Bullseye

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Jeff Goldblum

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Bullseye
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Jeff Goldblum

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Jeff Goldblum on his new film The Mountain, acting and fatherhood.

No matter what your age, chances are you grew up with Jeff Goldblum somewhere in your life. Jeff has been turning in classic film and TV performances for over four decades. There was that time he and his alien buddies set course for planet Earth, based solely on the hunch that there might be babes there. Then, there was the time he teamed up with the Fresh Prince to help the Earth defend itself from a swarm of aggressive aliens who destroyed the White House. And who could forget about that time he accidentally turned himself into the BrundleFly? Truly iconic! It's hard for us to pick our favorite Jeff performance. He's been consistently good for so long we kind of take it for granted.

Jeff made his film debut in the 1974 revenge fantasy Death Wish where he played "Freak #1." Since then, his name has become synonymous with charismatic performances and a unique line delivery that is second to none.

Jeff joins us to talk about his new film The Mountain. It's a haunting look back at the mental health field during the 1950s. He plays Wallace Fiennes, a doctor touring the US touting the benefits of the transorbital lobotomy. Despite evidence to the contrary and more effective treatment options becoming available, his character continues to perform the dangerous and controversial procedure. Although the film deals with some dark themes, Jeff's Dr. Fiennes is electric on screen.

He'll also talk to us about his work on Invasion of the Body Snatchers, how using the Meisner technique helped improve both his acting as well as his interpersonal relationships and his latest role as a father of two boys. Plus, he'll tell us how aggravating an infamously grumpy director prompted some of the greatest acting advice he's ever received.

When he's not working on screen Jeff can be heard making wonderful jazz music with his backing band The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra. If you live in Los Angeles, you can seen them play live at The Rockwell in the Loz Feliz neighborhood. If you're not in LA, you can check out their latest album here.

The Mountain is now playing in selected theaters nationwide.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Lesley Manville from 'Mum,' 'Another Year,' and more

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Lesley Manville

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Lesley Manville on working with Mike Leigh, the latest season of Mum and more

British actor Lesley Manville is truly a master of her craft. You might know her work with the brilliant director Mike Leigh. She starred in some of his best movies like Secrets & Lies, All or Nothing and Another Year.

She got her start acting on TV back in the '70s. Back then she was a teenager living in England. Then came her career in theater. She's been in plenty of plays with the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company.

She's had a long and successful career overseas – and she's finally breaking through in the states. Later this year, she'll be in the follow up to Disney's Maleficent.

In 2017, she portrayed Cyril in Phantom Thread. The film is set in the '50s post-war London where Cyril and her brother Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) are renowned dressmakers. The Woodcocks are at the center of British fashion. They dress movie stars, socialites and royalty with a distinct style. The stunning performance earned her an Oscar nomination.

Her latest starring role is on the BBC show Mum. In it, she plays Cathy, a widow in her 50's living out in the suburbs with her adult son Jason. We see her grow and learn a lot about herself over the course of the series. The show circles around a budding relationship with her long-time best friend Michael. Mum is very grounded, a bit serious – but also really funny.

Lesley joins us to talk about starring in the BBC sitcom Mum, and how she almost had a career as an opera singer. Plus, what it's like working with director Mike Leigh, and how she gets in character employing his unique improvisational style.

It's an incredible challenge to deliver an emotionally honest portraits of ordinary people, but she nails it every time.

The third and final series of episodes of Mum are out now on the BBC streaming service BritBox.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: E-40, Bay Area rap legend

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E-40

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E-40 on his new record Practice Makes Paper and growing up in the Bay area

When it comes to Bay Area hip-hop, this week's guest is quite possibly the greatest of all time. He goes by many names: Forty Fonzarelli, Charlie Hustle, 40-Water or maybe you know him as the Ambassador of the Bay Area. We couldn't be more excited to share this conversation with the one and only E-40.

He was born and raised in the small town of Vallejo, and he has brought the culture of the Bay Area to the world. His distinctive style is overflowing with language — bars stuffed to the gills with words both real and imagined. He's hip-hop's king of slang and a stylist without peer.

He’s spent his career at the forefront of independent music, building a rap empire that changed the way music was recorded and sold, in hip-hop and beyond. He is both an artist and a movement.

His distinctiveness has kept him relevant for three decades now, from mob music in the 1990's to hyphy slaps in the aughts to new music today.

The themes are simple: hustling, street life, a bit of wisdom and a lot of money making. But even now, in his early 50's he tries to stay humble about his success.

E-40 joins us to talk about his new record. We'll pull up some deep cuts from R&B singer Saint Charles, who 40 knows as his Uncle Chuckie. Chuckie was a huge inspiration for E-40. E will also take us to the root of his passion for music. Plus, he'll talk about his college days at Grambling State University. Did he win the school's talent show? Only one way to find out. Listen up!

E-40's latest record "Practice Makes Paper" is out now.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Filmmaker Aviva Kempner

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Bullseye
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Aviva Kempner

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Filmmaker Aviva Kempner on her new film "The Spy Behind Home Plate"

Baseball week at Bullseye continues with filmmaker Aviva Kempner. Dubbed "The Jewish Spike Lee," Kempner is a prolific documentarian who has dedicated her career to spotlighting underappreciated Jewish-American heroes. Her father was a Hollocaust survivor and Jewish immigrant who faced the challenges of assimilating into American culture in the 20th century as did many other immigrants. He was a big fan of baseball and went to games regularly which was a huge influence on her. Kempner's most well-known film to-date is The Life and Times of Hank Greengerg which profiled the great Detroit Tigers first baseman. Greenberg famously sat out a 1934 pennant race in order to observe the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. It was a pretty important game.

Her latest film is The Spy Behind Home Plate. The documentary follows the life of Moe Berg. Moe played baseball back in the 1920's and 30's back in the era of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.Even though he's not a household name like those guys, he's maybe a million times more interesting.


The Ciesla Foundation

Known as 'the brainiest man in baseball.' He studied Sanskrit at the Sorbonne in Paris. Learned to speak Japanese in two weeks. And once he left baseball, he became a spy during World War II. Kempner talks to Bullseye about Moe's life and the limits and challenges he faced both within and outside of the league.

The Spy Behind Home Plate is out now across the country in limited release.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: The MVP Machine authors Ben Lindbergh and Travis Sawchik

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Bullseye
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Ben Lindbergh
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Travis Sawchik

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Ben Linbergh and Travis Sawchik on their new book "The MVP Machine: How Baseball's New Nonconformists Are Using Data to Build Better Players"

It's "Baseball Week" at Bullseye and bestselling authors Ben Lindbergh and Travis Sawchik have stepped up to the plate. Their new book is titled The MVP Machine: How Baseball's New Nonconformists Are Using Data to Build Better Players. It takes a look at the tide-shift happening in the game of baseball. Even if you're not a huge fan of the game, there's a lot to take away from the lessons in the book.

Chances are you're aware of the change in baseball strategy due to a little film called Moneyball. The film, and the book before it, recounts how general managers and recruiters turned to statistical data and probability to arm their teams with the best players in the league. But with the Yankees and the Dodgers and just about every other team in the league all using the same strategy, the efficacy of this method began to wane. That's where The MVP Machine: How Baseball's New Nonconformists Are Using Data to Build Better Players comes in.

The book gets into how a lot of conventional coaching in the big leagues is totally wrong. Throwing your fastball a lot? Wrong. Having a nice even swing? Wrong. Striking out a lot? Who cares! Furthermore, the book examines the dramatic changes happening in the league and how data technology and innovations in coaching are disrupting the front offices as well as lineups. It's a fascinating look at the history of baseball and the potential future that lies ahead.

The MVP Machine is available now.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Author Chuck Klosterman

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Bullseye
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Chuck Klosterman

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The Craziest F-king Day Of My Entire Career: Chuck Klosterman

Chuck Klosterman has written countless articles for GQ, ESPN, The Washington Post, Esquire, The Guardian, and many more.

It's safe to say we're huge fans of his work. In 2014, he joined us to talk about I Wear the Black Hat, which examines villainy through pop culture figures like Batman, Kanye West, and LeBron James. In 2016, he talked about his book: But What if We’re Wrong, which examined how the present will be perceived in the future.

His latest, Raised in Captivity: Fictional Nonfiction, is a collection of 34 short stories. It's a bit of a departure from his earlier work, but it's just as brilliant.


Penguin Press

This time around, Klosterman joins us to tell us about the craziest day of his career.

His crazy day begins before he made it big as a writer. Back in the early 2000's, Chuck was a reporter and columnist for a local newspaper, the Akron Beacon Journal in Ohio. He had just released his first book, Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural Nörth Daköta. Like most people, he thought no one important was reading it. That is until he got a pretty memorable phone call.

Trust us, this is one story you don't want to miss. Klosterman's new book Raised in Captivity: Fictional Nonfiction is out now.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Journalist and author Jeff Chang

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Jeff Chang

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Journalist and author Jeff Chang on his latest project We Gon' Be Alright

Jeff Chang is a journalist and music critic with an emphasis on hip hop music and culture. His writings have appeared in San Francisco Chronicle, the Village Voice, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Spin, and many more.

Nearly 15 years ago, Chang published Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation. He's published three books since then. He joined us in 2015, to talk about Who We Be: A Cultural History of Race in Post-Civil Rights America.

Jeff Chang returns to Bullseye for his latest project, We Gon' Be Alright. It was a book back in 2016, and it's a follow up to Who We Be. Recently, We Gon' Be Alright was turned into a web series by Indie Lens Spotlight.

The series deals with some really tough questions with no easy answer. The current state of racism since Trump became President. Where Asian Americans fall when it comes to discrimination. How bigotry plays out even within the same race.

He wanted to talk about big topics like racial segregation in housing, entertainment and education. It's a look at the state of race relations in America today. And, what he'd like to see people do about it.

Check out We Gon' Be Alright on YouTube.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Comic and actor J.B. Smoove

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J.B. Smoove

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J.B. Smoove on Curb Your Enthusiasm, writing on Saturday Night Live and more

J.B. Smoove is without a doubt one of the funniest people we've ever had on Bullseye.

He got his start in television as one of the stars of Def Comedy Jam in the mid-90's. In the early aughts he became a writer on Saturday Night Live. J.B. wrote sketches like a commercial for "Tylenol Extreme," and a hypothetical remake of Norman Lear's "Good Times." He's probably best known for his role as Leon on Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Currently, you can check him out in Spider-Man: Far From Home. In the film, J.B. plays Peter Parker's teacher, Julius Dell. He has some really funny moments as Parker's chaperone.

J.B. joins us to talk about his time on SNL. He'll explain how an audition to be a featured cast member actually landed him a job as a writer instead. We'll hear about a few of his favorite sketches that never made it to air.

He'll also talk about his work on Curb Your Enthusiasm, and why he always goes to an audition in character. Plus, he'll tell us about the time he told Howard Stern, and we quote: "You can't eat spaghetti on an open patio." Join us to learn exactly what he means!

When he's not working on screen he keeps busy on the road. He tries to test out as much new material as possible. You can see him on tour all over the country this summer and fall. Check out his website for latest dates.

A heads up to listeners, this episode contains many censored expletives throughout the interview.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Sinkane's Ahmed Gallab with Guest Host Shereen Marisol Meraji

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Bullseye
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Ahmed Gallab

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.


Photo: Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

Sinkane's Ahmed Gallab

Singer-songwriter Ahmed Gallab is a citizen of the world. Born in London and raised in the United States to Sudanese parents, Gallab creates music that draws inspiration from every corner of the planet. His band, Sinkane, is based in Brooklyn and makes music that fuses Afrobeat, funk and Brooklyn indie-rock vibes. There's even a hint of prog rock and electronica mixed in!

Gallab got his start the way a lot of musicians do, as a session musician. He joined the backing bands for Eleanor Friedberger and Caribou and has worked with of Montreal and Born Ruffians. He also led a tribute band to the late Nigerian funk musician William Onyeabor with the likes of David Byrne of Talking Heads and Damon Albarn from Blur.

Sinkane's debut album Sinisterals was released in 2007. Since then Ahmed's made several great albums. The latest, Dépaysé, mixes genres again with a much more personal feel. Seeking a way to find a good time through music while also addressing oppression head-on, Gallab sought out inspiration from music's past and his own. He looked to a few of his musical inspirations from America's post Civil Rights movement: Sly Stone, George Clinton, Bob Marley. The result was an album that sits firmly in the pocket while feeling more "honest" than the artist's previous creations. He draws from his Sudanese roots, conversations with his father about their Arabic background and the political unrest in their homeland to create a sound that is like nothing else.

Bullseye guest host Shereen Marisol Meraji talks with Ahmed about how a dream inspired this record, why his favorite musicians have a clear political message and how an appearance on Letterman twelve years ago finally changed his parent's mind about his career aspirations.

Dépaysé is available now.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Tales of the City's Garcia with Guest Host Shereen Marisol Meraji

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Garcia

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Garcia on their breakout role in "Tales of the City"

Garcia makes their acting debut on the popular Netflix miniseries Tales of the City. It's an update to the LGBTQIA classic which premiered in the 90's on PBS and starred Olympia Dukakis and Laura Linney. The two reprise their roles in the 2019 version. The show is based on the novel series of the same name written by Armistead Maupin which grew out of a newspaper column.

Tales of the City takes place in San Francisco and follows the lives of a group of people living at 28 Barbary Lane. The 90th birthday of Dukakis' Anna Madrigal brings characters together and threatens to uproot deeply seeded secrets and emotions. The cast and characters are from a wide variety of ethnic and racial backgrounds as well as gender expressions and sexual orientations.

In the show, Garcia plays Jake Rodriguez. Jake is a trans man in a relationship with his lesbian girlfriend Margot. Jake is a few years into his transition and is still adjusting to his new life. Margot is adjusting to being in a straight relationship and, although she loves Jake, she expresses her frustrations with the change. This puts a strain on their relationship.

Garcia talks with guest host Shereen Marisol Meraji about working in Hollywood as a trans non-binary person of color and how their chosen family lead them to acting.

Tales of the City is streaming now on Netflix.

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