Chattering Class


Still of Steve Gleason from the film 'Gleason,' (Image Courtesy of  Amazon Studios)

‘Gleason’ Offers a Glimpse at the Real Struggles of Living With ALS

NFL star Steve Gleason was a safety for the New Orleans Saints. But not long after retiring from the NFL, he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. He began recording video diaries for his son, which has been assembled into a documentary by director Clay Tweel. Clay shares candid moments from making the doc and explains the decision behind its honest portrayal of life with the disease.


(Photo Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Time)

Gael García Bernal Waxes Poetic on ‘Neruda’

Mexican-born movie star Gael García Bernal won last year's Golden Globe for his starring role on Amazon's "Mozart In The Jungle." This week you can catch him in "Neruda" -- Chile's entry for the Best Foreign Film Oscar. The actor talks to us about the movie’s surreal take on poet Pablo Neruda's life... and explains why art and politics *do* mix.


mifune

Looking Back at Toshiro Mifune’s Legendary Career

From the 1940s and into the ‘80s, Toshiro Mifune was known world around as Japan's answer to John Wayne. He starred in almost 200 movies, including a slew of classics directed by the great Akira Kurosawa. His life is now the subject of a new film called, "Mifune: The Last Samurai." Oscar-winning documentarian Steven Okazaki explores the actor’s origins and looks at how Mifune left his mark on cinema, despite being thousands of miles away from Hollywood.


Photo Credit: Noah Kalina

Emily Witt Takes a Closer (and Personal) Look at Dating in the Modern World

When the investigative journalist was 30, she found herself single and questioning whether she'd soon find love. So she decided to explore the modern state of sexual relationships in her latest book, “Future Sex.” It details her experiences dating online, on the set of a porn shoot, embedded with a polyamorous couple, and beyond.


Yamamoto Toji and Chi-chan tending to cooked saké rice in "The Birth of Saké." (Photo Credit: Yoshida Yasuyuki)

The Myths and Miseries of Saké-Making

This week on Chattering Class, we're learning about saké. And our expert is Erik Shirai. His debut film is a gorgeously shot, quietly meditative documentary called, "The Birth of Saké." It debuts this Monday, Sept. 5 on PBS. And it details the painstaking, traditional method of saké making at a single Japanese brewery.


(Photo by AFP/Getty Images

How Bruce Lee’s Legacy Lives on After His Death

Each week on Chattering Class, we're schooled by an expert in some party-worthy topic. This week, the topic is the most famous martial arts fighter of all time, Bruce Lee. And our teacher is Charles Russo. His new book is called "Striking Distance: Bruce Lee and the dawn of Martial Arts in America." He examines how Lee’s passion for martial arts came to be and his life before movies made him a legendary fighting figure.


By Bain News Service, publisher [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Florence Foster Jenkins: One of the Best Worst Singers Ever

Each week in chattering class we're schooled by an expert in some party-worthy topic. This week our topic is "the worst opera singer ever." And our expert is a purveyor of fine, bad music author Darryl W. Bullock. He wrote "The World's Worst Records, Volume One and Two." And his new book's a biography called "Florence! Foster!! Jenkins!!!" Florence was an eccentric and beloved New York socialite who, in the 1900s, insisted on singing opera classics... stupendously badly. She became a local celebrity, and eventually, an international phenomenon.