Outshot

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Emily Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani of The Big Sick and Terrace Martin

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Emily Gordon
Guests: 
Kumail Nanjiani
Guests: 
Terrace Martin

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: Jesse Thorn

Emily Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani on writing a romcom based on their lives

Emily Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani co-wrote the Judd Apatow produced romantic comedy The Big Sick. It's a sweet, hilarious and truthful story about how the two of them fell in love, tossing all of the classic romantic comedy tropes out of the window. Kumail and Emily come from really different backgrounds; Kumail's from Pakistan. Emily: North Carolina. The film tells their story of finding each other after navigating Kumail's family's traditional views on marriage and an illness that almost breaks them apart.

Before Emily Gordon was writing screenplays and making films, she was a therapist, working with mentally challenged individuals. After over 5 years working as a therapist, she realized that she needed to change careers, moving on to writing full time, and contributing to online and print magazines.

Most people know Kumail Nanjiani as Dinesh on Mike Judge's HBO hit, Silicon Valley. He's also been on Broad City, Newsreaders, and voices characters on Adventure Time. He has been a stand-up comic for a long time and in 2013, got a Comedy Central stand up special called Beta Male.

Jesse, Kumail, and Emily talk about what it was like making a movie about their real life relationship, and about the changes that were made from the first draft to the one that we see in cinemas. They also talk about learning to let go of their story to other people in the creative group, and the first time they showed the movie to their parents.

You can find The Big Sick in theaters nationwide. Emily also wrote a self-help book for superheroes called Super You: Release Your Inner Super Hero. Also, don't forget to watch Kumail's Beta Male for a solid 40 minutes of laughter.

Click here to listen to Jesse's interview with Emily Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani!


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Terrace Martin on Jazz, Hip-Hop, and working with Kendrick Lamar

Terrace Martin is a musician and producer. He is from Los Angeles' Crenshaw District and grew up in a jazz household, with both of his parents being musicians. He picked up the saxophone at a young age, his talent for the horn leading him all the way through arts high school to California Institute of the Arts. After deciding college wasn't for him, he went on tour with some big acts and began producing for people like Snoop Dogg and YG. Terrace was heavily involved in Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly, producing many songs on the album including the hit "King Kunta."

Terrace and Jesse talk about his views on hip-hop and jazz, and why working with Kendrick Lamar is so important to him. They talk about the differences between releasing solo albums and working within a band. Finally, we find out why Terrace roamed from neighborhood to neighborhood as a teenager with his MPC 3000 drum machine.

Terrace's new record label Sounds of Crenshaw Records put out Terraces 6th studio album last year called Velvet Portraits and The Sounds of Crenshaw Vol. 1 by his band The Polyseeds this month.

The Outshot: All Creatures Great and Small

What's the book that claims to be, and actually is, bursting with love? James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small.

Click here to listen to Jesse's Outshot about All Creatures Great and Small!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Vince Staples and The Trailer Park Boys

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Bullseye
Guests: 
Vince Staples
Guests: 
The Trailer Park Boys

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Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Vince Staples on Growing Up in Long Beach, Gang Culture, and 'Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2'

This week, we present some of Jesse's favorite past interviews. First up this week is Vince Staples. Vince is the legendary young rapper from Long Beach, with two critically acclaimed albums to his name, Summertime '06 and Big Fish Theory. Vince Staples came into the Bullseye studios back in 2014, when he had just a couple mixtapes to his name. But even back then at 20 years old, Vince was brilliant, funny and brutally honest. Vince is older now, and at 24, his music is more club focused, collaborating with producers like SOPHIE and Flume on his new record Big Fish Theory.

Staples talks to us about growing up, the inside joke of 'Shyne Coldchain', and why a life of gang banging seemed like fate.

His newest album Big Fish Theory is out now.

Click here to listen to Jesse's interview with Vince Staples!

The Trailer Park Boys in character

Ricky, Julian and Bubbles are the stars of the Canadian documentary-style sitcom The Trailer Park Boys. Until the show's final episode in 2011, the show tracked their charming inability to make anything of themselves. It started as a movie, in 1999, a mockumentary that followed a handful of Canadian ex-cons living in a trailer park in Nova Scotia. From that movie, it grew into a kind of empire - a TV series that lasted 11 years, TV specials, live shows, and movies. All the way through, it followed three guys: Julian, played by John Paul Tremblay who is kind of the de facto leader. And Ricky, played by Robb Wells - the sort of bumbling Ringo of the group. And finally Bubbles, played by Mike Smith, who lives with a bunch of cats.

This interview was recorded back in 2009 when Jesse was recording the show from his apartment in Los Angeles. Julian, Robby, and Bubbles do the entire interview in character. They tell Jesse how the success of their show has made it harder to engage in illicit activities. They also talk about their various stints in jail, and some of the perks of their job.

Click here to listen to Jesse's interview with The Trailer Park Boys!

The Outshot: Game Of Thrones

Winter is coming, but who cares? Jesse tells you why Game of Thrones is about the journey, not the destination.

Click here to listen to Jesse's outshot about Game Of Thrones!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Neko Case & Herb Alpert

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Bullseye
Guests: 
Neko Case
Guests: 
Herb Alpert

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Photo credit: Katie Stratton/Getty Images

Neko Case on Self Determination, Loss, and Life on the Farm

Neko Case has been producing exceptional music as a solo artist as well as a collaborator with the indie-rock band, The New Pornographers. Her work has not only revolved around rock, but also the genre of country music.

Case recently released a retrospective vinyl box set, Truckdriver, Gladiator, Mule which collects her music from throughout her career, including some out-of-print and hard to find titles.

Neko Case sat down with Jesse, and told us why she cringed when listening to one of her early songs, how the loss of her parents shaped her personally and creatively, and how living on a farm in Vermont improves her life as artist.

Truckdriver, Gladiator, Mule is available now.


Photo credit: Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Herb Alpert on Discovering, Losing and Redisovering His Musical Voice

Herb Alpert is most famous for the music he created with his band, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. The title song of his first album, The Lonely Bull was not only a hit, but was the first album released by A&M Records, which he co-founded with his partner Jerry Moss.

His musical career has spanned over 5 decades and his roles have included him serving not only as a musician, but also a producer. His work with artists have included collaborations with The Carpenters, Liza Minnelli and Janet Jackson. He has also earned numerous awards including 9 Grammys, a Tony and an 2012 National Medal of Arts award.

Herb Alpert joined Bullseye to talk about his brief career as a film actor, how difficult emotional times helped him to become a better musician and how insecurity can persist even when an artist knows he or she is creating something special.

Herb Alpert's most recent album Come Fly With Me is available now.


photo credit: Slavin Vlasic/Getty Images Entertainment

The Outshot: Danny Hoch’s Jails, Hospitals & Hip-Hop

Danny Hoch's Jails, Hospitals and Hip-Hop began as a one-man-show which explored the multi-cultural and multi-lingual world of New York during the rise of hip-hop culture. A version of his play was released as a film in 2000.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Matt Braunger & Margaret Atwood

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Show: 
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: Steve Coogan & Kevin Kerrane

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Bullseye
Guests: 
Steve Coogan
Guests: 
Kevin Kerrane
Guests: 
Hari Kondabolu
Guests: 
Andrew Noz

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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Steve Coogan: "Dumping My Dysfunction" into Alan Partridge and Seeking Humanity in Comedy

The English actor, comedian and writer Steve Coogan started out as a brilliant impressionist. He was beloved by audiences for his pitch-perfect impressions, and put his voice talent to good use on the satirical puppet show Spitting Image. But Coogan wanted more for himself, and began developing his own characters. While working on the radio current affairs parody On The Hour with Armando Iannucci and Chris Morris, he created his most enduring character to date -- the awkward, know-nothing sports desk reporter, Alan Partridge.

Coogan has now spent two decades off and on with Alan Partridge, as he's been fleshed out and moved from radio to television and back again. Alan has become a very important part of his life, although as Coogan says, Alan is "like a relative that you’re very fond of but you only want to see at Christmas and holidays. You don’t want to live with them." He's now brought the character to the big screen, with Alan as a regional radio deejay who accidentally gets roped into a hostage situation at his station.

Coogan has also acted in a number of movies and television shows in England and abroad, including The Trip, Night at the Museum, Tropic Thunder and 24 Hour Party People. He also recently co-wrote, produced and starred in the drama Philomena, which garnered several Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.

He joins us this week to talk about his early days as an impressionist, the increasing emotional complexity and dynamism of his character Alan Partridge, and seeking humanity in his comedy.

Alan Partridge is now in theaters and on VOD. Philomena is out on DVD and Blu-Ray.

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Andrew Noz on All-Time Favorite Tracks: Organized Konfusion and Ice-T

Hip hop critic Andrew Noz digs way back in the catalogs of past Bullseye guests Pharoahe Monch and Ice-T to recommend some of his favorite tracks.

He suggests taking a listen to the amazing technical performances in Organized Konfusion's "Bring It On", and revisiting a poetic early track from Ice-T, "High Rollers".

Andrew Noz is the columnist for Pitchfork's Hall of Game and blogs at Cocaine Blunts. You can also find him on Tumblr.

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Photo by Zac Wolf

Hari Kondabolu Asks, What Happened to Weezer?

Weezer’s first album came out TWENTY years ago. The comedian Hari Kondabolu has been a fan since the beginning.

Hari's new stand up comedy album is called Waiting for 2042.

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"Sinister" Dick Kinsella

Who Won? Who Lost? Who Cares? It's All in How You Play the Game: Kevin Kerrane on the World of Baseball Scouting

Over thirty years ago, in 1980, Kevin Kerrane entered a world of unusual characters. "Jocko" Collins, "Sinister" Dick Kinsella, Cy Slapnicka. They were baseball scouts -- men who drove from game to game and town to town looking for fresh and undiscovered talent. They watched the players intently, but they didn't care who won or who lost. They were looking to see how an individual player runs, walks, and throws, and picturing how that talent might parlay to the major leagues. Kerrane renders these men and their stories in vivid detail in his classic history of baseball scouting, Dollar Sign on the Muscle.

The book fell out of print over the years, so Kerrane went back into the field in 2013 to provide a look at scouting in its current iteration.

Kerrane talks to us about some of the legendary scouts, the particular language and vernacular of the baseball scout, and the balance between old-school qualitative and new-school quantitative analysis of players.

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The Outshot: Owney, a Very Special Dog

Jesse shares his love for Owney, the Mascot of the Railway Mail Service.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: John C. Reilly and Kristen Bell

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John C. Reilly
Guests: 
Kristen Bell
Guests: 
Cameron Esposito
Guests: 
Rhea Butcher
Guests: 
Evelyn McDonnell

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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John C. Reilly: "Freedom and Anarchy" On Set, and Honesty in Acting

John C. Reilly is an actor with tremendous range. More than almost anyone. For the past few years, he's produced and starred in a bizarre show called Check it Out! with Dr. Steve Brule. So why does a movie star have a faux cable-access show that runs in the middle of the night on adult swim?

Reilly's comic chops are well-documented in movies like Talladega Nights and Step Brothers. He's also played a number of dramatic roles in movies like Magnolia and Gangs of New York, and was nominated for an Oscar for playing the cuckolded husband in the movie version of Chicago.

This week, John C. Reilly will talk about why he chose to take on the goofy, open-hearted and blustery Dr. Steve Brule with comedy duo Tim and Eric, his summer of fun working on the set of Boogie Nights, and what he thinks his duties are as an actor.

Check it Out! with Dr. Steve Brule airs on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim Thursday nights at 12:30 am.

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Canonball: The Runaways' "Live in Japan"

Over the course of four short years, the teenage members of glam rock band The Runaways released four albums for a major label, toured the world, and unleashed their classic single, "Cherry Bomb". While the group was huge overseas, they never gained the same level of popularity in the US.

Rhythm guitarist and vocalist Joan Jett went on to acclaim with her band Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, but as Evelyn McDonnell tells it, The Runaways have never really gotten their due.

McDonnell wrote the book on the band. She's the author of Queens of Noise: The Real Story of the Runaways, based on interviews conducted with the influential "queens of noise". McDonnell found that the band's manager Kim Fowley had a tight grip on the group's sound, and that their studio albums didn't fully capture their unique sound and chemistry.

Join us as Evelyn takes us on a journey to the other side of the Pacific Ocean to hear where the band sounded their best: on a Japanese tour and a their album, Live In Japan.

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Wham Bam Pow Recommends: Desperado and End of Watch

Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher of the movie podcast Wham Bam Pow excel at finding the hidden gems amongst the thousands of action and sci-fi films out there, and this week they join us to recommend two you can watch at home.

Cameron recommends something for your Antonio Banderas fix: Desperado starring Selma Hayek and - you guessed it - a gloriously coiffed Antonio Banderas.

Rhea recommends a cop drama with ample amounts of "bro love": End of Watch, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña.

Both films are available on Netflix Instant or on DVD. For more recommendations from Cameron and Rhea subscribe to their podcast and never watch a boring movie again!

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Kristen Bell: From Chris Rock's Pootie Tang to her career-making role as Veronica Mars

You might know the actor Kristen Bell best from her years on the teenage detective series Veronica Mars, but that doesn't bother her. The way she tells it, she's got just as much love in her heart for Veronica as any fan of the show.

Veronica Mars, a jaded and sardonic high schooler, is following in her father's footsteps as a private investigator. While attending high school in the fictional beach town of Neptune, Veronica solved mysteries and grappled with the murder of her best friend, the absence of her mother, and boyfriends, all at once.

The show aired for three seasons on UPN and the CW, gathering a cult following and critical acclaim. Fans of the show clamored for more after its cancellation, and Bell and the show's creator, Rob Thomas, were determined to bring the series back to life. They were able to bring Warner Brothers on board with a Kickstarter campaign and the Veronica Mars movie came to fruition. It's now in theaters nationwide and available on VOD.

Since Veronica Mars' TV run has ended, Bell has kept busy with a number of movies, like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Frozen, and TV shows like Party Down and House of Lies.

Bell talks to us about the unique qualities of Veronica Mars, her first movie role in the cult classic Pootie Tang, and transitioning from playing a knowing teenager to a full-fledged grown-up.

BONUS: Kristen talks about her voice acting role in the Disney animated feature Frozen, and the evolution of the Disney heroine.

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The Outshot: The Limey

Jesse recommends Steven Soderbergh's The Limey, a revenge movie that’s really about the way we all fight with our own past.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: P-Funk's George Clinton and Tagging with Christian Acker

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Bullseye
Guests: 
George Clinton
Guests: 
Christian Acker

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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P-Funk's George Clinton: From Doo Wop to Funk, and Saving His Musical Career

The musician, producer and 72 year-old mastermind of Parliament-Funkadelic, George Clinton, has never been shy of the limelight. He started his career singing doo wop, later found himself writing songs for Motown, and finally wound up creating a wholly unique sound and visual experience with Parliament-Funkadelic. They made hits like One Nation Under A Groove and Flashlight and their performances were as funky as their tunes.

In recent years, Clinton has found himself entangled in a series of legal battles over the copyrights of his songs. While fighting in the courts, George found himself fighting for his health as well. The doctor of the Funk gave himself his own prognosis: if he was going to continue a musical career and regain agency in his business affairs, he had to clean up his act, and he has.

The pioneer of funk joins us this week to talk about the evolution of his musical career, getting wild onstage, and putting forward momentum back into his musical career -- and even gives us an update on Sly Stone.

George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic are still touring and recording. George has a reality show and a memoir in the works as well. You can track him down on his official website.

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Hip Hop with Andrew Noz: Vince Staples (feat. James Fauntleroy) and Nicki Minaj

Andrew Noz joins us to provide some recommendations from the world of hip hop. First, we talk about Vince Staples' intimate, raw track about his father, "Nate" featuring James Fauntleroy. Andrew also suggests a listen to Nicki Minaj's new track, "Lookin Ass", a battle rap that shows Nicki still spits.

Andrew Noz is the columnist for Pitchfork's Hall of Game and blogs at Cocaine Blunts. You can also find him on Tumblr.

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Comedy: Chris Fairbanks Wonders About Owls

The comedian Chris Fairbanks joined us a few years ago at our annual convocation in the woods, MaxFunCon. And he wondered -- what's up with all these owls?

He’s going to join us for another big event this year: the second annual Atlantic Ocean Comedy & Music Festival July 25-28, 2014. You can find details at boat party dot biz. To learn more about Chris and his upcoming shows at hisofficial site.

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Why Tagging is Beautiful: Christian Acker and "Flip the Script"

You know those tags you see on walls, park benches and trash cans everywhere? You might not think it's something beautiful, but Christian Acker does. His book Flip the Script is a look at graffiti typography, and celebrates the art of tagging -- one of the last strongholds of highly refined penmanship.

Acker collected writing and spoke to graffiti artists all over the country, to chronicle and analyze hand styles from Oakland to Queens. In a world where people too rarely place ink to paper, we'll look at a typographical expression that reflects your individuality, roots, and even how long you've been practicing.

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The Outshot: Baba O'Riley

There's at least a couple of good parts of teenagerdom. This week, Jesse shares some of them with The Who's Baba O'Riley.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Andy Daly and Willie Colon

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Bullseye
Guests: 
Andy Daly
Guests: 
Willie Colon
Guests: 
Erik Adams

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.

Andy Daly and "Review": Rating Life Experiences, from Addiction to Pancakes to the Prom

Comedian, actor and writer Andy Daly recognized early in his career that his audience was responding to him as a "nice, little boy". Who could blame them? He's a nice-looking guy, with an all-American charm about him. So he used his Howdy Doody look to his advantage, and began creating characters. The kind of characters that start off as unthreatening nice guys, and slowly escalate into extreme sociopaths.

Andy continues to use this element of surprise in his new Comedy Central show, Review. Andy plays Forrest MacNeil, who is a reviewer. But he doesn't review books, or movies, or consumer products. He reviews life experiences, rating them on a scale of one to five stars. In the first few episodes, he answers viewers' questions from "What would it feel like to steal?" to "Will prom really be the best night of my life?" to "What is it like to get a divorce?"

No life experience is too insignificant or too life-altering for Forrest MacNeil, who takes his job very seriously.

Andy joins us to talk about his first acting job (working with a rollerblading mime), developing his own style of comedy, and how he identifies with Forrest, who's devoted so much of his life and energy to his work.

Review with Forrest MacNeil premieres March 6th on Comedy Central. Andy is touring The Andy Daly Show, with a sneak peek of Review, this month. Check out his website for tourdates.

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The AV Club Recommends: McConaughey's McConologues and Gorgeous Aesthetics from "True Detective" and "Hannibal"

Crime dramas are having a bit of a moment, and The AV Club's Erik Adams stops by to recommend two shows worth tuning in to: HBO's True Detective and NBC's Hannibal.

True Detective is partway through its first season and airs Sundays at 9pm on HBO.

Hannibal's second season premieres February 28, 2014 and will air Fridays at 10 pm on NBC.

Erik is Associate Editor at the AV Club. You can check out more of his writing every week on their site.

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Karen Kilgariff - "Passwords"

Karen Kilgariff’s been a comedian and a comedy writer for a long time. She was on Mr. Show, performed stand up, and these days she's the Head Writer for the Pete Holmes show on TBS. But when she straps on a guitar, she makes comedy music that’s just this side of melancholy. Here’s the funny, touching breakup song "Passwords" from her new album, Live at the Bootleg.

That record is out now on ASpecialThing Records. You can find it on iTunes.


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Willie Colón: From Jam Sessions in the Bronx to International Salsa Superstar

When Willie Colón was a kid in the South Bronx, he and some his friends from the neighborhood would take their instruments and jam outside in the summers. His neighbors weren't too pleased, but they probably didn't know they had a budding talent in their midst. Willie went on to secure a record deal in his teens and then become a hugely influential musician and bandleader. His music is salsa: a blend of the Caribbean, Africa, South America and his native New York City.

His discography has now sold over thirty million records, and he's collaborated with legendary figures like Hector Lavoe, Celia Cruz and Ruben Blades.

Willie joins us this week to talk about his early success, how he envisions salsa, and his beginnings with the singer Hector Lavoe. He'll even throw in an explanation of the clave, for those of us not already in the know.

Willie is out on tour frequently; catch up with him on Twitter to find out where he'll be next.

BONUS AUDIO: Check out a part of our conversation that didn't make the final cut for time. Willie talks about working with the Queen of Salsa, Celia Cruz.

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The Outshot: Cal Smith's "The Lord Knows I'm Drinking"

What makes a great country record? This week, Jesse shares what it is that gives Cal Smith's The Lord Knows I'm Drinking that special something.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: The Pointer Sisters

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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.

The Pointer Sisters Get Excited (About Music, Clothes, and More)

The Pointer Sisters have always been musical chameleons. They had huge dance-pop hits in the 1980s, like "I'm So Excited" and "Jump (For My Love)", but at that point they had already found success in genres from jazz to R&B to disco, and even won a Grammy for their country hit, "Fairytale". The sisters grew up in Oakland, California and were taught by their reverend father that rock and roll was 'the devil's work'. However, when their parents weren't around, they snuck in listening sessions to Elvis, The Supremes, and James Brown.

Sisters Bonnie and June Pointer formed the earliest incarnation of the group in 1969, joined within several years by Ruth and Anita. They recorded their debut self-titled album in 1973, and the single "Yes We Can Can" became their first hit. They went on to record more hits over the next few decades, including "How Long (Betcha' Got a Chick on the Side)", a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Fire", and "He's So Shy".

Ruth and Anita Pointer join us for a wild and entertaining interview about their signature vintage style, forging their own musical path, and mixing family with business.

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Pop Culture Happy Hour Talks About Letters to Boys and Anthropomorphic Ants

Linda Holmes and Glen Weldon of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour stop by to recommend a couple of their current favorite new books.

What if instead of pretending your teenage love letters never existed... you published them, and let the world take a look? Linda recommends the new memoir Notes to Boys: And Other Things I Shouldn't Share in Public, by Pamela Ribon. Ribon spent much of her free time in high school penning over-the-top notes to her crushes, and provides original drafts, with asides from her adult self.

Glen recommends the new graphic novel Ant Colony by Michael DeForge -- a debut novel that's psychedelic, surreal, darkly funny, and definitely not for kids.

You can hear Glen and Linda weekly on the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, and find Linda's writing on NPR's Monkey See blog.

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Bobby Lopez on The Song That Changed My Life: "Pure Imagination"

Think of a song you know by heart. A song that's been in your life for such a long time, you don't even remember when you first heard it. Maybe it was in your favorite movie as a kid.

Bobby Lopez writes those kind of songs. He's a composer for musicals and movies, and co-created the hit Broadway shows The Book of Mormon and Avenue Q. Most recently, he's teamed up with his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez to write for Disney's Frozen. The pair's songs have inspired movie singalongs and a score of YouTube covers, and their breakout hit Let It Go, is nominated for an Oscar.

This week, Bobby shares the song that changed his life: the inspiring and magical Pure Imagination, from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

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The Outshot: The Muppet Movie

Why do folks get into showbiz? If you think it's all to get attention, fame, or money, let The Muppet Movie show you why you're wrong.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: The Creators of Trophy Wife and Chris Onstad

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Emily Halpern
Guests: 
Sarah Haskins
Guests: 
Chris Onstad
Guests: 
Mark Frauenfelder

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The Co-Creators of "Trophy Wife" Explain: It's Not What You Expect

It would be reasonable to assume that the ABC sitcom Trophy Wife is about a rich older man and his ditzy, beautiful young wife. It might be kind of insulting, or it might be drawn in shades of reality TV. But though the show does feature Bradley Whitford as an older man (twice divorced, with three kids) and a younger wife played by Malin Akerman, the title is pretty tongue in cheek. Trophy Wife isn't about jealous ex-wives, a vacuous new wife, and a slimy older dude. It's about a complex family situation and the people within it.

The show's creators, Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins, envisioned the show from the trophy wife's point of view. What is it like to join to a family that existed well before you came along? If you're one of several authority figures and parents, what's your role?

Halpen and Haskins had special insight into that situation. As Haskins says, "I started dating and eventually married my next door neighbor...who is a gentleman 20 years my senior who has been married actually 3 times, but we didn’t think America could handle that."

The show features a great ensemble cast. The spouses are played by Whitford, Akerman, Marcia Gay Harden and Michaela Watkins, and the family's children are played by Albert Tsai, Warren Lee and Bailee Madison.

We'll talk to creators and showrunners Sarah Haskins and Emily Halpern about the blended family that inspired the show, writing real characters for children and their ensemble comedy predecessors.

Trophy Wife airs Tuesday nights at 9:30 on ABC.

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Boing Boing's Mark Frauenfelder Recommends: Robinson Crusoe on Mars, and Fun with Circuits

BoingBoing’s Mark Frauenfelder stops by to give a glimpse of the future.

He suggests checking out a new novel out this month called The Martian by Andy Weir. It's a tale about an astronaut who gets stranded on Mars, and his struggle to stay alive with few supplies, his wits, and ingenuity.

And if you've ever thought about circuit building at the grocery store, he suggests learning a new skill with a game for iOS called Mho's Resistance.

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Comedy: Morgan Murphy Explains What to Do Before a Facelift

Even if you're scared to death of plastic surgery, maybe you've considered, even for a split second, getting a little work done. It could just be your little secret! No one would have to know!

But you really should tell someone if you're going to go under the knife. Morgan Murphy will explain. She joined us last year at MaxFunCon 2013 for our comedy showcase in the woods of Lake Arrowhead.

Morgan Murphy's new special is Irish Goodbye. You can find it on Netflix, iTunes or Amazon. She'll be joining us at this year's Atlantic Ocean Comedy and Music Festival. Stay tuned for more details.

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Chris Onstad and "Achewood", a World of Anthropomorphic Stuffed Animals

Chris Onstad is behind one of the most popular and critically acclaimed online comic strips. It's called Achewood, and it's set in a fictional town populated by anthropomorphic stuffed animals and pets. The strip is surreal and funny, and it involves many different characters with detailed backstories but the two most prominent are "Ray Smuckles", a very successful and fortunate cat, and his childhood best friend "Roast Beef". Chris Onstad stopped making the strip for awhile in 2011. But the hiatus is over now and he’s back making new comics. We're revisiting our conversation with Onstad from 2009.

Onstad tells us about how he collected the many moments that would become Achewood strips, struggling to write something funny every day, and discovering the joys of self-publishing online.

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The Outshot: Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Jesse tells us about a TV show in its first season that's already running at full-speed: Fox's ensemble comedy, Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

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