DiscoverThe Essential Lighter Side
The Essential Lighter Side
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The Essential Lighter Side

Author: Jay Casale

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Everyone is essential to someone. I am endeavoring to create an oral history of the moment, as told through the voices of real people from every walk of life. From Corona to protests and everything in between. Daily since 4/16/20 I'm talking to front-line, tires on the ground, essential workers and people for the foreseeable future. You'll hear from doctors, nurses, firemen, food-service workers, Broadway performers, teachers, musicians, kids, personal trainers, and maybe even a celebrity or two. Please spread the word. These stories need to be told. And now.
223 Episodes
Replay: The USA Singers

Replay: The USA Singers


I sat down with the USA Singers, creators of true protest music for our times. Enjoy their latest single, " Dance on Your Graves" With 5 days until the election, it is more important than ever that you get out there and vote. Donate if you can. Volunteer if you can. Support the show (
I talk to one of my oldest friends about our time growing up together, and our divergent paths since.  Mike takes me through his substance use disorder, and gives perhaps the most raw interview I have conducted. Mike is now one year and sixteen days sober. Since recording this episode back in April, he has been diagnosed with epilepsy and hit with a tremendous number of medical bills, while also not being able to work. If you are so inclined to do so, please visit this fundraiser in his name. Also, VOTE. Support the show (
I talk to Dr. Maggie Perry about my particular form of OCD, known as Pure O. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Day, please vote Donald Trump out of office, so that we may all get some of our mental health back. Support the show (
Replay: Val Emmich

Replay: Val Emmich


Everything is insane. Here is one of my favorite episodes, featuring my friend Val Emmich, who has done a lot of very cool things. We learned a lot about each other during this talk, despite having known each other for over 30 years. Enjoy. Vote. Please. Support the show (
Apropros of nothing, one of my favorite episodes of The Lighter Side Podcast. Stephanie Wittels Wachs and I have a lot in common. This was our first chat. You can find the second one here. Also, vote. Support the show (
On the season finale, I round out my Education Panels by speaking with Jo Ann Cimato (Theatre, English - NYC), Mike O'Keefe (Elementary,  NJ), and Kristina Ulmer (English, PA)A huge thank you to Producer Katie Mare for her work and PodBear Audio for the phenomenal editing. VOTE Support the show (
Today I am joined by Dan Wiener (Language Arts Teacher, Seattle), Marisa Brady (Theater Teacher, Arizona), and Marc Siegel (Educational Technology Specialist, NJ) for a discussion on the reopening of schools. May the odds be ever in our favor. 5Support the show (
Elaine Appleton Grant is a podcast producer, public radio broadcaster and magazine journalist. Her work has appeared in Inc., Fast Company and on NPR. She produces Business Wars Daily, a Wondery podcast about corporate rivalries. I got to geek out with her about podcasts, as well as learn all about her new venture, Podcast Allies, a consulting and production company specializing in high-quality audio storytelling. Support the show (
Matt Yee has spent the better part of the last five years as Lady Celestina, his top-hat wearing drag persona. I learned all about the world of drag, how Matt has spent the last few months adjusting from a hectic schedule of working a day job and a late late night job to well, you know, and the #dragoutthevote movement, for which Lady Celestina is an ambassador Support the show (
Jess is a dear friend and former costar of mine who has had some struggles with fertility over the years. After trying every single thing she could, it took moving to Florida and living through a pandemic for her to announce to the world that she is ready to bring a mini-her into the future. Support the show (
Michelle Patton is the Artistic Director of Cutting for Pureology Professional Color Care. She is a hairstylist, an educator, and an empathetic, warm person whose company I so thoroughly enjoyed, however virtual it was. We talked about her change from working in the cut and dry world of finance to the cut and dry world of hair. Support the show (
Our continuing story of how the nation's schools are reopening (or not) in the midst of the insanity. Joining me this time are Frank Guastela (Middle School Biology, NJ), Jade Cintron (ESL and Theater Educator, PA), and JD Wilson (3rd Grade, Hawaii). We had a great talk, and I am proud to continue to give our nation's educators a voice as we all struggle to ensure a safe education for our children. Support the show (
Anthony Giorgio Schmidt is the host of the Queer Teen Podcast, showcasing and encouraging the next generation of queer youth from across the world to stand up for what's right. He is also the Director/ Choreographer/ Production-Manager for The Golden Gays NYC, the country's premier Golden Girls drag show. We had a great talk about all of it. Support the show (
Omer Basatemur is the owner of Kaya's Kitchen, a Vegan restaurant in Belmar, NJ. He has been working in, and running, vegan restaurants for decades, and he is one of the few restaurant proprietors who is growing during the pandemic, having opened a new location in Asbury Park, with plans for yet another location in the next year. We talked about all that, and Omer taught me a lot about vegan food that I did not know before. Check out his menu. Me want food. Support the show (
As we head into the reopening of schools across our nation, I am speaking with educators, school employees, administrators, and more in order to get a full picture of the situation. Today's special episode features Howard Whitmore (Music, NJ), Nicole Perkins (Cafeteria Staff, Delaware), and Deb Brown (Professor, Oregon). We talked about our various re-opening plans and discussed the impact that COVID-19 is set to have on the strangest year of education in history. Support the show (
John Flynn is on the search for the gayest movie ever. On his podcast, Two Old Queens, John and his cohost judge movies by an obscenely hysterical list of criteria in order to find the queerest flick in all the land. It's great. You will be surprised by the films in the lead John has spent years with the Upright Citizens' Brigade as a Writer/Director/Teacher/Everything, and once starred as Miranda Priestly in a musical parody of The Devil Wears Prada. I really loved this conversation in my very very tired soul. Thanks John!Support the show (
Fredi Walker Browne

Fredi Walker Browne


Fredi Walker Browne originated the role of JoAnne Jefferson in the Pulitzer Prize winning musical RENT!, a show which somehow got me to sleep out on the streets of New York. Overnight. Several times. I have been hearing Fredi's voice for the last 25 years, and it was beyond an honor and a pleasure to get to actually talk back.  Fredi is a no-nonsense, powerful "suburban housewife" who has carved out a lifelong career in the arts as a performer, teacher, writer, producer, director, and everything between. Please check out everything she is up to, including news on her upcoming album of protest music, at Big Spoon Productions, as well as on her Instagram. Support the show (
I met Jesse Kay when he was 15 years old and one of my tutoring students. I take full responsibility for the fact that he is now 19 and has created an all-out entrepreneurial empire, including the podcast Trendsetters, on which he recently interviewed Marc Cuban. NBD.  He also recently formed a nonprofit, Makin' Lemonade, a Coronavirus Relief Fund, and, with the help of his team, has raised over $100,000. Jesse is the kind of nineteen year old who gives you, not just hope, but excitement for the future. Support the show (
Pete Capella called me out on some things that I've been thinking about ever since. Even though he committed the cardinal sin of making me think about myself, I still enjoyed the hell out of our conversation. Pete has been featured in an array of films, commercials and television. He is also an accomplished voice-over actor, lending his voice to many cartoons and video games, including Sega's Silver the Hedgehog, in the Sonic the Hedgehog video game series. Support the show (
Nate Holder BA, is a musician, author, speaker and music education consultant based in London. He is an advocate for decolonising music education and has been writing, speaking and consulting on the subject for the last five years. He is also an international saxophonist,  having played in venues all around the world. His newest book,  "Why is my Piano Black and White?" is available for pre order and is already climbing the charts. It was great to chat with Nate about his history, his work, and his view of us from across the pond. Check out all things Nate at Support the show (
Comments (1)

Angel Duke

love amanda!

Jan 29th
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