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The Greatest Item in Roadshow History


This pig toy is the single greatest item in the history of The Antiques Roadshow. It is so fantastic, I cannot believe it is real. Usually, when I'm watching the Roadshow, I announce which things I would buy if I were rich. I would pay the full auction valuation for this pig RIGHT NOW. I want this pig SO BAD.

Actor Kevin Kline: Interview on The Sound of Young America

Kevin Kline

Kevin Kline on The Sound of Young America from Jesse Thorn on Vimeo.

The Sound of Young America was in Park City, Utah for the Sundance Film Festival this year, and we took the opportunity to talk to the hottest film directors, actors, and creatives. Here’s our first part in that series, in which we talk to actor Kevin Kline.

Kevin Kline is one of America's greatest actors. He's one of the few to have won an Oscar for a comic role (his amazing turn in "A Fish Called Wanda"), and he's been acclaimed for his work in everything from contemporary drama to Shakespeare to light opera. We spoke with him at Sundance after the release of "The Extra Man”, a film adaptation of a Jonathan Ames novel. Kline stars as Henry, an eccentric older gentleman who makes his living as a social escort to New York’s high society widows.

Jesse Thorn on Comedy & Everything Else


I had a blast last night recording an episode of Comedy & Everything Else. Stef and Jimmy were gracious hosts and we had a lot of fun talking about everything from President Obama to Queen Latifah. If you have the stomach for two and a half hours of me running my mouth, you should check it out.

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: Chatterbox Audio Theater


Given that the medium of podcasting is even now resurrecting so many types of audio entertainment previously missing and presumed dead, your Podthinker is surprised how little new radio drama it's given rise to. Oh, sure, there's stuff out there, but 90 percent of the time, there's something wrong with it: uncomfortably earnest, has a thinly-veiled Ayn Rand-y agenda, every voice is recorded by one dude, that sort of thing. It's not difficult to find podcast radio drama; it's difficult to find podcast radio drama that won't weird you out.

Chatterbox Audio Theater [RSS] [iTunes] circumvents that weird-outiness somewhat by taking what you might call the "community theater" angle. This comes straight from their about page, which calls Chatterbox "a non-profit web-based community theater that advances the exchange of ideas by channeling creativity and artistic collaboration into recorded audio works that enlighten, entertain, and inspire." Pretty bold statement — also pretty broad, when you think about it, but still, it has a certain nobility.

The show really does nail the community theater sensibility. That's not to say that you can hear the scenery collapsing onstage as the ironic prima donnas argue behind it, but the proceedings do have a certain flavor of — how to put it? — easygoing goofiness. It's a good-natured sort of casualness, though not an unprofessional one, and it combines with the physicality lent by recording live with manual sound effects and not much in the way of editing. Chatterbox's shows aren't miracles of audio engineering or processing, but they're competently recorded, ably performed and built upon a wide range of (usually) solid source material.

This material includes dramatizations of such universally-known stories — you might even say "classics" — as Kafka's "In the Penal Colony" [MP3], Rudyard Kipling's "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" [MP3] and Herman Melville's always eerie yet chuckleworthy "Bartleby the Scrivener" [MP3 part one] [MP3 part two]. (Speaking of eerieness, if you by now suspect that this is the sort of outfit that really does it up on Halloween, you are right. [MP3])

The Chatterbox crew (and its surprisingly enormous cast) also bring a fair amount of original material to life. As weak writing tends to be the Achilles' heel of so much podcast radio drama — hell, of so much radio drama, period — it pleases your Podthinker to report that, here, it's pretty sound. (No pun intended.) Though the events of "King Me" [MP3], one of those games of repeated table-turning deception, are fairly standard, they're well-rendered. Even better are the slightly more experimental ventures, like the same author's Fearless-like "The Separate Self" [MP3], which break from the dramatic forms you'd see on a physical stage to get creative with perspective-shifting setups only possible on radio.

But don't be misled by the word "experimental" in that last paragraph; Chatterbox Audio Theater is many things, but avant-garde is definitely not one of them. While your Podthinker would not dream of asking them to abandon the community theater vibe in favor of, say, that of a SoHo black box mdash; much of its strength lies in its pragmatic, tried-and-true stage roots — it wouldn't hurt to move, oh, five degrees or so toward the sort of sensibility offered on Ubuweb's sound archive. Just sayin'.

Vital stats:
Format: live-to-tape "radio" drama
Duration: 10m-1h
Frequency: erratic, but probably averages one per month
Archive available on iTunes: all

[Got a podcast to suggest for Podthoughts coverage or any other sort of question and/or comment for Podthinker Colin Marshall? colinjmarshall at gmail.]



Loudon Wainwright III - Motel Blues


Peter Serafinowicz on BoingBoing TV


Our pal Xeni talks to the very funny Peter Serafinowicz on BoingBoing TV.

This American Life iPhone App


Our friends* at This American Life have a new iPhone app. It costs $3, and you should definitely buy it. You've probably heard of This American Life, and maybe you think you're either not cool enough for it or too cool for it, but you're wrong. It's for everybody. Really, This American Life is a very successful show for two reasons: Ira Glass' captivating interview on The Sound of Young America, and the fact that it is a truly amazing program, maybe the best radio show of all time. Anyway, fire up those iPhones and go to town.

*Friends is probably kind of strong. I mean, some people who've contributed to the show are my friends. John Hodgman, for example. And I did meet Ira one time, and he was very gracious. And Julie Snyder, one of the show's producers, was the news director at KZSC once upon a time, and I was the news director there once upon a time (and so was Nick, our editor). I don't want you to think we're enemies or anything. I'm just saying: when I say they're our friends, I'm speaking of a general bonhomie that I feel towards them, and maybe they feel that way. Oh! Seth - I met that guy and he was really nice. He works there. Seth. Anyway, buy the fucking app.

Sal Santana on "Keyboard City" and more: Interview on The Sound of Young America

Sal Santana

Salvador Santana is a keyboard player and singer-songwriter. His father is guitar legend Carlos Santana. He's just released a new LP, Keyboard City. He talks with The Sound of Young America about his Bay Area roots (he's an alumnus of School of the Arts in San Francisco), working on "Supernatural" as a teenager, touring with Ozomatli and recording with his mentor, Money Mark.

MaxFunPals on Twitter


I don't know if you've heard of Twitter, a red-hot website for teens, but it's VERY big right now (with teens). If you want to meet and charm other teens, you should really check it out - and here are a few MaxFun affiliates and pals you can follow.

Of course, I'm on Twitter @YoungAmerican. I make innapropriate jokes, then remember that the boss of PRI is subscribed to my feed, then figure, "hey, what's done is done." I also announce new episodes of TSOYA, livestreams of JJGo, and other stuff like that. Nick, the editor of TSOYA, is @NPWhite, where he occasionally asks a TSOYA-related question, and talks about the LPFM station he works at in Chicago. Jordan is on Twitter @Jordan_Morris, and he's fantastically hilarious. Follow him and get one or two amazing jokes a day. I also tweet about Put This On @PutThisOn.

Kasper Hauser are @Kasper_Hauser, sharing awesome jokes. So are their members individually: Rob Baedeker (@robbaedeker), James Reichmuth, aka Jacobus of the 14th Century (@Jacobus14), John Reichmuth (@CountReichmuth), and Dan Klein (@Kleinimp).

Our Monsters of Podcasting friends met on Twitter, and they met because they're all so hilarious there. Merlin is @HotDogsLadies, Scott is @ScottSimpson and Adam hits about two home runs a day @LonelySandwich. They tweet collectively as @YLNT.

Lots of our comedy friends are on Twitter. Rob Huebel (@RobHuebel) is probably my favorite Twitterer. His tweets seem to come from an alternate, nightmare universe which never ceases to amuse me. Other comedy pals of ours, like Rob Corddry (@RobCorddry), Chris Hardwick (@nerdist) and John Hodgman (@Hodgman) are there as well.

I also follow lots of public radio and podcasting pals. Our pal Matt from Never Not Funny tweets both for the show (@NeverNotFunny) and for himself (@MattBelknap). Tom Scharpling from The Best Show on WFMU is always stirring shit up @Scharpling. My overlords tweet @PRI. NPR's Mike Pesca is @Pescami and Studio 360's Kurt "Explodo" Andersen is @KBAndersen.

Of course, the most important person to follow is Andrew WK, whose PARTY TIPS ("PARTY TIP: You got to do it! You never give up! YOU'VE GOT TO DO ALL THE STUFF THAT YOU LOVE! Do what feels good, all the time.") will make your life better every day. Follow him @AndrewWK.

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