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Death Becomes Us, our true crime festival, is this weekend! After last year’s incredible debut (if we do say so ourselves) and a brief stint in NYC (also delightful), we’re back in the District and ready to talk your ears off about our favorite true crime things (get your tickets here)! The lineup is absolutely stellar this year (including some returning favorites), so in order to get you ready for the magic that is Death Becomes Us, we wrote up this little guide. Think of it as your true crime pregame. Read this stuff, watch this stuff and listen to this stuff before you head on over to the Lisner. Unless you’d rather go in cold (case). Either way, live your bliss.

If you’re going to Last Podcast on the Left: Side Stories on 11/8…

This wacky offshoot of the main Last Podcast on the Left show features Ben Kissel and Henry Zebrowski riffing off of true crime news, diving into creepy listener submissions and generally being the funniest, weirdest people in your ears. Their most recent Halloween listener pasta (think creepypasta written by true crime fanatics) episode is a great place to start, but if you want less spooky spaghetti and more true crime news, take a walk through their archives. They cover a little bit of everything.

Also, check out our interview with Marcus Parks! He, sadly, won’t be there. But it’s still a fun interview about Last Podcast.

If you’re going to Capturing the DC Sniper on 11/9…

Buckle in and get ready to go back in time to one of the scariest cases in D.C.’s history. Before you sit in on the electrifying conversation featuring FBI agents who worked on the case and Fox 5 investigative reporter Paul Wagner, pull on your headphones on and spend some time listening to the Audible Original Call Me God: The Untold Story of the DC Sniper Investigation. This book breaks down what you thought you knew about the investigation and turns it inside out. Whether you just moved to D.C. or you were here when the DC Sniper was at large, it’s definitely worth a listen.

If you’re going to The Homicide Hunter Retirement Party: Celebrating 9 Seasons w/ Joe Kenda on 11/9…

Nothing compares to Homicide HunterJoe Kenda is one of the most interesting people on true crime TV and there’s going to be a big Kenda shaped hole in our hearts (and in our binge watching marathons) from this point on. If you’re looking to prepare for this retirement party to end all retirement parties, we recommend you kick off your Homicide Hunter watch party with “Chance Encounter” (season 1, episode 6), which features Kenda talking about his first ever serial killer case. Also, watch this delightfully surreal video of Joe Kenda reciting a true crime variation of “The Night Before Christmas.” It’s that time of the year, you know?

If you’re going to Jensen and Holes: The Murder Squad Live on 11/9…

Your favorite investigators have teamed up to crack some of the toughest cases they can find. Paul Holes is a retired cold case investigator who worked on the infamous Golden State Killer case while Billy Jensen jumped in and helped finish Michelle McNamara’s book I’ll Be Gone in the Dark after her passing. Before you join in on the hunt for missing persons and murderers at their live show, dial up their expertly crafted podcast and let the detective work begin. While all of their episodes have been a treat, “Why are there so many women going missing and being murdered in Virginia?” hits very close to home geographically and is absolutely fascinating.

Also, check out our interview with Billy Jensen!

(Want to hang out with Jensen and Holes? Get your meet & greet tickets here!)

If you’re going to Throwing Shade: True Crime Edition on 11/9…

Let’s face it, no one makes us laugh more than Bryan Safi and Erin Gibson. Their hot out the oven takes are sweet music to our pop culture tuned ears and we look forward to every episode of Throwing Shade like it’s season 4 of Game of Thrones (AKA the best season, if you disagree you’re wrong, it’s fine). In honor of our true crime festival, their special guest is the amazing Latrice Royale, who you may know from RuPaul’s Drag Race. Before you sit down for this excellent colliding of worlds, we highly recommend you check out Latrice’s documentary Gays in Prisonwhere she talks about her own experience with incarceration and highlights a variety of LGBTQ people’s stories about being locked up.

If you’re going to BuzzFeed Unsolved on 11/10…

In the nightmare hellscape that is YouTube, BuzzFeed Unsolved is a beacon of light in the darkness. In their forever funny show, Ryan Bergara and Shane Madej are your travel guides through the world of haunted houses, demonic spirits and creepy conspiracy theories. Before you come to the show and shower them in your love, tune into one of my (and everyone else’s) favorite episodes, “The Ghosts and Demons of Bobby Mackey’s.” Enjoy, demons.

Also, check out our interview with Shane and Ryan!

If you’re going to The Truth About True Crime with Amanda Knox w/ Special Guest Lorena (Bobbitt) Gallo on 11/10…

We’re closing out the festival with a real heavy hitter. You know the stories of Amanda Knox and Lorena (Bobbitt) Gallo, but how much do you know about the women wrapped up in the middle of it all? Amanda and Lorena are diving deeper than the headlines and digging into the realities of the justice system at this truly exciting show. Before you sit down with them, dip your toes into Amanda’s show The Truth About True Crime. No one is more apt to break down the genre than her.

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