“From the Trader’s Desk”:
Bobby Axelrod – a Man and his Music *UPDATED*

**UPDATED**

There are many things that Bobby Axelrod and I have in common: New York born and bred; working class backgrounds; very non-traditional road to Wall Street; our love of gambling lead us to our career paths. However, the one thing that has always been my favorite commonality is our love for heavy metal bands and their music. Heavy Metal is not the most well known genre of music, so let’s explore Bobby Axelrod and his music, and what it says about him.

In each season of Billions, at least one episode has featured a song and a t-shirt of a metal band that must be Axe’s favorites. The writers of Billions don’t do anything just to do it, so we know that these choices are there to tell a story, shine light on who the character is, and to set a tone.

Metal is very misunderstood: devil worship, drugs, biting the heads of bats, or just screeching guitars may come to mind if you say the words “heavy metal”. But, it is so much more than that! Last season, I used Black Sabbath lyrics to open (and in some cases close) my “From the Trader’s Desk” recaps. In most cases, if I hadn’t referenced it to Sabbath, you’d have wondered what philosopher or poet I was quoting. Metal lyrics are some of the best I have ever heard; they tell stories of pain, loss, confusion, success, etc. – lyrics that would certainly resonate with a young man from Yonkers whose Dad has up and left, and whose home life is full of conflict. Continue reading ““From the Trader’s Desk”: Bobby Axelrod – a Man and his Music *UPDATED*”

Throwback Thursday to Damian Lewis on The Moment with
Brian Koppelman

When he’s not running a show, co-creator of Billions, Brian Koppelman hosts a podcast called The Moment. Each hour-long session is a conversation about the creative process and pivotal moments in creative careers. Koppelman talks to people in various forms and stages of their creative lives about inflection points, the moments they sensed something shifted for them in their careers. Having listened to several of these conversations in his archive, its always a treat to hear how people get to live their professional dreams, be they restaurateurs, musicians, writers or actors. Back when he first publicized the podcast, I had this twee Twitter exchange with him.

On Tuesday, last week, it finally happened: Damian sat down with Kopp to talk shop. You can listen to this episode of The Moment wherever you listen to podcasts. (Links below)

It is a truth universally acknowledged (at least on these pages) that, with Damian, there is more than what meets the eye. Likewise, there’s more to be said than what you hear, especially when interviews go deep like this one did. I wrote about another longer interview on the subject of creativity: SAG-AFTRA.  This podcast covered similar ground, but touched on some things we’d never heard before. So, here’s a bit of reading between the lines of some highlights from The Moment.

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday to Damian Lewis on The Moment with Brian Koppelman”

Chuck Seniorisms by the Dozen, Part III

A Baker’s Dozen…and Then Some

You should know by now from my ‘Chuck Seniorisms by the Dozen’ Part I and Part II that Charles Rhoades Senior is one of my favorite characters on Billions. He is played by the extraordinary actor Jeffrey DeMunn, who comes from a theatrical family no less! Buffalo News reported in March 2019 that DeMunn’s father Jim DeMunn and stepmother Betty Lutes DeMunn were two cardinal figures for many years in the local Buffalo theater.

Continue reading “Chuck Seniorisms by the Dozen, Part III”

From The Trader’s Desk: Sabotage! Billions S4 E12 – Season Finale

‘Cause what you see you might not get
And we can bet so don’t you get souped yet
You’re scheming on a thing that’s a mirage
I’m trying to tell you now it’s sabotage
Sabotage – Beastie Boys

Welcome to the last “From the Trader’s Desk” for Season 4 of Billions. We’ve seen the Good, the Bad, and ultimately, the very Ugly from our favorite characters this season (look for our upcoming “Best of Billions” for this season soon!), and this episode, “Extreme Sandbox” was no different.

Before I get into the episode, I want to say how much I have enjoyed bringing “From the Trader’s Desk” to you all each week. These posts were originally supposed to clear up any “fin-speak” that non-Wall Streeters just didn’t get. In the beginning, there was a lot of it! So much so, that we were adding to our Billions: Glossary on a weekly basis. However, as the show got more and more into the characters and the complexity of their relationships, the financial jargon got less and less. What would I write about? I decided that I would do what I do best: analyze and evaluate. If I can do it with companies I trade, I can do it with the rich characters of Billions. I didn’t know how it would go, but I have gotten some of the best feedback on my analysis posts, so thank you! Continue reading “From The Trader’s Desk: Sabotage! Billions S4 E12 – Season Finale”

Billions at Showtime’s “For Your Consideration”

Last night, Billions took center stage for Showtime’s Emmy consideration panel. “For Your Consideration” is a campaign rally where the goal is to get the story of a show, its actors and showrunners, into the minds and hearts of folks making Emmy nominations. In the crowd of shows, you gotta make yours stand out and cast members Paul Giamatti, Damian Lewis, Maggie Siff, and Asia Kate Dillon along with showrunners David Levien and Brian Koppelman did just that in a vibrant conversation with Jake Tapper where they were asked questions about their show and characters.

You can hear the conversation at least for the next few hours on the show’s Instagram. (If you’re like me and need your child to show you how to work instagram stories, some tips to save you the embarrassment: Works only on mobile, click the avatar. The desktop version has some cute stills and gifs from the event but not the live video.) No worries if you don’t get it, that’s what we’re for! Here, I’ll transcribe some of the conversation. Continue reading “Billions at Showtime’s “For Your Consideration””