Hip Squared 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 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 Episode 15

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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 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 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 Episode 12

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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 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 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 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

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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.


Troy catches us up on the Magic: The Gathering Grand Prix in Louisville, talk about Awesome Games Done Quick (AGDQ), a video game speed run supporting the Prevent Cancer Foundation. John touches on his first experience as a Dungeon Master in Dungeons & Dragons and then praises two very different BBC productions. The first is A Bit of Fry and Laurie, a late 80's sketch comedy show with Steven Fry and Hugh Laurie, and next is a compelling radio adaption of Homer's The Odyssey.

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John and Troy talk about a magical Christmas in Spain, the good and bad about mobile games including Pokemon Go, Super Mario Run, Sonic Dash and Hearthstone, the Magic the Gathing card game and the Magic: The Gathering Grand Prix in Louisville, KY, from January 6th-8th (in 2017).


John and Troy talk about the new Disney movie Moana with music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the upcoming Blade Runner movie sequel, Ni no Kuni: Curse of the White Witch, a J-RPG with art by Studio Ghibli, the movie Arrival about a linguist helping the world deal with an alien invasion, and a mega board-game involving sixty people playing Watch the Skies, a game about world governments dealing with aliens from outer space,


John and Troy talk about the new dryer Troy adult-ed for Christmas, laundry rooms in American sitcoms, The Imitation Game, a movie about computer pioneer Alan Turing starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and Sleepwalk With Me with Mike Birbiglia about his own life as a struggling stand-up comedian dealing with a rare sleeping disorder (which is funnier than might think from its description).

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Episode 1 of American Fantastic's pop-culture podcast, Hip Squared, celebrating everything from the mainstream to the underground, weird, new, old and local, hosted by John Beechem and Troy Kremer.

John and Troy introduce each other to you, and talk about video games, the game-ification of society, and the 1982 high-school T.V. show Square Pegs.