Six or eight months ago, I visited director Lee Unkrich at Pixar Studios in Emeryville, California. Lee is a Sound of Young America listener, and he was kind enough to invite me out for a tour while I was in the Bay Area visiting family.
The topics of conversation included how great Kristen Schaal is and the crazy offices at Pixar. You see, when they moved into their facility, they let the artists buy sheds at Home Depot and assemble them in the open-floor-plan office. You know the kind of backyard shed that looks like a tiny house? Pixar is full of those. The bigwigs' offices are even crazier, and Lee's is full of taxidermied animals.
I thought I would score some cool points by asking if he'd been to the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles. Well, said Lee, My wife said I could only have one taxidermied animal in the house, so I chose a monkey. Then I had the founder of the MJT help me build a diorama for it.
Carolyn Kellog of the LA Times was kind enough to come by the Literary Death Match show I was part of here in Los Angeles the other night. The experience of arbitrarily judging literary readings before a crowd of drunk 20- and 30-somethings was new, but it felt as familiar as an old pair of shoes. Or an old, well-worn metaphor.
In her write-up of the event, Carolyn wrote that I "proved he doesn't need radio's quiet room and a microphone to be funny." That was very nice of her, though I like to think of my work as much more than just my world-famous "Lazzi of the Quiet Room and Microphone." (Admittedly, that's what I'm known for in Commedia Dell'Arte circles.)
By the way - the champion turned out to be Seth Greenland, who was a guest on The Sound some years ago, talking about his novel The Bones, about the comedy industry. It turns out that Seth is now a writer/producer with Big Love. So that's neat, too.
There are a few types of regular listeners from whom I hear. These are people for whom audio content is an important and regular part of their day. There are public transportation commuters. There are animators, artists and graphic designers. Then, there are runners.
Lucius Kwok is a longtime supporter of MaxFun, and a good friend of You Look Nice Today's Adam Lisagor. Together they made this video for Lucius' very cool-sounding app, which combines personal guidelines for couch-to-5K training with your iTunes library.
My hope is that this will train a new generation of MaxFun listener-runners.
Improviser AL Connors joins us to talk waterslides, the Yukon, and if Graham would make a good Big Brother.
Download episode 136 here. (right-click)
Brought to you by: (click here for the full list of sponsors)
Join Jesse, Nick, Julia and Theresa for the official MaxFun meetup/after-party at Ear Inn. We'll be there around 9PM after the Sound of Young America Live! show at WNYC, and be around through about 10:30. Our venue is Ear Inn at 326 Spring between Greenwich and Washington. Here are walking directions for those coming directly from the show. Everyone is welcome.
Dave Tompkins is a former columnist for The Wire who writes frequently about hip-hop and popular music. His work has appeared in Vibe, The Village Voice, The Believer and Wax Poetics.
His new book, How To Wreck A Nice Beach, describes how the vocoder was created to guard phones from codebreakers during World War II, and soon became a voice-altering tool for musicians. In this way, we see the vocoder as it was used by FDR, JFK, Stanley Kubrick, Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, Kraftwerk, the Cylons, Henry Kissinger, and Winston Churchill.
More than 95% of our listeners use iTunes to download their podcasts. Mostly this is great - iTunes is a nice piece of software, it's ubiquitous, it's free. There is, however, one small annoyance: if like most people you don't check for new podcasts every day, the default settings in iTunes mean you'll miss out on episodes of our shows.
The default on iTunes is to download only the latest episode of a podcast you're subscribed to. For a show like ours, that frequently puts out a few shorter episodes a week, this means as many as 25% of our listeners miss each episode. This happens when we put out episodes relatively close together, and listeners only automatically download the most recent.
Luckily, the solution is easy. Do this, and you'll never miss an episode again.
First, open iTunes, and click on your podcast library in the left-hand bar.
Second, click on "Settings" at the bottom of the podcast library.
From the pull-down menu next to "When new episodes are available," choose "Download all."
That way, if we put out episodes on consecutive days (as we just did), you won't miss the first one.