This American Life

The Turnaround: Ira Glass

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Show: 
The Turnaround
Guests: 
Ira Glass

New to The Turnaround? Subscribe in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get two new interviews a week through August 18th.

On the premiere episode of The Turnaround, Jesse talks to Ira Glass, the host and creator of This American Life from WBEZ. This American Life has been on the air since 1995. For more than twenty years, Ira and his fellow producers have helped pioneer a distinctive narrative-driven brand of audio journalism that's become so influential that it's now heard pretty much everywhere.

Photo: Stuart Mullenberg

In his conversation with Jesse, Ira explains how he asks questions of people in such a way to draw out a story with a clear beginning, middle, and end. He says he chases after authenticity in his interviews, which sometimes gives way to the kind of emotional moments usually reserved for close friends and relatives.

Visit This American Life's website for new and archived episodes of the show.

The Turnaround is a production of Maximum Fun in partnership with the Columbia Journalism Review. Visit their website to learn more about their "mission to encourage excellence in journalism in the service of a free society," and to read edited transcripts of our other Turnaround episodes.

Hosted and created by Jesse Thorn
Produced by Kara Hart and Nick Liao
Senior Producer: Laura Swisher
Managing Director: Bikram Chatterji

Music for The Turnaround provided by Mobius Van ChocStraw.

Special thanks to Kyle Pope and his team at CJR, Darrel Frost, and Emilie Erskine.

Reminder: MaxFun Meet-Up @ This American Life is THIS THURSDAY!

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Just a friendly reminder that this Thursday, May 10th is not only the night Ira Glass brings This American Life to the stage (and movie theaters across the country), but it's also the night of our massive, nation-wide MaxFun Meet-Up to celebrate!

LA area MaxFunsters are encouraged to join us Buffalo Wild Wings Burbank after the show (which we'll be taking in at the AMC Burbank 16) for a night full of new friends and maximum fun! Jesse Thorn, Jordan Morris, Erin Gibson, Bryan Safi and all of us behind-the-scenesters will be there. Will you?

And fear not out-of-towners, as Burbank is hardly the only place to get in on the action. MaxFun listeners all across the country and organizing their own meet-ups: New York, Portland, Iowa City and Indianapolis are all onboard, with the potential for countless more meet-ups. If you live in a major American metropolis (or even a small one!), chances are there's a MaxFunster in your area dying to see this show and chow on some chicken wings afterward. Organize yourselves by heading over to the MaximumFun Forums.

Have fun everyone! We can't wait to see you.

Movie version of "Sleepwalk With Me" to Premiere at Sundance

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Some stories have such great charm and relevance that they can be told over and over again in many formats - and still win your heart. Certainly that's true of your traditional fairy tales or the Shakespeare classics; but there are also a few sweet modern tales that hold up well in multiple formats. One such story, in my view, is Mike Birbiglia's delightful "Sleepwalk with Me". It's a timeless story of one man's fear of love and maturity; but it is told - with terrific humor and stark honesty - through a chronicle of his struggle with a strange and dangerous sleepwalking condition.

I first heard Birbiglia tell the story on a 2008 episode of This American Life called "Fear of Sleep." If you haven't yet heard that episode, you must obtain it immediately. It will do nothing less than restore your faith in the power of solid storytelling.

The story later become so beloved that Birbiglia adapted it to a one-man show and then into a book. Now, with help from Ira Glass and This American Life producer Alissa Shipp, Mike is bringing the story to film.

Birbiglia directed the movie, and wrote it with Seth Barrish (who directed the stage version), Joe Birbiglia and Ira Glass. The film stars Mike, Lauren Ambrose, Jim Rebhorn and Carol Kane and was produced by Jacob Jaffke.

I've never been to Sundance - and probably won't make it this year - but I've never been more jealous of those who will be there. This film is going to be terrific.

TSOYA Classics: This American Life Producer (February 6, 2007)

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Julie Synder is a senior producer on the public radio show This American Life. Jesse talks to her about her early affiliation with the show and continued influence there. Synder elaborates on what she has learned at This American Life as far as selecting and presenting stories go, and how This American Life differs from other public radio programs.

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Subscribe to TSOYA Classics: iTunes / Feed

David Rakoff, Essayist and Author of Half Empty: Interview on The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
David Rakoff

David Rakoff is a very funny essayist, journalist, and regular contributor to This American Life. We spoke to him last on The Sound in 2005. His latest collection of essays is Half Empty, in which he champions pessimism.

JESSE THORN: Welcome to The Sound of Young America, I’m your host Jesse Thorn. Our show so often focuses on how and why creative people are creative; how they get to where they need to go to make something. That’s what this episode of The Sound is all about.

My guest is the writer David Rakoff. His third book Half Empty is a collection of essays that are meditations on the darker side of the human psyche. It comes with the warning, “No inspirational life lessons will be found in these pages.” But frankly it sort of betrays that. There are none of the traditional inspirational life lessons, but it is in part at least an argument that one can be inspired and draw life lessons from a little bit of pessimism and melancholy. David Rakoff, welcome back to The Sound of Young America.

DAVID RAKOFF: Thanks for having me.

Click Here for a Full Transcript.

Ira on The Simpsons

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Bravo. BRA VO.

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