Hip Squared Season 2 Episode 5

Wolverine: the long night

Wolverine: the long night

In this episode of Hip Squared, we visit two worlds in conflict: America in the 1960s and the Marvel Universe. First, Troy talks about Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America by Rick Perlstein. This is a history of America in the 1960s, a nation torn apart by civil strife, racial conflict and the Vietnam War. Troy describes how Richard Nixon catalyzed these forces to ascend to power and transform the country he led.

Then John talks about Wolverine: The Long Night, Marvel’s first scripted podcast. The story follows two FBI agents sent to Alaska to investigate a series of grisly murders. As their investigation unfolds, they learn how Wolverine, one of Marvel’s flagship characters, is involved in a dark web greed, deceit and violence. John talks about how this different form of story-telling echoes classic radio dramas with a modern edge.

Maplex Monk is on the ones and twos.

Thanks for listening to Hip Squared! Please share this episode with a friend (or enemy), like us on Facebook, share us on social media and become a member on Patreon for as little as $1 a month.


Hip Squared Season 2 Episode 4

The Dragon Prince

The Dragon Prince

In this episode of Hip Squared, we balance the realms of science and fantasy. First, John talks about The Dragon Prince, an animated series on Netflix made by part of the team responsible for Avatar: The Last Airbender. Created by Aaron Ehasz and Justin Richmond, it tells the story of a pair of human princes and a rogue elf that must keep the last egg of the dragons safe to prevent a war. Its excellent animation and quality story-telling make it a series worth watching.

Then Troy illuminates us with information about the kilogram and how scientists have redefined it. He breaks down how its new measurement is tied to the speed of light and the atomic make-up of different elements. Troy explains these details in a way that’s rich but easily understood.

Maplex Monk is on the boards.

Thanks for listening to Hip Squared! Please share this episode with a friend (or enemy), like us on Facebook, share us on social media and become a member on Patreon for as little as $1 a month.


Hip Squared Season 2 Christmas Special

The best bad Christmas movie? Arguably so.

The best bad Christmas movie? Arguably so.

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukka! Happy Kwanzaa! Happy Solstice! Fearsome Festivus! It’s the holidays, and Hip Squared is celebrating with our very first Christmas special (sorry other holidays, maybe next year).

Kelly Shiflet comes back to talk about the He-Man & She-Ra Christmas Special from 1985 (available for free on Youtube). This is the tale of Orko, one of He-Man’s sidekicks, who accidentally travels to Earth to learn about Christmas. She-Ra helps him return with the children he meets, and then she joins He-Man and their friends in a battle against Skeletor and Horde Prime to save Christmas and Eternia. Kelly also talks about the Rankin Bass Christmas specials of the 1960s and 70s including Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.

Then John talks about The Kinks’ “Father Christmas”, a rock song from 1978 about a department store Santa who is mugged by a group of kids. They tell him to give him his money, and to save his toys “for all the little rich boys”. This song attacks the season’s over-consumption, but also contains a message of compassion and generosity for the poor. Then John talks about Santa Claus: the Movie, a 1985 film starring Dudley Moore and John Lithgow. It’s about an elf who leaves the North Pole and meets an evil toy-maker (played by Moore and Lithgow respectively). The toy-maker wants to use Christmas magic for evil, and plans his own Christmas 2. Can Santa and his friends save Christmas? Of course they can.

Finally, Troy talks to us about the Great British Bake-Off (or Baking show as it’s known in America). He talks about the humor and gentleness of the show. Then he describes the newest Christmas specials, including the current season of the Great American Baking Show and Great British Bake-Off holiday specials starring some of its former contestants. Listen for some splendid flavors. This episode has no soggy bottom!

Maplex Monk is on the boards.

Thanks for listening to Hip Squared! Please share this episode with a friend (or enemy), like us on Facebook, share us on social media and become a member on Patreon for as little as $1 a month.

Hip Squared Season 2 Episode 3

Sigiled Paladin by Greg Staples

Sigiled Paladin by Greg Staples

In this episode of Hip Squared, the dynamic duo are at it again. First, John talks about books by bipolar authors about being bipolar. He focuses on two books in particular, Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michaelangelo and Me by Ellen Forney and An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison. As someone who lives with bipolar, John is able to connect to these works on a deep level.

Then Troy describes the very best Magic: The Gathering art. Originally designed as a way to take up time while setting up a game of Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: The Gathering is now a gaming juggernaut in its own right. After its debut, the game soon became well known for the art included in each card. Troy describes some of his favorite images from the series.

Maplex Monk is on the boards.

Thanks for listening to Hip Squared! Please share this episode with a friend (or enemy), like us on Facebook, share us on social media and become a member on Patreon for as little as $1 a month.


Hip Squared Season 2 Halloween Special


Hip Squared is back for a spookifying good time! John talks about Hammer horror films, popular British horror movies mostly made from the late 50’s to the early 70’s. Many starred Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, including Dracula A.D. 1972. John also talks about a good resource for the history of horror movies, Cinemassacre’s Monster Madness.

Then Troy talks about Innistrad, a horror themed setting for Magic the Gathering. He describes its story and atmosphere, including its second set about Eldritch horror. Troy and John also talk about H.P. Lovecraft and the Cthulu Mythos.

Thanks for listening to Hip Squared! Please share this episode with a friend (or enemy), like us on Facebook, share us on social media and become a member on Patreon for as little as $1 a month.

Hip Squared Season 2 Episode 2

The Adventure Zone.jpg

In this episode of Hip Squared, John and Troy are joined on the mic by their producer, Maplex Monk. First, Troy talks about The Adventure Zone, a role-playing podcast starring the McCelroy Brothers (from their first podcast, My Brother, My Brother and Me) and their father, Clint McCelroy. Together, the family plays a table-top role-playing game and narrates their adventures. As a comedy podcast, they also improvise funny bits, recurring jokes and hilarious characters, but the show also contains a fair amount of “feels”. You can subscribe to the podcast, and also buy a graphic novel based on the show’s first arc.

Then John talks about Ibiza, a movie released on Netflix starring Gillian Jacobs, Phoebe Robinson and Vanessa Bayer. It’s a raunchy, female-led comedy, in the vein of Bridesmaids, about a group of friends who travel to Spain for business and pleasure. John talks about the indie comedy pedigree involved in the show’s cast, and about Netflix as an alternate avenue for film production and release. It’s an excellent comedy, and well worth your time if you’re a fan of the genre.

Maplex Monk also spends a couple minutes talking about Alice in Paris, a digital series about a young woman wandering the streets of Paris. You can watch the series on Youtube.

Thanks for listening to Hip Squared! Please share this episode with a friend (or enemy), like us on Facebook, share us on social media and become a member on Patreon for as little as $1 a month.


Hip Squared Season 2 Episode 1

Final Fantasy XI Black Mage

Final Fantasy XI Black Mage

Hip Squared triumphantly returns for Season 2! Featuring hosts John Beechem, Troy Kremer and very special guest, Kelly Shiflet. Kelly is a Louisville artist and John’s wife (you can also hear her on the American Fantastic Radio Hour, ep. 7). Together, they talk about the #MeToo movement and its fall-out, including Aziz Ansari, Louis C.K. and too many other male celebrities. Kelly also talks about her savage vengeance against an anonymous, sexist Final Fantasy XI player many years ago.

Then the trio stir up even more controversy talking about the recent cancellation of the new Roseanne show in the aftermath of her racist tweet. After soundly condemning Roseanne, and agreeing with the decision to cancel her show, they share memories of watching the old series growing up and what it meant to them.

Maplex Monk runs the boards.

Thanks for listening to Hip Squared! Please share this episode with a friend (or enemy), like us on Facebook, share us on social media and become a member on Patreon for as little as $1 a month.


Hip Squared Season 0 Episode 0

Hip Squared Season 0 Episode 0 


Season 2 of Hip Squared is almost here! In the meantime, listen to Hip Squared Episode 0, Hip Cubed. That's right, we've unlocked the third brother, Thomas Beechem, and he's taken us out of our 2-dimensional realm and brought us into the meat-space. [This episode was recorded without the help of our producer, so the audio quality is rougher than usual--though it still very listenable]

In this episode, we talk about the documentary GLOW (the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling), and the Netflix series GLOW that it helped inspire. John and Thomas wax nostalgic about memories of pro wrestling from their childhood, and together they school Troy on the finer nuances of a figure-four leg-lock (in a matter of speaking). John tells us all about women's pro-wrestling, its depiction in the media and the brothers relate this to pro wrestling's larger place in pop-culture.

Then Troy brings us on a web-slinging adventure through the streets of New York with Spider-Man: Homecoming, one of Marvel Studio's less-talked about, but more expertly made films, also the first Spider-Man movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The brothers also get into comic book movies as a genre, and the societal critiques implicitly offered by big super-hero sagas like Civil War.

To support our audio production, please follow American Fantastic on Facebook, share this episode on social media, and consider becoming a member of American Fantastic on Patreon.

Thanks for listening! Toodles...

Hip Squared Season 1 Episode 17


John and Troy wrap up Season 1 in a tight little bow. Introducing Gaia, John's daughter in her very first podcast. John explains how the demands of fatherhood and mandatory overtime necessitates the need for between season break, and also takes about plans for the future of Hip Squared.

Troy talks about Twitch TV, a video-game streaming service where spectators watch people play video games. From people who are professional video game players to those who play to entertain, Twitch showcases people who stream video games and provide commentary, including streamers like CohhCarnage and many others.

John talks about Aziz Ansari and his new Netflix show, Master of None. Aziz Ansari is a comedian who performs stand-up and became famous as an actor for his role of Tom Haveford in Parks and Recreation. His new show Master of None is in its 2nd season on Netflix. Master of None is about Dev, a fictionalized version of Aziz, and his struggles with love and life in New York. Aziz is also a prolific stand-up comedian with his own Netflix special , and has also published a book about dating and digital technology called Modern Romance, written with sociologist Eric Klinenberg.

Maplex Monk runs the boards.

Hip Squared Season 1 Episode 16


Welcome to episode 16 of Hip Squared! Troy tells us about crafting a strandbeest, a walking wind creature engineered to amuse as it ambles along at its own pace. John continues white-knuckling through his mandatory over-time shifts, power-napping in his car during lunch breaks.

Then John talks about the new Gorillaz album, Humanz. Gorillaz is a band and multi-media phenomenon that includes a group of made-up cartoon characters that make music and go on adventures together. With a twisted sci-fi aesthetic, diverse musical influences and a collection of well-crafted music videos, Gorillaz have been entertaining their audiences for years. John and Troy talk about their music and madness.

Next, Troy talks about going to the theatre during his trip to London. He speaks about the play adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, originally a book about a young man with a mental condition that vaguely resembles autism. The play puts the audience into the main character's perspective with often disorienting results. He also talks about seeing Othello at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, an indoor playhouse lit only by candle-light.

Maplex Monk twists the knobs.

Hip Squared Season 1 Episode 15

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.jpg

Peer into the future as we as we talk about pop-culture's present and past! John and Troy talk about the intersection of digital technology and (the lack of) privacy.

Then John talks about Mystery Science Theater 3000, a long-running T.V. that celebrates the worst of cinema, recently resurrected on Netflix. Created by Joel Hodgson and now hosted by Jonah Rey, this show screens old movies with a group of people riffing jokes as the movie plays. With a comedic sci-fi premise, practical effects and puppets, MST3K is a beloved nerd franchise whose return was crowd-funded on Kickstarter.

In another realm of cinema, Troy takes us back to Italy in the 1960's and the pinnacle of the Spaghetti Western, Sergio Leone's "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly". Part 3 of Troy's 3 part series about the movie posters on his apartment walls, we round out our discussion of classic American cinema with one of the most iconic Westerns of all time. Introducing the archetype of the gritty anti-hero, Leone and Eastwood created one of the most memorable and influential movies of the 20th century. Including memorable music and performances, this film stands the test of time, and then some.

Maplex Monk presses all the right buttons.

Hip Squared Season 1 Episode 14


Troy comes back from his first international reporting trip (and fiance visit) for Episode 14 of Hip Squared. In addition to experiences in Spain and London, he also talks about The Shawshank Redemption, the subject of the second of three movie posters that adorn his walls. This film is based on a novella by Stephen King, and is one of the most beloved films of the 90's and all time.

John talks about Dragonlance, one of the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons, and the realm of many of John's favorite stories from his childhood. Fantasy paper-back pulp that sometimes reached majestic heights, Dragonlance could also be experienced as a table-top RPG, and video games and even a film, some of varying quality.

Maplex Monk is on the pings and pongs.

Hip Squared Season 1 Episode 13


Hip Squared has baked more than a dozen tasty tidbits into lucky episode 13! First, John describes his failure to get into a Donald Trump rally in Louisville, KY, but also his success in exercising his 1st amendment rights with a number of other vocal protesters.

Then, he talks about Samurai Jack, a cartoon created by Genndy Tartakovsky for Cartoon Network, now back for its 5th season after a 12 year absence. Samurai Jack is an action packed and highly stylized animated series about an all-powerful demon, Aku, and the only man who can defeat him.

Next, in the first of a three part series about movies whose posters adorn his apartment walls, Troy talks about 12 Angry Men. Originally a made for TV movie, 12 Angry Men has since been adapted into a play, feature film, another made for TV movie, and countless amateur productions. It takes place in one room, the juror's room, and follows every member of a jury charged with deciding the fate of a young man accused of murder. Including themes about justice, race, right and wrong, 12 Angry Men is a mirror reflected at America, and one worth looking into.

Maplex Monk is on the bleeps and bloops.

Hip Squared Season 1 Episode 12

zelda breath of the wild.jpg

Hop into your nearest portal, and come into another world with Hip Squared Episode 12! John talks about Stephen King's strange and gripping fantasy saga, The Dark Tower Series, a story that involves the Gunslinger, Roland, and his obsessive for the tower's secrets, among them many parallel dimensions, including our own. All seven books were penned by Stephen King, one of the world's best-selling and most talented horror and fantasy writers. They're now being adapted into a movie starring Idris Elba as the Gunslinger, and the saga was also adapted into a series of audiobooks, all magnificently read and performed by Frank Muller.

Troy pulls us into the digital wonderland of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the latest game in one of Nintendo's most beloved series, now out on the Nintendo Switch. Instead of the gameplay (though we tread lightly on that too) we focus on the new Zelda's gorgeous and immersive atmosphere, its cell-shaded, fantastical art style, and we compare it not only to its companion games on other Nintendo systems, but to all kinds of games that rely on the charm of their environments for part of their appeal.

Maplex Monk is on the ones and twos.

Hip Squared Season 1 Episode 11


John and Troy are back with a meta-podcast! That's right, a podcasts about podcasts. First, Troy and John talk about River City Revue, a literary reading at the Bardstown in Louisville, KY that John participated in. Ashley Taylor hosted the event, and also featured Michael Baumann and Kelly Morris. Then, Troy talks about the beloved history podcast hosted by Dan Carlin, Hardcore History, a show about all the weird, terrible, and wonderful things that have happened. And John talks about two shows featuring the McElroy family, My Brother, My Brother, and Me and Sawbones. The McElroy's include Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy and Griffin McElroy, plus Justin's wife Sidney. MBMBaM is a show that feautes all three brothers, with goofy advice and lots of witty ad-libbing. It's recently been turned into a streaming T.V. Show on Seeso. And Sawbones is a show about bizarre and funny medical history, including Sidney McElroy, a doctor.

Hip Squared Season 1 Episode 10


Two very different kinds of nerds are exhibited in episode 10. John talks about a couple of comic books. Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson is about a feminist summer-camp with a group of girls who get caught up in all kinds of super-natural shenanigans. And Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Sakai is a classic, black and white comic, still being published, about an anthropomorphic rabbit samurai in a world of anthropomorphic beings. Troy talks about a fairly recent musical which has become very popular to perform, All Shook Up, combining Elvis and Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. It was recently performed by Northern Kentucky University.

Hip Squared Season 1 Episode 9


Welcome to Hip Squared Episode 9! John talks about the gritty neo-Western Hell or High Water, earning Jeff Bridges an Oscar nomination, and Michael Bolton's Big, Sexy Valentine's Day Special, a new comedy out on Netflix. And Troy talks about Factorio, a computer strategy game about gathering resources to build bigger and bigger machines, described as a "game for engineers".

Hip Squared Season 1 Episode 7


John and Troy host their saddest podcast ever. Troy introduces us to Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, a series of children's books about a group of hard-luck siblings that's been turned into a new Netflix show starring Neil Patrick Harris. John talks about two books dealing with America's heroin and opiate epidemic, one fiction and one one non-fiction. Sam Quinones' Dreamland is a book that documents the prescription opiate epidemic and how this intertwines with a massive influx of black tar heroin from a small village in Mexico. Don Winslow's The Power of the Dog is a crime thriller about a former CIA agent and Vietnam War veteran who joins the DEA to fight in the drug war in Mexico.

Dry your tears and enjoy this episode!

Hip Squared Season 1 Episode 6

A Night Called Tomorrow.jpeg

Hip Squared was away last week so John could help welcome his daughter Gaia into the world, but now they're back with a vengeance! John and Troy talk about the sci-fi noir radio drama podcast "A Night Called Tomorrow", written by James Urbaniak (of Venture Bros. fame) and produced by Howl. A very different but also quite good sci-fi show, Netflix's Voltron: A Legendary Defender, produced by Dreamworks, is the next topic of conversation. And Troy catches us up on the Chicago production of Hamilton, Wayne Brady's somewhat controversial casting as Aaron Burr, and Hamilton productions since Lin-Manuel Miranda retired from the starring role.