Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Soprano Renée Fleming

Renée Fleming

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Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

"America's Diva," Soprano Renée Fleming on acting in musical theater

Known as "America's Diva," Renée Fleming has performed in venues all over the world, singing in acclaimed productions of operas composed by Mozart, Puccini, Verdi, Dvorak and more. If you're no expert in the world of cabelettas, cavatinas and coloraturas, fear not! Renée has mastered jazz, country and just about every other music genre as well.

She grew up in a musical household, the child of two music teachers and she knew from a rather early age that music was her destiny. As a teen, she took chorus classes and music theory. A few years later she attended college at the Crane School of Music at the State University of New York at Postdam. There, she joined a jazz trio. An invitation was extended for her to go on tour with the band but she had other dreams in mind.

She was awarded a Fulbright scholarship and attended graduate school at Julliard while performing professionally in the 1980s. Since then, she's performed with the New York City Opera in La bohème, with the Royal Opera in London in Cherubini's Médée and with the Metropolitan Opera and San Francisco Opera alike as Countess Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro. She's appeared on popular movie soundtracks including The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and The Shape of Water.

She's also performed under truly unique circumstances like singing the National Anthem at the 2014 Super Bowl while 50 million people watched from home and Black Hawk helicopters flew overhead! There was also her performance at President Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration. It was...amazing!

Lately, she's been working on stage in musicals. Her latest, The Light in the Piazza just wrapped up in Los Angeles, with productions in Chicago and Sydney on the horizon.

Renée talk to Bullseye about managing acoustics, growing up in a musical home and not only cultivating her talent but her image, too. Plus, she gives Jesse some pretty solid music advice. What an episode!

Renée sings the music of Brahms, Schumann and Mahler. You can listen to the album here.

Click here to listen to Renée Fleming's interview on YouTube!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: NFL Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez

Tony Gonzalez

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Photo: Jesse Thorn

NFL Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez on his new podcast Wide Open

Tony Gonzalez made football his career, but it could just have easily been basketball. In college, at UC Berkeley, he played both, but in his own distinct way: he played forward sort of like a football player, and he played tight end sort of like a basketball player.

In 1997, Tony entered the NFL draft. Tony played 12 seasons for the Kansas City Chiefs, and then another five for the Falcons. He's been to the Pro Bowl over a dozen times.

He ranked in the top five for career receptions, and after he retired was inducted into the hall of the fame in his first year of eligibility.

These days, he's on TV a lot. He's an analyst for Fox Sports, where you'll see him both Sundays and Thursdays.

He's one of the greatest tight ends in history, but it wasn't always easy.

Growing up, he was bullied constantly. His first year in the NFL was so tough he almost called it quits. And throughout his career, he never really felt like he could stand up and address his whole team.

He's very open about his struggles and sacrifices. Tony's got a new podcast where he invites people in business and entertainment to talk about the oftentimes difficult journey to success. It's called Wide Open. It's a show about becoming the best version of yourself, what he calls "leveling up."

We'll talk about his new podcast, wretched middle school days, and he'll open up about his time in the NFL.

Click here to listen to Tony Gonzalez's interview on YouTube!

Minority Korner 102: A SpoooooOOOoootacular Episode (Kevin Spacey, The Craft, Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, NFL, Anthony Rapp, Thor: Ragnorok, Research Tips, Rachel True, Nipplegate, Information Literacy)

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Minority Korner

OoooOOOOOooooOOoo... it's a little past Halloween, but the wonder twins have got the spirit! They are bringing you a Spoooootacular Episode. Nnekay has got her candle set up which reminds James of The Craft and our girl Rachel True- who actually reads Tarot Cards. Nnekay recently watched The Craft and she was reminded of super sexy giant windbreakers and khakis... and some weird problematic themes exhibited in the movie which might speak to the climate we're currently dealing with in Hollywood. James is living that #blessed life and got to see a screening of Thor: Ragnorok. He literally had to use some mind trips to expand time to make it in time. He says it's amazing and we all need to rush out to go see it. They also talk about how the NFL keeps fucking up! This time they have Justin Timberlake performing the half time show at the Super Bowl. Why is this a tragedy? You might remember a little thing called "nipplegate". Nnekay and James break it down why this is a mess and a disrespect to Janet Jackson. In James' Korner, he needs help, yet again with side eyeing his heroes. This time it's Kevin Spacey. James' unpacks sexual assault and why Kevin Spacey's coming out is a distraction and how to deal when your hero fails you. In Nnekay's Korner, she is so tried and sick of people taking google for granted and wants to give some tips on how to take research seriously! She talks bias, and how to truly understand what you are reading. Enjoy the episode!


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Bullseye: Hasan Minhaj & Margaret Wappler

Hasan Minhaj
Margaret Wappler

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: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Hasan Minhaj talks Homecoming King, “The American Dream” Tax, and Air Jordans

Hasan Minhaj is a Senior Correspondent on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and is currently touring with his one man show Homecoming King. A native of the Sacramento area, his comedy is characterized by a mix of political and satirical comedy.
This week, he and Jesse sit down to discuss his one man show, stand up comedy in other countries, and the current political climate in the United States. Plus, Hasan knows a lot about sneakers.
Hasan is currently on tour with his show Homecoming King.

Margaret Wappler on Neon Green, Taking care of Her Father, and Sci-Fi Cliches

Margaret Wappler is journalist, columnist, pop culture critic, short story writer, podcast host , teacher, and now a novelist.
Margaret and Jesse talk about her new novel Neon Green, how she took care of her ill father as a teenager, the writing process, and the 1990’s.
You can find Margaret’s book here.

The Outshot: Randy Moss’ Face as Trent Dilfer Criticizes Kaepernick’s NFL Protest

This week, Jesse talks about non-people of color still not getting the plight of people of color’s everyday reality.

Pop Rocket: Episode 005 Super Bowl, Ghostbusters and #ThatCism

Wynter and Guy
Wynter Mitchell
Jesse Thorn
Guy Branum

The team unpack last weekend’s Super Bowl, argue the merits of original, animated and re-booted Ghostbusting and call out a sports themed batch of #ThatCism.

With Wynter Mitchell, Jesse Thorn and host Guy Branum.

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to this handy Spotify playlist.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics on the MaxFun forum, our Facebook group or via @PRPod on Twitter.

Oliver Wang and Margaret Wappler will be back next week.

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