This doesn't make me feel old at all, but with this article, I've officially written 1,000 stories for the Source Weekly, on and off since September of 2010. I'm glad my 1,000th story landed on the date of my monthly column, so I can just take a moment and say three thank yous. One to Aaron and Angela Switzer for giving me the space to write in an honest-to-god wonderful alt-weekly for so many years and one to Nicole Vulcan, who, since she became editor, has made every single article I've written stronger with her patience and brilliance.
Thanks also to anyone who has ever picked up a Source and read one of my stories. I've gotten plenty of kind letters (and hate mail!) over the years and I'll never take for granted getting to share my thoughts while also amplifying other voices in the community I love so much. I'll write for the Source for as long as they'll have me and I'll never stop being honored to get to share my love of film, food and culture with each and every one of you.
Anyway! Enough of that! Here's a few of the things I've been enjoying this March in what I like to call "The Mild Yet Endless Winter of 2023."
In Pod We Trust
As much as I love listening to and discovering new podcasts, I think I've recently realized something about myself: I still haven't found a podcast that I listen to as regularly or am as obsessive about than "Welcome to Night Vale" (and that was the second podcast I ever discovered after Marc Maron's "WTF"). I mean, I even got a "Welcome to Night Vale" tattoo recently that was based off a throwaway joke from the first season.
I've listened to the 200+ episodes multiple times, so I know I have to find something I love as much as that very specific blend of "Prairie Home Companion" and "Twin Peaks" that I only get from Night Vale. One I recently discovered that is helping fill the hole is "The Bright Sessions," a serialized fiction podcast which follows the sessions of a therapist to people with superpowers. It has the excitement of an unpredictable story, while also containing some pretty profound truths about the human condition.
"King Falls AM" is even more like "Night Vale," as the narrator is the host of a talk radio show in a weird mountain town, but after the first few episodes the show differentiates itself enough from Night Vale not to be redundant. What's really neat about this one is that the host Sammy Stevens is new to the fictional town of King Falls, so he gets to discover the strangeness of the community at the same time as the listeners do. It's easier to jump into than Night Vale, so check it out.
Normally when shows come back after many years off the air, they don't return with the same magic that made them popular with fans in the first place. But Starz brought back the cult classic series "Party Down" last week, after it was unceremoniously canceled after two seasons back in 2010. With the same creative team (Rob Thomas, the guy responsible for "Veronica Mars," and Paul Rudd, among others) and most of the original cast returning, the first two episodes have felt like a hilarious and honest coda to the series. With only six episodes airing, this will be a very small-time commitment to fans of the original.
Not that you need me to tell you this, but even for people who could not care less about video games or horror, "The Last of Us" series is a banger. Deeply character driven while also being a frightening remixing of the zombie genre, "TLoU" is one of those shows that not only keeps getting better with every episode, but also keeps the same amount of tension even while waiting week-to-week for the next entry. The show is already renewed for another season, so it's the perfect time to check out the show that everyone you know is talking about. It's worth it.
Jared’s 1000th Article: A chat with our film reviewer as he passes a major milestone
By Nicole Vulcan
Source Weekly film reviewer and arts, culture and food writer Jared Rasic penned his 1,000th story for the paper this week. To mark the occasion, Rasic joined us on our Bend Don’t Break podcast to chat about film.
Source Weekly: Do you remember the first film you watched, or the first one that stood out for you?
Jared Rasic: “Robocop,” 1986. We had it on VHS, and that movie still to this day is just one of the most violent movies ever made. So I think maybe that kind of broke me and then the rest of my life has been like, maybe I should watch a romantic comedy.
The first theatrical experience I can remember was seeing “Jaws” with my dad, because I will always remember the kids on the banana boat. Ever since then I've been terrified of banana boats.
I think TV was definitely my babysitter for long stretches of time.
SW: That reminds me of that Simpsons episode where all the kids are being crazy, they're like, oh, wait, hold on, we'll take care of this and then she puts on the TV and all the kids just settle down.
JR: That was me for sure. I was definitely — I guess the nice term now is, I was an indoor kid, as opposed to the chunky kid that got beat up all the time in school. It wasn't until, like, I think maybe 15 or 16 years old when I was like, genuinely starting to watch movies and looking at them as works of art as opposed to just something to stare at and eat Fruit by the Foot.
SW: What is it about film that excites you the most?
JR: I think the thing that I love about film is that it's such a collaborative effort. Like right now I'm screening movies for the Bend Film Festival and I'm watching these shorts, and within 30 seconds, you know whether something's going to be good or not. Every time you see a good movie, it's kind of a miracle whereas, like, you know, an artist like a painter, or a poet or a musician, some of that is a very solitary pursuit, but I think with films, it's very much like you watch a movie that's amazing, and you're like, 100 people were on the same exact page to make this and I love that.
—Listen to the entire podcast: