Earlier this year, the radio classic This American Life moved away from its longtime distributor, Public Radio International (PRI), to an independent model. Ira Glass, the show’s host and producer, has been doing more rounds in the press of late, discussing where the show is after 17 years, and where he is at this point as a journalist. The takeaway from the New York Times profile earlier this month was that Glass is, literally, dancing as fast as he can, working as both professional talking head (the bulk of his income comes from speaking appearances) and as the soul of a really good radio show when he’s not harboring dreams of Broadway. Whew! … Read More
Graduation season is fast approaching, the time of the year when some of our favorite writers are tasked with summing up the wisdom to be accrued from the process of growing up in ten succinct minutes of witty truth. These days, a successful graduation speech has the very real chance of going viral, and then living forever as a book: from David Foster Wallace’s This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, About Living a Compassionate Life to Neil Gaiman’s Make Good Art, the best graduation speeches are finding a new life. This crop includes the brand-new Congratulations, By the Way: Some Thoughts on Kindness by George Saunders, a pretty-in-print encapsulation of his 2013 Syracuse Graduation speech. It’s reason enough to collect 30 of the best, wisest, and pithiest pieces of advice from the greatest writers to attempt the graduation… Read More
Everybody loves going to the New York Public Library’s “Live from the NYPL” events. There’s something inherently attractive about watching Jonathan Franzen don a head-mic and awkwardly question Don DeLillo about his writing habits. But let’s face it: you’re not going to make it to every event this season. Work will get in the way. So you have to prioritize, and here are the seven events I’d suggest begging, borrowing, stealing, and if absolutely necessary, small acts of violence (against insects only) to attend. … Read More
It was nearly 20 years ago that Ira Glass, a Chicago public radio host, launched a unique radio show with a magazine format, in which various stories (or “acts”) with an interconnected theme were provided by reporters, storytellers, commentators, and the like. Originally titled Your Radio Playhouse, Glass changed the title shortly before the show was picked up for nationwide syndication to This American Life. And this Sunday, This American Life airs its 500th episode. In honor of the occasion, Flavorwire has (with great difficulty and discussion) selected the show’s 15 best episodes to date. (Maybe. They’ll probably be 15 completely different ones tomorrow.) … Read More
How else would you show your obsessive love for Ira Glass and Terry Gross and the rest of the NPR gang other than by permanently branding yourself a public radio devotee? And if that seems like a drastic move, why not go the temporary-tattoo route instead? The folks at NPR have got you covered: for 14 bucks you can buy a package of nine tattoos. It’s a much cheaper option than getting the real thing, and it’s great for those of us who change our minds too often to get inked. Check out the designs after the jump. … Read More
We’ve all been exposed to the classic anthologies — your Nortons, your Oxfords, your Best American series — but sometimes we need to step out of the box a little bit and reach for the anthologies that weren’t handed out to everyone we know in Freshman Lit, whether because they’re too specific or just too out there. Here, we’ve put together a list of a few alternative anthologies that we think should be on everyone’s to-read list. They might not be quite what you’re used to, but hey, it’s always good to learn something new. And of course, these are simply the anthologies that have spoken to us — there are many more alternative collections, some more or less essential depending on your interests, so we hope that you’ll add your own favorites to our list in the comments. … Read More
Mike Birbiglia and Ira Glass have taken their faux feud with Joss Whedon to a whole new, utterly delightful level. As you may remember, earlier this week Whedon released a video calling for a preemptive boycott of the pair’s upcoming movie, Sleepwalk With Me, which opens next Friday in limited release. His reasoning? The movie is so good that it may well push his record-breaking blockbuster The Avengers off the measly 500 screens still showing it over three months after its release.
Birbiglia and Glass have created a response video that is just as absurdly wonderful as Whedon’s exhortation to “call your local art-house theater, get them to book Sleepwalk With Me so you can boycott it, too.” Proclaiming, “It’s on,” they detail their plan to out-earn The Avengers in a way that is both hilarious and (for the indie film fans among us) depressing. Click through for the second installment in what we hope will be an ongoing manufactured beef. … Read More