Across the Margin: The Podcast
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Host Michael Shields brings you Beyond the Margin, guiding you deeper into the stories told at the online literary and cultural magazine, Across the Margin. Listen in as they take you on a storytelling journey, one where you are bound to meet a plethora of intriguing writers, wordsmiths, poets, artists, activists, musicians, and unhinged eccentrics illustrating the notion that there are captivating stories to be found everywhere.

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    Episode 59: Mike Gravel's Twitter & The Gravel Teens

    This latest episode of Across The Margin : The Podcast features an interview with David Oks, the campaign manager of Democratic presidential nominee Mike Gravel. Mike Gravel is a former U.S. Senator from the state of Alaska and is most famous for being a fierce critic of the Vietnam War and who was responsible for reading the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record, a bold act that put his career at risk. Gravel is also remembered for his 2008 presidential run where he famously challenged his peers at the debates by championing an end to the Iraq war and advocating for increasing direct democracy. Initially not interested in running for president again, Oks, a senior in high school, approached Gravel and urged him to run, eventually earning himself a role as campaign manager. He then was given the keys to Gravel’s Twitter account which has been employed aggressively and shrewdly to take other presidential candidates to task for their policy record and to provide poignant thoughts on the state of progressive politics in general. The Gravel campaign’s goal, fascinatingly enough, is not to win the presidency but to push the democratic candidate's policies further to the left and to hopefully get Gravel on stage for the Democratic Party debates to challenge candidates about the issues. Throughout this episode host Michael Shields and Oks discuss his motivations to work with Gravel, the specifics of Gravel’s progressive platform, the concerns and shortcomings of Centrism in America, the candidates that Gravel hopes to propel towards the presidency through his campaign tactics, and the ways in which you can contribute to Gravel’s campaign if so inclined.

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    Episode 58: Brainiac — Transmissions After Zero

    In this latest episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast host Michael Shields sits down with filmmaker/musician Eric Mahoney to take a look back at the legacy and genius of the the Dayton-based indie-rock band Brainiac (3RA1N1AC). On the cusp of a major label deal and breaking into the mainstream, Brainiac’s lead singer and driving force, Tim Taylor, died tragically in a car accident halting the band’s trajectory and forever affecting everyone in Taylor’s orbit. Mahoney’s documentary, Brainiac: Transmissions After Zero, explores Brainiac’s rise to prominence and dissects the intricacies of their unique sound, one that was light years ahead of its time. The documentary intimately whisks viewers into the lives of those closest to Taylor as they attempt to recover from, and process, the fallout from such a monumental loss. Brainiac: Transmissions After Zero celebrates the life and creativity of one of rock music's unsung heroes, exploring with humor and heart the way in which individuals cope with the changes that extreme and sudden loss precipitate.

    Eric Mahoney is a Dayton, OH born musician and filmmaker now residing in Brooklyn, NY. He fronted the band Murder Your Darlings and his film work has been screened at Tribeca, Cannes, and numerous other festivals around the world. His film, Brainiac: Transmissions After Zero, features interviews with artists who were deeply affected and influenced by Brainiac such as Fred Armisen (who played drums in the Chicago band Trenchmouth before his SNL career), Nirvana/PJ Harvey producer Steve Albini, The National’s Matt Berninger, Cedric Bixler-Zavalaformer of At The Drive-In and The Mars Volta, Hole bassist Melissa Auf der Maur, the Jesus Lizard’s David Yow, and more. In this podcast Michael and Eric discuss an often forgotten band whose influence can be felt throughout the music industry today, and introduce listeners to a documentary that offers a sense of closure and a path to healing for those forever altered by that fateful night when Tim Taylor and his genius was lost.

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    Episode 57: The Bounce and The Echo with Ian Johnson

    In this latest episode of Across The Margin:The Podcast listeners are introduced to the latest release from ATM Publishing, The Bounce and The Echo, with an interview with author Ian Johnson. Ian is a former pro basketball player who, for the first three decades of his existence, saw his life revolve entirely around the game. Ian played high school basketball at the prestigious Oak Hill Academy alongside Carmelo Anthony, was a star player during his four years at Davidson College in the lead up to the Stephen Curry era, and went on to play five years of professional basketball in Europe. He won multiple championships and a large number of personal accolades along the way, but Ian spent his career living a double life, both as a committed athlete who thrived on competition and as a skeptical observer who struggled to accept that he was devoting his soul to a game. Ian was a star in a cutthroat system, yet also an unwitting cog, his outward personality indentured to a sport, a fact he didn’t fully understand until he tried to walk away from the game at the age of 27.

    The Bounce and The Echo is a memoir enriched by the enthralling history of the sport of basketball, from its inception unto its current state. It is the story of one person’s attempt to discover himself anew while on a venture to find peace with a game he so desperately wanted to love. The Bounce and The Echo is a story for every athlete who has ever picked up a ball and wondered why, and a book for anyone who has ever wanted to know what happens to a star athlete once the spotlight fades away. In this episode, we learn what compelled Ian to write such a vulnerable and telling memoir, what the word “Dying” in the subtitle of the book truly refers to, how Ian’s struggles with mental health threatened his career and well-being, what the game of basketball and sports in general can better do to prepare athletes for life’s challenges, and much, much more.

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    Episode 56: A Night At The Garden with Marshall Curry

    In this latest episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast listeners are whisked back in time to the evening of Feb. 20th, 1939, a night where 20,000 Americans rallied in New York’s Madison Square Garden to celebrate the rise of Nazism — an event largely forgotten from American history. This chilling and distressingly relevant to today’s times event is the subject of the recently released, Oscar nominated short film “A Night At The Garden,” and this episode features an interview with the filmmaker behind the film,” Marshall Curry. Curry’s body of work is remarkable, from the 2002 Oscar-nominated Street Fight (which chronicled Cory Booker's 2002 mayoral campaign), to the Oscar-nominated If A Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (about an environmentalist who faced life in prison for burning two timber facilities), and onto his work on Mistaken For Strangers (centering on the band The National). All of Marshall’s films are engaging, revealing to the human condition, socially conscious, and riveting.

    While Curry’s extensive career and projects are discussed, this episode’s focus was aimed most sharply at “A Night At The Garden,” a distressing documentary short made entirely from archival footage filmed that fateful night. This affecting film transports audiences to this chilling gathering and shines a light on the power of demagoguery and anti-Semitism in the United States, and in this episode Michael and Marshall discuss how the footage was unearthed, the unique way in which Marshall edited and presented the footage, and the alarming relevance of this event, so many years removed from today, to the current political climate in America.

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    Episode 55: Wasn't That A Time With Author Jesse Jarnow

    In this latest episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast host Michael Shields welcomes author Jesse Jarnow to the podcast to discuss his latest work, Wasn't That a Time: The Weavers, the Blacklist, and the Battle for the Soul of America. Jesse Jarnow’s writing on music, technology, and culture has appeared via Pitchfork,, Rolling Stone, the New York Times, and elsewhere, and he is a contributing editor at Relix. He is the author of Heads: A Biography of Psychedelic America and Big Day Coming: Yo La Tengo and the Rise of Indie Rock. Jesse hosts The Frow Show on the independent Jersey City radio station WFMU and is the host of the podcast Alternative Routes (Osiris Media). His latest, The Weavers, the Blacklist, and the Battle for the Soul of America, is a deeply insightful book which details the remarkable rise of Pete Seeger's unlikely band of folk heroes, from basement hootenannies to the top of the charts, and the harassment campaign that brought them down.

    Exploring how a pop group's harmonies might be heard as a threat worthy of decades of investigation by the FBI, Wasn't That a Time turns the black-and-white 1950s into vivid color, using the Weavers to illuminate a dark and complex period of American history. With origins in the radical folk collective the Almanac Singers and the ambitious People's Songs, the singing activists in the Weavers set out to change the world with songs as their weapons, pioneering the use of music as a transformative political organizing tool.

    Listen in as Michael And Jesse discuss what made the Weavers so special and influential, and as they expound upon the history of folk music as explored in Jarnow’s book while examining the amount of research it took for this work to come to life, the power of music and art in combatting oppression, and much, much more.

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    Episode 54: The Year In Music, 2018

    With the final episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast of 2018, host Michael Shields curates a pairing of conversations that celebrates the varied and wondrous music released this year. Joined by the head of ATM''s Art Department, editor/artist Chris Thompson, the Top 50 Albums of 2018 as selected by the staff of Across The Margin is analyzed, where marvelous releases by the likes of Kamasi Washington, Janelle Monáe, Phosphorecent, Khruangbin, David Byrne and Spirtualized (and more!) are heralded. Up next, Michael converses with music connoisseurs, and hosts of the podcast Beyond the Pond, Brian Brinkman and David Goldstein. Beyond the Pond is a podcast that introduces listeners to a vast array of bands and artists, starting with specific pieces of improvisation by the Vermont-based band Phish. The aim of Beyond the Pond is to take music fans out of their specific comfort zones and, with the aid of their wealth of musical knowledge, steer people towards a more diverse and eclectic smattering of music. Join in on a music-centric odyssey of an episode, where the sonic bounties of today are trumpeted and rightfully earn their appreciation.

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    Episode 53: The Emperor's Handbook

    In the latest episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast, ATM’s Book Club is back in session and this time it is The Emperor's Handbook by Marcus Aurelius that is placed squarely beneath the microscope. The Emperor's Handbook is a book that holds within it an abundance of enduring advice from one of the most powerful leaders in all of history. Marcus Aurelius was at the helm of the Roman Empire at its height, yet he remained true to a virtuous code of ethics and was unchanged by the wealth and power that debased many of his predecessors. The Emperor's Handbook is awash with many of the foundational teachings that aim to ground a person, and steer their thoughts and actions towards a path or righteousness, and this episode serves as an ode to Aurelius’ sage convictions.

    To assist in the dissection of The Emperor's Handbook, Across The Margin once again turns to the always inspiring George Guidotti who returns for his fifth episode. In a previous episode, George helped critically dissect author G. Edward Griffin’s weighty novel, The Creature from Jekyll Island, which promotes undisclosed theories about the motives behind the creation of the United States Federal Reserve System. Following that, George aided in a deep dive into Sebastian Junger’s novel Tribe: On Homecoming & Belonging, a book that examines humanity’s innate attraction to tribal societies and explains why we are stronger when we come together, and how that can be achieved in today’s divided world. He then helped explore writer Joseph Campbell’s deeply insightful and affecting book The Power of Myth, before finally joining in an examination of the memoir of the late, great John Perry Barlow, Mother America Night: My Life In Crazy Times. In this episode, he returns to discuss some of the more inspiring advice ever compiled in one place, within Marcus Aurelius' The Emperor's Handbook.

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    Episode 52: End Climate Silence with Dr. Genevieve Guenther

    In the latest episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast host Michael Shields interviews the Founder & Director of, Dr. Genevieve Guenther. is a volunteer organization dedicated to helping the media link stories about Climate-Change impacts to Climate Change itself. Mobilizing through digital activism, they are an organization motivated by the awareness that Climate Change possesses a grave danger to humanity and that an immediate transition from fossil fuels to safe energy is necessary in order to preserve a planet that supports civilization. recognizes that climate change has begun to hurt people, and it is the media's job to report on that fact.

    In this episode Michael and Dr. Guenther dive deeply into the importance and fallout surrounding the U.N Special Report on Global Warming, the abject failure of the media in correctly reporting about Climate Change, the wildfires ravaging California and how they relate to Climate Change, the Midterm elections and how they will affect Climate Change policy, Dr Guenther’s article “Who Is the We in “We Are Causing Climate Change”?, and much more. Join in on one of the most urgent and timely episodes of Across The Margin: The Podcast yet!

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    Episode 51: What Really Happened with Andrew Jenks

    In this latest episode of Beyond The Margin, host Michael Shields interviews award-winning filmmaker, TV producer, writer and podcaster Andrew Jenks with an episode focused on his latest project WHAT REALLY HAPPENED? Andrew Jenks is a prodigious storyteller who found success early on in his career. His participatory documentary Room 355, set in an assisted living facility, was picked up by HBO when he was just 19 years old. Following that he crafted additional documentaries aiming attention on the U.S. Criminal Justice System (dream/killer), the struggles of living with HIV/AIDS (It’s Not Over), and a bevy of other extraordinary stories (The Zen of Bobby Z, All American Family, Posterized). The New York Times has remarked that Andrew’s work “shines a light on populations that many of us would just as soon forget,” and now, he is utilizing his storytelling and research-based investigative reporting prowess in the podcasting realm with WHAT REALLY HAPPENED?, a podcast where Andrew examines and contextualizes famous figures and historical events, while discovering untold stories and unraveling newfound narratives. Andrew often times throws a wrench in the gears of history, getting either closer to the truth or creating more questions. WHAT REALLY HAPPENED? is executive produced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Dany Garcia of Seven Bucks Productions, Brian Gewirtz, Andrew Jenks and Cadence 13.

    In this episode, Michael and Andrew dig into the intricacies of the podcast series, and examine Jenks’ personal connection to the stories he is telling, ranging in topic from Winston Churchill to Michael Jordan to Bridgegate, Britney Spears and beyond. What this episode amounts to is an introduction to an altogether fascinating and talented filmmaker and human being, and also a behind the scenes look at a remarkably compelling podcast series.

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    Episode 50: Active Measures with Jack Bryan

    To mark its 50th episode, Beyond the Margin tackles one of the most pressing concerns of modern times: Russian influence in the United States’ 2016 presidential election and its ongoing sway on the President of the United States. To accomplish this in a comprehensive manner, host Michael Shields interviews filmmaker Jack Bryan, the figure behind one of 2018’s most talked about documentaries. Bryan is the director, writer, and producer of Active Measures (Available on iTunes and Hulu now!), a documentary which exposes a 30-year history of covert political warfare devised by Vladimir Putin to disrupt, influence, and ultimately control world events and democratic nations through cyber attacks, propaganda campaigns, and corruption. Bryan’s film is an important work of storytelling that provides a rich context for Russia's interference by tracing the history of its government’s shrewd geopolitical machinations.

    Jack Bryan is a dynamic filmmaker, and one intent on telling a story that must be told for the sake of Democracy’s well being in America. In this episode, Michael and Jack unravel the true depth and scope of "the Russia story" as seen in Active Measures. So prepare to dive deep into an extremely important episode that thoroughly explores one of the wildest and most comprehensively orchestrated scandals in political history.

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