Justice on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Keep up with Gayle at www.GayleLemmon.com or on Twitter at @GayleLemmon.  

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Feb 20, 2021

Pulitzer Prize-winning author, scientist, and renowned polymath Jared Diamond reveals that many of the factors in how individuals cope with personal crises can also predict how countries survive national crises.  He profiles six nations in transition in his book Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis, and shares his personal experiences and observations about those countries including why one should never utter the word "Finlandization" in Finland, how Chileans in the 1960’s never thought that their democracy would fall to a bloody dictator, and he says this doesn’t bode well for the U.S.  He discusses why some countries like Germany choose to acknowledge their violent past while others like Indonesia choose to bury it.  Then he warns of two nations currently facing crises Japan, who suffers from crippling national debt and an aging/shrinking population, and the United States, where he says the decline of political compromise and voting rights is eroding our democracy.

Order Jared Diamond's terrific book Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold. 

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Feb 15, 2021

In this age of insurmountable consumption of media where bad news travels fast from all directions, comedian Tom Papa wants to remind us to take care of ourselves, embrace who you’ve become, and absorb the beauty of life in his new Netflix special Tom Papa: You're Doing Great!  In this February 2020 interview, Tom reveals where his trademark optimism comes from, why he rejects the cynicism often associated with standup comedy, and what he learned about being true to your comedic voice while touring with Jerry Seinfeld.  He opens up about his anxiety over sending his daughter off to college and warning her that most men’s “nice guy act” is a total fraud.  Plus Tom talks about his own real life ghost story, the lie of social media, the myth of "the good old days," and the symbiotic relationship between baking and writing comedy.

Tom’s standup special Tom Papa: You're Doing Great is now streaming on Netflix, and look for his book You're Doing Great in stores May 12.  Visit www.tompapa.com for his upcoming tour dates and follow him on twitter at @TomPapa.

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Feb 11, 2021

True crime documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger (Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, Paradise Lost) discusses his new Netflix docu-series Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel that deconstructs the mythology and mystery surrounding infamous locations in contemporary crime.  He explains the dark history of the Cecil Hotel and why the socio-economics of downtown Los Angeles have made it a haven for the downtrodden, desperate, and despicable, including Richard Ramirez aka the Nightstalker.  We talk about the mysterious 2013 disappearance of Canadian college student Elisa Lam, whose body was later found in a tank on the roof that provided the hotel’s water supply, the bizarre elevator footage that fed media speculation around the case, and some of the even more bizarre conspiracy theories propagated by a community of online web sleuths.

Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel is now streaming only on Netflix.  Follow Joe Berlinger on Twitter at @joeberlinger.

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Feb 11, 2021

In this 2018 interview with David Mamet, the Pulitzer-winning writer/director discusses how the old gangster stories he heard as a child inspired him to write CHICAGO: A NOVEL.  He talks about his love of classic noir and hot jazz, and dislike of social media, computers, and flowery prose.  He shares why famous figures are better felt than heard in historical fiction, why he says Hollywood is dead, and why he never reads his own reviews.  He teases his latest play about Harvey Weinstein, and reveals his longing to live as a reporter in the 1920’s and die as a whorehouse piano player with a whiskey and a cigarette.

Order David Mamet's book CHICAGO: A NOVEL on Amazon.

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Feb 5, 2021

In this 2019 conversation with astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Neil discusses some of his favorite letters from fans on a diverse array of topics from Pluto and Bigfoot to race and religion.  He shares touching personal letters from his cousin wondering about her deceased father’s spirit, and a mother whose autistic son is torn between what he learns in Hebrew school and what he learns from Cosmos.  He talks about the tweet that enraged the musician Moby, the rapper who insisted that the earth is flat, and a man who asked Neil to help promote his "perpetual motion machine."  Plus Neil answers your questions about black holes, the speed of light, the moon landing, and more.

Order Neil deGrasse Tyson's book Letters from an Astrophysicist on Amazon, Audible or wherever books are sold.  Subscribe to his podcast Startalk on Apple Podcasts or wherever you like to listen, follow him on twitter at @NeilTyson, and visit his webpage at www.haydenplanitarium.org/tyson.  

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Feb 2, 2021

Jay Duplass and Zackary Drucker discuss their new docu-series The Lady and the Dale about the rise and eventual fall of automaker and trans trailblazer Elizabeth Carmichael.  We talk about Carmichael's three-wheeled car that claimed to get 70 per gallon and how the 70s gas crisis fueled incredible interest in "the Dale."  We Carmichael's shady past, and life on the run from the law, and how it inevitably caught up to her.  We also cover some of the prejudices she faced and what her trial meant for the trans community.  Plus Elizabeth Carmichael's connection to the mafia, the Cuban revolution, and Tucker Carlson’s dad!

Watch the first episode of The Lady and the Dale on HBO on Demand or HBO Max, 
and don’t miss new episodes airing Sunday at 9PM E on HBO and HBO Max.

 

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