Katie Krawczyk is Chief Executive Officer and Partner at 19 IDEAS, a marketing, PR, and web development company she started with her husband, Dan Gigante. Katie qualifies as a genuine Buffalo Boss Babe, but if you ask her (or Denis), she’s simply the boss. Denis and Katie talk about growing up in the eighties, life in the burbs (Katie was born and raised in Hamburg, NY), taking risks, playing the game we need to play vs. playing the game we want to play, and finally… choosing the life we’ve lived. The question arises, just how much of our lives can be considered a choice? Well… how much responsibility can you handle? Katie will inspire you to accept more.
Avi was born in Jerusalem as a wave of hope was cresting. Hope in a peace that had drawn closer than anyone dared to imagine. Hope felt so strongly by Avi’s parents, his middle name is Shalom. Over the next twenty years Avi and his family found themselves in Cleveland, Chicago, Phoenix, New Jersey, Manhattan… and finally… Avi found his own personal Shangri-La… Fredonia, NY, where he attended college, discovered nature amongst the charms of small-town life, and had his first psychedelic experience.
Denis and Avi talk about where hope yet lies this quarter century since his birth. Could it be the promising results emerging from psychedelic research? And yet Avi hastens to qualify every statement he makes about psychedelics with attention to honesty and critical thinking. He’s careful to point out the small study samples, and he humbly admits that his own experiences are highly subjective. Details, caveats, conditions, and contingencies are generously supplied. His candor reveals a wider ratio of risk to benefit than one is likely to hear from the growing throng of psychedelic enthusiasts. Denis found Avi’s rational exuberance for inebriants nothing short of… sobering.
Garrett Shea wants to bring poetry to pop. And if a song happens to save a life, that isn’t too shabby either (stay tuned to hear THAT story and song at the end of the episode).
As a proud Villa Maria student, Garrett majored in Music Industry. There he connected with Grammy nominated producer Anthony Casuccio who produced Garrett’s first album with the band, Breckenwood. If you listen to their two albums you can not only hear loads of growth in his recording and song craft, but also a shift from pop-punk to just… pop. The pull of pop eventually led Garrett away from the band four years ago. He continues to write and record original songs, while having a blast in his cover band, The Red Letter Kings.
Garrett talked about that “switch” that needs to go off in his mind and heart before he is able to release a new song to the public. It took him over a year before he was willing to put his song, Travel On up on Spotify.
In this Sunday Shit-Show edition of the Lens. Denis invites you to create a reasonable religion with him. What could go wrong?
Dave began his career as a dog trainer [The Art of Dog], with mentor Josh Moran, who Denis interviewed in Episode 3. Dave and Josh have a podcast, Philosophers and Madmen, which focuses on dog-training and world-renowned dog-trainers.
Dave and Denis talk loads about BJJ. As they explore Dave’s life journey from childhood it became clear that Dave’s path led not only to dog training, but human training. Eventually they arrive at Dave’s recent strides in self development, and their conversation turned to the role of psychedelics in becoming more whole.
Shari Berman’s movie, My Life as Abraham Lincoln, is a journey with a woman desperately trying to unravel the tragic mystery of her own mind. It’s also a joyous love letter to the films and film genres Shari most enjoys. Shari also directed Sugar, a rock-and-roll movie about middle-aged women making the most of what could be their last moment to shine (even if it’s only on “MILF-at-Loser-Tube-Dot-Com”!). Denis marveled at the film’s bass-player, June Millington, a kick-ass guitar player from the all-girl band, Fanny.
Shari is pulling her next production together, Pink Mist. For starters, it has muslim immigrants, neighborhood bullies, a yiddish ghost and a tween amputee. Denis is looking forward to seeing where this all goes, and how Shari will weave her sense of humor into the tale. Shari is producing Pink Mist with actor/producer Michael Cuomo. She highly recommends Michael’s film, Happy New Year. One of the lead roles will be played by Lynn Cohen, who is also well known for her character Mags, from the Hunger Games. Shari’s husband, Chris Benker will be the director of photography.
Shari edited the web series, Switch, a dramatic exploration into the real life experiences of people who work in BDSM dungeons.
Max is an arborist and black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu living in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada. He and Denis talk about the ‘street-readiness’ mindset of Jiu Jitsu, and how training and experience has brought him on a voyage from warrior to protector.
Why not win? All it takes is micro-transactions in The Field, combat on the mats, and regular cleansing from demoralization with help from The Mother.
In this edition of The Sunday Shit-show on The Lens, Denis talks about why he quit his job at the recovery center, the pain of terminating relationships in the helping professions, turning 49, taking a psilocybin trip with his son, and cleaning the rusty pipes of the psyche.
Abdul Sallaj is a psychiatrist in Chicago. We talked about aspects of the developing mind that are unique to growing up in a household steeped in religious fundamentalism. We also talked way too much about spanking... ouch! Abdul and Denis conducted their interview in Undergrounds Coffee House and Roastery, converted a year or so ago from a funeral home.
Today I heard my friend's voice pronounce that I was old. I was out of touch. And I was a predator. And a predator like me should never be allowed to become a mental health counselor.
Phil wrote this about himself 15 years ago...
"I've been a psychiatrist for over 25 years. From the outside, it looks like a quiet, almost serene, profession. But it's never felt like that to me. My days are prolonged battles. And the fight isn't directly with my patients. They're in pain. They want to get better. The fight is with an invisible force that dominates them. A force with an other-worldly power to destroy their happiness."
"The idea of tools were, in essence, really weapons used in a war."
Phil wrote The Tools, and Coming Alive with his writing partner Barry Michels. Their tools are helping thousands of people (me included) live courageously by releasing them from traps set by resentment, fear, inauthenticity, worry, hurt feelings, demoralization, lethargy, and self-gratification. I first discovered Phil three years ago on Marc Maron's WTF. Mind blowing! I bought the book immediately. Life changing! Phil was back in Marc's garage just a few days ago.
Josh works with people who are homeless and have severe mental disorders and addictions. He helps them find stable housing and he does it with a rare strength of mind and body. Josh loves philosophy and uncovering challenging thinkers whose buried ideas are as volatile as they are revolutionary. He's also the most quietly ferocious dude I know in our Jiu Jitsu academy.
Stephen has written for a dozen television shows, including Roseanne and Spin City. He was the Executive Producer and head writer of the acclaimed series Dead Like Me on Showtime. He has written television pilots for CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC, FX, TNT and USA. He was nominated for a Writers Guild Award for Best Original Television Movie for his film “Charlotte,” part of the film anthology Five on Lifetime. He is adapting Walker Percy’s celebrated novel “The Moviegoer,” winner of the 1962 National Book Award for Fiction, as a screenplay for the film producer Cary Brokaw and Sony/TriStar.
*You probably noticed there are more than 10 episodes here. Some of these are in the top 10 page-views of all time, and others are in the top 10 downloads, but downloads haven’t been tracked until more recently.