Wandering Eye: Andre Royo discusses 'The Wire' with Marc Maron, Janay Rice speaks out, and more

If the "Serial" break has you hungry for Baltimore-centric podcasts, then check out a relatively recent episode of comedian Marc Maron's podcast "WTF" with actor Andre Royo, best known as Bubbles from "The Wire." The episode's great. Royo's shot out of a cannon right from the start, racing through his New York upbringing, talking about being the nerd in the hood, and telling a story about how he let neighborhood kids pay him a few bucks to hook up with girls at his house when his parents were working (he also cooked Steak-umm sandwiches for his, um, guests) and thoughtfully, hilariously details his path to becoming an iconic character actor. The last half-hour or so is "The Wire"-centric part, with Royo admitting that inhabiting Bubbles' character method-style sent him into a serious depression and talking about how when he heard that the "real" Bubbles, a street informant named Possum, had died, he told David Simon that it didn't feel right for the show's Bubbles to not pass away as well. Royo explains: "Look, at the end of the day, I've just [made] the audience . . . look at a piece of our world [through] this dark, depressed, nothing's ever gonna change mentality. Motherfuckers gotta get out of the bed. There's got to be some sort of hope. Some glimpse . . . and Bubbles is it." (Brandon Soderberg)

 

Criminal-justice practices in the U.S. took a beating in a just-issued report by the United Nations' Committee Against Torture, which made some of this country's tactics sound downright un-American. Who knew that "a specific offence of torture has not been introduced yet" under federal law, the report states, even though "acts of torture are prohibited by various statutes" offering a variety of prosecutorial strategies? The Committee "regrets" this oversight, but is "appalled at the number of reported deaths after the use of electrical discharge weapons," better known as tasers, and harbors "deep concern at the frequent and recurrent police shootings or fatal pursuits of unarmed black individuals." It is also "concerned about reports of inmate deaths" resulting from "extreme heat exposure while imprisoned in unbearably hot and poor[ly] ventilated prison facilities" and the "extensive use of solitary confinement" for "indefinite periods of time," calling the practice "unacceptable" in the case of "full isolation for 22-23 hours a day in super-maximum security prisons." Maybe the next report, in 2018, will judge us more civilized. (Van Smith)

 

Ray Rice's reinstatement in the NFL comes with a press rollout featuring the running back's wife, Janay, telling her side of the now-infamous night when Ray knocked Janay unconscious in an Atlantic City elevator. This morning the Today Show aired the first part of a two-part interview, conducted by Matt Lauer, in which Janay said, among other things, that the Ravens suggest she apologize in a press conference with the couple that was largely regarded as a disaster. Part two, featuring comments from Ray, airs tomorrow. Up first was an extenstive interview with ESPN.com that ran as a first-person narrative by "Janay Rice, as told to Jemele Hill." In it, Janay discusses her long relationship with Ray Rice, what few details she remembers from Atlantic City—the fuzziness owing to being intoxicated—and how she was "extremely surprised and angry that the Ravens released him." It ends with: "I hope when people read this they realize that we're real. I want people to know how much we love each other and how far we've come. Everyone has their own story, this is mine." (Brandon Weigel)

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