Sarah Polley is a storyteller – and a remarkable one. Whether as a precocious child actor in Road to Avonlea and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, as a documentarian unpacking her family history in Stories We Tell or as screenwriter and director of the Academy Award-nominated Away From Her, Polley is adept at portraying complex and honest depictions of humanity. And now, she is the author of a revealing and insightful collection of essays, Run Towards the Danger: Confrontations with a Body of Memory. The book pulls together reflections from challenging chapters in her life and career that explore how a change in approach can provide a path forward. Polley joins guest host Talia Schlanger for a candid and revelatory conversation that goes deep into Polley's decision to pivot from a successful actor to writing and directing, to the difficulties she experienced working in Hollywood and the decision to step forward with her own #MeToo story. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Abe Laboriel Jr. is the drummer on speed dial for some of the biggest names in the music business, including Eric Clapton, k.d. lang, Eddie Vedder, Melissa Etheridge...and Paul McCartney, as member of McCartney's band for the past two decades. Son of Mexican bass guitarist Abraham Laboriel and nephew of Mexican rocker Johnny Laboriel, the Berklee-College-of Music-trained drummer has music in his blood. He's also had the pleasure of playing some of the biggest stages in the world: the Super Bowl, the Olympics and the Queen's Gold and Diamond Jubilees. Abe tells Alec why drums are his instrument of choice, what it's like to jam with Sir Paul, and how he tethers great musicians back to the band. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Writer and essayist Adam Gopnik has been called "one of the greatest thinkers and wordsmiths of our age." He is best known as a staff writer for The New Yorker, to which he has contributed non-fiction, fiction, memoir and criticism since 1986. The international best-selling author has penned ten titles spanning memoir, essays and children's literature and is the recipient of three National Magazine Awards and the George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting. Gopnik is also a talented lecturer and storyteller, appearing with the Moth and in a series of one-man shows he created. It seems there isn't anything Gopnik can't do, as he recently transitioned into theater as a book writer and lyricist. Alec speaks with Adam about his time writing in Paris, the mystery of mastery and the search for a beautiful existence and full life. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Singer, songwriter, and composer Rufus Wainwright continues to surprise and delight with a new tour and album, Rufus Does Judy at Capitol Studios, paying homage to one of his heroes, Judy Garland, and her historic recording. Wainwright was practically born into songwriting as son of musicians Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle, and touring with his family by the age of thirteen. The Juno-Award winning and Grammy-nominated artist has since defied expectations, playing with genre, from standards to pop and even opera. Rufus Wainwright talks to host Talia Schlanger about the influence of his musical family, what uncharted territory is next for him and how he communicates with the muses in his songwriting. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Todd Rundgren is in a class all his own. Whether scoring Top 40 hits, playing all of the instruments on his albums or wildly experimenting with musical genres, Rundgren is continuously pushing the boundaries of creativity. That ethos and ingenuity can be found in his numerous solo albums from the 70s to present day, with his band Utopia and as a record producer for musicians like Patti Smith, The Psychedelic Furs and MeatLoaf. The trailblazing Rundgren is also a pioneer in computer technology and multimedia – creating the first color graphics tablet, first interactive album and first interactive concert tour. Todd Rundgren tells Alec how he pulls off making the music he wants to make, how he almost changed careers to become a computer programmer and how psychedelics helped him rethink music completely. You can listen to all of the music from this episode and other selections from Todd Rundgren in a curated playlist here. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
If the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion is to be believed, we are on the cusp of Roe v. Wade being overturned this summer – a decision which will have wide-ranging implications for all Americans. Alec spoke with two people at the forefront of this issue: Mary Ziegler is a Professor at Florida State University College of Law, the author of four books on abortion law and politics, and one of the world's leading authorities on the legal history of the American abortion debate. Anna Rupani is the Executive Director of Fund Texas Choice, an organization providing aid to those seeking abortions in and out of state due to Texas' ban on abortions around the sixth week of pregnancy. Our guests help shed light on what led to the historic decision, what laws might also be at-risk and where we go from here. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Eric Ripert is chef and part-owner of one of New York's flagship fine-dining establishments, Le Bernardin. For three decades with Ripert at the helm, Le Bernardin has ranked at the top of the world's best restaurant lists and holds three Michelin stars, the maximum available. Ripert is also the author of several cookbooks and a best-selling memoir – and was host of the Emmy-winning tv show "AVEC ERIC." Ripert shares with Alec stories from his culinary training, how he maintains Le Bernardin's excellence, and the unmatched power of dessert. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
With the Russian invasion of Ukraine stretching into its third month, the Ukrainian people continue to valiantly fight for their right to sovereignty and democracy. Our guests today join Alec to discuss the situation on the ground in Ukraine and how they are working to ensure the stories of the Ukrainian people reach the world. Bryce Wilson is an Australian freelance photojournalist whose work has focused on the war and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine's east since 2015. He shares his experiences embedding with the Ukrainian special forces unit and reporting from the first days of the invasion. Ida Sawyer is the director of Human Rights Watch's Crisis and Conflict division, which investigates and reports on human rights abuses happening around the world. Sawyer shares the organization's findings of Russian military forces committing laws-of-war violations against civilians in Ukraine. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Called one of the "Top 10 Comedians You Need to Know" by Rolling Stone, Tim Dillon is a whirlwind of hot takes and sharp observations about pop culture and society. His darkly funny brand of humor can be found touring around the world and on "The Tim Dillon Show," his weekly podcast. Dillon has been featured on Netflix and Comedy Central specials and graced the stages of the Glasgow Comedy Festival and South by Southwest. Tim and Alec speak of the importance of comedy throughout the pandemic, their shared Long Island background and why having a difference of opinions is good for our culture. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Daniel Roher and Christo Grozev Tell the Story of "Navalny"
Canadian documentary film director Daniel Roher is known for his 2019 film Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band, which features the elite of rock and roll, including Springsteen and Clapton. Bulgarian investigative journalist Christov Grozev is the lead Russia investigator with Bellingcat, an open-source journalism group. The two collaborated on the documentary "Navalny," which was directed by Roher and has received widespread acclaim from critics and moviegoers. The gripping real-life thriller took home the Festival Favorite and U.S. Documentary Audience Awards at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. "Navanly" follows Russian opposition leader and outspoken Putin critic Alexei Navany in the wake of his 2020 poisoning as he works to uncover those responsible for the assassination attempt. Roher and Grozev spoke with Alec about Navalny's potential path to the presidency, why poison is the Kremlin's weapon of choice and what might be next for Putin. "Navalny" is currently in theaters worldwide and will premiere on CNN TV in North America on April 24th. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Daniel Roher and Christo Grozev Tell the Story of "Navalny"