Mysteries, murders and all things macabre are at the center of Brightest Young Things’ first true-crime festival, Death Becomes Us. Notable podcasters, TV personalities and experts will gather at Lisner Auditorium on Saturday and Sunday to discuss some of history’s most infamous crimes and offer their insights. “We think the reason the genre is having such a moment is people are looking at it from very different perspectives,” says Svetlana Legetic, BYT’s co-founder. “It’s a communal form of entertainment because we’re all in on solving the puzzle together.” Here are three of the weekend’s events to investigate — and what you need to do to prepare for each.
‘How Did This Get Made?’
What is it? Comedians Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas will overly dissect the 2007 Halle Berry film “Perfect Stranger,” as they have countless other terrible movies on their popular podcast, “How Did This Get Made?” (The flick has a lowly 11 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.) The Bentzen Ball alums’ podcast is a comedy show, so dissecting the film — in which Berry plays a journalist who goes undercover to investigate the murder of her friend — for this live recording should offer some relief from the rest of the fest’s darker subject matter.
Homework: Stream or download the movie “Perfect Stranger.” Try to make it through the whole thing.
‘Criminal’ with Phoebe Judge
What is it? Since the first episode of “Criminal” in 2014, host Phoebe Judge has brought something different to the realm of true-crime podcasts. Instead of homing in on grisly details, the expertly produced podcast focuses on the reasons people make the decisions they do, and often explores a small piece of the criminal justice system, such as how lethal injection was implemented in Oregon (“The Job”). In D.C., Judge will present new stories scored and mixed live by co-creator Lauren Spohrer, complete with visual elements.
Homework: Listen to “Ten Thousand Feet in the Air” and “The Fox,” “Criminal’s” latest installments, which present a two-part story about a plane-jacking and a subsequent attempted prison escape.
Cold Case Files: Paul Holes & CeCe Moore
What is it? Retired investigator Paul Holes has risen to hero status this year for his role in helping find a man suspected to be the Golden State Killer — a serial killer who committed a spree of rapes and murders in California in the 1970s and ’80s. Suspect Joseph DeAngelo was identified using DNA technology and was arrested in April. Holes will appear with genetic genealogist CeCe Moore, who works for Reston-based Parabon. Yeardley Smith and Zibby Allen of the crime podcast “Small Town Dicks” will interview the pair about how genealogy is changing cold-case investigations.
Homework: Read “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark,” the late Michelle McNamara’s deep dive into the case, which was published in February, two months before DeAngelo was arrested