Jesse Thorn

The Turnaround: Audie Cornish

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Show: 
The Turnaround
Guests: 
Audie Cornish

New to The Turnaround? Subscribe in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get two new interviews a week through August 15th.

Audie Cornish co-hosts NPR's All Things Considered. On NPR, she's often doing live interviews on breaking stories, interviewing reporters and newsbreakers who are on the scene after huge, sometimes really scary events took place. In a world where news moves so quickly, it's gotten easier and easier for hosts like Audie to slip up, maybe get a fact wrong. Honestly, the whole thing kind of terrifies me. But when Audie's covering a breaking story, she's careful, she's unflappable, and prepared.


Photo: Stephen Voss/NPR

This week, Jesse sits down with Audie to talk about how she got into broadcasting and the difference between working in broadcasting and print journalism. She tells us what it's like to work at such an established news institution like NPR, and why the word "dispassionate" does not describe her and her fellow broadcasters.

You can listen to Audie Cornish every weekday on NPR's All Things Considered on your local NPR affiliate station.

The Turnaround is a production of Maximum Fun in partnership with the Columbia Journalism Review. Visit their website to learn more about their "mission to encourage excellence in journalism in the service of a free society," and to read edited transcripts of our other Turnaround episodes.

Hosted and created by Jesse Thorn
Produced by Kara Hart and Nick Liao
Senior Producer: Laura Swisher
Managing Director: Bikram Chatterji

Music for The Turnaround provided by Mobius Van ChocStraw.

Special thanks to Kyle Pope and his team at CJR, Darrel Frost, and Emilie Erskine.

The Turnaround: Marc Maron

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Show: 
The Turnaround
Guests: 
Marc Maron

New to The Turnaround? Subscribe in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get two new interviews a week through August 15th.

Marc Maron is a standup comedian, actor, and host of one of the biggest podcasts ever: WTF with Marc Maron. Recording in his garage in Highland Park, Los Angeles, Maron has long, free-wheeling conversations with every kind of famous person you can think of, from comedians, to actors, to musicians -- even President Barack Obama when he was still in the White House.

When you listen to WTF, though, you aren't just listening for the guest. Maron has a big personality, and it shows in his interviews. He's not rattling off a list of questions, but instead he's having a really intimate and revealing conversation. It doesn't always go great, but it always reveals a lot about the guest, even if they aren't into it.

Marc and Jesse talk about what it's like recording his very popular show in his garage, his tactics for getting people to open up to him, and the differences between his standup and podcast personas. They also discuss two very different people who loom large in their consciousness: Terry Gross and Chris Hardwick.

Marc's podcast WTF with Marc Maron comes out twice a week. He also has a book called Waiting for the Punch coming out this fall.

The Turnaround is a production of Maximum Fun in partnership with the Columbia Journalism Review. Visit their website to learn more about their "mission to encourage excellence in journalism in the service of a free society," and to read edited transcripts of our other Turnaround episodes.

Hosted and created by Jesse Thorn
Produced by Kara Hart and Nick Liao
Senior Producer: Laura Swisher
Managing Director: Bikram Chatterji

Music for The Turnaround provided by Mobius Van ChocStraw.

Special thanks to Kyle Pope and his team at CJR, Darrel Frost, and Emilie Erskine.

The Turnaround: Susan Orlean

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Show: 
The Turnaround
Guests: 
Susan Orlean

New to The Turnaround? Subscribe in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get two new interviews a week through August 18th.

Susan Orlean has been a journalist for over 30 years, writing for publications like The Rolling Stone and Vogue. In 1992 she was made a staff writer at The New Yorker and has been contributing ever since. She has also written eight books. One of them, The Orchid Thief, was the basis of Adaptation, Charlie Kaufman's 2002 film starring Nicholas Cage and Meryl Streep.

Susan talks to Jesse about how some of her best pieces start as one thing and end up as another, especially once she begins talking to living, breathing human beings. She did just that in her 1994 piece about disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding, which she wrote by talking to locals in Harding's hometown of Clackamas, Oregon. She also shares about her experiences interviewing celebrities, including the valuable lesson she learned when profiling Tom Hanks for Rolling Stone.

Visit Susan Orlean's website to learn more about her work, including the many articles and books she's written.

The Turnaround is a production of Maximum Fun in partnership with the Columbia Journalism Review. Visit their website to learn more about their "mission to encourage excellence in journalism in the service of a free society," and to read edited transcripts of our other Turnaround episodes.

Hosted and created by Jesse Thorn
Produced by Kara Hart and Nick Liao
Senior Producer: Laura Swisher
Managing Director: Bikram Chatterji

Music for The Turnaround provided by Mobius Van ChocStraw.

Special thanks to Kyle Pope and his team at CJR, Darrel Frost, and Emilie Erskine.

The Turnaround: Ira Glass

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Show: 
The Turnaround
Guests: 
Ira Glass

New to The Turnaround? Subscribe in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get two new interviews a week through August 18th.

On the premiere episode of The Turnaround, Jesse talks to Ira Glass, the host and creator of This American Life from WBEZ. This American Life has been on the air since 1995. For more than twenty years, Ira and his fellow producers have helped pioneer a distinctive narrative-driven brand of audio journalism that's become so influential that it's now heard pretty much everywhere.

Photo: Stuart Mullenberg

In his conversation with Jesse, Ira explains how he asks questions of people in such a way to draw out a story with a clear beginning, middle, and end. He says he chases after authenticity in his interviews, which sometimes gives way to the kind of emotional moments usually reserved for close friends and relatives.

Visit This American Life's website for new and archived episodes of the show.

The Turnaround is a production of Maximum Fun in partnership with the Columbia Journalism Review. Visit their website to learn more about their "mission to encourage excellence in journalism in the service of a free society," and to read edited transcripts of our other Turnaround episodes.

Hosted and created by Jesse Thorn
Produced by Kara Hart and Nick Liao
Senior Producer: Laura Swisher
Managing Director: Bikram Chatterji

Music for The Turnaround provided by Mobius Van ChocStraw.

Special thanks to Kyle Pope and his team at CJR, Darrel Frost, and Emilie Erskine.

Introducing The Turnaround, starting June 22nd!

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Show: 
The Turnaround

Subscribe now to The Turnaround, a new series from MaxFun and Columbia Journalism Review that features interviewers, interviewed. Releasing twice a week all summer, starting Thursday, June 22nd. Host Jesse Thorn sits down with the greatest living interviewers, including Larry King, Terry Gross, Werner Herzog, and Audie Cornish, and uncovers how these greats ply their craft.

Subscribe in Apple Podcasts or wherever you download podcasts, and catch the first episode on June 22nd!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Werner Herzog and Mount Eerie's Phil Elverum

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Werner Herzog
Guests: 
Phil Elverum

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.

Phil Elverum of Mount Eerie and The Microphones on his wife's death and creating music honoring that experience

First up: Phil Elverum. He's a recording artist and songwriter. Elverum's career dates back over 20 years, first as the Microphones and later Mt. Eerie. He's produced ambitious, beautiful records that mix genres like folk, noise, death metal, shoegaze and more. It sounds a little like we're listing off different bins in a record store, but it's really compelling stuff.

His albums have all gotten a lot of acclaim, not just because of the studio experimentation but because of the beautiful, kind of ephemeral lyrics he used to tackle big, existential questions.

On his latest record, A Crow Looked At Me, he abandons pretty much all of that. His wife, Geneviève, died of pancreatic cancer last summer.

Phil wrote and recorded the album in the room where she died, using instruments she owned. As an album it's raw, plainly spoken and kind of therapeutic. He talks about really specific moments - trips to the hospital, getting rid of old clothes, getting her mail still.

He talks to Jesse about death and dying, and how he processed thatloss through music. Plus, for a little levity, he talks about his high stakes gambling game: Wad Lord

Phil's new album A Crow Looked At Me is out now.

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Photo: Jesse Thorn

Werner Herzog on his new film Salt and Fire

From eating a shoe onstage to hauling a steamboat over a huge hill in the Amazon, German film director Werner Herzog is one of those public figures that has a kind of mythology to him him. But in Werner's case, a lot of it's true. He has had a career that spans more than 5 decades and dozens of awards, working both in documentaries and narrative films. He's known for Grizzly Man, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Fitzcarraldo and Little Dieter Needs To Fly. He says that although he doesn't consider himself a workaholic, he has directed a film almost every year from the beginning of his career, with 3 being released in the last year alone.

Jesse and Werner talk about his new film starring Michael Shannon and Veronica Ferres and what it was like when he was shot during a routine interview with the BBC.

Werner's new films Salt and Fire and Queen of the Desert is out now.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this segment.

The Outshot: Broadcast News

Jesse tells us about his why the 1987 classic dramedy Broadcast News is his favorite James L. Brooks film.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this segment.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Armando Iannucci and Billy Bragg

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Guests: 
Armando Iannucci
Guests: 
Billy Bragg

[r] 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.


Photo: Linda Nylind

Veep Creator Armando Iannucci on Poking Fun at Politics

What does the career trajectory of a lifelong political junkie look like? There are the obvious choices, like a major in Political Science, law school...maybe even a career in politics. But Armando Iannucci took a different path – one that led him to Oxford, an incomplete PhD, and work writing and producing comedy, like his acclaimed political satire The Thick of It and the feature film In the Loop.

Iannucci created a new take on American politics in the HBO comedy Veep. Now in its second season, the show follows a fictional Vice President (played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus) with lofty ambitions but little actual power. Veep showcases the comedy inherent in the struggle for the political upper hand, the constant panic and exhaustion. Seemingly small gaffes quickly escalate into ridiculous catastrophes. The show's dialogue is marked by careful attention to absurd politi-speak and some especially creative cursing.

Iannucci joins us to talk about the difference between UK and US politics, why he sympathizes with our elected officials, and conducting swearing research in Washington, D.C.

Ianucci's new film The Death of Stalin comes out later this year.


Photo:

The Song That Changed My Life, with Billy Bragg: Bob Dylan's The Times They Are A-Changin

Billy Bragg performs politically-minded folk music with a punk rock edge, songs with a tone and attitude somewhere between Woody Guthrie and the Sex Pistols. But what led to him developing his voice as an artist?

As Bragg explains, one of the most pivotal moments in his life happened during his lunch break at a record store. He put on a record that changed his life: Bob Dylan's folk anthem "The Times They Are A-Changin'".

Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Tapping Into Frustration for Seinfeld and Veep

Most of us first knew Julia Louis-Dreyfus from her Emmy-winning role as Elaine on Seinfeld. Elaine flailed, fought, and danced her way into our hearts as the friend to "losers" Jerry, George and Kramer. But Louis-Dreyfus first arrived in entertainment fresh off her college comedy sketch group, as a repertory player in the Dick Ebersol-helmed cast of Saturday Night Live.

After Seinfeld, she went on to anchor several sitcoms, including The New Adventures of Old Christine, with delightful guest appearances on shows like Arrested Development and 30 Rock. Her career has now taken her to a different cast of skewed characters on HBO's Veep.

On Veep, Louis-Dreyfus plays Selina Meyer, Vice President of the United States. Though the vice-presidency is a prestigious position, Meyer's day-to-day work is less than impressive. Her staff members claw at each other for power and prestige. She suffers awkward encounters with the media and consistent snubs from the President (a running gag on the show is Selina's off-hand question, "Did the President call?" The answer is usually no).

Julia Louis-Dreyfus joins us to talk about the similarities she's discovered between show business and politics, the boys' club that was SNL in the 80s, and a certain terrible dance that still haunts her to this day.

Veep airs on HBO on Sundays at 10:30/9:30 PM central.

The Outshot: Jay-Z's "Threat"

Rap isn't poetry – it's its own thing. But, like poets, many of the best rappers imbue their lyrics with layers and layers of meaning. Need proof? Jesse suggests a close listen to Jay-Z's "Threat."

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Baseball Special with Tabitha Soren, Sean Doolittle, and Josh Kantor

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Tabitha Soren
Guests: 
Sean Doolittle
Guests: 
Josh Kantor

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.


Photo: Christian Petersen / Getty Images

Oakland A's Relief Pitcher Sean Doolittle

This week Jesse talks to Oakland Athletics' reliever Sean Doolittle, who's been called one of the most interesting players in baseball.

Sean had an improbable journey to the majors. He was originally drafted as a hitter in 2007 before being sidelined by knee injuries. He didn't play for two years as a result. Sean talks to Jesse about the physical and mental obstacles he faced during recovery. At one point, he thought about giving up and going back to college to earn his degree.

Eventually, Sean was encouraged to try his hand at pitching instead. As it turns out, he had an excellent arm and could throw in the mid-to-high-90s. He's been on the A's since 2012, and was selected as an All-Star in 2014.

Sean's known as one of the nicest guys in the majors. He's used his platform as a baseball player to raise awareness about a number of causes, including veteran homelessness and the Syrian refugee crisis. Jesse talks to Sean about his outspoken support for LGBT rights, somewhat of a rarity among his fellow players.

You can find out what Sean's up to on Twitter.


Photo: Jim Harrison

Boston Red Sox organist Josh Kantor on the Song that Changed His Life

For fourteen years, Josh Kantor has been the organist for Boston Red Sox games at Fenway Park. He's known for playing creative renditions of popular songs, and six years ago he started taking fan requests via Twitter.

In this Song that Changed My Life segment, Josh recalls one of first Twitter requests he ever got: "Halo" by Beyonce.

When he's not delighting Red Sox fans, Josh plays keys for a rock band called The Baseball Project, a baseball-themed supergroup that includes members of R.E.M. You can find him on Twitter,
where he's now taking song requests for the new season.


Photo: Kevin L. Jones/KQED

Photographer and former MTV newscaster Tabitha Soren on her new book, Fantasy Life

This week Jesse talks to the artist Tabitha Soren. You might remember Soren from her previous life as a newscaster if you watched MTV in the early 1990s. During the era of "Rock the Vote" and Bill Clinton, she was one of the most recognizable young faces on television.

Now Soren is an accomplished artist and photographer, whose work has appeared in galleries around the country. She has a new photography book called Fantasy Life: Baseball and the American Dream, which follows the 2002 Oakland Athletics draft class.

Soren admits she didn't know much about baseball before starting this project. She started shooting the Oakland A's draft class in 2003, while helping her husband with a book he was writing. That book was Moneyball, which became a New York Times bestseller and a movie by the same name. Fantasy Life is an update of sorts to Moneyball. Taken over the last fifteen years, the collection of photographs chronicles the lives of 21 players, most of whom are no longer playing baseball.

Soren talks about the incredible odds that these players faced, and how their struggle is a parable for a uniquely American obsession. She also explains why not knowing much about the game helped her tell a different story than most baseball photographers.

Fantasy Life is now available on Amazon.


The Outshot: The Glory of Their Times

Jesse shares about a book that he believes may be the greatest sports book ever written. Curiously enough, it was written by an economics professor, and it's called The Glory of Their Times.

The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It is available on Amazon.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: My Brother My Brother and Me and Gina Prince-Bythewood

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Justin McElroy
Guests: 
Travis McElroy
Guests: 
Griffin McElroy
Guests: 
Gina Prince-Bythewood

This week Linda Holmes of NPR's podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour fills in for Jesse this week.

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.


Photo:Screenshot Via MBMBaM Youtube Channel

My Brother My Brother and Me on their SeeSo show of the same name

This week guest host Linda Holmes talks with Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy, the hilarious three brothers behind the comedy advice podcast My Brother, My Brother and Me. Recently, the brothers became the creators and stars of their very own TV series by the same name on the Seeso streaming network.

The McElroys tell Linda why it was important to them to film their new show in Huntington, West Virginia, where they grew up. They dish on the common misconceptions of their hometown, and what it was like to rope fellow Huntingtonians, including the mayor, into their antics.

The McElroys’ irreverent yet humane sense of humor has won them a following of very passionate fans, especially online. There’s even a McElroy wiki that catalogues the many callbacks and gags that have appeared in their comedy over the years, not to mention the brothers’ other shows with spouses, family members, and friends.

The McElroys tell Linda about how growing up in the same household shaped their comic sensibilities -- and how even after all these years, they’re still trying to make each other laugh.

All episodes of My Brother, My Brother and Me are now available to stream on Seeso. A free episode is available here.


Photo: Larry Busaca/Getty Images

Gina Prince-Bythewood on her new Fox miniseries Shots Fired

Gina Prince-Bythewood is a producer and writer who is probably best known for her 2000 movie Love and Basketball. Raised in Pacific Grove, California Gina moved down to Los Angeles to attend UCLA, graduating from the film school with honors. Gina has directed many movies since her 2000 breakthrough, films such as The Secret Life of Bee's and Beyond The Lights.

Her new project called Shots Fired, created with her husband Reggie Rock Bythewood, was a film idea turned mini series dealing with issues of race inequality and police corruption and violence against the black community. The murders of unarmed black men and women at the hands of white police officers and in particular the acquittal of George Zimmerman from the murder of Trayvon Martin were the catalyst for this project.

Gina tells Linda how rejection has influenced her work ethic, why she thinks it's important to represent diverse experiences and casts, and why she think Love and Basketball is cherished by so many people.

You can watch Shots Fired on Fox every Wednesday at 8/7c.

The Outshot: Pete Seeger

Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Linda tells us about a musician who can turn literally anybody into a great singer, doesn't matter who you are.

Pop Rocket Episode 116: Bonus! Jesse Thorn Interviews Guy

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Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Jesse Thorn

This week we have a bonus Pop Rocket episode for all of you Rocketeers!
Jesse Thorn, our boss and creator of Pop Rocket, interviewed Guy for Pop Rocket's sister show Bullseye with Jesse Thorn about his new truTV show Talk Show the Game Show. Although the Bullseye interview won't air for a couple of weeks, Jesse wanted to release this episode to you, our beloved listeners, as a thank you for your continued support.
As I'm sure you know by now, it is the MaxFun Drive, the 2 weeks out of the year where we ask you, our listeners, to give back in whatever way possible. You can go to the MaxFun website to donate at whatever level you can. You can also pick up some awesome thank you gifts, among which is the INCREDIBLE Pop Rocket enamel pin designed by Megan Lynn Kott. We really can't make this show without you and we so appreciate anything that you can give. Make sure to make some noise about your contribution to Maximum Fun by using the astag #MaxFunDrive.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Christian Dueñas and Kara Hart for MaximumFun.org

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