Creative MVP: Marc Bamuthi Joseph

Marc Bamuthi Joseph

Marc Bamuthi Joseph is creating in theater, site specific performance, and creative ecosystems.   He is an inaugural recipient of the United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship, the winner of the 2011 Alpert Award in Theater, and an inaugural recipient of the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. He is the founding Program Director of the exemplary non-profit Youth Speaks, and is a co-founder of Life is Living, a national series of one day festivals designed to activate under-resourced parks through hip hop arts and focused environmental action. Marc recently premiered the Creative Time commission “Black Joy in the Hour of Chaos” in New […]

Past Present Podcast: Voting Rights, Olympics Commentary, and Think Tanks

Olympic Flag

On this week’s episode, Niki, Neil, and Natalia debate recent court decisions on voting rights, sexism in Olympics commentary, and corporate influence in think tanks. Voting Rights This summer, courts struck down restrictive voting laws in North Carolina, Kansas, and Wisconsin. Niki pointed out that there have been only 31 cases of voter fraud since 2000. We recommended Ari Berman’s history of voting rights, Give Us the Ballot. Olympics Commentary The Olympics sportscasters can’t seem to stop describing women athletes as “girls” and crediting their accomplishments to men. Neil suggested this was because sports broadcasting remained a mostly male profession. Natalia remarked that a lot of the […]

Past Present Podcast: Veeps, Beach-Going, and the Olympic Doping Scandal


On this week’s episode, Natalia, Neil, and Niki debate the changing role of the vice presidency, the history of beach-going, and the Russian doping scandal overshadowing the Rio Olympics. Role of the Vice Presidency Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have picked Tim Kaine and Mike Pence as their respective running mates, but does the Vice Presidency even matter? Niki recently argued in the Atlantic that the twentieth century saw the rise of the “executive vice presidency” beginning with Richard Nixon’s VP Spiro Agnew. Neil recalled Jimmy Carter in 1976 became the first to seriously vet potential VPs after the mishaps of Agnew’s vice […]

Past Present Podcast: Pat Summitt, Hellerstedt, and the Democratic Sit-In

Pat Summitt

On this week’s episode, Neil, Natalia, and Niki debate the legacy of basketball coach Pat Summitt, the place of Women’s Whole Health v. Hellerstedt in America’s abortion debate, and the House Democrats’ sit-in over gun control. Pat Summitt The winningest college basketball coach, Pat Summitt of the University of Tennessee, died last week at the age of 64. Neil commented on Summit’s incredible achievements on the court and argued she was the most important figure in the history of women’s college athletics. Natalia cited the importance of Title IX in the Summitt’s career and recommended Mary Jo Festle’s Playing Nice, a history of women’s […]

Past Present Podcast: Muhammad Ali, Brock Turner, and the First Woman Nominee

Muhammad Ali history

On this week’s Past Present podcast, Niki, Neil, and Natalia debate the legacy of Muhammad Ali, the aftermath of the Brock Turner trial, and America’s first woman nominated to the presidency by a major party. Muhammad Ali Muhammad Ali died last week at the age of 74. Natalia remarked on a life that was as notable for Ali’s political activism as it was for his athletic prowess. She also connected Ali’s story to Jane Fonda, another celebrity known for both her fitness empire and her controversial political activism during the Vietnam War. Neil commented on how Ali’s religious conversion to Nation of Islam was seen as […]

Past Present Podcast: Merrick Garland, Misty Copeland, and Contested Convictions

Misty Copeland

On this week’s Past Present podcast, Nicole Hemmer, Natalia Mehlman Petrzela, and Neil Young discuss Merrick Garland, Misty Copeland, and brokered conventions.     Merrick Garland President Obama has nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. Niki noted that Republican leaders and activists have cited historical precedents to defend their opposition to Obama’s nomination, but that this has been an incorrect use of history. Neil noted Garland was a shrewd choice in part because Republicans had previously voiced support for his selection. Natalia and Niki both observed that should Garland be confirmed the Court would continue to be made up only […]

The Church of Sport

greg pressler desert run

Someone I trust offered me some sage advice years ago. “Never talk about politics, money, or religion with people who you haven’t seen naked.” Although I didn’t know it then, his words to the unwise have kept me out of trouble on more than one occasion. Along the road of life, I’ve taken a more dim view on the taboos we’ve placed on the discussion of certain topics. As long as our thoughts are carefully constructed, our words well-formed, and our general intent is not to slander or hurl insults, I think that frank discussions of what makes the world […]

Go Bigger: Using Failure to Drive Your Success

Greg Pressler

When New Year’s resolution chit chat gives way to the topic of goal setting (a.k.a. plans, schemes, or ideas, if you will), there’s a question I like to pose: If your next goal were so outrageous that the possibility of failure was incredibly high, would you still pursue it, or would the likelihood of failure be sufficient enough to deter you from the possibility of succeeding? Like other goals in life, goals in the athletic realm can provide the “juice” necessary to keep pushing, keep sacrificing, and keep on… well, keeping on. As an endurance athlete for over three decades, […]

Maxwell Carl Scott on Snowboards, Slopes, and Spring Break

spring break snowboards

Maxwell Carl Scott is the Owner / Brand Manager of Spring Break Snowboards. When he’s not on the slopes, he’s in the studio creating new projects or lending his creativity to the coolest brands. What’s Spring Break about? How did it start? Spring Break began in 2010 as an experimental art project by founder Corey Smith and friends. The aim of the project was to deconstruct modern snowboarding and re-imagine the sport through its surf style roots. To find beauty in simply turning and explore the mountain from an entirely different perspective. Do you surf as well? Ah No, I […]