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On me and Ira and editing...


A couple people have asked me questions like this about my Ira Glass interview, so I thought I'd answer here on the blog. Paulscan on AST asked:

Another great interview, but I had a question. Usually, your interviews are edited very well and sound like (exceedingly witty) normal conversations. However, I noticed a lot more pauses before Ira's answers to your questions (which are, of course, a part of every conversation). Is it your normal practice to edit those kinds of things out? If so, why didn't you do it for this interview? This struck me as odd, especially in light of your raised concerns with the Improv Everywhere TAL shows, as well as the questions about narrative storytelling, news framing, etc.

Not trying to imply anything here, just curious.

I would say those kinds of pauses are very unusual, and are not part of every conversation. They were unusual enough, in fact, that I decided to leave them in. I think they reflect the thought that Ira put in to his answers.

Generally speaking, my interviews are VERY lightly edited. If I have time, I'll edit out maybe a few stumbles in speach on the part of my guest, but generally it's almost the whole interview, almost exactly as it happened live. For radio I will sometimes edit out a question (or a line of questioning) for time, but I usually leave it in in the podcast.

This is pretty unusual in public radio -- I make the choice to do this in large part because I'm a one-man band, so I lack both the perspective and time to do a really big editing job like some shows with similar formats (say Fresh Air or On the Media) do. I'm certainly not at all against that, I just don't have the resources. Fresh Air, for example, will often (not always) do an hour or more for an interview that runs at 40 or 20 minutes. Which is awesome for them, they have a big staff of the best producers and editors in the business. I might do it that way if I could, I dunno. For many years TSOYA was live, and I still kind of operate the show that way, only now I can edit out swears.

The only show that I can think of where I've done a lot of editing of dead air is the Betty Davis show, but if I had left in all the dead air there was in that interview, no one would have listened. She hadn't really spoken publicly in like 30 years and is a very private woman, so I felt it was more important to help people listen than to play all these loooooooooooooooong pauses.

A few folks have also asked me (in a very friendly manner) about how tough I was on Ira in the interview. Generally speaking, I'm not "tough" on guests. In part this is because I'm often introducing them to most of my audience, and I think that introduction is more important than "sticking it" to someone. If I really disagreed with someone about something, I just wouldn't book them. That said, I was kind of tough with Ira.

Now let's be clear: I don't think I've ever hidden my affection for This American Life. I think it's the best radio show in history. It is a large part of what made me think a career in public radio might actually work out. As a general rule, I love the shit out of This American Life. So ... that's out of the way.

The reason I asked Ira about storytelling and the relationship between truth and narrative in the interview is that it is A) important and B) the connection between TAL and Ira's book. The book (which is great) is designed as a mini-manifesto about reporting. I also knew that Ira has thought about this issue, because all the choices Ira made in creating TAL come from 20 years of working in public radio news before the show even started. Working with Joe Frank and Noah Adams and whoever else gave him plenty of opportunity to think out his philosophy, and I wanted to hear it. Furthermore, any regular listener of TAL has heard it move towards "hard news" in the past five years or so, and I knew that was a choice, and wanted to know about it.

In other words: I wanted to know the answers to those questions, and I was betting Ira'd have some good ones. Which I thought he did. He could have played the "I'm Ira Glass, and You're Not" card, but instead he chose to give really thoughtful answers to those questions. He's forgotten more about these issues than I'll ever know, so I was glad to hear what he had to say.

Jim Henson "Time Piece"


A remarkable short from Jim Henson. Contains some elements that are kind nsfw, but not super nsfw.

via ze frank

TSOYA Live Photos


I've just uploaded to Flickr a big pile of photos from TSOYA Live in Chicago, courtesy of our photog David Facchini. David's also a sketch producer, and has a show called "Uh-Oh 7: The Year in Review" Friday night at the Second City training center. Anyway, check the photos!

DJ Khaled "I'm So Hood" RMX


A) This is a good record.
B) Big Boi DESTROYIFICATES his verse.
C) How cool is it that this video has Weezy, Busta, Luda, Big Boi et al hanging with KRS, E-40 and Bushwick Bill?

Podcast: JJGo Ep. 44: Chicago and A Strap on Dildo

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This week on the show Jordan and Jesse discuss Jesse's latest out-of-state trip and Justin Timberlake in a lobster suit.


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Our theme music: "Love You" by The Free Design, courtesy of The Free Design and Light in the Attic Records


"Get in that ass, Larry."


JB Smoove is the greatest thing to happen to Curb Your Enthusiasm since Susie Essman found the phrase, "YOU FAT FUCK."

Or maybe since Krazee Eyez Killa.

Via Kung Fu Grippe

Patton Oswalt at Amoeba in LA

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The nice folks at Amoeba sent this to me. Cool.

Interview: Broke-Ass Stuart

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Within the first week I lived in San Francisco the second edition of Broke-Ass Stuart's Guide to Living Cheaply in San Francisco was shoved into my hands. For the first few months I took settling in it was my urban bible. I discovered great independent bookstores, free BBQ and, most importantly, cheap and good Mexican food. Now Broke-Ass Stuart's popular 'zine get a new life a book published by Falls Media. Now anyone coming to San Francisco, either moving here or as a tourist, can get their hands on one of the sharpest guides to discovering the best (and least wallet-damaging) parts of the city. Broke-Ass Stuart's book release party will happen at the Rickshaw Stop on Thursday, November 15th.

Ian Brill: Somewhere in between The Golden Gate Bridge and Gay Pride, one of the things San Francisco is best known for is the high cost of living. People have to stretch a dollar to pay rent. Was that the inspiration for the originally guide to living cheaply?

Broke-Ass Stuart: Yeah, that was totally one of the reasons. I was working at a candy store in North Beach, when I first came up with the idea and as you can imagine I wasn't really making too much money. I also knew that most of my friends were in the same shitty financial situation as myself, so it just made sense to write something for all of us that any broke person could use. But the idea really happened when a guy from my neighborhood growing up came into the candy store with his fiancé. I hadn't seen him for years and after chatting for awhile his fiancé gave me her card and told me to holler at them if I was in San Diego. I looked at her card and it said that she was a travel writer, and at that point I said to myself, "Shit, I wanna be a travel writer" and I decided to be one.

IB: I remember walking down Valencia St. and all the used bookstores seemed to have the original guide. A few even had displays for it. How did your promote yourself once your work hit the streets?

BB: Honestly, the zine practically promoted itself. There was a lot of word of mouth and I guess people would tell their friends about it and it would just get passed along that way. I met some girls from Ireland who had been given the zine by a friend who had spent the summer in SF. They were pretty excited to meet me; they thought I was way cooler than I really am. As for the stores, I would just go into them and be like "Hey. I do this really cool zine. Do you wanna carry it?" and then once they carried it I'd go back to them and talk them into putting it on display. I'd be like "You know Dog-Eared Books sells out of these every other week because it is on display at the counter. Maybe you could put it on display too." And a lot of times they would do it. Really though, I think a lot of the success has simply come from being nice to people. It's amazing how often people forget that if you are sweet and genuine with other humans, most of the time they will be sweet and genuine with you. It also helps that I have dimples :)

IB: What did you change for the new Falls Media version of the book?

BB: One of the greatest things about the guys at Falls Media is that I didn't have to compromise any of my style of shit-talking for them. In fact they encouraged it. That's one of the benefits of going with an independent publisher. Really the only thing I had to change was that I had to talk a little less shit on stores like Barnes & Noble and Borders because, well, the are gonna sell a lot of my book. So we just changed a few references so that I talked shit on other big box stores like Best Buy. As far as I'm concerned all those companies are the same anyway. They just run the little guy out of town.

Otherwise the guys at Falls Media have really enabled the guide to grow into a full book. Tons more info, tons more photos, and even some maps by the lovely and amazing Angie Hathaway. This thing is unbelievably cool. Is it ok to say that about my own shit? Oh well, it's true.

IB: This a question that will mean a lot to Jordan Jesse Go listeners: Ashkon will be playing your book release party. Do you expect a lot of hottubbin' during that late night?

BB: That's right! Ash was on their show huh? He's great isn't he? I'm a big fan of his music and he's a good friend of mine. I'm going to make a special request that he plays the song just to get all the ladies in the mood....ha ha ha. I don't know if there's gonna be any hottubbin' for me that night, I'll have to check with my girlfriend. Considering that she and I are staying somewhere without a hottub, maybe there will be some bathtubbin' on the late night. But probably not. Most likely I'll just pass out.

Broke-Ass Stuart can be found at his own website where you can read excerpts of the original 'zine. The book release party will happen Thursday Nov. 15th at the Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St. in, where else?, San Francisco.

Jay-Z on Charlie Rose

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