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Podcast: Ask the Optimist by George Saunders

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Show: 
Bullseye

Our most ambitious production ever -- an adaptation of George Saunders' hilarious story "Ask the Optimist," from his most recent collection, The Braindead Megaphone. Produced by me (Jesse Thorn) with video & puppetry by Brian Hogg for Hoggworks.

You can view piece in video form above, or in listen to the radio/podcast version below. We convinced George's publisher to let us run this piece by arguing that it might "go viral," so please share! And for some perspective on George's work, don't miss this interview I conducted with George and ran a few days ago, or this show, which features an older interview with George.

Featuring an all-star cast:
The Optimist - Andy Daly
Mad - Jen Kirkman
Hurt But - Jonathan Coulton
W - James Adomian
Small Penis - John Hodgman
Not Altogether Hopeful - Maria Bamford
Turkey - Jonathan Katz
Ralph, the New Optimist - Dan Klein
Judy - Xeni Jardin

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Our intersititial music is provided by Dan Wally

You might also enjoy these past interview programs:
Moustaches, Etc with Andy Daly and Richard Montoya of Culture Clash
On the Road with John Hodgman & Henry Rollins (MP3)
Analog & Digital with John Vanderslice and Xeni Jardin & Mark Frauenfelder

Beverly Hills Braces for Hurricane Saunders

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I'm really honored to be interviewing the one and only Mr. George Saunders, certified genius, live on stage at the Beverly Hills Public Library Auditorium in, you guessed it, Beverly Hills. It's an event to promote his new book, which is called "The Braindead Megaphone," and said book is really really great. The event is Saturday, September 29th at 3PM.

Ms. Miranda July will be reading one of the stories from the book, and I will be engaging the great Mr. Saunders in a delightful conversation, which will most likely focus on minerals, pursuant to his education at the Colorado College of Mines. We may also touch on the subject of satire.

Tickets are only $20, and include a copy of the book. You can buy them here.

I'm so happy that Book Soup (who organized the event) and Riverhead, George's publisher, thought of me for this. I'm working on a super-secret Saunders Project for the show, too, which will be really neat I promise. And I'm gonna try and tape this interview, too.

WHAT'S THAT? YOU'RE NOT HITCHED UP TO THE SAUNDERS TRAIN ALREADY?

Here is the show you should listen to to change all of that.

Podcast: TSOYA Classic: The Nucular Option

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Show: 
Bullseye


We continue our journey into The Sound of Young America's vast audio archive with this program from The Sound of Young America Classics.

Our first guest is Stanford University linguistics expert and frequent NPR contributer Geoffrey Nunberg. We talk to Geoffrey about his book Going Nucular and all sorts of heady linguistic things.

Then we talk with Michael Showalter, David Wain, and Michael Ian Black, members of the bizarre comic trio Stella - just before their Comedy Central program of the same name debuted.

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Podcast: TSOYA Classic: New Sincerity Summer

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Bullseye

We continue our journey into The Sound of Young America's vast audio archive with this program from The Sound of Young America Classics.

This show is all about summer, and fun, and how the two really just go hand in hand. First, we adjudicate the New Sincerity Summer contest, in which listeners offer up their favorite summer activities.

Then we talk with Mike Veeck, minor league baseball empresario, son of baseball Hall of Famer Bill Veeck, and author of Fun is Good. Mike talks with us about some of the promotions he's concocted, like "Disco Demolition Night" and "Mime-O-Vision." He also tells us about his son, who he has named "Night Train." Seriously people, this man is dedicated.

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Podcast: TSOYA Classic: Finders Keepers

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Bullseye


We continue our journey into The Sound of Young America's vast audio archive with this program from The Sound of Young America Classics.

Our guests are Davy Rothbart, editor of Found Magazine, and Lorca Shepperd, co-director of the film Other Peoples' Pictures.

Found Magazine is a collection of notes, photos, and other found items ranging from cute, to absurd, to downright bizarre. Found items, sent in in large part by readers, are published in their irregular magazine, and more frequently, on the Found website. They also have published two books.

Lorca Shepperd's documentary Other Peoples' Pictures offers a glimpse into the world of snapshot enthusiasts -- collectors of vintage amateur photography.

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Podcast: Miranda July ))<>((

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Bullseye


Miranda July is the very definition of a multi-media artist. She started in theater, made her name as a performance artist and came to broader national prominence as the writer, director and star of the film "Me, You and Everyone We Know." Her latest endeavor is a book fo short fiction called "No One Belongs Here More Than You." I spoke with Miranda in her office -- a small house in Los Angeles' Echo Park, the floor of which was strewn with art-in-progress.

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You might also enjoy these past programs:
Vendela Vida
Michael Cera
Greg Saunier


Podcast: TSOYA Classic: Rock Snobs

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The Rock Snob's Dictionary: An Essential Lexicon of Rockological Knowledge
Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Steven Daly
Guests: 
Ira Kaplan
Guests: 
Greg Proops

We continue our journey into The Sound of Young America's vast audio archive with this program from The Sound of Young America Classics.

Our Guests: Steven Daly is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and the co-author of The Rock Snob's Dictionary: An Essential Lexicon of Rockological Knowledge.


Ira Kaplan is a co-founder, vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter of the veteran indie rock band Yo La Tengo. We talk with Ira about their 2004 best-of compilation - Prisoners of Love, playing cover songs, and fund raising for WFMU.

In 2006, Yo La Tengo released their 14th LP, I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass to critical acclaim.

Greg Proops is a stand-up and improv comedian, best known for his appearances on both the U.K. and American versions of Whose Line is it Anyway.

Podcast: TSOYA Classic: Baseball

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Show: 
Bullseye

We continue our journey into The Sound of Young America's vast audio archive with this program from The Sound of Young America Classics.

On this week's show, a celebration of America's Pastime. We've got baseball trivia with Tim & Eric, creators of the Cartoon Network's "Tom Goes to the Mayor", Will Carroll, author of the The Baseball Prospectus, and author/former major league pitcher Bill "Spaceman" Lee.

Also, a public service announcement regarding barber shop quartets.

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Podcast: The Lobotomist with Jack El-Hai

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Show: 
Bullseye


Jack El-Hai is the author of "The Lobotomist: A Maverick Medical Genius and his Tragic Quest to Rid the World of Mental Illness." It traces the life of Dr. Walter Freeman (pictured above), who popularized the lobotomy. The technique was innovative in its time, but Freeman continued performing it long after more effective pharmaceutical treatments were available. Nonetheless, Freeman was an innovator in treating the physical causes of mental illness.

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Our intersititial music is provided by Dan Wally

The Sound of Young America is underwritten in part by Project Breakout

You might also enjoy these shows:
Yuval Taylor on "Faking It: The Quest for Authenticity in Popular Music"
Wonder with Michael Ivins of the Flaming Lips and New Yorker writer Lawrence Weschler
Elements of Style with illustrator Maira Kalman and author George Pelecanos

Podcast: Sarah Thyre, author of "Dark at the Roots"

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Show: 
Bullseye


Sarah Thyre is an actress and writer. She's been seen as Coach Cherri Wolf on "Strangers with Candy," and on The Upright Citizens Brigade and Late Night with Conan O'Brien.

Her memoir, "Dark at the Roots," describes her childhood in the deep south. Rebellious and irreverent, but also secretly deeply class and status conscious, she struggled through catholic school as an outsider.

Please share your thoughts on this program on our forum!

Download This Show (MP3)
Subscribe in iTunes
Review the show in iTunes
Please Donate to Support the Show

Listen to This Week's Show


Please allow our low-bandwidth server a little time after you click "play"

Our intersititial music is provided by Dan Wally

The Sound of Young America is underwritten in part by Project Breakout

You might also enjoy these shows:
Entertaining with Jimmy Carr and Amy Sedaris
Author Vendela Vida
30 Rock co-star Jack McBrayer

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