Susan Orlean

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Jack Black and Bun B

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Bullseye

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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Our guest host this week is the author and The New Yorker staff writer Susan Orlean. You can find more from Susan at her website or follow her on Twitter. Thanks, Susan!


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Jack Black on Musical Snobbery, Childlike Innocence, and the Roles He's Yet to Play

Jack Black always seems to be on the verge of breaking into song. Whether he’s a slacker substitute teacher in School of Rock, an earnest funeral director in Bernie, or a snobby record store clerk in High Fidelity, music has a way of seeping into his performances. Maybe that’s because Black’s portrayals often possess an unbridled joy that’s difficult to capture with spoken dialogue.

Although he's known for his comedic strengths and has often played the "shlubby loser", Black has showed that he's capable of much more. For Peter Jackson’s King Kong, he played a 1930s filmmaker intent on creating an epic narrative, no matter how far into the heart of darkness he has to travel. In Noah Baumbach’s Margot at the Wedding, he was a disappointing groom prone to occasional bursts of anger. Most recently, he played the titular character in Richard Linklater’s Bernie, a film based on the true story of a kind, gentle mortician accused of murder in a small Texas town. It’s the subtlety of performances like these mixed with the intensity of a man who also headlines the rock band Tenacious D that truly make Black a unique performer.

Guest host Susan Orlean gets to the bottom of Black’s career, from his early days performing one-man shows in his living room to working with some of the biggest names in show business. They’ll talk about some of his early childhood performances, dissecting musical tastes, a new HBO pilot, and why seeing him on Broadway wouldn’t be entirely out of the question.

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Ian Cohen on New Heavy Music Releases: Death Grips and Iron Chic

Ian Cohen, contributing editor at Pitchfork, stops by to recommend some new heavy music releases.

He suggests a listen to two new records: Government Plates by experimental hip hop and noise group Death Grips, and Iron Chic's The Constant One.

You find Ian's writing at Pitchfork and Grantland, or follow him on Twitter.

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Bun B of UGK on Rhyming, Big Breaks and Mourning Pimp C, "The Yin to My Yang"

Bun B was half of UGK and still is one of the South’s greatest hip-hop lyricists. Alongside partner Pimp C, he spent two decades rhyming and recording classic hip-hop and helped establish Texas as a force to be reckoned with in the national hip-hop scene. Pimp C died six years ago this month, but Bun has continued to record and release music as a solo artist. His newest album, Trill Og the Epilogue, was released in November.

Jesse sat down with Bun B in 2009 to talk about underwriting a music career with street crime, rhyming with Jay-Z, and his reaction to Pimp C's frequent arrests, setbacks, and untimely passing.

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The Outshot: The Sorcerer of the Guitar

Guest host Susan Orlean goes under the spell of "Franco" Luambo Makiadi, The Sorcerer of the Guitar.

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International Waters Episode 2: And the Prince of Thieves

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Susan Orlean
Guests: 
Susan Orlean
Guests: 
Isy Suttie
Guests: 
Dan Antopolski
Guests: 
DC Pierson
Guests: 
Elizabeth Laime

Special guest Susan Orlean joins Isy Suttie, Elizabeth Laime, Dan Antopolski, DC Pierson and host, Jesse Thorn in the transatlantic comedy quiz where land laws do not apply. We learn what Katy Perry took Russell Brand under, compare Hunger Games quotes with 80s pop lyrics and chat about Alsatian-themed fashion. Plus, since it’s the Maxfun pledge drive, some bonus Jordan, Jesse Go!

Think you've got what it takes to write a round of International Waters? Pitch us your round – email it to iw@maximumfun.org. Give us the theme and some sample questions, and maybe it'll pop up on the next episode. Or donate to our pledge drive and we'll write it for you.

And please go and "like" us on Facebook!

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Rin Tin Tin with Susan Orlean: Interview on The Sound of Young America

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Bullseye
Guests: 
Susan Orlean

Bestselling nonfiction author and The New Yorker staff writer Susan Orlean talks to us about the fascinating life of the iconic screen star, Rin Tin Tin.

Rin Tin Tin went from being an abandoned puppy in a bombed-out dog kennel to being one of the best-recognized and best-loved dogs in recent history. His owner Lee Duncan devoted his life to showing the world the fantastic stunts his dog could do, including jumping 12-foot fences and climbing trees. Rin Tin Tin became "The Wonder Dog" and a star of the silver (and later, television) screen.

Susan's new book, Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, is not merely a biography of the dogs that took on the mantle of Rin Tin Tin, but an exploration of what our relationships with dogs have to come mean in the past hundred years.

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