Bullseye

Podcast: What's Wrong with America

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Bullseye

This week's Sound of Young America is all about what's wrong with this country. And maybe a little about what could be right.

Our first guest is Henry Owings. Henry's the creator of Chunklet Magazine, and the editor of Chunklet's new book, "The Overrated Book." He talks with us about where he finds enough darkness in his heart to oversee the composition of an entire book about things that are overrated -- and to make a list of 1000 overrated things. Contributors to the book include Brian Posehn, Bob Odenkirk, and Neal Pollack.

We also talk with George Saunders. Saunders has published a number of critically acclaimed books, including "CivilWarLand in Bad Decline" and his most recent, "In Persuasion Nation." George talks about his education as a geophysicist, the stigma of humor in literature, and much more.

Bonus reading from "In Persuasion Nation" and interview audio

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A few suggested links:
George Saunders Land (exhaustive Saunders fansite)
Chunklet Radio Podcast on MySpace
George Saunders on This American Life, reading "Offloading for Mrs. Schwartz"
George Saunders on This American Life, reading "The 400 Pound CEO"

Podcast: Put-Ons

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Bullseye

This week's Sound of Young America returns to familiar territory -- pranks and put-ons. We visit with a couple of old friends of the show who are geniuses of the field.

Our first guest is Matt Walsh. Matt's probably best known for being a founder of the Upright Citizens' Brigade. He was also a correspondent on The Daily Show, and has been seen in films like "Old School." His new series on Comedy Central, Dog Bites Man, is a hybrid of many genres. It follows a fictitious Spokane TV news team through real-life America. They interview real people while playing out a fictional storyline. They've gone to the Southern Republican convention and to a KKK picnic. The show was created by Dan Mazer, the co-creator of Da Ali G Show.

We also talk with Charlie Todd, the creator of a group called Improv Everywhere. Charlie's group stages massive street pranks in New York City, but they eschew pranks with victims. Instead, they focus on creating amazing experiences for ordinary people, and then dissapear -- without revealing their identity.

Also, we hear a street prank from Coyle & Sharpe, a remarkable pair of put-on artists who hosted a local AM radio show in San Francisco in the mid 1960s. Mal Sharpe was a comedian and radio man; James Coyle was a professional con artist. Together, they created some of the most amazing street pranks in history. We hear "Maniacs in a Living Hell" from their amazing CD "Coyle & Sharpe: Audio Visionaries." (Buy It)

Also: as part of our continuing partnership with Sketchfest NYC, we hear a brief sketch from Portland-based sketch group The Third Floor.

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Podcast: Digital and Analog

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Bullseye

This week's Sound of Young America broadcast looks at the future of media -- and at its past.

Mark Frauenfelder and Xeni Jardin are two of the c0-editors of Boing-Boing.net, one of the world's most popular blogs. Frauenfelder started Boing Boing as a print zine in 1988, and grew to a website in the mid-90s, and a blog a few years later. Today, it attracts 1.75 million visitors every day. Topics covered range from futurism and cyber culture to ukeleles and the just plan weird and fascinating. We talk with Mark and Xeni about the history of Boing Boing, internet culture, and how blogs are changing the world of media, and changing themselves as time marches on.

We also talk with John Vanderslice. Vanderslice is a recording artist, as well as a record producer and the owner of Tiny Telephone Recording in San Francisco, one of the last all-analog studios in the United States. He started his career as a member of MK Ultra, before becoming a solo artist. His most recent record "Pixel Revolt," is a dense, literary journey in song. He's also produced records by the Mountain Goats and Spoon. We talk with John about why he still cuts tape in the studio, and about his remarkable songs. Don't miss the bonus interview and MP3 downloads below.

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Bonus Interview
Kevin Kelly on the Future of Books

Kevin Kelly is the "Senior Maverick" at Wired Magazine, as well as the editor of the blog Cool Tools. We talk with Kevin about the future of books in a digital world, from scanning projects going on around the globe to the copyright issues that are currently in court. His recent cover story on the subject ran in the New York Times Magazine.

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Bonus Interview
John Vanderslice on Producing

John tells us about his production work with artists like John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats.

Download the John Vanderslice Bonus Material

Listen to Bonus Material Online


Music Downloads
John Vanderslice - "Exodus Damage"
John Vanderslice - "Trance Manual"
Also heard: "Angela"
(all from "Pixel Revolt")

Incidental Music by DJW

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Podcast: Goofaround Gang

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Bullseye

This week's Sound of Young America broadcast looks at a few of our favorite goofs with the theme "Goofaround Gang."

We first hear from comedian Will Franken. Will performs a unique form of solo theater comedy -- essentially performing comedy sketches by himself. He's been voted the best comedian in San Francisco by the SF Weekly, and the "Best Alternative to Pyschadelic Drugs" by the SF Bay Guardian. Will talks about his future, and performs a sketch. Be sure to check below for a "too hot for the radio" sketch from Will.

Our second guest is comedian Paul F. Tompkins. These days, Paul is best known as a VH1 "Fundit," but he's also been a regular on TV series including "Mr. Show," "The Daily Show," and "Real Time with Bill Maher." We talk with Paul about his career in funditry, and about his sideline hosting a cult-favorite stage variety show in Los Angeles.

Our final guests are Tim & Eric, the creators of the Cartoon Network [adult swim] series "Tom Goes to the Mayor." The series is a silly and incisive look at the tiny banalities of American life. They also provide a live demonstration of a favorite musical instrument.

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Download Will Franken's "Wet, Drippy P***ies"

Listen to Will Franken's "Wet, Drippy P***ies" Online

Bonus... here's the "Department of Special Projects" short T&E talk about on the show:

Incidental Music by DJW
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Podcast: Career Killers

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Bullseye

This week's Sound of Young America broadcast commemorates my recent layoff with the theme "Career Killers."

My first guest, Annabelle Gurwitch, is the former host of TBS' "Dinner and a Movie," and a comedienne. Her book, "Fired: Tales of the Canned, Cancelled, Downsized, & Dismissed" compiles stories of firings from folks like Felicity Huffman and David Cross. She herself was fired from a play by Woody Allen, who said her performance was "retarded." We talk with her about getting fired, some of the most interesting stories in the book (Jeff Garlin's is a doozy), and more. She's appearing at the San Francisco Documentary Film Festival May 19th and 20th with Robert Reich.

Our second guest, Dan Clowes, is the screenwriter for the new film Art School Confidential. More importantly, though, he's the creator of the long-running comic book title Eightball. Eightball was the birthplace of the film, as well as the home of the story which became "Ghost World." We talk with Dan about his experiences in art school, his artistic process, working with director Terry Zwigoff and more.

Also, a comedy sketch from Free Love Forum.

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Incidental Music by Generek

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Podcast: Hollywood Outsiders

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Bullseye

This week's Sound of Young America looks at the world of movies from a variety of perspectives outside of the inside.

Sean Uyehara is a programmer for the San Francisco International Film Festival, which is currently running here in the City by the Bay. We talk with him about what it's like to watch 1400 movies a year. Also, he talks about some of the more exciting events at this year's festival, including a discussion of machinima from the creators of Red Vs. Blue, and a remarkable video mashup experience from Addictive TV. You can also read more of Sean's thoughts on the festival here.

Sharon Waxman is the Los Angeles Times' Hollywood reporter, but she wasn't always in the entertainment news business. She started out as a foreign correspondent, and admits she only came to the Tinseltown game out of "desperation." Her book, "Rebels in the Backlot" traces the indie film explosion of the mid-90s. It focuses on the work of Quentin Tarantino, PT Anderson, David Fincher, Steven Sodebergh, David O. Russel, and Spike Jonze. It was recently released in paperback.

Philip Lopate's new book is the Library of America's "American Movie Critics: From the Silents Until Now." The huge tome covers film writing from the silent era until now. We talk with Philip about how criticism has changed over the past hundred years, his favorite critics and why, and the role of film criticism in society.

Also, a message from Your Friend in Hollywood, Jen Kirkman.

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Music This Week

Intersititial Music Provided by DJW

Hey! Buy some stuff! (The show gets a portion of the money)


Podcast: Jonathans

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Bullseye

This week on The Sound of Young America, we visit with two great Jonathans -- Katz and Goldstein.

Our first talk is with Jonathan Goldstein. Goldstein is the author of the novel "Lenny Bruce is Dead," which is story of a young man, his romances, and the death of his mother. The story is told non-sequentially in brief vignettes, often no more than three or four sentences in length.

Jonathan is also a contributing editor for This American Life, and the producer of the CBC's Wiretap. The latter is a show composed entirely of telephon conversations -- some real, many semi-fictional.

We also talk this week with Jonathan Katz, comedian and creator of "Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist," which is out on DVD May 9th. We talk with him about making the show, and interestingly, about his long-standing relationship with David Mamet. We also hear a segment from his semi-fictional radio show, "We're Back."

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Music This Week

Intersititial Music Provided by DJW

Hey! Buy some stuff! (The show gets a portion of the money)

Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist Season 1
Jonathan Goldstein's Lenny Bruce is Dead
David Mamet's House of Games
David Mamet's Things Change
Jonathan Katz's "To-Do Lists of the Dead"

Previously on The Sound of Young America Blog

"You're On The Air with Jonathan Katz"

See Also
This American Life - "Spies Like Us" (features Jonathan Goldstein's lobbycam story)
Unofficial Wiretap MP3 Archive

Podcast: Rip It Up and Start Again

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Bullseye

This week our theme is "Rip It Up & Start Again," and we investigate the history of Post-Punk music.

Our guest is Simon Reynolds, a British pop music critic, and the author of the book which gives our show its name. His book aims to retrofit the reputation of the rock music of the early 80s, describing the sonically disparate artists who created something new in the wake of the first punk movement's self-destruction.

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Music This Week / Buy Stuff

Sex Pistols - "God Save the Queen" from Nevermind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols
Public Image Ltd. - Public Image from Public Image Ltd
Public Image Ltd. - Death Disco from Greatest Hits So Far
Gang of Four - Naturals Not In It from Entertainment!
The Pop Group - Thief of Fire from Y
Gang of Four - Anthrax from Entertainment!
Scritti Pollitti - Perfect Way from Cupid & Psyche 85
Devo - Whip It from Freedom of Choice
Human League - Love Action from "Dare
Slits - "Spend Spend Spend" from Cut
Joy Division - Atmosphere from Permanent
Talking Heads - "Seen and Not Seen" from Remain in Light
Matmos "Regicide" from Civil War


Hey! Buy some stuff! (The show gets a portion of the money)



Podcast: (Un)Clean

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Bullseye

This week's Sound of Young America broadcast bears the theme "(Un)Clean." My guests are comedian Jim Gaffigan (who doesn't swear on stage) and the creators of Wonder Showzen (who dress children up in Hitler costumes).

Jim Gaffigan is one of the country's most popular stand-up comics, and an accomplished actor, as well. His observational humor is peppered with audience commentary - that he provides himself, in a creepy high pitched voice. We talk about his long standup career, and his acting career, which features both comic and dramatic credits. He's currently on tour (including a show in San Francisco April 7th), and his new CD and DVD are in stores now.

Vernon Chatman and John Lee are the creators of the brilliant MTV2 series Wonder Showzen. The series could be broadly described as a parody of children's television, but it's really more of a satire of the banality of American culture. One recurring segment, "Beat Kids," sends children dressed as reporters to ask pointed questions of the man on the street. In one, a 7-year-old (or so) black girl is dispatched to Wall Street, asking "Who have you exploited today?" and "Where will you be when the revolution comes?" John & Vernon are also members of the rock band PFFR (pronounced P-F-R), and the former writers of the MTV series "Doggy Fizzle Televizzle." Wonder Showzen returned to MTV2 yesterday, and airs Fridays at 9:30PM. Their first season DVD was just released.

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Check out our uncut, unedited interview with Jim Gaffigan

Music This Week

Untitled Beat by DJW

Hey! Buy some stuff! (The show gets a portion of the money)

Jim Gaffigan's Beyond the Pale DVD (only $9.99!)

Jim Gaffigan's Beyond the Pale CD

Wonder Showzen Season 1

Previously on The Sound of Young America Blog

Dead Frog v. Wonder Showzen
Wonder Showzen Creators' Core Beliefs
Change the Channel for Kids
Good Shows & Bad People

Podcast: The Elements of Style

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Bullseye


This week on The Sound of Young America, we tackle "The Elements of Style." My guests are Maira Kalman, Nico Muhly, and George Pelecanos.

Maira Kalman is a noted illustrator and author, whose work includes award-winning children's books and numerous New Yorker covers, among them the popular "New Yorkistan." She's created a stunning illustrated edition of the classic writing manual "The Elements of Style" by Strunk & White. Her illustrations are both literal and figural (no pun intended). She talks with us about how a book about words can lend itself to images.

We also talk with and hear the music of Nico Muhly, who composed a song suite to accompany Kalman's book. Muhly, only 24 (same as me!), has already worked with artists from Bjork to Philip Glass. You can download our full interview with him (we only feature two brief clips in the show) here.

George Pelecanos is a wonderful writer of mysteries set in Washington DC. His writing reflects a side of DC that's rarely seen in the popular media -- the side that earned it the nickname "Chocolate City." He recently edited a book of short stories about every part of the District, called "D.C. Noir." He's also a writer and producer on the brilliant HBO series "The Wire," and we talk about writing what is essentially a novel for the screen.

Download this week's show (MP3 Audio)

Listen to this week's show online:

Download our full-length interview with Nico Muhly (MP3 Audio)

Music This Week

Nico Muhly: "Be Obscure Clearly" and "An Approach to Style" (as yet unreleased)

Other Stuff to Buy (The show gets a portion of the money)

The Wire on DVD

Maira Kalman's Books

George Pelecanos' Books

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