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Episode 259: Rich Sommer, Jackie Collins, and Roger Ebert, Remembered

The life and legacy of critic Roger Ebert ... Secret liaisons with Jackie Collins ... Boozing and camping with "Mad Men" actor Rich Sommer ... Heavy metal rockers Zig Zags crash your party ... A spooky, supernatural adventure ... Crafting a symbol of Pride ... A joke for book-worms ... And dating for super-nerds.


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Bonus: Steve Martin, in Conversation – From Scruggs to Jagger

A podcast-only bonus! We're sharing the extended cut of our interview with Steve Martin, just in time for his 4th-of-July bluegrass shows at The Hollywood Bowl. Steve discusses his musical life, his early days as a performer, and the connection between banjo & de Kooning.


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Episode 258: Jonah Hill, House of Cards, Luxury Toast

This week: Jonah Hill's search for the perfect coupling ... Skip Lievsay explains how movies should sound ... Life imitates board games imitating life (but not The Game of Life) ... One mother's love-hate relationship with a thousand plastic blocks ... Getting what you pay for with luxury toast ... The creator of "House of Cards" tells us how politics is like jazz ... Woods to the left (to the left) ... How to flirt with a Viking ... And when to politely drink up and move on.


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Episode 257: Jenny Slate, John Waters, and First Aid Kit

This week: Filmmaker, writer, and 'Pope of Trash' John Waters offers etiquette advice, naturally... Jenny Slate, star of the film "Obvious Child," says 'complicated' and 'comedy' can coexist... Swedish sister duo First Aid Kit bring board games and tacos to their dinner cozy party ... When we're hungry, why do we get 'hangry'? ... From Panama to Pan Am: novelist Cristina Henriquez remembers a nation in revolt, then we learn about the 'Jet Age,' when coach was actually classy... Mailing your kid to granny's house was actually legal?! ... Plus: Vanity Fair columnist Richard Lawson, new New Pornographers, and keeping tabs on a penguin.


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Episode 256: Harry Dean Stanton, Patricia Lockwood, and Hamilton Leithauser

This week: Actor Harry Dean Stanton shows off his singing ... Poet Patricia Lockwood revisits childhood ... Why Lyndon Johnson fascinates us, fifty years later ... Former frontman of The Walkman on his soulful solo debut ... Baseball excellence, naturally ... The arc of history bends towards better booze ... One sleepy rabbit with a speech impediment ... An unheard of use of science to re-grow Van Gogh's severed ear ... Common takes his backpack to Def Jam ... And Lizzie and Dan Post, breaking hearts all across Vermont.


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Episode 255: Steve Coogan, Hugh Bonneville, B.J. Novak, and “Broad City” BFFs

This week: Oscar nominee Steve Coogan ("Philomena," this summer's upcoming "The Trip to Italy" ) meditates on condiments and dramedies ... "The Monuments Men" star Hugh Bonneville - a.k.a. Lord Grantham on "Downton Abbey" - minds his manors ... Former "The Office" employee B.J. Novak introduces us to Wikipedia Brown, Boy Detective ... The BFFs behind Comedy Central's "Broad City" riff on funny friends who came before them ... Rico inhales $50,000 worth of fungus ... and we learn how Satchmo changed American music .... Why single men should get into yoga and puppies ... And a happy "Chinese New Year."


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Episode 254: James McAvoy, Jon Favreau, and Wearing Your Food

This week: Actor James McAvoy (of this week's new "X Men" blockbuster, and the art-house drama "Filth") flies the Scottish flag... Writer-director Jon Favreau cooks up a new film... Emma Straub on why vacation with the ‘rents isn’t all that bad... 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.


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Episode 253: Conor Oberst, Colson Whitehead, and Freakonomics

Musician Conor Oberst gives us a topography lesson ... A new movie - and fail-safe flirting tips - from actor Griffin Dunne... 'Freakonomics' Stephen Dubner is your kryptonite .... Colson Whitehead becomes a gambling man ... Inventing the futuristic fastener Velcro ... Why bad words might be good for you ... Annabelle Gurwitch finds lust in a hopeless place ... And we inspect teff: a tiny grain with a huge upside.


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Episode 252: Marc Maron, Philippe Petit, and Soylent

This Week: Marc Maron gives etiquette AND time-travel advice... Graphic novelist Mimi Pond lists criminals, spies, and other bohemians ... "Man On Wire" tightrope-walker Philippe Petit explores creative chaos... "The Descendants" author Kaui Hart Hemmings tells a new tale... load up on Kleenex 'cause here comes SADvertising... the history of the least respected trophy in sports... and Rico tastes Soylent: the pasty beige future of food. PLUS: Our listeners sound off about mouths and sounds.


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Episode 251: Kevin Spacey, Ruth Reichl, Todd Snider and Elephant

This week: Stage & 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... UK pop duo Elephant come together to DJ a dance party... Pluto gets discovered, named, and 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. Plus: Brendan drinks California's state flower.