Podcast: Career Killers


This week's Sound of Young America broadcast commemorates my recent layoff with the theme "Career Killers."

My first guest, Annabelle Gurwitch, is the former host of TBS' "Dinner and a Movie," and a comedienne. Her book, "Fired: Tales of the Canned, Cancelled, Downsized, & Dismissed" compiles stories of firings from folks like Felicity Huffman and David Cross. She herself was fired from a play by Woody Allen, who said her performance was "retarded." We talk with her about getting fired, some of the most interesting stories in the book (Jeff Garlin's is a doozy), and more. She's appearing at the San Francisco Documentary Film Festival May 19th and 20th with Robert Reich.

Our second guest, Dan Clowes, is the screenwriter for the new film Art School Confidential. More importantly, though, he's the creator of the long-running comic book title Eightball. Eightball was the birthplace of the film, as well as the home of the story which became "Ghost World." We talk with Dan about his experiences in art school, his artistic process, working with director Terry Zwigoff and more.

Also, a comedy sketch from Free Love Forum.

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Podcast: Hollywood Outsiders

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This week's Sound of Young America looks at the world of movies from a variety of perspectives outside of the inside.

Sean Uyehara is a programmer for the San Francisco International Film Festival, which is currently running here in the City by the Bay. We talk with him about what it's like to watch 1400 movies a year. Also, he talks about some of the more exciting events at this year's festival, including a discussion of machinima from the creators of Red Vs. Blue, and a remarkable video mashup experience from Addictive TV. You can also read more of Sean's thoughts on the festival here.

Sharon Waxman is the Los Angeles Times' Hollywood reporter, but she wasn't always in the entertainment news business. She started out as a foreign correspondent, and admits she only came to the Tinseltown game out of "desperation." Her book, "Rebels in the Backlot" traces the indie film explosion of the mid-90s. It focuses on the work of Quentin Tarantino, PT Anderson, David Fincher, Steven Sodebergh, David O. Russel, and Spike Jonze. It was recently released in paperback.

Philip Lopate's new book is the Library of America's "American Movie Critics: From the Silents Until Now." The huge tome covers film writing from the silent era until now. We talk with Philip about how criticism has changed over the past hundred years, his favorite critics and why, and the role of film criticism in society.

Also, a message from Your Friend in Hollywood, Jen Kirkman.

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Music This Week

Intersititial Music Provided by DJW

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Podcast: Rip It Up and Start Again


This week our theme is "Rip It Up & Start Again," and we investigate the history of Post-Punk music.

Our guest is Simon Reynolds, a British pop music critic, and the author of the book which gives our show its name. His book aims to retrofit the reputation of the rock music of the early 80s, describing the sonically disparate artists who created something new in the wake of the first punk movement's self-destruction.

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Music This Week / Buy Stuff

Sex Pistols - "God Save the Queen" from Nevermind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols
Public Image Ltd. - Public Image from Public Image Ltd
Public Image Ltd. - Death Disco from Greatest Hits So Far
Gang of Four - Naturals Not In It from Entertainment!
The Pop Group - Thief of Fire from Y
Gang of Four - Anthrax from Entertainment!
Scritti Pollitti - Perfect Way from Cupid & Psyche 85
Devo - Whip It from Freedom of Choice
Human League - Love Action from "Dare
Slits - "Spend Spend Spend" from Cut
Joy Division - Atmosphere from Permanent
Talking Heads - "Seen and Not Seen" from Remain in Light
Matmos "Regicide" from Civil War

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Podcast: The Elements of Style

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This week on The Sound of Young America, we tackle "The Elements of Style." My guests are Maira Kalman, Nico Muhly, and George Pelecanos.

Maira Kalman is a noted illustrator and author, whose work includes award-winning children's books and numerous New Yorker covers, among them the popular "New Yorkistan." She's created a stunning illustrated edition of the classic writing manual "The Elements of Style" by Strunk & White. Her illustrations are both literal and figural (no pun intended). She talks with us about how a book about words can lend itself to images.

We also talk with and hear the music of Nico Muhly, who composed a song suite to accompany Kalman's book. Muhly, only 24 (same as me!), has already worked with artists from Bjork to Philip Glass. You can download our full interview with him (we only feature two brief clips in the show) here.

George Pelecanos is a wonderful writer of mysteries set in Washington DC. His writing reflects a side of DC that's rarely seen in the popular media -- the side that earned it the nickname "Chocolate City." He recently edited a book of short stories about every part of the District, called "D.C. Noir." He's also a writer and producer on the brilliant HBO series "The Wire," and we talk about writing what is essentially a novel for the screen.

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Listen to this week's show online:

Download our full-length interview with Nico Muhly (MP3 Audio)

Music This Week

Nico Muhly: "Be Obscure Clearly" and "An Approach to Style" (as yet unreleased)

Other Stuff to Buy (The show gets a portion of the money)

The Wire on DVD

Maira Kalman's Books

George Pelecanos' Books

Making Friends with Black People


This week on The Sound of Young America, our theme is Making Friends with Black People.

Our first guest, Nick Adams, is the author of a book by that name, and a standup comedian. His book tackles inter-race relations with a comic edge. We talk about the N-word, being black at liberal arts college, and much more. Nick's about to do a book tour for his book, which will take him to LA & the Bay Area.

Our second guest, Calvin Levels, is a Tony-nominated actor, currently touring the nation with his one-man show James Baldwin: Down From the Mountaintop. Calvin talks with us about Baldwin's life, how he balanced his dual identities as a black American and a gay American, and more. Calvin will be performing in Santa Cruz March 17th as part of UCSC Arts & Lectures.

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Music in this show:
Aretha Franklin's recording of Nina Simone's "To Be Young, Gifted & Black" Buy From Amazon
Science Fiction "Africa" (Unreleased) Buy Science Fiction's Album From Amazon
David Bowie "Young Americans" Buy From Amazon

SkyMaul on Marketplace


Reporter Jeremy Richards covers Kasper Hauser's SkyMaul on today's Marketplace.

Podcast: Author Vendela Vida


Vendela Vida is the author of "Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name," as well as co-editor of The Believer magazine. Her first novel was "And Now You Can Go."

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