A Tribe Called Quest

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Ellie Kemper & Glen Weldon

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Ellie Kemper
Guests: 
Glen Weldon

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Photo: Jason Merritt / Getty Images

Ellie Kemper was introduced to the popular consciousness through her role as Erin Hannon on the NBC sitcom, The Office. Her portrayal of the office receptionist was popular with both fans and critics and showcased her talent and skills as a comedic actress. These talents have also been showcased on the big screen in films including Bridesmaids and 21 Jump Street.

Now, she plays the title character in the Netflix Original series, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Despite the show’s dark premise which involves her character being abducted by a cult leader and sequestered in a bunker, the show plays it all for laughs as her character tries to rebuild her life in New York City. Her years of isolation leave her ignorant of many social touchstones, but she pushes through with an enthusiasm and tenacity that is both endearing and hilarious.

Ellie Kemper joined Jesse to talk about her early experiences of living and working in New York, mining material from her time at Princeton and her self-consciousness about privilege.

The second season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is available this Friday on Netflix.


Photo: Faustino Nunez

Glen Weldon on the Lasting Popularity of Batman in Pop and Geek Culture

For almost 80 years, Batman has changed and evolved to mean something to different generations of fans. Whether his characterization was that of the Dark Knight, the Caped Crusader or the campy character of sixties television, Batman has become a lasting icon of popular culture.

In his new book, The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture, author Glen Weldon moves beyond the chronological history of the character. He explores how fans of the various iterations of the character on radio, film, television and the comics have made the character a reflection of their own self-identity, be they straight or gay, cool or geek.

Glen sits down with Jesse to talk about why Batman fans both hate and love the 60s television series, why the character of Robin is so important to Batman’s mythology and how the character also serves as a symbol of gay culture.

Glen Weldon’s book The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture is available in bookstores everywhere.


Photo: Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images

The Outshot: Remembering A Tribe Called Quest’s Phife Dawg

Jesse fondly remembers Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Michael Rapaport, Werner Herzog, AV Club Recommendations, Kasper Hauser News

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Michael Rapaport
Guests: 
Werner Herzog
Guests: 
Keith Phipps
Guests: 
Nathan Rabin
Guests: 
Kasper Hauser

Culture Picks: The AV Club

Keith Phipps and Nathan Rabin of The AV Club bring us their recommendations - John Mulaney’s stand up special New In Town, and the movie reboot of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes. (Embed or Share the AV Club's Picks)

Director Michael Rapaport

The hugely innovative and influential hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest began as many groups do -- as a band of friends, passing out demo tapes, dreaming of hearing their songs on the radio. But after releasing five gold and platinum selling albums in the late 1980s and early 90s, the group combusted and left fans like Michael Rapaport in the lurch.

Rapaport was an actor known for his roles in several Woody Allen films, Boston Public, Friends and Prison Break. He set out on his directorial debut to capture the past, present and future of A Tribe Called Quest, hoping to better understand what made them tick. The resulting documentary, Beats, Rhymes & Life creates a compelling oral history of the group from interviews with members Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Mohammed and Jarobi White, along with hip-hop producers, radio personalities and other rappers. We spoke to Rapaport last year, and the film is now out on DVD. (Embed or Share Michael Rapaport on Bullseye)

The News with Kasper Hauser

The latest scientific findings, human interest stories, and much more, all brought to you by the top fake news anchors -- San Francisco based sketch comedy group Kasper Hauser. (Embed or Share Kasper Hauser on Bullseye)

Director Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog is an acclaimed (and prolific) film writer and director, known for narrative films like Aguirre, the Wrath of God as well as documentaries like Grizzly Man. His filmmaking distinctively pushes boundaries and explores humanity's extremes. His documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams is a 3D look into the Chauvet Cave, home of the earliest known cave paintings in the world. With a tiny crew and jury-rigged 3D cameras, Herzog looked at some of the first images ever created. Herzog takes the opportunity not just to present to us the beauty of the caves, but to consider what it means to create and how we define our own humanity. We spoke to him about the film last year. It’s now available on DVD, Blu-Ray and Netflix Instant. (Embed or Share Werner Herzog on Bullseye)

The Outshot: "If You Want Me To Stay"

Jesse suggests that one of the best ways to experience Sly Stone is through his beautiful, heartbreaking hit "If You Want Me to Stay." (Embed or Share The Outshot)

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Michael Rapaport & Peanut Butter Wolf: What's In My Bag?

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Michael Rapaport, this week's Sound of Young America guest, and Peanut Butter Wolf, legendary record collector and founder of Stones Throw records, team up to hit the aisles at Amoeba Records in LA. PBW is music supervisor for Rapaport's Tribe Called Quest doc.

Michael Rapaport, Actor and Director: Interview on The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Michael Rapaport

Michael Rapaport (above right, with Q-Tip) has an extensive list of acting credits, from Woody Allen films to roles on Boston Public, Friends, and Prison Break. For his newest project, he began with a vision to profile his favorite hip-hop group, A Tribe Called Quest, and ended up documenting their deep-rooted friendships and conflicts along with the musical history of the group.

The movie is called Beats, Rhymes and Life, and features interviews with members Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Mohammed and Jarobi White. Animated sequences of Tribe songs are interspersed with remarks from hip-hop producers, radio personalities and rappers, and give a portrait of the time as well as of the group itself. The film opens in NYC and LA on July 8th.

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JESSE THORN: It's The Sound of Young America, I'm Jesse Thorn. My guest is Michael Rapaport. He is, of course, best known as an actor, having worked for some 20 odd years with legendary directors like Woody Allen and Spike Lee, and on numerous television programs, innumerable films, in audio, all over everywhere.

He's here today, though, for his directorial debut; a documentary called Beats, Rhymes, and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest. It's the story of one of hip hops most significant and storied groups, and I know one of the most significant to Rapaport specifically. It opens July 8th in New York and Los Angeles.

Michael, I want to ask you personally what A Tribe Called Quest meant to you in 1989, 90, when they came out and you were a very young man; you were at an impressionable age.

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