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Errol Morris, Director of "Tabloid": Interview on The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Errol Morris

Errol Morris is a celebrated director who has documented a wide range of subjects, from warfare in his Academy Award-winning film The Fog of War to your everyday eccentrics in Vernon, Florida.

In his newest film, Tabloid, he chases the truth in the tabloid story of Joyce McKinney. A former beauty queen follows her object of affection, a Mormon missionary, overseas and shakes things up with his alleged kidnapping and sexual assault. Joyce spins her version of the events of several decades and continents in the film, which is woven with interviews with tabloid reporters of the day, her alleged accomplices and contemporaries.

Errol talks to us bringing his subjects eye to eye with his audience using his patented Interrotron, seeking and preserving the truth of the first person narrative, and the work he feels he'll be remembered for (it's not what you think).

Tabloid is theaters now with limited release, and will roll out to more cities nationwide this summer.

Click here for a full transcript of this interview.
OR
Stream or download this interview now.

JESSE THORN: It's The Sound of Young America, I'm Jesse Thorn. My guest on the program is Errol Morris, who might just be America's most gifted and acclaimed documentarian. His movies include The Fog of War, which won him an Oscar, The Thin Blue Line, which may have saved a man's life, and Gates of Heaven, which, according to the terms of a bet, forced Werner Herzog to eat a shoe live on stage.

Morris's new film is called Tabloid. In part, it's an investigation of narrative; in part, it's an investigation of a curious character. That, of course, has been a theme of Morris's films going all the way back to his first two, Gates of Heaven and Vernon, Florida.

The movie is the story of a former beauty queen named Joyce McKinney who fell in love with a Mormon missionary and followed him on his mission to England, bringing along a pilot, a muscle-building body guard, and a man who can only reasonably be described as a best friend/bondage slave. When she found the object of her affection, she either convinced him to come with her, or kidnapped him, then, either convinced him to sleep with her, or raped him.

The case was a sensation beyond words in the English tabloid culture of the late 1970s. Here's a tabloid reporter named Peter Tory who covered the story at the time for the tabloids in the late 1970s. In this clip from the movie, he explains how Joyce McKinney's misadventures captured the English public's attention.

Errol Morris, welcome to The Sound of Young America.

ERROL MORRIS: Thanks for having me on.

Culture: AV Club Picks for July 2011 on The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Kyle Ryan
Guests: 
Tasha Robinson

The Onion's AV Club editors Kyle Ryan and Tasha Robinson stop by to give us their top picks for July's movies, music and books.

  • A surprisingly practical guide to screenwriting from past TSOYA guests Tom Lennon and Ben Garant, Writing Movies for Fun and Profit: How We Made a Billion Dollars at the Box Office and You Can, Too!
  • They Might Be Giants' new album out next week, a return to "adult rock" called Join Us
  • A new autobiography from Bob Mould, co-founder of Hüsker Dü, called See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody
  • The smaller science fiction film Another Earth, in theaters next week
  • Comedy: Jackie Kashian on The Sound of Young America

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    Jackie at MaxFunCon 2011, by Kenneth Lecky
    Show: 
    Bullseye
    Guests: 
    Jackie Kashian

    The very funny Jackie Kashian is an LA-based stand up comic, frequent collaborator of our pal Maria Bamford, and host of The Dork Forest podcast. Her comedy album It is Never Going to be Bread is available now.

    Here's a selection of her stand-up set from the stage of the Lake Arrowhead Conference Center at MaxFunCon 2011.

    Simon Pegg, Actor and Filmmaker: Interview on The Sound of Young America

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    Show: 
    Bullseye
    Guests: 
    Simon Pegg

    Simon Pegg joins us to talk about nerd rants, his philosophy on zombies, and his close-knit relationship with collaborator and friend Nick Frost.

    He's best known as the actor, writer, and director whose guiding hands have been involved in British TV comedy Spaced and films Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Paul.

    His new memoir follows his own journey as the nerdy everyman; Nerd Do Well: A Small Boy’s Journey to Becoming a Big Kid is out now.

    JESSE THORN: It's The Sound of Young America, I'm Jesse Thorn. My guest is Simon Pegg; actor, writer, memoirist, geek. His new book is called Nerd Do Well. It's the story of how, well, let's be honest, a nerd did well. And a nerd did well through nerdiness. Almost all of Pegg's work has drawn on his identity as not just creator, but also fan. He co-created and starred in the British sitcom Spaced, which saw the world of the sitcom, or the romantic sitcom, through a pop culture lens. He made his reputation here in the United States with the hit zom-com, Shaun of the Dead; that's zom-com, half romantic comedy, half zombie film. He was co-writer and star of Hot Fuzz, which was again, a tribute/satire of the action-comedy, and he recently co-wrote and starred in Paul, which was, again, a sort of half-parody, half-tribute to, in this case, the extraterrestrial films of one Mr. Steven Spielberg.
    And how's this for geek credit: he was Scotty in the reboot of Star Trek.

    What binds all of these projects together, of course, is a deep appreciation for popular storytelling, including the kind of genre stories that, let's just say don't have the mainstream artistic credibility of 18th century period drama; in other words, they're geeky.

    Simon Pegg, welcome to The Sound of Young America.

    SIMON PEGG: Thank you very much. It's nice to be here.

    Click here for a full transcript of this interview, or click here to stream or download the audio.

    Michael Rapaport, Actor and Director: Interview on The Sound of Young America

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    Show: 
    Bullseye
    Guests: 
    Michael Rapaport

    Michael Rapaport (above right, with Q-Tip) has an extensive list of acting credits, from Woody Allen films to roles on Boston Public, Friends, and Prison Break. For his newest project, he began with a vision to profile his favorite hip-hop group, A Tribe Called Quest, and ended up documenting their deep-rooted friendships and conflicts along with the musical history of the group.

    The movie is called Beats, Rhymes and Life, and features interviews with members Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Mohammed and Jarobi White. Animated sequences of Tribe songs are interspersed with remarks from hip-hop producers, radio personalities and rappers, and give a portrait of the time as well as of the group itself. The film opens in NYC and LA on July 8th.

    READ A FULL TRANSCRIPT OF THIS INTERVIEW
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    STREAM OR DOWNLOAD THE PODCAST

    JESSE THORN: It's The Sound of Young America, I'm Jesse Thorn. My guest is Michael Rapaport. He is, of course, best known as an actor, having worked for some 20 odd years with legendary directors like Woody Allen and Spike Lee, and on numerous television programs, innumerable films, in audio, all over everywhere.

    He's here today, though, for his directorial debut; a documentary called Beats, Rhymes, and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest. It's the story of one of hip hops most significant and storied groups, and I know one of the most significant to Rapaport specifically. It opens July 8th in New York and Los Angeles.

    Michael, I want to ask you personally what A Tribe Called Quest meant to you in 1989, 90, when they came out and you were a very young man; you were at an impressionable age.

    Comedy: Prescott Tolk on The Sound of Young America, Live in Chicago

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    Photo courtesy of Dan Henrick
    Show: 
    Bullseye
    Guests: 
    Prescott Tolk

    A stand up set from Prescott Tolk on The Sound of Young America Live in Chicago at The Second City!

    Prescott has performed comedy for the past ten years at colleges and clubs nationwide, and has appeared at Just For Laughs Chicago and on Comedy Central's Premium Blend.

    Weird Al Returns to The Sound of Young America

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    Show: 
    Bullseye
    Guests: 
    Weird Al Yankovic

    The musician and parodist Weird Al was on The Sound of Young America earlier this year, but the details of his new album were still under wraps. It was so top-secret, he couldn't even allude to it. We agreed to do the interview if we could do a follow up when Alpocalypse was released.

    The caveat from their side -- that we come over to Al's house to record! So this time, we're at Al's to talk about the timing of parodies, getting artists' permission (including Lady Gaga), and where he stores all those Hawaiian shirts.

    JESSE THORN: It's The Sound of Young America, I'm Jesse Thorn. We booked Weird Al Yankovic to appear on our show six or nine months ago, and it was a great pleasure to get to book him on our show. At the time he had a new children's book out, and he was putting the finishing touches on his new album. We asked if we could hear the album, and they said, no, absolutely not. Everything that “Weird Al” does is kept under lock and key until he decides to release it. He will not even allude to the new album in the conversation.

    So this was the compromise that we came up with: we do our interview with Weird Al Yankovic; we talk about the children's book and his career and all of the amazing stuff I've always wanted to talk about “Weird Al” with; but, we would then do a followup interview where we would talk about his new record that we could put out now, when his new record is just about to hit stores. Their caveat was that I would have to do it at Weird Al's house, which is hardly a caveat; I would basically do anything, I would become a furniture mover so that I could visit Weird Al's house.

    So before we go to my conversation with Weird Al in the Casa de Al, let's hear a song from his new album Alpocalypse. This is called TMZ, it's a parody of the hit Taylor Swift song “You Belong With Me.”

    WEIRD AL YANKOVIC: Welcome Jesse, thanks for coming.

    Click here for a full transcipt of this interview, or here to stream or download the podcast.

    Glenn O'Brien on How To Be A Man: Interview on The Sound of Young America

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    Show: 
    Bullseye
    Guests: 
    Glenn O'Brien

    Glenn O'Brien is the author of How To Be A Man, and the Style Guy columnist for GQ. He also created and hosted TV Party, the seminal new wave television show, and edited Interview magazine in its early days.

    The book is a collection of essays on the subject of masculinity: from dandyism (he's in support) to how to handle your old age.

    JESSE THORN: It's The Sound of Young America, I'm Jesse Thorn. There's been a recent rash of advice on the subject of how to be a man. It's come from all corners; maybe it's fueled by economic insecurities, maybe it's fueled by social change. Rare among those doing the advising though has been, frankly, much qualification in that area. My guest Glenn O'Brien, however, is flush with such qualifications; he's been the style guide columnist in GQ magazine for a number of years now. He's also had a distinguished career elsewhere in the magazine industry, serving recently as Editorial Director of Brandt Publications which publishes Interview, Art in America, and Antiques, among his many other jobs in magazines. In the early 1980s, in fact, he served as one of the first editors and Art Directors of Interview; a job which came to him through his involvement in Andy Warhol's Factory. He was also the magazine's first music critic.

    He wrote the film Downtown 81 with Jean-Michel Basquiat in the early 1980s, but not released until just a few years ago, and he hosted the iconic new wave television program TV Party. His new book is called How to be a Man, but it isn't really a book of advice, it's a collection of meditations ranging from clothes to the utility of celebrity to the best ways to handle ones dotage.

    Glenn O'Brien, welcome to The Sound of Young America.

    GLENN O'BRIEN: Hi, thanks for having me on.

    Click here for a full transcript of this interview, or here to jump to the podcast audio.

    Writer and Filmmaker Rudolph Herzog: Interview on The Sound of Young America

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    Show: 
    Bullseye
    Guests: 
    Rudolph Herzog

    Rudolph Herzog is a filmmaker and writer who takes his audience on paths far from our everyday experience. He's directed the reality crime series "The Heist" about criminal masterminds and a film about a lost Arctic explorer.

    Herzog's newest project originated as a documentary film and evolved into the written form. Dead Funny: Humor in Hitler's Germany is a look at how Germans, both oppressed and oppressors, used comedy to deal with the reality of living under The Third Reich.

    JESSE THORN: It's The Sound of Young America, I'm Jesse Thorn. My guest on the program is the filmmaker and author Rudolph Herzog. His new book is called Dead Funny: Humor in Hitler's Germany. It's an exploration of humor in Germany before, during, and immediately after the Nazi years; including both the humor of the Nazis, of their subjects, and of their targets.

    Rudolph, welcome to The Sound of Young America, it's great to have you here.

    RUDOLPH HERZOG: Hi, thanks for having me.

    Click here for a full transcript of this interview, or click here to stream or download the audio.

    Jon Ronson, Author, Filmmaker and Humorist: Interview on The Sound of Young America

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    Photo credit Barney Poole
    Show: 
    Bullseye
    Guests: 
    Jon Ronson

    Jon Ronson is a journalist, filmmaker and author of several best-selling books, including Them: Adventures with Extremists and The Men Who Stare at Goats. You may also know him from his contributions to This American Life.

    His newest book is The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry.

    JESSE THORN: It's The Sound of Young America, I'm Jesse Thorn. My guest on the program is the journalist Jon Ronson. He's made a career of tracking down wing-nuts and extremists and people on the fringes of all sorts of societies. His latest book is called The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry.

    It starts with a puzzle book, and travels through a long investigation of psychopathy and psychiatry. Jon Ronson, welcome to The Sound of Young America.

    JON RONSON: It's a pleasure to be here.

    Click here for a full transcript of this interview, or jump to the podcast audio.

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