David Sedaris recounts his shameful career as a performance artist. Recorded before a live audience by KUOW Seattle.
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Writer David Sedaris's true account of two Christmas seasons he spent working as an elf at Macy's department store in New York. When a shorter version of this story first aired on NPR's Morning Edition, it generated more tape requests than any story in the show's history to that point.
Kelly McEvers with the story of Zora, a self-made superhero. From the time she was five, Zora had recurring dreams in which she was a 6'5" warrior queen who could fly and shoot lightning from her hands.
Adam Davidson reads from his high school diaries.
David Rakoff tells about his experience playing Sigmund Freud in the window of upscale Barney's department store in Manhattan. For Christmas. This was the first of dozens of appearances on our show by David Rakoff, who died in 2012.
Contributor David Rakoff visits his dream job: In the crafts department at Martha Stewart Living magazine.
David Rakoff takes us inside the world of a Greek family-owned ice cream parlour, and what he learned about the husband and wife and son who owned it...and what he didn't figure out until later.
Because of a shortage of math and science teachers, New York City decided to import instructors from Austria. Then the Austrians started to see things about this country that few Americans ever get to see.
David Rakoff discusses the world of birthdays and other holidays, as they're celebrated on the job... and what happens when you call yourself an editorial assistant but the editor you're assisting calls you a secretary. He read this story before a live audience at Town Hall in New York City, during a This American Life live show.
A mortgage broker named David Philp discovers that his old punk band from the 1970s is hot in Japan. He decides to leave corporate life and revisit his teenage years by going back on tour, playing music for the first time in two decades.
In the 1970s, Dave Kestenbaum's cousin Dan Weiss got promoted from stocker to gift shop manager at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC. It was a good job... except for the fact that the place was bleeding cash because of apparent embezzlement.
Samantha Martin trains raccoons to play basketball and rats to bowl. She says that what we want from animals is for them to imitate humans.
Ira talks about one of the purest expressions of ordinary folks' desire to be detectives: a child's detective notebook — full of information, secret codes, cases, and an application to become an FBI agent.
"Edison, New Jersey," a story about delivering pool tables from Junot Diaz's book Drown.
Producer Alex Blumberg tells the story of an ex-con-turned-actor named Richie Castellano. After a bit role in the movie Analyze This, he moved to a small town and got dozens of people to invest money and time in a movie that never premiered.
A small-town mayor tries to keep a developer from building in his town...and it results in the kind of snowballing fiasco by the end of which the town literally doesn't exist anymore. Alix Spiegel tells that story, which she produced with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Host Ira Glass talks with Stephen Goldin, author of an online guide that prescribes 23 rules for comic fans to follow when mingling with professional sci-fi authors at sci-fi conventions. For instance: don't try to start a discussion with a pro on the way to the bathroom.
Host Ira Glass talks to Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri on a press conference he held to announce the creation of just one job.
Host Ira Glass with Rory Evans, who describes the day her father fired his own mother from their family business, a machine shop called Evans Industries.
When Anne Staggs started to fall for an inmate named Charles in the Texas prison system, she was up against odds as daunting as they ever get for two people. It was against the rules, possibly dangerous, and could have gotten her fired.
Ron Carlson's short story.
Ira takes a look at the remarkably successful $156 million renovation of Chicago's Navy Pier. He talks with seven employees working at the businesses on the pier.
A former military man, Hank was hired by Custer Battles to clean up one of its other Iraq operations, guarding businessmen. He has a very clear idea of who he wants working for him: "flat-bellied, steely-eyed professionals." Instead, he's trying to tighten up a outfit whose workers once engaged in an extended firefight at a Baghdad hotel—against each other.
Sandy Tolan interviewed Susan's friends and family to make an unusual and powerful documentary about who she was and about the world she inhabited.