Do you remember where you were the day you met your soulmate? I do. I was sitting in a weird phone booth in my office recording an interview with Amanda, Kenyon and Lucy…the hosts of the hilarious and wonderful true crime podcast Wine & Crime. I imagine the Golden Girls met the same way, except we didn’t bond over cheesecake. We bonded over things like obituary vision boards, rat tooth fairies, and of course dead bodies.
Brightest Young Things: Why true crime?
Amanda: Well Lucy is descended from Edgar Allan Poe.
BYT: Did you guys know he’s buried in Baltimore? Are you gonna go when you’re in town?
Amanda: I want to go to Baltimore because I’m a huge John Waters fan.
BYT: I actually wanted him to come to the festival because he was so obsessed with the Manson murders that he went to the trials. Sadly that didn’t pan out.
Amanda: He was probably busy getting his pencil mustache tattoo touched up. That’s a real thing. Kenyon do you want to start?
Kenyon: Sure…I think that all three of us have always shared a morbid curiosity and a super dark sense of humor. For as long as I can remember we’ve always emailed each other stuff like “Check out this total creep where 18 bodies were found in his garage,” or this Russian guy who kept a bunch of corpse dolls and dressed them up at tea parties. How the podcast started was we were hanging out drinking wine, I live in South Africa and I was home visiting in Minneapolis and we spent most of the time drinking wine and watching Forensic Files.
Amanda: On my couch with the curtains drawn, no idea what time it was.
Kenyon: We were just riffing on ridiculous Forensic Files shit. I was already a fan of various true crime podcasts and I thought “Hey we might have something here, let’s go for it.”
Lucy: I love all things morbid. I read all of the Goosebumps books growing up.
BYT: Yeah!!! Me too. I was also reading Stephen King when I was far too young.
Lucy: Also when I was in 7th grade my mom and I saw this As Seen on TV advertisement where you could order a VHS set of live autopsies. So we ordered it and were all excited about it and when we sat down to watch it we were like “Oh my God this is actually really gross.”
Amanda: I did not know that story.
Lucy: They are still at my parents’ house.
BYT: Um you should bring them so we can have them playing at the festival. On VHS.
Lucy: It’s like grainy overhead of autopsy footage. It’s not even edited.
BYT: Just bring that VHS with you everywhere and demand that venues have VCR’s at the ready for you to play it.
Lucy: I also have a tooth necklace of all my baby teeth. My dad drilled holes in them and made a baby necklace.
[I immediately started clapping]
BYT: My mother kept my baby teeth forever in this tiny pewter thing that had “Tooth Fairy” written on it but now she can’t find it. Classic. My baby book wasn’t even finished!
Kenyon: My mom filled out one page of my baby book but I’m gonna forgive her but she was a single mom.
BYT: My mom was too! You guys, single moms can’t finish baby books. You heard it here. Cut your own hair.
Lucy: Tape your own umbilical chord in there. Yet another reason I was raised in a very morbid household…also when I did lose teeth and the tooth fairy was supposed to come and when the tooth fairy took my tooth away I’d get so upset that the policy was she left the tooth and I got $5.
Amanda: My friends are Brazilian and their son is terrified of losing his teeth because there’s this bizarro Brazilian folk tale about a rat that comes and takes your teeth instead of a tooth fairy.
BYT: Oh my God it’s the Tooth Rat.
Amanda: If I ever have kids, God forbid, they’re getting a rat not a tooth fairy. Anyway what got me into true crime was I always love a taboo subject. True crime just falls really beautifully within that field. Also my grandmother, my mom’s mom, she has been reading true crime and mystery novels forever. I feel like this has been an under the surface obsession, especially women and the evolution of podcasts.
Kenyon: Even though it is really trendy right now, at least in all three of our families, it appears to be multi-generational. Lucy’s mom used to cut out weird obituaries and would put them on this one bulletin board in their house.
BYT: Was that her vision board? Here’s a cut out of Venus and Serena Williams but also here’s 45 strangers’ obituaries.
Lucy: She likes them when they’re phrased really weird. In one of them the person’s accompanying photo was of them dressed as clown. Or like weird sentences like “Joannie Miller, age 65, passed away in her home…pictured here in her favorite photo of herself.”
Amanda: It makes me wonder how much she fucking went on and on about this photo to her friends and family for her entire life.
BYT: This is where I’m going to sound like a bit of a monster…something I like to do that is creepy is, this is really fucked up, when someone I know on Facebook posts that a friend of theirs died and they tag that person I will always go to that friend’s page to see what their last status was.
Kenyon: The grossest thing I saw on Facebook is someone had a stillborn baby and that was very sad but they posted a picture of that baby, like a glamour shot of it.
Amanda: It makes sense psychologically to have pictures of your child but to post them publicly…
Kenyon: Facebook shouldn’t be part of your grieving process. So many people were giving them condolences.
Amanda: We had to silence the post.
BYT: Now the flip side of that is, I am totally fine with what people used to do which is have full on photo sessions of your dead loved ones.
Amanda: Those are Lucy’s favorite!
BYT: There’s that weird thing that some people do now when you go to a funeral people are posing their loved ones doing things they used to love to do when they were alive.
BYT: What if that’s your legacy? It really speaks to what your loved ones think about you. “Well you know Tom he loved Xbox and he loved Doritos.” This is your legacy???
Amanda: If that’s my legacy I have done it right.
Kenyon: I want a coffin made out of parmesan cheese.
BYT: The funeral is us grating your body over the ground. I think about this a lot, actually. I’m an only child and I’m single so I think when I die I’m for sure going to be found. I think I want to do that weird tree thing so when I die my body becomes a tree. I do love graveyards though. We have some pretty great ones here. I love reading gravestones. Some people are having a full on conversations and I don’t know who it’s with.
Lucy: My mom sent me one once and the quote said “I told you I was sick.”
BYT: If you can get to Baltimore you can go visit the grave of John Wilkes Booth and speaking of weird relatives…my mother’s last name is Deringer and the gun he used to assassinate Abraham Lincoln is the Deringer Pistol and that’s the gun my great times whatever grandfather invented. He was a gunsmith. I’m not super excited that that’s what we did.
Lucy: Are you like uber wealthy though?
BYT: Ha ha ha ha, everyone asks that! We’re not! There are some solid solid dead people here in DC. You’re gonna love it. And I don’t know if you guys know this but you’re staying at The Watergate.
Amanda: Oh my God! I get to masturbate in the bathtub of the Watergate Hotel?
BYT: Yes! Actually Nixon said the same thing. See I knew this chat would be Tangent City. So my next question…do you guys have a theory as to why true crime is seemingly or feels so popular now.
Lucy: We’ve talked a lot about how women are interested in true crime…women and women’s interests and women’s rights are having a moment. I think that sort of perpetuated this whole true crime thing.
[Sadly Kenyon, who was calling from South Africa, kind of cut out a bit but we’re sure it was also brilliant]
Amanda: I think podcasts have a lot to do with it. Because we’ve had shows like Unsolved Mysteries and Forensic files that were around in the 90’s…it didn’t feel as universally far reaching as a podcast. Everyone was sort of into true crime and secretly liked it and then a show like Serial comes along and everyone jumped on it. Here’s this amazing way to get, for free, amazing details about shit we didn’t even know what was going on. Now I can also search through the thousands of other morbid options and listen to in the privacy of my own home unjudged and also connect with other communities who are listening to this.