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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: The Egyptian Lover

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The Egyptian Lover

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Photo: Jesse Thorn

The Egyptian Lover on the early days of LA hip hop and electro

Greg Broussard better known as Egyptian Lover got his start as a DJ for Uncle Jamm's Army, a hip-hop crew based in Los Angeles.

In 1984, Uncle Jamm's Army released a 12 inch single via Freak Beat Records. On Side A of that single was: Dial A Freak and Side B was : Yes Yes Yes. Both tracks were produced by Egyptian Lover. The tracks received a lot of local play at huge parties thrown by Uncle Jamm's Army. At one point the venues they were filling up included the Hollywood Palladium and the Los Angeles Sports Arena. As a solo artist Egyptian Lover has released 10 albums, mixing Kraftwerk, Prince, a little bit of G-Funk every now and then, too.

In 2015, he released 1984 on his label Egyptian Empire Records. The official music video for the track Killin' It is insane. Egyptian Lover transports us to his version of the '80s – a total throwback to the aesthetic of the decade, with glossy computer graphics, rectangular prisms, polished sports cars and all! It reminds us of that Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror episode where Homer gets sucked into the 3rd dimension.

Jesse talks with the Egyptian Lover about the most iconic instrument in hip-hop: the Roland TR 808, and the early days of LA hip hop and electro. Plus what a 10,000 person dance party looks like, and how he bonded with his future wife over a Kraftwerk record. The ultimate meet cute!

Egyptian Lover has embarked on a huge summer tour. For tour dates click here. His latest album 1985 is available now.

Click here to listen to Egyptian Lover's interview on YouTube!

This interview originally aired in January of 2018.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Eugene Levy

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Eugene Levy

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Eugene Levy on improv comedy and "Schitt's Creek."

Eugene Levy is hands down one of the funniest people in history.

The Canadian-born actor and funnyman has been a part of so many of our favorite moments from television and film. You know him from SCTV where he usually played the incredulous straight man who somehow still made you giggle with glee to some of the cast's sillier characters. The Canadian-born Levy got his start in the world of comedy when he joined The Second City. There, he perfected his craft in improvisation, opting to work within an ensemble than alone on stage as a stand-up.

His film credits include such classics as Splash, A Mighty Wind and Waiting for Guffman. He's collaborated numerous times with fellow improv mockumentarian Christopher Guest. Most notably in the hilarious comedy Best in Show And who could forget his work in 1999's American Pie?

Levy joins us to talk about his amazing life in television and film. We'll hear about the very funny SCTV sketch that inspired Saturday Night Live's Norm McDonald and he'll talk about working on all eight of the American Pie movies. You read that right. Eight! Plus, he'll talk to us about what it's like working with his son Dan on their hit show Schitt's Creek, now in its fifth season.

He was recently nominated for an Emmy for lead comedy actor. This is his first Emmy nomination in 36 years! We'e sure his son couldn't be prouder.

This interview originally aired in April of 2018.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Psychedelic bedroom pop musician Cuco

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Cuco

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The Song That Changed My Life: Cuco on Tame Impala's Feels Like We Only Go Backwards

The Song That Changed My Life is a segment that gives us the chance to talk with some of our favorite artists about the music that made them who they are today.

This time around, we're joined by the musician Cuco. He got his start making music in his bedroom. He combines dreamy synths, catchy hooks and a bit of jazz trumpet to create a sleepy psychedelia vibe.

It's common for a lot of our guests to pick a song they first heard when they were in their teenage years. Cuco might be the youngest person who's joined us for this segment. He's a 21 year old from Hawthorne, California. He got a little modern on us with his song pick – a song that came out back in 2012.

So where did he get his psychedelic bedroom pop sound?

Cuco explains how Tame Impala's Feels Like We Only Go Backwards helped him visualize his career in music, and how the song helped him navigate life in high school.

Cuco will be on tour in a city near you very soon. His new album Para Mi is out now. Check out his website for more information.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Jeff Goldblum

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Jeff Goldblum

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Jeff Goldblum on his new film The Mountain, acting and fatherhood.

No matter what your age, chances are you grew up with Jeff Goldblum somewhere in your life. Jeff has been turning in classic film and TV performances for over four decades. There was that time he and his alien buddies set course for planet Earth, based solely on the hunch that there might be babes there. Then, there was the time he teamed up with the Fresh Prince to help the Earth defend itself from a swarm of aggressive aliens who destroyed the White House. And who could forget about that time he accidentally turned himself into the BrundleFly? Truly iconic! It's hard for us to pick our favorite Jeff performance. He's been consistently good for so long we kind of take it for granted.

Jeff made his film debut in the 1974 revenge fantasy Death Wish where he played "Freak #1." Since then, his name has become synonymous with charismatic performances and a unique line delivery that is second to none.

Jeff joins us to talk about his new film The Mountain. It's a haunting look back at the mental health field during the 1950s. He plays Wallace Fiennes, a doctor touring the US touting the benefits of the transorbital lobotomy. Despite evidence to the contrary and more effective treatment options becoming available, his character continues to perform the dangerous and controversial procedure. Although the film deals with some dark themes, Jeff's Dr. Fiennes is electric on screen.

He'll also talk to us about his work on Invasion of the Body Snatchers, how using the Meisner technique helped improve both his acting as well as his interpersonal relationships and his latest role as a father of two boys. Plus, he'll tell us how aggravating an infamously grumpy director prompted some of the greatest acting advice he's ever received.

When he's not working on screen Jeff can be heard making wonderful jazz music with his backing band The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra. If you live in Los Angeles, you can seen them play live at The Rockwell in the Loz Feliz neighborhood. If you're not in LA, you can check out their latest album here.

The Mountain is now playing in selected theaters nationwide.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Lesley Manville from 'Mum,' 'Another Year,' and more

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Lesley Manville on working with Mike Leigh, the latest season of Mum and more

British actor Lesley Manville is truly a master of her craft. You might know her work with the brilliant director Mike Leigh. She starred in some of his best movies like Secrets & Lies, All or Nothing and Another Year.

She got her start acting on TV back in the '70s. Back then she was a teenager living in England. Then came her career in theater. She's been in plenty of plays with the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company.

She's had a long and successful career overseas – and she's finally breaking through in the states. Later this year, she'll be in the follow up to Disney's Maleficent.

In 2017, she portrayed Cyril in Phantom Thread. The film is set in the '50s post-war London where Cyril and her brother Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) are renowned dressmakers. The Woodcocks are at the center of British fashion. They dress movie stars, socialites and royalty with a distinct style. The stunning performance earned her an Oscar nomination.

Her latest starring role is on the BBC show Mum. In it, she plays Cathy, a widow in her 50's living out in the suburbs with her adult son Jason. We see her grow and learn a lot about herself over the course of the series. The show circles around a budding relationship with her long-time best friend Michael. Mum is very grounded, a bit serious – but also really funny.

Lesley joins us to talk about starring in the BBC sitcom Mum, and how she almost had a career as an opera singer. Plus, what it's like working with director Mike Leigh, and how she gets in character employing his unique improvisational style.

It's an incredible challenge to deliver an emotionally honest portraits of ordinary people, but she nails it every time.

The third and final series of episodes of Mum are out now on the BBC streaming service BritBox.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Filmmaker Aviva Kempner

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Aviva Kempner

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Filmmaker Aviva Kempner on her new film "The Spy Behind Home Plate"

Baseball week at Bullseye continues with filmmaker Aviva Kempner. Dubbed "The Jewish Spike Lee," Kempner is a prolific documentarian who has dedicated her career to spotlighting underappreciated Jewish-American heroes. Her father was a Hollocaust survivor and Jewish immigrant who faced the challenges of assimilating into American culture in the 20th century as did many other immigrants. He was a big fan of baseball and went to games regularly which was a huge influence on her. Kempner's most well-known film to-date is The Life and Times of Hank Greengerg which profiled the great Detroit Tigers first baseman. Greenberg famously sat out a 1934 pennant race in order to observe the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. It was a pretty important game.

Her latest film is The Spy Behind Home Plate. The documentary follows the life of Moe Berg. Moe played baseball back in the 1920's and 30's back in the era of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.Even though he's not a household name like those guys, he's maybe a million times more interesting.


The Ciesla Foundation

Known as 'the brainiest man in baseball.' He studied Sanskrit at the Sorbonne in Paris. Learned to speak Japanese in two weeks. And once he left baseball, he became a spy during World War II. Kempner talks to Bullseye about Moe's life and the limits and challenges he faced both within and outside of the league.

The Spy Behind Home Plate is out now across the country in limited release.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: The MVP Machine authors Ben Lindbergh and Travis Sawchik

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Ben Lindbergh
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Travis Sawchik

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Ben Linbergh and Travis Sawchik on their new book "The MVP Machine: How Baseball's New Nonconformists Are Using Data to Build Better Players"

It's "Baseball Week" at Bullseye and bestselling authors Ben Lindbergh and Travis Sawchik have stepped up to the plate. Their new book is titled The MVP Machine: How Baseball's New Nonconformists Are Using Data to Build Better Players. It takes a look at the tide-shift happening in the game of baseball. Even if you're not a huge fan of the game, there's a lot to take away from the lessons in the book.

Chances are you're aware of the change in baseball strategy due to a little film called Moneyball. The film, and the book before it, recounts how general managers and recruiters turned to statistical data and probability to arm their teams with the best players in the league. But with the Yankees and the Dodgers and just about every other team in the league all using the same strategy, the efficacy of this method began to wane. That's where The MVP Machine: How Baseball's New Nonconformists Are Using Data to Build Better Players comes in.

The book gets into how a lot of conventional coaching in the big leagues is totally wrong. Throwing your fastball a lot? Wrong. Having a nice even swing? Wrong. Striking out a lot? Who cares! Furthermore, the book examines the dramatic changes happening in the league and how data technology and innovations in coaching are disrupting the front offices as well as lineups. It's a fascinating look at the history of baseball and the potential future that lies ahead.

The MVP Machine is available now.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Author Chuck Klosterman

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Chuck Klosterman

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The Craziest F-king Day Of My Entire Career: Chuck Klosterman

Chuck Klosterman has written countless articles for GQ, ESPN, The Washington Post, Esquire, The Guardian, and many more.

It's safe to say we're huge fans of his work. In 2014, he joined us to talk about I Wear the Black Hat, which examines villainy through pop culture figures like Batman, Kanye West, and LeBron James. In 2016, he talked about his book: But What if We’re Wrong, which examined how the present will be perceived in the future.

His latest, Raised in Captivity: Fictional Nonfiction, is a collection of 34 short stories. It's a bit of a departure from his earlier work, but it's just as brilliant.


Penguin Press

This time around, Klosterman joins us to tell us about the craziest day of his career.

His crazy day begins before he made it big as a writer. Back in the early 2000's, Chuck was a reporter and columnist for a local newspaper, the Akron Beacon Journal in Ohio. He had just released his first book, Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural Nörth Daköta. Like most people, he thought no one important was reading it. That is until he got a pretty memorable phone call.

Trust us, this is one story you don't want to miss. Klosterman's new book Raised in Captivity: Fictional Nonfiction is out now.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Journalist and author Jeff Chang

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Jeff Chang

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Journalist and author Jeff Chang on his latest project We Gon' Be Alright

Jeff Chang is a journalist and music critic with an emphasis on hip hop music and culture. His writings have appeared in San Francisco Chronicle, the Village Voice, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Spin, and many more.

Nearly 15 years ago, Chang published Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation. He's published three books since then. He joined us in 2015, to talk about Who We Be: A Cultural History of Race in Post-Civil Rights America.

Jeff Chang returns to Bullseye for his latest project, We Gon' Be Alright. It was a book back in 2016, and it's a follow up to Who We Be. Recently, We Gon' Be Alright was turned into a web series by Indie Lens Spotlight.

The series deals with some really tough questions with no easy answer. The current state of racism since Trump became President. Where Asian Americans fall when it comes to discrimination. How bigotry plays out even within the same race.

He wanted to talk about big topics like racial segregation in housing, entertainment and education. It's a look at the state of race relations in America today. And, what he'd like to see people do about it.

Check out We Gon' Be Alright on YouTube.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Comic and actor J.B. Smoove

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J.B. Smoove

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J.B. Smoove on Curb Your Enthusiasm, writing on Saturday Night Live and more

J.B. Smoove is without a doubt one of the funniest people we've ever had on Bullseye.

He got his start in television as one of the stars of Def Comedy Jam in the mid-90's. In the early aughts he became a writer on Saturday Night Live. J.B. wrote sketches like a commercial for "Tylenol Extreme," and a hypothetical remake of Norman Lear's "Good Times." He's probably best known for his role as Leon on Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Currently, you can check him out in Spider-Man: Far From Home. In the film, J.B. plays Peter Parker's teacher, Julius Dell. He has some really funny moments as Parker's chaperone.

J.B. joins us to talk about his time on SNL. He'll explain how an audition to be a featured cast member actually landed him a job as a writer instead. We'll hear about a few of his favorite sketches that never made it to air.

He'll also talk about his work on Curb Your Enthusiasm, and why he always goes to an audition in character. Plus, he'll tell us about the time he told Howard Stern, and we quote: "You can't eat spaghetti on an open patio." Join us to learn exactly what he means!

When he's not working on screen he keeps busy on the road. He tries to test out as much new material as possible. You can see him on tour all over the country this summer and fall. Check out his website for latest dates.

A heads up to listeners, this episode contains many censored expletives throughout the interview.

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