Month: October 2013

Samira Kawash (BSS #522)

This is the second of two shows devoted to Halloween. Did you know that there was once a chocolate bar called the Chicken Dinner? That cigarette companies once considered candy to be a threat to discretionary spending? Or that candy was used by the military for safety purposes? We didn’t either, until we read Samira Kawash’s CANDY: A CENTURY OF PANIC AND PLEASURE. We discuss the serpentine history of candy with the Candy Professor herself! Read More

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Paul Harding II (BSS #521)

Over the course of a few centuries, prayers for the dead have transformed into less uptight celebrations. But what candor did we lose in the transformation? In the first of two shows devoted to Halloween, we discuss this American relationship to grief and impermanence with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Paul Harding. The talk revolves around Harding’s second novel, ENON, and gets into candlepin bowling, the oneiric morass inside the skull, our national history of religiosity, and John Cheever. Read More

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Nicholson Baker II (BSS #520)

Nicholson Baker returns to our program for a rip-roaring 78 minute conversation. We discuss TRAVELING SPRINKLER, the many parallels between Baker and Paul Chowder. There is quite a bit of music and audio talk, vivacious arguments for and against Robin Thicke, a lively dialectic on whether or not Algebra 2 should be an educational requirement, and a vital discussion on alternative names for sexual organs. Read More

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Kathryn Davis (BSS #519)

Life and narrative both require resolution. But when we stick to our conclusive guns, what do we give up in knowing other people? Kathryn Davis has dared to answer these questions in her provocative new novel, DUPLEX, and our conversation bounces around Leibniz’s notion of the multiverse, the intersection of religion and technology, and how a fluid fictional universe creates new possibilities in life. Read More

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Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell (BSS #518)

THE ROOM is widely considered to be one of the worst films ever made. Yet ten years after its release, it is a cultural phenomenon and has even inspired a video game. We talk with Greg Sestero (Mark from THE ROOM) and Tom Bisssell, co-authors of THE DISASTER ARTIST, and probe into director Tommy Wiseau’s mysterious past. discussing the film’s unanticipated debt to Patricia Highsmith and the terror of shooting extremely long and extremely troubling sex scenes. Read More

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Daniel Woodrell (BSS #517)

In this rare long form interview, acclaimed author Daniel Woodrell discusses how William Kennedy’s novels provided inspiration for THE MAID’S VERSION, Ozark vernacular, what people get wrong about stew, how one can know all of humanity by living in a small town, Tony Danza’s boxing skills, film noir, avoiding tough guy cliches, and his experience as a Marine. Read More

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Jesmyn Ward II (BSS #516)

In the aftermath of Trayvon Martin, why do so many young black men continue to die? Why are we doomed to repeat a savage American cycle? Jesmyn Ward’s new memoir, MEN WE REAPED, tries to answer this dilemma by looking into how five needless deaths, including her own brother;s, informed her own life. Our 40 minute conversation looks into how stories can get people to care, enduring racism, defending yourself, and why mediocre white culture keeps getting a pass. Read More

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