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Episode 272: Mia Wasikowska, Nick Frost, and Interpol

Actress Mia Wasikowska ("Alice in Wonderland") makes "Tracks" across the Outback… British film star Nick Frost ("The Boxtrolls," "Shaun of the Dead," "Hot Fuzz") squares off against etiquette monsters and bachelor party killjoys… Inner-party music from Interpol… "New Yorker" writer John Lahr writes the book on playwright Tennessee Williams… One of history’s strangest bar bets… Susan Sontag’s favorite words, as recalled by her confidant, novelist Sigrid Nunez… Plus, the perfect ketchup, and fine small talk from Anna Sale of “Death, Sex, & Money.”


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Episode 271: Bill Hader, Hiss Golden Messenger, and Betty Halbreich

Actor Bill Hader shows off his drama schooling … Bergdorf's Betty Halbreich dresses down America, while endorsing wearing hats on your face ... Biographer Mark Whitaker reflects on Bill Cosby's comedy and complicated identity ... Alt-country musician MC Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger crafts a party playlist for introverts ... Marlon James' novel humanizes Bob Marley stalkers, and would-be assassins ... Would you pay for a dinner reservation? Rico gets in (somehow) to L.A. hot-spot Bestia for some table talk ... Smells and the City with The Paris Review's Sadie Stein ... The botched roll-out of the Vietnam draft lottery ... Math for poets ... And some 'Pom Pom' pop (pop).


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Episode 270: James McAvoy, Jon Favreau, and Emma Straub

This week: Actor James McAvoy (of "X Men" and "Filth") flies the Scottish flag ... Writer-director Jon Favreau cooks up a foodie film ... Top author of the summer Emma Straub keeps the vacation going forever ... Indie pop duo Sylvan Esso score your next brat barbecue ... The one time when you want food to stain your clothes (it's art!)... Globetrotting comedy writer Kristin Newman does etiquette, for all nations ... A drink for America's first speeding ticket victim ... And more.


Photo: Steven R Stack

Episode 269: Mel Brooks, Greta Gerwig, and AC Newman

This week: Comedy legend Mel Brooks reanimates "Young Frankenstein" then offers priceless etiquette advice (warning: may include death threats, flatulence, gallows humor, and uncontrollable laughter)... Actress Greta Gerwig ("Frances Ha") tries a love story on for size... AC Newman of indie rock super-group The New Pornographers spins a party soundtrack that's so cool, it'll annoy you... The one and only 'Cat Cafe' in North America (no, you do not eat the cats)... The science of "nose-blindness"... We toast Emma Nutt, the first female switchboard operator in history. And music from your new (old) grrlfriends Ex Hex.


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Episode 268: Daniel Radcliffe, Benjamin Booker, and ‘The Narcissist Next Door’

Actor Daniel Radcliffe's favorite language ... NOLA rocker Benjamin Booker's wild party ... The era when your granddad's music was super-rebellious ... Emily Post-approved place-settings for palaces (and regular restaurants) ... Novelist Edan Lepucki's arty darkness in the California sun ... Hula hooping to outer space ... Cronuts, ramen burgers, donnolis, and the future of fusion foods ... Katy Perry's kindergarten couture ... And how to handle the narcissist next door.


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Episode 267: Elisabeth Moss, Alice Waters, George Takei, Jon Wurster

Elisabeth Moss' supernatural surprise ... Taking on George Takei .. Jon Wurster drums in some etiquette lessons ... An apple a day won't keep Alice Waters away ... We dig up the story of Daguerreotypes ... Greg Poehler is an American fish in an cold Swedish pond ... Otis Gibbs rambles about being a ramblin' man ... Nick Hakim makes R&B using actual instruments (what?) ... And $26 million worth of naps


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Episode 266: Kevin Spacey, Ruth Reichl, Todd Snider and Elephant

This week: Stage and screen star Kevin Spacey channels Richard III (and Bill Clinton)... Food icon Ruth Reichl has us eating her words... Folk-rocker Todd Snider meets Tony Bennett in an unlikely place... English pop duo Elephant come together to DJ a dance party... Pluto gets discovered, gets a name - and then gets demoted ... Etiquette experts Lizzie Post and Daniel Post-Senning urge America to move to the left... Hawaii's state legislature pits ukeleles versus steel... and singer Haley Bonar does not actually Kill The Fun ...And Brendan drinks California's state flower.


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Episode 265: Pharrell, Carrie Brownstein & Fred Armisen, and Much MØ

This week: Portlandia duo Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen open up about hot-tubs, underwear, and weddings ... Music multi-hyphenate Pharrell Williams explains his 'exotic rainbow' of 'Happy'-ness ... Danish electro-pop phenom Mø spins us a party playlist... author Cari Lynn tells the tale of a NoLa birthday party of ill-repute... How the grandest experiment in scientific history speaks to our common humanity ... Brendan tests out a musical instrument kids will actually want to practice (and eat) ... We pour one out for Broadway's biggest flop ... The Brian Eno of Druids ... And boogie humor.


Photo by Matt Condon for Merge. The Dinner Party Download Live at Merge 25 in Chapel Hill, NC.

Special Live Performance from Teenage Fanclub!

Scottish indie rockers Teenage Fanclub joined us for a recent live event with Merge Records. We asked them to cover some of their favorite songs, and to perform one of their own. This internet exclusive gives you a bit of that performance.


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Episode 264: Margaret Atwood, Tim Gunn, and Hulk Hogan: Hero

This week: literary giant Margaret Atwood is prepared for giant bears... Tim Gunn returns, just in time for Project Runway's 13th season debut, to save listeners from the 'comfort trap'… Guitarist Steve Gunn (no relation to Tim, as far as we know) spins a mellow party playlist... The author behind the bestselling "Jack Reacher" series lists toughs he loves... "China, Illinois" Animator Brad Neely wants Hulk Hogan to eat him... The tale of one man's flight(s) to settle a bar bet... And we meet Rihanna, P.I. Plus: Rico tastes a bowlful of sweet, savory surrealism.