This week in Philadelphia, producers of independent media will gather for the second annual Philadelphia Podcast Festival. Seventeen podcasters in the region will gather for five days at Tattooed Mom, a bar on South Street, to record for a live audience.
Two additional podcasts will be recorded at the Adrienne Theater on Sansom Street, home of Philly Improv Theater.
One of the more popular podcasts to come out of Philadelphia is the Black Tribbles, a weekly show about comic books, science fiction, video games, and all things geek-related, from an African-American perspective. Each tribble — there are five of them — takes on a tribble name: Bat-Tribble, Spider-Tribble, Super-Tribble, Master-Tribble, and Tribble-Storm. They all bring something different to the conversation.
Spider-Tribble, aka Jason Richardson, is a Spider-Man afficionado.
“I’m also an anime nut,” said Richardson, in his South Philly apartment doubling as the office of J1Studios, a geek-related entertainment company. “I’m big into anime and gaming, so I bring that. Along with cat and poop jokes.”
(A tribble, for the “Star Trek”-challenged, is a small, furry creature that briefly infested the Enterprise and whose only purpose, it seems, it to make people happy.)
Although the newest member of the tribble team, Richardson is currently the man of the moment having just won the Geek of the Year award at the annual Geek Awards in Philadelphia. It’s a crown he wears proudly.
“Black geeks aren’t really represented. From TV shows to movies, you don’t get a black guy,” said Richardson. “You might get a Middle Eastern guy, or an Asian guy — those are the tokens you get, but you don’t get the token black guy. Except for Urkel.”
Enough said about Urkel.
The entire Black Tribbles ensemble came away a winner at the Geek Awards, winning best podcast. They will close the Philly Podcast Festival on Sunday night.
Many of the podcasts on the schedule are heavy on comedy, several are discussions of movies and television. They can range from serious (Lesbe Real Talk Radio, about feminist issues) to obssessive (Stark Raven Mad is everything “Game of Thrones”). Sex, food, and rock and roll are also on deck.
They all follow a familiar format: Turn on a couple of microphones and let’s talk through this.
“I saw that podcasters in Philadelphia — everybody was doing their own thing, everyone was separate from one another,” said Teagan Keating, co-founder of the festival with Nathan Kuruna, producer of the popular Sex with Timaree podcast.
“We wanted to bring people together, knowing there was this common interest,” said Keating. “For me, I was interested in the community that could be built. From there, I decided I could make my own podcast.”
Keating started her own weekly podcast, Action Phase, in November. She approaches public health issues by interviewing public health workers about why they started doing what they do. She will interview WHYY’s behavior health reporter, Maiken Scott, on Saturday afternoon at Tattooed Mom.