Karina Longworth

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Chuck Klosterman

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Chuck Klosterman
Guests: 
Karina Longworth
Guests: 
Phillip Crandall

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

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Chuck Klosterman Explores Villainy with Kanye, Batman, LeBron: What Makes Someone a "Bad Guy"?

Chuck Klosterman has been thinking and writing about culture for over a decade. He's written several essay collections, nonfiction and novels, and for the past few years, he's written the weekly column as the "Ethicist" for the New York Times Magazine. In his newest book, he takes on, well… bad guys.

Klosterman looks at athletes, musicians, politicians, vigilantes and even fictional characters who have been framed as villains -- from Bill Clinton to Darth Vader to LeBron James -- and tries to deconstruct the stories we tell about them in I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains (Real and Imagined). The book is now available in paperback.

Klosterman tells us how we've got Machiavelli all wrong, why Batman works great as a fictional construct but fails as a real person, and why it's so easy to villainize professional athletes.

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Time Traveling Back to Early 80s Punk with 'Smithereens' and 'We Are the Best!'

Film critic Karina Longworth invites you to time travel back to the early 1980s to explore the punk rock dreams of young girls in Smithereens and We are the Best!.

She suggests checking out Smithereens from 1982, a kind of prequel to director Susan Seidelman's Desperately Seeking Susan, for the time capsule of 1980s fashions and New York City street scenes.

If you want a pure breath of fresh air and fun, go with 2013's We Are The Best!, a Danish-Swedish film from director Lukas Moodysson. An adaptation of a comic book authored by his wife Coco, the movie follows a crew of young girls in Stockholm who found respite from the cruelties of middle school in punk rock.

Longworth hosts the podcast You Must Remember This, which explores forgotten bits of Hollywood history.

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Hey You, Let's Party: Andrew WK and the Party Philosophy of "I Get Wet"

This week, Phillip Crandall takes on Andrew W.K.'s 2001 debut, I Get Wet. At the time of its release, the album got a lot of flack. A lot of people just weren't sure what to make of it. The cover art was a gory photo of Andrew with blood running down his face, the song titles and lyrics were absurdly simplistic. A critic at Pitchfork gave it the abysmal rating of 0.6 out of 10. Ten years later, Pitchfork reviewed the reissued record, and gave it an 8.6. What gives? Well, Crandall says the album has a purpose and a message that endures.

Phillip Crandall is the author of a critical analysis of I Get Wet for Bloomsbury's 33 1/3 series.

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The Outshot: Stuart Saves His Family and Drawing from the SNL Well

Lots of recurring characters and sketches from Saturday Night Live have spawned feature films. Some of them are great, and some don't hold up well for 90 minutes of screentime. Jesse takes a look at the Al Franken vehicle Stuart Saves His Family, because "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!"

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Caroll Spinney and Dave LaMattina & Ian Edwards

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Dave LaMattina
Guests: 
Caroll Spinney
Guests: 
Ian Edwards
Guests: 
Karina Longworth

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

And if you're looking for a particular segment to listen to or share, check us out on Soundcloud.


L to R: Caroll Spinney on location with Kermit Love who built the original Big Bird puppet from a design created by Jim Henson.
Photo credit: Copper Pot Pictures

'I am Big Bird': Caroll Spinney and Dave LaMattina on Big Bird's Big Heart

Spend a few minutes watching Sesame Street, and you'll recognize some part of yourself in Big Bird. His kindness, curiosity and vulnerability resonate with everyone, young and old. But who brought Big Bird to life?

Caroll Spinney is the man inside the Big Bird suit, and he has been since 1969. (He's also Oscar the Grouch). Dave LaMattina is the co-director, along with Chad Walker, of a documentary about Spinney. It's called I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story.

Spinney made his television debut in 1955, working on the local Las Vegas show Rascal Rabbit, then moved on to the East Coast and performed on Bozo the Clown. But he was looking for greater purpose in his work, and he found it. He met Jim Henson and began work on the pioneering children's TV show, Sesame Street.

Spinney and LaMattina sit down to talk with us about Big Bird's physical and spiritual evolution, how the 80-year-old Spinney manages to maneuver in a full-body puppet suit, and how Big Bird has helped so many children and adults deal with loss, love and their own feelings.

I Am Big Bird has been touring the festival circuit this spring, and we caught it as part of the Los Angeles Film Festival. You can find more information about the film on their website.

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Karina Longworth on Old Hollywood Favorites: 'The Bad and the Beautiful' and 'Picnic'

Karina Longworth hosts the podcast You Must Remember This, which looks at some of the secrets of Old Hollywood. She joins us to talk about some of her favorite cinematic moments of the 1950s.

She suggests checking out 1955's Picnic. It's a movie about a handsome drifter who blows into a small town and wreaks havoc on the citizens' love lives.

Longworth also recommends The Bad and the Beautiful from 1952, a self-reflexive movie about a manipulative Hollywood producer and the studio system.

You can find Longworth's podcast on her website or in iTunes.

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Ian Edwards on his Jamaican heritage, Finding His Comedic Voice, and '100% Half-Assed'

Would you take career advice from a complete stranger? Ian Edwards did, and he's never looked back. He was working a fast food drive-through when a customer liked his banter and suggested he become a comic.

Edwards has written for Saturday Night Live and the reboot of In Living Color. He's also performed on Conan and on Def Comedy Jam on HBO.

He talks to us about moving (from England to Jamaica to New York City), finding his comedic voice, and the lessons he learned from the late Patrice O'Neal.

His new album 100% Half-Assed is the first record on the new Team Coco label.

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The Outshot: I Love LA

We return to the Newm: Jesse delves into why the Randy Newman song "I Love LA" is ironic, but also sort of... not ironic? You'll see.

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