Just a friendly reminder that this Thursday, May 10th is not only the night Ira Glass brings This American Life to the stage (and movie theaters across the country), but it's also the night of our massive, nation-wide MaxFun Meet-Up to celebrate!
LA area MaxFunsters are encouraged to join us Buffalo Wild Wings Burbank after the show (which we'll be taking in at the AMC Burbank 16) for a night full of new friends and maximum fun! Jesse Thorn, Jordan Morris, Erin Gibson, Bryan Safi and all of us behind-the-scenesters will be there. Will you?
And fear not out-of-towners, as Burbank is hardly the only place to get in on the action. MaxFun listeners all across the country and organizing their own meet-ups: New York, Portland, Iowa City and Indianapolis are all onboard, with the potential for countless more meet-ups. If you live in a major American metropolis (or even a small one!), chances are there's a MaxFunster in your area dying to see this show and chow on some chicken wings afterward. Organize yourselves by heading over to the MaximumFun Forums.
Have fun everyone! We can't wait to see you.
Some stories have such great charm and relevance that they can be told over and over again in many formats - and still win your heart. Certainly that's true of your traditional fairy tales or the Shakespeare classics; but there are also a few sweet modern tales that hold up well in multiple formats. One such story, in my view, is Mike Birbiglia's delightful "Sleepwalk with Me". It's a timeless story of one man's fear of love and maturity; but it is told - with terrific humor and stark honesty - through a chronicle of his struggle with a strange and dangerous sleepwalking condition.
I first heard Birbiglia tell the story on a 2008 episode of This American Life called "Fear of Sleep." If you haven't yet heard that episode, you must obtain it immediately. It will do nothing less than restore your faith in the power of solid storytelling.
The story later become so beloved that Birbiglia adapted it to a one-man show and then into a book. Now, with help from Ira Glass and This American Life producer Alissa Shipp, Mike is bringing the story to film.
Birbiglia directed the movie, and wrote it with Seth Barrish (who directed the stage version), Joe Birbiglia and Ira Glass. The film stars Mike, Lauren Ambrose, Jim Rebhorn and Carol Kane and was produced by Jacob Jaffke.
I've never been to Sundance - and probably won't make it this year - but I've never been more jealous of those who will be there. This film is going to be terrific.
Julie Synder is a senior producer on the public radio show This American Life. Jesse talks to her about her early affiliation with the show and continued influence there. Synder elaborates on what she has learned at This American Life as far as selecting and presenting stories go, and how This American Life differs from other public radio programs.
David Rakoff is a very funny essayist, journalist, and regular contributor to This American Life. We spoke to him last on The Sound in 2005. His latest collection of essays is Half Empty, in which he champions pessimism.
JESSE THORN: Welcome to The Sound of Young America, I’m your host Jesse Thorn. Our show so often focuses on how and why creative people are creative; how they get to where they need to go to make something. That’s what this episode of The Sound is all about.
My guest is the writer David Rakoff. His third book Half Empty is a collection of essays that are meditations on the darker side of the human psyche. It comes with the warning, “No inspirational life lessons will be found in these pages.” But frankly it sort of betrays that. There are none of the traditional inspirational life lessons, but it is in part at least an argument that one can be inspired and draw life lessons from a little bit of pessimism and melancholy. David Rakoff, welcome back to The Sound of Young America.
DAVID RAKOFF: Thanks for having me.