In late 2009, Ira Glass and six other This American Life producers took the stage at New York's 92nd Street Y, to talk for the first time as a group about how the show is put together. It ended up being a really fun night. Cameras were rolling, and now you can get a DVD of the event. The show includes a rare audio interview with our boss Torey Malatia (yep, he's real) about what it's like to be made fun of at the end of every episode. The DVD has cool packaging design by Susanna Vagt, beautiful menu animation by John Kuramoto, and even some hidden bonus features. We haven't printed too many, so get 'em while they're hot.
You can listen to Ira Glass describe the DVD below.
A few weeks ago when we were working on the episode Million Dollar Idea, we put a call out to listeners who wanted to share their schemes for making it big. Producer Robyn Semien talked with some of the folks who wrote in, including Abel Gonzales. Here's audio of Robyn interviewing Abel about his newest invention, which is honestly pretty amazing.
We put up a survey to help us learn what types of stories are audience favorites, what you think we should do less or more of on the show, how long you've been listening, etc. This is aimed at listeners of the podcast. If you only listen on the radio, the questions won't really be relevant, so you're off the hook. But if you do listen to the podcast and have a few minutes to fill out the survey, it'd be a big help.
Here's what I learned watching OK Go shoot this video:
1) When the Muppets are ready to stop performing (at least in a
setting like the Webbys) before the puppeteer takes his hand out of
the muppet, someone puts a black satin bag over the Muppet, so no one
has the unpleasant experience of seeing the Muppet lifeless. I
think maybe that's for our sake, not for the Muppets'.
2) Those Muppet guys are geniuses. I mean you know that already,
but to see them lying under a desk actually DOING it, ad-libbing the
big eye blinks after the staring contest, which is such a fantastic
piece of character work and comedy, it's very exciting.
3) Zach Galifianakis: What a nice man, to be waiting backstage at
the Webbys and allow himself to be dragged into this kind of thing by
a group of complete strangers. Afterward, I talked to him about
chicken farming in North Carolina, which apparently is our one mutual
What's your Million Dollar Idea? We have a show coming up in early July called Million Dollar Idea and thought it'd be fun to hear from you all, what YOUR ideas are. If you have a good one, and wouldn't mind us broadcasting it on the radio, send it to us! If we get enough of them, we might contact you and have you tell it over the phone for the show. Whaddaya got? email your idea to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ira and Lt. Governor Richard Ravitch will be guests on the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC talking about last week's radio show at 11 a.m. Eastern Time (Thursday, June 24). Ira will play some clips that didn't make it into the story. The Lt. Governor will take audience questions.
When Ira Glass and producer Ben Calhoun visited Mt. Pleasant High School for our show on True Urban Legends, they met some of the students and teachers involved in the school’s Literary Society, which publishes an annual magazine, the Cardinal Quill. After the story aired, Mt. Pleasant junior Sandra Ly conducted a series of interviews with Ira for the Quill. Here’s the finished product, hot off the presses (click to view large):
Ira writes: I did a speech this weekend for the Dallas Museum of Art's series "Arts and Letters Live." This guy, Mike, emailed saying he and his girlfriend Kathy would be there, and would I consider asking her to marry him, from the stage? That seemed like something he should probably ask, not me, so we arranged for me to interview him over the phone two days before the speech. He told me how he didn't like the GF when he first met her at church, she didn't seem interested in current events, he was very judgey:
She was "very pretty, very fashionable," one of those "pretty, popular girls." Right. And who likes that? But they were out with friends getting lunch after church or bible study one week and Mike mentioned our radio show and Kathy turned out to be an expert on the show, which made him start to think differently of her:
Didn't hurt her feelings about him either. And so he choose my speech as the setting to ask her to marry him. At the event, I played clips of our conversation, including the moment he asked her — on tape — to marry him.
The audience went nuts. Kathy was all "how is this happening?" We brought up the house lights and then brought them onstage. It was amazing. I got all choked up and had a hard time continuing the speech.
After the show they came backstage and we took these pictures.