It was in 2016 that Sam Fragoso began his own podcast, Talk Easy, in an effort to create a space where activists, artists and politicians could "just sound like people." As he celebrates the fifth anniversary of his marvelously impressive podcast he has released over 200 episodes in which he has interviewed such amazing guests as Carol Burnett, Winnie Byanyima, Werner Herzog, Fran Lebowitz, Matthew McConaughey, Errol Morris, Rep. Ilhan Omar, Beto O'Rourke, George Saunders, Gloria Steinem and Cornel West. He also book-ended his special five year episode with words from my late husband Roger Ebert.
Roger and I met Sam when he attended our Ebertfest Film Festival in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. We were impressed with his writing about film and Sam later wrote as a contributor to RogerEbert.com. He also debuted his short film Sebastian, about his Mexican grandfather, at our film festival. Fragoso has gone on to conquer many areas within the world of film from his stint at the Roxy in San Francisco to more filmmaking in Los Angeles. His work on his podcast has caught the attention of many in the world of film and culture, and in the larger world itself. What I found particularly encouraging is that Sam's adopted mentor was Studs Terkel. Studs was a friend of ours and someone I admired for his ability to see the kernel of truth and goodness in each individual. Sam also strives to coax that kernel of humanity from his guests.
After running the show independently since its inception, Fragoso has launched a Patreon campaign on the show's fifth anniversary where listeners can give their support through monthly or one-time donations. Fragoso affirms, however, that the show will always be free. "We don't believe in putting a premium on our archives or charging per episode," he wrote in an open letter to listeners. "But if you can afford to support the labor and care that goes into the show, we are asking folks to do so at patreon.com/talkeasy."
You can learning more about Talk Easy and its anniversary campaign in the video embedded here...
All illustrated portraits of Sam Fragoso and his guests are by Krishna Shenoi.