The New And The Next: A Haitian Star, Bilingual Speed Dating

Sep 28, 2013
Originally published on September 28, 2013 6:52 pm

The online magazine Ozy talks about people, places and trends on the horizon. Co-founder Carlos Watson joins us regularly to tell us about the site's latest discoveries.

This week, he tells NPR's Arun Rath about a rising star in human rights law, a rags-to-riches tale of a whacky impersonator and trend to look out for in the dating world.

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It's time for the new and the next. Carlos Watson is the cofounder of the online magazine Ozy. He joins us now to tell us about some of the people, places and trends on the horizon. Welcome back, Carlos.

CARLOS WATSON: Arun, it's good to be with you.

RATH: So, interesting story you had this week about Mario Joseph. Now, if there's such a thing as a rock star human rights lawyer, I guess that would be Mario. Tell us a little bit about him and his battles that he's taking on in Haiti.

WATSON: This human rights lawyer, Mario Joseph, a son of a single mother - first, he took on their former dictator, Baby Doc Duvalier, who very famously seemed above the law there in Haiti. In fact, despite the fact that he had to leave the country in '86, Duvalier comes back in 2011 and seems to be a guy who's not going to be challenged for accusations of mass murder.

But Mario Joseph takes the case and, unbelievably in Haiti, a court actually takes it up. So there's still more to be done. But, Arun, guess what his next big challenge he's taken on?

RATH: Yes, what now?

WATSON: He's going after United Nations. He's saying that some of the U.N. workers, when they came, actually imported cholera.

RATH: Right. This was during the disaster relief.

WATSON: Correct. And so, again, a very bold thing to do, controversial in some courts. But the Mario Joseph story, it's a reminder that while people may not be famous, there certainly still is a David and Goliath opportunity in this world.

RATH: Now, another story I wanted to talk about, kind of a fun, wacky piece this week, about a Zach Galifianakis impersonator. For those of you who don't know who Zach Galifianakis is, he's a great sort of alternative comic. And you probably would know him from playing Alan in "The Hangover" films.


ZACH GALIFIANAKIS: (as Alan) There is a tiger in the bathroom.

ED HELMS: (as Stu) What's going on?

GALIFIANAKIS: (as Alan) There's a jungle cat in the bathroom.

HELMS: (as Stu) OK, OK. I'll - I'll check it out.


RATH: Now, Zach has achieved some popularity, but he's not exactly leading man type. But tell me about this guy that - who's making a living out of playing Zach.

WATSON: Well - so his name's Thad Kalinoski, a 36-year-old guy from Philly. And a couple of years ago...

RATH: I'm sorry. I just thought that the Zach Galifianakis impersonator's name is - say it again?

WATSON: It's Thad Kalinoski.

RATH: Perfect.

WATSON: Too rich, too good to be true. So a couple of years ago, Thad hits upon all sorts of bad luck - loses his job, romantic troubles, you name it - and ends up staying at home for a couple of days growing a beard, puts on a pair of glasses. People start to whisper, and people start to look at him. And a lot of people were thinking he's Zach Galifianakis.

Well, he's having a great time all over Philly doing this. And people are buying him free drinks, comping him. And finally, a good friend says, why don't you take this on the road? Why don't you head to Vegas? And before you know it, he is not only making close to a quarter of a million dollars a year for people paying him to be in front of hotels and other things, but you name it - free rooms, et cetera - and he ends up in "The Hangover III" in a small bit role.

So, you know, we often say that we want to tell you about rising stars like Mario Joseph, but we also just want to tell you about the wild, wonderful and wacky provocateurs of this world.

RATH: Finally, we have something that's new in the world of dating. You have a piece on a speed dating service called Spanglish Exchange. How does that work?

WATSON: An American expat down in Argentina a couple of years ago realized that she wanted to kind of shake up her dating life and the dating scene. And so she set something up where four times a week they host these events and people show up and you sit at a different table and someone's there. And about five minutes into it, an alarm goes off, you got to switch from speaking in English to Spanish or in Spanish to English.

And so the idea is to bring together the best of two worlds: dating and learning a new language and keep things, if you will, a little flavorful, a little unexpected.


RATH: Carlos Watson is the co-founder of the online magazine Ozy. Carlos, good to talk to you again.

WATSON: Arun, really good to talk to you. Looking forward to talking to you again next week. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.