Bullseye

Bullseye is a public radio show about what's good in popular culture. With a keen editorial eye, Bullseye sifts the wheat from the chaff, and brings you hot culture picks, in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary creative people and irreverent original comedy.

Bullseye is equal parts funny and fascinating. Whether you're already plugged in to the culture map, or looking for a signpost, Bullseye will keep you on target. More About Bullseye

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: William H. Macy, Matt Walsh & Brian Huskey

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
William H. Macy
Guests: 
Matt Walsh
Guests: 
Brian Huskey
Guests: 
Baron Vaughn
Guests: 
Chicano Batman

Thanks to everyone who came out to our World Tour of Several American Cities! Here's our taping in Los Angeles, at the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

And if you're looking for a particular segment to listen to or share, check us out on Soundcloud.


Photos by Ibarionex Perello

Matt Walsh and Brian Huskey on Creating 'A Better You' and Their Best Improv Moments

Matt Walsh and Brian Huskey co-wrote, Walsh directed and Huskey stars in the new improv film A Better You. Walsh and Huskey met through improv comedy, and recently worked together more closely on HBO's Veep before deciding to make a film together

They talked to us about constructing an improv film, their favorite moments over years of performance, and elephants.

A Better You is available now on VOD.

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Photo by Ibarionex Perello

Comedy: Baron Vaughn on Talking to Bugs

LA stand up comic and actor Baron Vaughn talks about bugs, dairy allergies, and more.

You can see Baron in the Netflix series Grace and Frankie, or on tour with his standup at BaronVaughn.com.

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Photo by Ibarionex Perello

William H. Macy on 'Shameless' and Characters Who Strive

William H. Macy talks with us about the evolution of his character Frank Gallagher on Showtime's Shameless, and what happened when he had to go from playing a drunk to a slightly less drunk.

Plus, he'll talk about an actor's responsibility to the writing and working with David Mamet.

Shameless returns in January for its sixth season on Showtime. Macy has also directed the upcoming film The Layover.

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Chicano Batman with "Cycles of Existential Rhyme" and "Please Don't Leave Me"

Los Angeles band Chicano Batman were our musical guest for the evening - listen in as they perform two songs from their live set.

The band's most recent LP is Cycles of Existential Rhyme. You can find more about them and their tourdates at ChicanoBatman.com.

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Photo by Ibarionex Perello

The Outshot: Drumline (and The Good Stuff)

Jesse explains why he thought the movie Drumline was worth a watch -- even if it doesn't throw any curveballs.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Allison Janney & Ishmael Butler

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You've got only a few more days to check out Bullseye Live on Tour - there are a handful of tickets remaining for Boston and Brooklyn with guests Barney Frank, Mission of Burma, Tavi Gevinson, David Cross, and Pharoahe Monch. It's all at BullseyeTour.com. Don't miss it!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THIS EPISODE DIRECTLY

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

And if you're looking for a particular segment to listen to or share, check us out on Soundcloud.


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Ishmael Butler on the Short Life of Digable Planets and the Cosmic Hip Hop of Shabazz Palaces

In the early 1990s, the hip hop group Digable Planets broke through with their single "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)". The single was jazzy and laid-back, and became a crossover hit. The trio were pegged by some as a counterpoint to gangsta rap, but they didn't love the efforts to categorize their sound. They went further on their next boundary-pushing release, the classic record Blowout Comb. The album was critically acclaimed, but didn't sell well, and the group drifted apart shortly afterward.

Founding member Ishmael Butler was only in his mid-20s when Digable Planets broke up. And so he tried other things, like filmmaking. He still made music, but the releases were few and far between. About six years ago, he teamed up with Tendai Maraire to form a new group, called Shabazz Palaces.

Shabazz Palaces' latest release is called Lese Majesty, and it expands on their interstellar sound.

Butler spoke to us about his days as a indie label gopher, the awkward audition Digable Planets had to endure for a record company executive, and the the transformative sounds of Shabazz Palaces.

Digable Planets will be teaming up for a reunion show in Seattle this December.

Todd Martens on Young Love and Defying Expectations

Beyond interesting conversations with people in culture, we like to tell you about interesting cultural stuff. There's so much stuff out there, you don't have time to listen to everything. That's why we've brought in Todd Martens, who writes about music for the LA Times, to tell you about two albums you can dive into without hesitation.

Martens recommends Material Issue's 1991 album, International Pop Overthrow, a combination of cynicism and idealism.

He also recommends Summerteeth by Wilco, an album which explores a different side of Wilco.

You can find Todd's writing in the LA Times and on their blog, Pop and Hiss.


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"The Song That Changed my Life": Director Michel Gondry Gets Nostalgic for "Le Sud" by Nico Ferrer

There's a certain kind of feeling to the director Michel Gondry's films. A little bit of happiness mixed with sadness. Nostalgia for something that you experienced, or maybe something you wish you had experienced. You may have felt it watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Science of Sleep, or his new film Mood Indigo.

For "The Song That Changed My Life", Gondry describes the feeling of saudade and how he felt watching Nico Ferrer perform the song "Le Sud" on a Saturday night.

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Allison Janney, from Loose Cannon Sitcom 'Mom' to Intimate Drama in 'Masters of Sex'

If you've seen Allison Janney on television lately, it's been in one of two very different roles. On the Showtime series Masters of Sex, Janney guest stars as a somewhat naive, vulnerable 1950s housewife who experiences a breakthrough after many years in a sexless (but not loveless) marriage. Her story is both heartbreaking and hopeful. In the CBS sitcom Mom, she plays Bonnie, a recovering alcoholic who's outrageous, biting, and very funny. Bonnie's been down, but she's making peace with her estranged daughter and getting her life back together. Janney's characterizations are versatile; they allow her to be warm, steely, confident, and thin-skinned by turns. Janney has won Emmys for both roles.

She spoke to us about her early acting days (including auditioning for an intimidatingly handsome Paul Newman), getting comfortable with the inevitable nude scenes for Masters of Sex, and the ways that her mom's background and brother's struggle with addiction gave her insight and empathy for her current roles.

Mom is in its third season on CBS. You can see it Thursdays at 9/8c.

The Outshot: Orson Welles and 'Touch of Evil'

Jesse explains why the last Hollywood picture Orson Welles directed, Touch of Evil, tells us so much about Welles as an artist.

This episode originally aired in August 2014.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Ethan Hawke & Michaela Watkins

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Ethan Hawke
Guests: 
Michaela Watkins

Our WORLD TOUR OF SEVERAL AMERICAN CITIES kicks off this Friday November 13th in Los Angeles with William H. Macy, Matt Walsh, Brian Huskey, Chicano Batman and Baron Vaughn - get your tickets now!

Plus check us out in Boston, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Philly and DC with guests Barney Frank, Mission of Burma, Tavi Gevinson, David Cross, John Hodgman, Joel Hodgson, Ray Suarez, Dan Deacon and more. It's all at BullseyeTour.com. Don't miss it!

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

And if you're looking for a particular segment to listen to or share, check us out on Soundcloud.


Grant Lamos IV/Getty Images for the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival

Ethan Hawke Considers Life Lessons in 'Rules For a Knight'

Ethan Hawke is one of the rare actors that viewers have seen grow up in front of their eyes. They watched him as a teenager in the films Explorers and Dead Poets Society, saw him as a young adult in Reality Bites and Before Sunrise, and even saw him change over the course of twelve years of filming his Oscar-nominated turn in the Richard Linklater film, Boyhood.

Along with his work on-screen, he has also enjoyed success as a novelist with his books. His newest is a set of parables, inspired by Hawke's experiences as a parent, called Rules for a Knight. In it, a knight fears that he may not return from battle, and leaves behind a letter with important life lessons for his children. In the book, Hawke explores themes of honesty, courage, solitude and patience.

Ethan Hawke joins Jesse to share how life as a divorced father has influenced his work as an author and an actor, why child stardom was a double-edged sword, and how a favorite line from one of his films helped him to complete a marathon.

Rules for a Knight is now available in hardback and as an e-book.

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Michaela Watkins on Dating In Real Life and On-Screen, SNL, and Going For the Joke

Michaela Watkins is an actress who is in her element when she can go all-out for the joke. Whether she’s practicing sketch comedy as she did in her time with The Groundlings or her one-year stint on Saturday Night Live or performing on a sitcom like the Trophy Wife, Watkins creates characters that are both funny and memorable.

Now, Watkins brings her wit to the lead role of Valerie Myers in the new Hulu series, Casual. In it, she plays a newly divorced woman who finds herself living with her adult brother, while learning to navigate the dating world as a middle-aged woman.

Michaela Watkins joined Jesse to talk about how taking time for herself helped her to improve her relationships, the insane pacing of Saturday Night Live, and her contributions to Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp.

Casual is now in its first season on Hulu.

You can find a bit of bonus audio from our interview with Michaela Watkins here.

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The Outshot: The Musicality of an MC

From the early days of rap, the role of the MC was an ancillary one. They were there to support the work of the DJ by keeping the energy level up. The rapper Rakim helped to change that by bringing the role of the MC front and center using a unique blend of words, music and an intoxicating beat.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Matt Braunger & Margaret Atwood

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Bullseye
Guests: 
Matt Braunger
Guests: 
Margaret Atwood

Our WORLD TOUR OF SEVERAL AMERICAN CITIES kicks off next week in Los Angeles on Friday, November 13 with William H. Macy, Chicano Batman and Baron Vaughn - get your tickets now!

Plus check us out in Boston, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Philly and DC with guests Barney Frank, Mission of Burma, Tavi Gevinson, David Cross, John Hodgman, Joel Hodgson, Ray Suarez, Dan Deacon and more. It's all at BullseyeTour.com. Don't miss it!

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

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Matt Braunger on Class Clowning, Trying Even if You Fail, and Teenage Rapping

Actor, writer and stand-up comedian Matt Braunger always knew that he wanted a life in comedy. He was so sure of this career path that he never seriously considered a backup plan. It was, as he puts it, comedy or die.

Thankfully, it’s been the former and his observant sense of humor is on full display in his latest comedy special, Big Dumb Animal. Along with being a cast member on the final season of the sketch comedy show, MADtv, he’s acted on numerous television shows including the United States of Tara and Pushing Daisies. He’s also made appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman, the Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien and Chelsea Lately.

Braunger joins Jesse to talk about playing the dumb, clueless husband in television commercials, how he’s worked to be less negative and enjoy the present moment, and why it’s so important to try (even if you fail).

Big Dumb Animal is available now for streaming on Netflix.

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Margaret Atwood on Sex in 'The Heart Goes Last', Childhood Brutishness and Shakespeare

Canadian-born author and poet Margaret Atwood has had an extremely successful career as writer, despite, as she relays to us, the fact that she was not the most memorable or exceptional English student. Her work includes the novels Cat’s Eye and The Handmaid’s Tale as well as many volumes of poetry, and often deals with feminism and politics.

Her latest novel, The Heart Goes Last is a dark comic take on the near future, where lawful people are imprisoned and the lawless are free. The narrative was first introduced to readers in serial form on the website Byliner, and takes on its full shape as a novel which explores issue of sexuality and sexual politics.

Atwood spoke with our contributor Guy Branum to discuss why she believes a novel is an opportunity to share an experience rather than a pulpit from which to preach, delves into her favorite aspects of Shakespeare, and shares her favorite version of her own origin story as a writer.

The Heart Goes Last is available now.

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The Outshot: The Sound of the Apocalypse

In 1977, the country of Jamaica was in economic and social turmoil. Only 15 years after it gained its independence, the country was experiencing difficulties that some believed were signs of the coming apocalypse, specifically on the date of July 7, 1977, the day the two sevens would clash. Jesse shares how the voice of hope came in the form of Joseph Hill, the frontman of a reggae band called Culture.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Elvis Costello & Elizabeth Banks

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Bullseye
Guests: 
Elvis Costello
Guests: 
Elizabeth Banks

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

And if you're looking for a particular segment to listen to or share, check us out on Soundcloud.


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Elvis Costello on His Reputation, Memories of His Father, and Writing Music for Friends

Elvis Costello grew up surrounded by music. His mother ran the record section of Selfridges, and his father was an accomplished working musician. As Costello describes in his new memoir, Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink, he didn't intend to make music himself, but felt eventually drawn to it.

The Grammy-winning singer/songwriter and record producer has enjoyed a long career, working on his own and collaborating with everyone from Burt Bacharach, Paul McCartney and Annie Lennox to Solomon Burke.

Elvis Costello joins Jesse to talk about his father’s career and love of music, why Alzheimer’s in his family inspired him to write the book and what it was like to have Christmas with Johnny Cash.

Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink is available now.

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Photo by Jesse Thorn

Elizabeth Banks on Finding the Heart of 'Love and Mercy'

'Love and Mercy' was a bit of a tough sell for Elizabeth Banks. She'd acted in biopics before, but this one, about the Beach Boys' resident genius Brian Wilson, was on another level. The director Bill Pohlad would have two actors playing Brian at different stages of his life, and the film would tackle both Brian's mental illness and the budding love story between him and his wife Melinda Ledbetter. The film, and the roles of Melinda and Brian, would carry high expectations. But after speaking with the real Melinda about her love for Brian and the complexities of their story, Banks fully committed to doing their story justice.

Banks has had a successful career in TV and film, including roles in 30 Rock, The Hunger Games, and Wet Hot American Summer. She also directed, produced and acted in a small role in this summer's smash hit comedy, Pitch Perfect II.

Elizabeth Banks joins us to talk about the challenges in making a film which explores loving someone with a mental illness, how she's dealt with the frustration of being undervalued and underutilized in Hollywood, and what she did with some of the... questionable advice she received from a prospective agent early in her career.

Love and Mercy is available now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD.

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The Outshot: Dad’s Style

Jesse explains why Dad's Style is so attractive.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Brad Bird & Ernie Isley

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Bullseye
Guests: 
Brad Bird
Guests: 
Ernie Isley

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

Come see Bullseye LIVE in Los Angeles, Boston, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Philadelphia and Washington DC next month! Live interviews, comedy, music and more. Get your tickets now, they're going fast. Check out BullseyeTour.com for tickets.


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Brad Bird on Creating an Atypical Animated Hit in 'The Iron Giant', Following Filmmaking Instincts, and Shaping 'The Simpsons'

Brad Bird started out in animation early, being recognized and mentored early on by Milt Kahl, one of Disney's legendary animators. His career includes eight seasons of The Simpsons, the animated films The Incredibles and Ratatouille, the big budget action film Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, and his animated feature debut, 1999's The Iron Giant.

The Iron Giant has just been remastered and re-released with several new scenes as a Signature Edition. It's available now on your favorite online video service, and will be out on DVD and Blu-Ray next year.

Bird talks to us about creating an atypical animated feature film in The Iron Giant, the reward of following your instincts when it comes to making movies, and how he helped create the look and feel of The Simpsons as an executive consultant on the show for eight seasons.

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Ernie Isley on The Isley Brothers' Evolution Through the Decades, Joining the Band as a Kid Brother and Jimi Hendrix

The Isley Brothers' first hit on their debut album was 'Shout', that classic call-and-response rock song. It was 1959 and Ernie Isley was seven years old. In the 1960s, they had 'Twist and Shout' and a run with Motown. Jimi Hendrix made his first recordings with the band and lived in a spare room at their mom's house. In 1969, they reintroduced themselves to the world, with little brother Ernie on bass. The song was 'It's Your Thing'.

The band continued to reinvent their sound and create hits through the 70s and into the 80s, songs like 'Who's That Lady' with Ernie's now-classic guitar riffs, 'Fight the Power', and 'Between the Sheets'.

A new 23-disc box set of the band's work is called The Isley Brothers: The RCA Victor and T-Neck Album Masters (1959-1983). It's available now.

Isley joins us to talk about playing his first gig alongside his brothers (filling in on drums for Martha and the Vandellas), being one of the only bands to actually play live on Soul Train, the band's evolution through the years, and his memories of the group's friend and sometime housemate Jimi Hendrix.

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The Outshot: The Pope Comes to Visit

What is Jesse reminded of when the Pope comes to visit? Why, this sketch, of course.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Tig Notaro & John Darnielle

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New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THIS EPISODE DIRECTLY

Come see Bullseye LIVE in Los Angeles, Boston, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Philadelphia and Washington DC next month! Live interviews, comedy, music and more. Get your tickets now, they're going fast. Check out BullseyeTour.com for tickets.


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"I Have Nothing to Lose Now": Tig Notaro on Life and Stand Up Comedy After Cancer

In 2012, the stand up comic Tig Notaro had a famously bad year. She caught pneumonia, which snowballed into C. Diff. She and her girlfriend broke up. Her mother passed away unexpectedly. And then, she learned she had breast cancer.

You’re probably familiar with what came next. Notaro headed out to a stand up gig in Los Angeles, at the Largo. But she didn’t feel right performing her usual set. She decided to open up like she had never before. Hours after she received the diagnosis, she went on stage and said to the audience, “Hello, I have cancer”.

She took the audience through the pain she had experienced over the last few months. It was still in her deadpan style, with jokes and stories that were brave and sometimes uncomfortably funny.

Notaro is in remission now, and she’s continued to perform stand up. A recent documentary on her called Tig, tells the story of the Largo performance and her life since. It’s available for streaming on Netflix. Her recent national tour, Boyish Girl Interrupted is now a comedy special airing on HBO.

Tig Notaro spoke with Jesse last year.

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John Darnielle on 'Wolf in White Van', Working with Teenagers, and Artistic Responsibility

You probably know John Darnielle as a lead member (and sometimes only member) of the band The Mountain Goats. His music is known for its poignant lyrics and simple instrumentation. Darnielle started the band in 1991 and has since released 14 albums.

Now, he’s written his first novel Wolf in White Van. The novels tells the story of Sean, a young man who has survived a suicide attempt, but is horribly disfigured in the process. Sean goes on to create a mail-order role-playing game, only to find out how his imagination can have real-world consequences.

Darnielle talks to Jesse about why lyrics are so important to him, subliminal messaging, and how much artistic responsibility we should assign to writers, musicians and other creative people.

Wolf in White Van is now available in paperback.

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The Outshot: Nina Simone’s “Four Women”

Jesse talks about one of his favorite singers, Nina Simone, and “Four Women”.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Constance Wu & Ron Nyswaner

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Constance Wu
Guests: 
Ron Nyswaner

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

And if you're looking for a particular segment to listen to or share, check us out on Soundcloud.

This week, we have the delightful Guy Branum hosting our show. Jesse Thorn will return next week!

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Constance Wu on Comedy, Diversity and 'Fresh Off the Boat'

Constance Wu plays Jessica Huang on Fresh Off the Boat, the first network show to star Asian-Americans in decades. Wu reveals the complexities of an immigrant mother who cares deeply about her family's future, and has to grapple with the difficulties of starting over in a new state and with a new business.

Guy talks to Constance Wu about diversity in TV shows, how getting dumped can bolster your career and learning to play comedy.

Fresh Off the Boat airs Tuesday nights at 8:30/7:30c on ABC.

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Ron Nyswaner on 'Freeheld' and Gay Stories On-Screen

The new film Freeheld is based on a true story - that of Laurel Hester, a New Jersey police detective, and her domestic partner Stacie Andree. They were domestic partners because before 2013, New Jersey didn’t recognize gay marriages. Laurel, diagnosed with cancer, wanted to leave her pension to Stacie, but was denied by county legislators. Her and Stacie's story became the subject of a 2007 documentary, and has now been adapted into a new film, called Freeheld, starring Julianne Moore and Ellen Page.

This week's guest, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter Ron Nyswaner, adapted Laurel and Stacie's story for the film. Nyswaner also wrote the screenplay for Philadelphia, the 1993 film starring Tom Hanks, which helped along a national conversation about the AIDS crisis and homophobia, and Soldier’s Girl, the made-for-cable film which changed the way many Americans saw Trans people.

Nyswaner embraced everything he would face as an openly gay writer, the good with the bad.

He joins us to talk about how activism has always been a part of his life and his art, the lasting impact of his film Philadelphia, and adapting the story of Laurel Hester and Stacie Andree for Freeheld.

Freeheld is is theaters now.

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The Outshot: Annie Lennox Pays Tribute to Freddie Mercury

Guy explains how, in a concert of well-intentioned but mediocre covers of Queen songs, Annie Lennox found her own way to pay tribute to Freddie Mercury -- with what he calls "the most complete performance I’ve ever seen."

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Russell Simmons & Carl Wilson

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New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

And if you're looking for a particular segment to listen to or share, check us out on Soundcloud.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THIS EPISODE DIRECTLY

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Slowing Down "Rush": Russell Simmons on Building Hip Hop, Authenticity, and Finding Stillness

Russell Simmons is one of the few people that can honestly say he helped build hip hop. He was an entrepreneur early on, promoting parties and hustling fake cocaine when he was still a college student in the late 1970s. He was there one night at the Charles Gallery, when the headliner DJ Easy G brought on a local rapper, and Simmons felt Eddie Cheeba work the crowd into a frenzy.

It was his first real introduction to hip hop, and he could see that it would be more than just a passing fad. He went on to co-found the music label Def Jam Recordings with Rick Rubin and build a roster of hugely successful hip hop artists, starting with a teenage LL Cool J and the punk rock-turned-hip hop group The Beastie Boys. Simmons worked hard to build sustainable brands for his artists, and took pride in their authenticity. And he wasn't content to focus on music -- his ambition led him to create an empire, expanding into fashion, television, film, journalism, finance, and philanthropy.

Simmons' abundance of energy helped earn him the nickname "Rush", but he says he owes much of his success to inner tranquility and stillness. He's practiced yoga and meditation for over fifteen years, and in his book, Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple, Simmons seeks to demystify meditation for the average person, and explain its link to personal and professional growth.

He joins us to talk about the pivotal moment that he heard Eddie Cheeba and found himself sold on hip hop, building Def Jam, leaving drugs behind for yoga and meditation and finding inner stillness.

This interview originally aired in 2014.

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How We Decide What's Good... and What's Bad: Carl Wilson on Celine Dion and the Nature of Taste

Carl Wilson is a music critic. His job is to tell people why certain music is good, and why other music isn't. You could call him a tastemaker. But he started to wonder. How does taste even work? To find out, he immersed himself in the music, life and fandom of Celine Dion.

Wilson is the author of Let's Talk About Love: Why Other People Have Such Bad Taste, a reissued and expanded version of the book he published in 2007. It's about Celine and her bestselling album from 1997, but more importantly it's an exploration of why we like some music and hate other music. Wilson's journey made him question how we place value on art, and has affected the way he approaches his work in music criticism.

He talks about Dion's Quebecois background (and why it matters), how she and her music relate to "coolness," and why experiencing a Celine Dion concert in Las Vegas helped open him up to her true appeal.

Looking for Rich Juzwiak's "Celine Dion is Amazing" compilation video mentioned in the interview? We'll save you a Google search.

This interview originally aired in 2014.

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The Outshot: East Side Story

You probably know what a low rider is. But what do you know about low rider oldies? Jesse talks about the perfect music for driving low and slow.

This segment originally aired in 2014.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Bill Withers & Joe Randazzo

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Bill Withers
Guests: 
Joe Randazzo

Our big announcement this week? Our "World Tour of Several American Cities"! We'll be putting on live tapings of Bullseye in LA, Boston, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Philadelphia, and Washington DC in November! Visit BullseyeTour.com for more details. Tickets go on sale this Friday, September 25th!

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

And if you're looking for a particular segment to listen to or share, check us out on Soundcloud.


Photo credit: Brad Barket/Getty Images

Bill Withers Returns: Music, Career Advice and Living Life on Your Own Terms

Bill Withers is a man who prefers his life and his music on his own terms. The Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter’s last album was released over thirty years ago, and he has no regrets about walking away from a career in music. His back catalog, which include classics like Ain’t No Sunshine, Grandma’s Hands and Lean on Me, is still as vibrant and influential as it was decades ago.

Withers was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and he is also being honored on October 1st with a tribute concert at Carnegie Hall. Lean on Him: A Tribute to Bill Withers features a lineup that includes D'Angelo, Aloe Blacc, Keb’ Mo’, Gregory Porter and Ledisi among many others.

Bill Withers sits down with Jesse to talk about growing up in coal-mining town in West Virginia, why he didn’t dress-up on stage or dance like his contemporaries, and what his relationship to music is like now.

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Joe Randazzo Explains How to Be "Funny On Purpose"

Joe Randazzo knows funny. Starting with his career as section editor for The Onion and continuing with his role as head writer for @Midnight, he has enjoyed a diverse career that has allowed him access to some of the industry's best comedic talents.

He plumbed his own experiences, and that of many of his colleagues and extended network, for the advice he offers in his new book Funny On Purpose: The Definitive Guide to an Unpredictable Career in Comedy.

Randazzo interviewed writers, performers, directors and producers about how they each have managed to create comedy careers in television, film, podcasting and on YouTube. Interviews include conversations with Judd Apatow, Joan Rivers, Jack Handey and -- disclaimer -- our own podcast impresario Jesse Thorn.

Joe Randazzo joins us to discuss what he learned during his career as an editor at The Onion, his forays into stand-up and improv and why it’s essential to build and sustain relationships with other people in comedy (even if it feels like you're competing with them).

Randazzo’s book Funny On Purpose: The Definitive Guide to an Unpredictable Career in Comedy is available now.

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The Outshot: The Kid Spellers of 'Spellbound'

Jesse talks about his great American hero - a kid named Harry Altman from the Academy Award winning film, Spellbound.

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