On episode 26 of The Carousel Interrogations, I provoke warrior playwright Kevin Kautzman. Beyond his incredible prolificness as a playwright and theater impresario, Kautzman hosts one of the top new podcasts not just in the dissident sphere, but on the entire internet: Art of Darkness. Here’s the notes:
Art of Darkness co-host Kevin Kautzman
An independent podcast that tells the life stories of great artists over the span of about three hours. Two hosts, Kautzman and Brad Kelly, who take turns episode by episode alternately telling the narrative and providing color commentary. It’s been compared to Hardcore History, but I think it’s much more like a based Last Podcast on the Left.
Kautzman is also a creative writing MFA, playwright, web designer, and what I’d call a content maximalist—extremely prolific. Many websites, much content—I came across “Pickleball screenplay available on Amazon…” button on one of your sites which struck me as the perfect illustration of your one-man engine of ubiquitous content.
Why do gay men love musical theater so much?
UT MFA in creative writing and Michener Fellow. Yarvin uses the phrase cursus honorum to describe someone pedigreed with all the correct titles by the Cathedral. 1-10 how perfect is your cursus honorum?
The brokenness of establishment talent scouting: So many of the artists you cover were very odd people with very normal paths, at least insofar as becoming a great artist traditionally goes in the Western World. You say in the Kubrick episode that people around him when he was a young photographer knew he “had something” and boosted him forward. Would that happen today?
You’ve gotten a lot of fellowships etc. did you have to hide your politics? Will our guys ever be able to “apply for fellowships”? Should we?
Being from where you’re from, were you teased for your theater proclivities? Beaten? Clearly not enough.
Many outsiders from humble backgrounds become the most strict adherents to establishment norms, because they don’t want to be revealed as imposters. How did you manage to stay based?
Are you still fully on path in theater?
You start by describing yourselves as “very online” writers…where do you lurk online besides Twitter?
“MODERATION speaks to important issues like brainsickness from overexposure to the fringes of the Internet and social media”
The podcast: Art of dark similarities to Last Podcast on the Left. Inspiration?
Your “More like this” list on Spotify
Hermitix, Subversive w Alex Kaschuta, Good Ol Boyz Podcast, Contain, Overmorrow’s Library
How did you meet Brad?
Whose better at doing color and whose better at doing narrative?
The art of darkness brand? What does art of darkness do best? Pfp?
Let’s talk about this biz model. You are a content maximalist, a large amount of thoroughly researched content podcast, publishing all kinds of stuff here and there…”Pickleball screenplay available on Amazon.” How much of this stuff have you been paid outright to do?
To spend this much time on anything and not get paid is totally insane and irrational. How important is it for you to get paid for your art?
LPoL is big. But big enough to pay the bills? How do they? Merch? Ads? How does it work?
How’s your Patreon going?
Merch? How’s the clever t-shirt game?
Art of Darkness has many different elements—core episodes, after dark, dark room, post mortem, watch parties, former newsletter the blacklist. You’ve also said that you’ve toyed around with Bant podcast and other stuff. very prolific. Prolific doesn’t necessarily mean good. How do you decide what to keep and what to throw away?
Watch this episode on YouTube: