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Alumni Newsletter, September 19, 2011: Books and Publishing

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There is so much terrific alumni news this week that I've had to break it apart by genre! Here's all the latest excitement from TSOYA alums in the publishing world:

George R. R. Martin, Author of "A Song of Ice and Fire" Series: Interview on The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
George R. R. Martin

This week, our guest host is John Hodgman. John is a Famous Minor Television Personality and best-selling author, whom you likely know from his work as a correspondent on The Daily Show, his podcast Judge John Hodgman, and his many literary works -- including his upcoming book, to be released November 1st, called THAT IS ALL.

He speaks with George R. R. Martin author of the very popular series of fantasy books called, collectively, A Song of Ice and Fire. The most recent installment is A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Five. The series was recently adapted for the acclaimed HBO show A Game of Thrones. Martin joins us to talk about creating a fantasy universe, (very) involved fans, and more.

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JOHN HODGMAN: It's The Sound of Young America, I'm John Hodgman in for Jesse Thorn. My guest is George R.R. Martin; he is the author of an extremely popular series of fantasy novels collectively known as A Song of Ice and Fire. There will eventually be seven of them, the most recent, the fifth is called A Dance with Dragons. It was published in July after a several year wait. Martin has received numerous awards for his writing and was named by Time Magazine as one of the most influential people of 2011, named by me, by the way. I wrote the piece.

A Song of Ice and Fire was recently adapted into the HBO series A Game of Thrones. He's also written some of the scripts for the television version, including its pilot. Here's a clip from that episode. In it, King Robert, played by Mark Addy, has just brought on Ned Stark, played by Sean Bean, to be his second in command, The King's Hand.

First of all, George R.R. Martin, congratulations on all of the recent success of the TV show and the new book, A Dance with Dragons, and getting that done and out there and the number one best selling success of it all.

GEORGE R.R. MARTIN: Thank you very much. It has been a pretty exciting year.

Interview: Corey Stoll

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Corey Stoll is one of those actors that you’ve seen but might not recognize. He’s been in a handful of cop shows, most recently he played Detective Thomas "TJ" Jaruszalski on Law and Order: Los Angeles until that show was cancelled. He was in an episode of The Unusuals, which was a great show in my opinion, but it too was eventually pulled. Lately, he’s gained accolades for his turn as Ernest Hemingway in Woody Allen’s fantasy Midnight in Paris starring Owen Wilson. It’s a truly fantastic tale where larger-than-life characters from the Lost Generation of Paris in the 1920s (Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Picasso, Gertrude Stein) are visited by Wilson’s character who gets lost one night while walking through Paris…you guessed it, at midnight.

Chris Bowman: What were your thoughts on Ernest Hemingway as a person before playing him in the film?

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: Travel Tales

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Vital stats:
Format: interviews with an angle (the angle of travel)
Episode duration: ~1h
Frequency: weekly

Did you ever have that moment where you stopped, looked around, and realized that literally all your friends have traveled more than you? Across ages, nationalities and SES categories, my friends share something in common: they have stories about Bulgaria, Japan, Italy, the Philippines, France, Kenya, Finland, Chile, Morocco, Belgium, China, Great Britain, Singapore and other, lesser-known countries that it's too demoralizing even to name. I have stories of precisely dick. That line actually comes from "Trav’lin Man", a blog post I wrote in order to lamenting just how much lost traveling time I now have to make up.

Mike Siegel, coincidentally enough, references the very same song on his podcast Travel Tales [RSS] [iTunes], but he’s so far into travel that he uses it as his theme song. You might know Siegel from his appearances on the old Southern California Comedian Podcast Circuit, though I get the sense than he hasn’t played the podcast guest role quite as often as some of his colleagues. That, and he didn’t have a podcast himself until this past June, so he stuck it out as semi-outsider in podcasting for quite a while. But if waiting to fully join the fray allowed Siegel the opportunity to think carefully over his show’s concept, then I deem it time well spent. Rather than launching yet another podcast of freeform comedic yammering, he’s opted for a far richer genre I call the “interview with an angle” (IWA).

I know, off the top of my head, two sterling exemplars of the IWA. On one, The Mental Illness Happy Hour, Paul Gilmartin interviews friends and colleagues about their psychological health but winds up touching on a whole range of subjects through that context. On the other, the very show under review today, Mike Siegel interviews friends and colleagues about where they’ve traveled and where they’d like to travel but winds up touching on a whole range of subjects through that context. Sure, he and his guests go on the occasional digression and they comment on plenty of issues not directly related to travel, but Siegel’s focus on that particular (if broad) topic keeps the conversations driven and focused.

The show also scores many a point by having a guest roster made up of more than just other comedians. Though we podcast-listeners know that comics talking to comics have produced much pure conversational joy, I always feel a slightly richer interaction between two people who don’t come from exactly the same professional sphere. So while Siegel does indeed elicit seriously entertaining (and useful and informative!) travel tales from the likes of Jackie Kashian [MP3], Graham Ellwood [MP3], and the freakishly well-traveled Dwayne Perkins [MP3], he does just as well with guests whose careers don’t revolve around stand-up: writers, producers, filmmakers. He’s even got Battleship Pretension host Tyler Smith talking about Mexico, Colombia, American road trips, and how to travel despite having a distaste for most foods.

The whole “if you like x, listen to y” thing being the last place I want to go (as it were) with Podthoughts, I hesitate to say that, if you’re interested in the world, you’re interested in Travel Tales. But you probably are. Don’t sweat it if you haven’t heard of a particular episode’s guest; that never really matters on well-crafted interview programs anyway. They all come with fascinating memories and observations about Japanese baseball, Spanish gay bars, Indian meditation retreats, the fear of talking to Ice Cube on a flight, the fear of being three women alone in Riyadh, and Holocaust museums. I don’t know about you, but I need all the motivating stories I can get.

[Podthinker Colin Marshall also happens to host and produce The Marketplace of Ideas [iTunes], a public radio show and podcast dedicated to in-depth cultural conversation. Please hire him for something.]

My Brother, My Brother and Me 72: Propositions

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This week's episode is all about fresh experiences, like Travis' new horrible segment, or the first Pumpkin Spice Latte after a year of not drinking Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Out with the old, in with the new! (Actually, we're keeping the old.)

Suggested talking points: Pumpkin Spice Latte, Open the Briefcase, Stoneymoon, Extraordinary Accent, Sad Libs, Jerk-It Sheath, Bounce O' Clock, Get Busy Living Together

Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 192: Cool Papa Bell with Rob Huebel

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Guests: 
Rob Huebel

Rob Huebel joins Jesse and Jordan, and puppy adoption talk turns dark, along with almost every other subject anyone brings up. Except MILF Island. That subject maintains a pretty steady keel.

The Sklar Brothers Analyze Hoarders on Conan

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The Sklar Brothers were on Conan this week to promote their new album "Hendersons and Daughters". Their time included some lovely analysis of Google searches and the problems that may result when you start hoarding episodes of Hoarders.

Trick Trick f. Eminem - Detroit City

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I hadn't thought of this song in a number of years, till it came up in this AV Club roundup of acts that shoulda been bigger. This is a pretty great track.

Jesse on Sklarbro Country

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Jesse recently visited Sklarbro Country (the podcast of Jason and Randy Sklar) to deliver a very funny fantasy report that does not discuss any aspect of the upcoming NFL season. You can find the episode, "Twitter King Me", here.


Patton Oswalt: The Best Argument Against Gay Marriage

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Patton Oswalt - The Best Argument Against Gay Marriage
Here's a clip from Patton Oswalt's soon-to-be-released CD "Finest Hour". The rest of the album will be released on the 20th.
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