along for the ride
MADtv comedian Alex Borstein is our artist reporter this trip. Her "research" piece on class clowns ends at a Pasadena elementary school, where Alex meets some up-and-coming young comedians. But our journey, and Alex's, begins at home . . .
Writer Lise Funderburg is our artist reporter this trip. Lise is a senior writer for TIME Magazine and the author of the book, Black, White, Other. She's also a passionate patron of thrift shops. Her favorite is the Whosoever Gospel Mission Thrift Store in the Germantown section of her native Philadelphia. Lise takes us on a trip to her beloved Whosoever where you can do good while you shop well.
Chicago-based artist and musician Jon Langford is our artist reporter this trip. Originally from Wales, Jon saw the seminal punk band, the NYC-based Ramones, play in England in the late 70's and was inspired to start a band, like everyone else. He finally met his musical and political inspiration, Joey Ramone, later that decade. Join Jon on his first trip back to his familiar NYC punk locales since Joey Ramone's death from cancer in April. Jon finds his punk rocker friends hiding in plain sight and still full of the old fury.
Comedian and hypnotist Flip Orley was on tour for nearly 40 weeks out of the year and it was killing him. He loved performing and he didn't mind the traveling but he felt tired and unfit from the lack of regular exercise. When his wife, Dana, gave him a videotape of a yoga lesson with Rodney Yee, Flip's life changed. He's still on the road for much of the year but now he's limber and strong and devoted to Rodney's tapes. When Flip asked us to introduce him to Rodney Yee we were thrilled to put these two in a room together and see what cosmic changes might take place.
Poet and urbanite Paisley Rekdal had never lived outside of a major city until she moved to Laramie, Wyoming to teach poetry at the University there. She brought the safety concerns and precautions of a city girl with her but quickly realized they wouldn't help her survive the wilderness that engulfs the town. Enter Mark Jenkins, survival expert, and Rose Marie London, a recent Manhattan transplant to Wyoming who's even more clueless in nature than Paisley and who knows what will happen overnight in the wild?
John Ridley is not a comic book fan. Sure, his early love of Batman comic books did inspire him to become a writer. True, he still reads countless comic books and replenishes his supply weekly. And, yes, he has recently created his own superhero, the animated hero of the Web, Undercover Brother. But according to his informal poll, the defining quality of a comic book fan is delusion: comic book fans are people who think Wonder Woman and Aquaman have a life outside of comic book pages. To prove his point, a case study. John takes us to comic book land and introduces us to the the genre junkies.
Writer and performer Michele Serros is our artist reporter this trip. Come with her when she hunts through her NYC neighborhood for the mole (a sweet chocolate chili sauce, pronounced MOLE-ay) that she loved while growing up in L.A. As a fourth-generation California chicana Michele never guessed it would be so difficult to find the mole she grew up on in the "latino" neighborhood of Washington Heights. Ultimately, she finds more than she set out to.
Writer Amy Storrow's neighborhood, the Houston community called Doville, has been a considerable inspiration for her work. In fact if you visit Doville, be careful -- you could wind up as a character in her novel. Amy gives you a tour of the neighborhood and talks to other neighborhood artists about their singular community. Also, find out more about Amy including an introduction to her fiction and to her latest protagonist, Hannah.
Writer Amy Wilensky is a little obsessive. Clinically. But she prefers to consider herself passionate. Many of her passions revolve around food. In this episode, she takes us along as she indulges her passion for grocery stores and meets a soulmate in the dairy aisle.
Writer Jeff Yang is the only person to ever double for Jackie Chan. Jeff ghostwrote Jackie's autobiography, I Am Jackie Chan, a stunt Jackie wouldn't try without assistance. Jeff tries to make sense of the one-time experience by talking to other people who double or become someone else for a living. Join him in conversation with a stunt double, a standby, and a fellow ghost(writer) who is the secret voice of rock and roll.
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