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Improv Everywhere on This American Life


This weekend on public radio stations across America, the wonderful This American Life will be re-running their program which features the nearly-as-wonderful Improv Everywhere.

IE's motto is "We Cause Scenes." They organize events which are a cross between theater, comedy, and situationism... like installing a bathroom attendant in a McDonalds, faking a rooftop U2 concert, or offering boat tours of a public fountain.

The show airs this weekend on your local station, but if you're impatient, you can listen to the show now.

Or, you can listen to IE founder Charlie Todd on The Sound of Young America:
Download "Odd Ends" with the Charlie Todd Interview (MP3 Audio)
Listen to the RealAudio stream of the interview

And yes, he was on our show first. EAT THAT IRA!

Bob Newhart in El Tiempo


There's a nice article in the New York Times today about the great Bob Newhart, who's performing tonight in Brooklyn. For some reason, they went to Bernie Mac for a quote... he delivered a great one:

"A lot of people define courage as being out front and in your face," Mr. Mac said, "but Bob didn't come out of his picture frame for anybody. That bland style, that plaid jacket, with the hair combed to one side over the bald spot — that was Bob. And there's nothing wrong with that. Because it takes courage to be yourself, and he showed everybody that."


On tommorow's show...


I just finished up an interview with writer George Pelecanos, and I have to say I'm *very* excited about tommorow's show. The theme's going to be Elements of Style...

Last week, I had a really fascinating conversation with Maira Kalman, who created an illustrated version of the classic writer's guide "The Elements of Style." When I heard about the book, I was intruiged, and when I saw it, I was sold a bajillion times over. One of the really amazing things about the original Elements of Style is how surprising and funny it is. One of the most wonderful things in writing is extreme pithiness, and EB White had that in spades. Kalman's illustrations bring that to life in amazing ways... the one above is for the entry, "Illusion: see allusion." She had wonderful things to say about it.

Later on today, I'm talking with Nico Muhly, who wrote a song cycle about the book. He's my age (24), and has already worked with John Adams and Bjork. We'll see if there's room for that in the show, otherwise it's going up on the web here. They were nice enough to let me use Nico's music in the show. Here's a beautiful artwork/interview about his work with Bjork.

And as I mentioned earlier, I also got to talk to George Pelecanos. He's a brilliant crime novelist, and a writer/producer for HBO's The Wire, which I'm pretty sure is the best show on television. He just edited a new compilation of stories called "DC Noir," and he's working on The Wire now. I talked to him about both of them. After the interview, I allowed myself a moment to gush... I told him how many copies of his books I'd sold to people when I worked at Borders at 18th & L in DC.

Total Annihilation

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Ever since my (10-year-old) brother Brendan played the first song his band ever recorded on The Sound of Young America, people have been asking me about his band, Total Annihilation. Brendan (aka Eddy Demon) sings lead vocals and plays guitar. An awesome guy called Pete (Pietro D'Amato), who recently turned 13, plays drums, and our family friend Damon (D. Harmoniak), who's a grown-up, plays bass. They play punk rock music, with lyrics influenced by General Awesomeness and Metal.

Total Annihilation is on MySpace, and their first CD is available in stores... or more accurately, a store. If you visit Aquarius Records in San Francisco, you can buy their debut EP, which features original songs like "Rock & Roll on a Friday," which features the awesome lyric printed above. You can hear it on the MySpace. If you don't live in San Francisco, call Aquarius at 415.647.2272 and order it over the phone... they totally do mail order. Each CD comes in an amazing hand-colored package with a special art card for each song. My dad think it costs $10, but he can't remember.

They're also looking for gigs in the Bay Area, in venues that allow kids to perform. Warning: they play very, very, very loud.

Thanks for linking Brendan, BoingBoing!

The Human Giant Hosts Comedy Death Ray

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If you live in LA, prepare for a confluence of comedy forces of such awesome power that even having heard many of them on our show before will not protect you.

Comedy Death Ray, Tuesday night at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, features...

Todd Barry, Neil Hamburger, Morgan Murphy, The Human Giant, and MORE. This is a pretty monstrous lineup. Aziz Ansari says The Human Giant will be playing their short Illusionators.

Tickets are only $5, so make your reservations now, or cry yourself to sleep Tuesday night, and dream of what you missed.

For those who don't live in LA, Live the Magic through these amazing links to past Sound of Young America programs:

February 18th, 2006 - The American Dream with Neil Hamburger (MP3)
July 9th, 2005 - Qay Into You with the founders of Comedy Death Ray, Scott and BJ (MP3)
Todd Barry Interview (realaudio)

A peak at the new Outkast record...


from the Fader blog.

The highlights were "Morris Brown" (paying tribute to the college who's marching band is featured on the song), containing an inescapable "My heart is like a marching band..." hook by Purple Ribbon R&B wunderkind Scar, and a woozy, "Whole World"-style banger mixing live drums and loops with juke-joint instrumentation. Both were being considered as lead-off singles to the soundtrack...but then Andre decided he wanted to rap again, and it's back to the lab. ANDRE 3000 IS RAPPING AGAIN. STAY TUNED.

What's Your Podroll?


On the right, you can see a list of podcasts that I listen to. I also listen to a lot of KQED-FM and KPOO-FM here in San Francisco. KQED is the local giant NPR affiliate, KPOO is a community station that plays music... mostly "urban" music. I got my first MP3 player a couple months ago, a Rio Carbon, and I really enjoy it. I've been downloading MP3s since the pre-Napster days.

What podcasts do you listen to? Why do you like them? How did you find them?

Cory Doctorow's "Craphound"


My e-friend Steve Eley hosts a podcast called "Escape Pod," which features readings of science fiction stories. Steve's a real leader in the podcasting community, and he does a great job with the show, which is, last I checked, significantly more popular than The Sound.

I offered to read a story for him, and he provided me with a real doozy. "Craphound" is a story by Boing-Boing blogger (and renowned SF writer) Cory Doctorow about an alien with a flea market fetish, and his fraught relationship with a junk dealer. It touches on themes of authenticity, nostalgia, and cross-cultural communication. It's also very funny. I had a great time reading it.

You can download the story for free from EscapePod's Website.

Tim of Tim & Eric's Harrowing Tale...


Yesterday, we reported that Tim of Tim & Eric had been stabbed... today, he posted the full story on his blog.

...but when I call his name, he responds with a very violent, guttural growl; RHAAAAHGH!!!!!!! which immediately tells my brain to tell my body to run back down the stairs, quickly. I look behind me at the bottom of the stairs to see him coming fast behind me holding an 8-inch butcher's knife...

The moral of this story is: DO NOT USE PCP.

At some point I'll do a defense of Chevy Chase post...

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because I think he's a brilliant, brilliant comedian.

But in the meantime watch the greatest sketch in SNL history.

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