Low Key


Episode 20: When 'Beale Street' Hits Close to Home: 'It Was Terrifying'

Season 1, Ep. 20

Barry Jenkins' "If Beale Street Could Talk," based on the book by James Baldwin, uses an almost deliriously beautiful love story to show how the criminal justice system unjustly targets black men. This week, Aaron Lanton and Keith Dennie talk about how much the film hit home (and not just because they both grew up in Memphis, the home of Beale Street.)

One scene in particular -- when our hero, Fonny (Stephan James), realizes how easily he could be framed for a crime he didn't commit -- reminded Keith of a horror movie. He says a speech from Bryan Tyree Henry's character, who has just returned from prison, recalled moments in a horror story when someone tells a ghost story that foreshadows something terrible will happen to the lead character.

Aaron adds: "You realize... I keep having this conversation, too."

You should probably see the movie before listening to this episode.

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Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado

Season 1, Ep. 70
In this episode we explore Netflix's Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado, about a Puerto Rican TV astrologer who rose from humble beginnings to become a sequin-caped inspiration to millions.With his distinctive look, aura of mystery — especially about his sexuality — and ability to blend many religious beliefs into a medley of optimism, Walter Mercado gave hope to the hopeless — until an ugly legal dispute yanked him from the air and cost him control of his own carefully cultivated image.:45: Our late-night infomercial memories3:00: Is the Michael Jordan-approved The Last Dance real journalism? Is Walter Mercado getting the Michael Jordan treatment?5:45: "Celebrities nowadays are derivatives of celebrities back in the day."5:50: How Walter Mercado was like Michael Jackson and Prince7:05: About that psychic phone line...7:50: How is Walter Mercado different from a televangelist?8:50: "You just can't swindle a swindler"10:00: Let's talk about Walter Mercado and his manager's relationship11:45: Zodiac signs12:40: "What's the difference between a Walter Mercado and a Tony Robbins?"15:00: Tim has the same religious beliefs as Walter Mercado: "No one has a monopoly on God"18:00: "He had a much better life than most people have"24:00: A Billy Dee Williams story (and here's the background on the gender-fluid story)27:00: Another excellent famous-person story30:55: "The only person I ever saw solve racism was Prince"31:50: "Netflix, again, coming through on the diversity point before it was fucking cool. ... They've been on this train."33:15: Netflix's $120 million donation to HCBUs36:00: "I have an appreciation for any man that dresses up like a wizard"Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado is now streaming on Netflix.