Jonathan Lethem photographed on the campus of Pomona College.

Episode 218: Jonathan Lethem, Alt-J, and the Fab Four’s Freda

This week: Jonathan Lethem goes to New Jersey ... Alt-J are kind of over triangles at this point ... The Beatles' secretary gives a peek into music history ... Restaurant trends, from bars to bathrooms ... Astronaut agriculture ... Miss Manners is not telling you to lie, boast, and start rumbles ... A tempest in a cocktail glass ... Populist experimentation (in film) ... And letters from listeners like you.


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Episode 217: Arctic Monkeys, Van Jones, and Fashion Asylums

This week: Britrock superstars Arctic Monkeys provide a party playlist (and a dessert recipe)... Activist-turned-host Van Jones plays with Crossfire... fashion maven Simon Doonan says the best outfit is the one your friend is already wearing ... Northern Irish poet Nick Laird explains "Epithalamium"... VHS cassettes inspire eighties nostalgia ... Bavarians build a giant rake for a monster turtle... We have a beef with the real Uncle Sam... and Rico samples the magical Italian sandwich that is a calzone, a quesadilla, and a pita, wrapped in an enigma. Plus: "There Can Be Only One" for the road.


Vittorio Zunino Celotto / Getty Images

Episode 216: Brie Larson, Baz Luhrmann, and Nomnomnom-enclature

This week: "Short Term 12" star Brie Larson fears oranges & lobsters... Baz Luhrmann talks movie music from Bee Gees to Gatsby... author Juan Gabriel Vásquez shares a story of narco-trafficking and lost hippos... A Jimmy Buffet song brings indie band Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr to tears... We learn about the real-life divas who inspired Melba Toast and Fettuccine Alfredo... and Emily Post's great-great grandkids offer etiquette for present and future. Plus: The history of the cold war hot line, and we learn tardiness is a medical condition.


"The Place Beyond The Pines" New York Premiere - After Party

Episode 215: Eva Mendes, Julia Sweeney, and Blushing Stomachs

This week: One of our favorite episodes! Eva Mendes decodes "The Place Beyond the Pines" (which just came out on DVD) and hieroglyphics… Writer and “SNL” vet Julia Sweeney answers your etiquette questions from the fetal position… New Orleans indie rockers Generationals spin a sweet-and-sour soundtrack… Science writer Mary Roach takes us on a field trip down the alimentary canal… Twitter queen Kelly Oxford tiptoes into David Copperfield’s private lair… And Wrigley’s Gum inspires a cocktail that won't lose its flavor. Plus, salt mines in the sky, self-hating jokes, and a new Rogue Wave.


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Episode 214: David Oyelowo, Ricky Skaggs, and a Gun for Breakfast

This week: Actor David Oyelowo becomes sort of a scholar ... Bluegrass musician Ricky Skaggs on sushi and superfreaks ... Piper Kerman reveals the reality behind bars ... Kurt Braunohler finds odd comedy in everyday things ... MTV veejay Kennedy remembers the nineties and Nine Inch Nails ... Shooting a cannon of puffery ... Novel video games ... Arctic Monkeys go Alpine ... And riding the escalator of history.


Photo by Gilles Toucas

Episode 213: Lisa Kudrow, Franz Ferdinand, and Bug Bars

This week: Lisa Kudrow takes a stab at radio therapy ... Franz Ferdinand's Alex Kapranos plants an orchard ... Anna Gunn of "Breaking Bad" breaks out a list of broken couples... We take an inside look at President Nixon, via home movies ... Crickets invade a snack near you ... Rob Sheffield is a karaoke cowboy ... Stop lights switch on ... Nanobots are the new artists ... And why we're feeling Aussie band The Preatures.


Photo by Jeff Riedel/SHOWTIME

Episode 212: Liev Schrieber, Wild Belle, and Cheese Drama

This week: Liev Schrieber on canine engineering and bad answers... Choire Sicha, founder of The Awl, offers etiquette quips... Breakout Chicago band Wild Belle bring us the world, on a platter of sound... A tale of cheese and blood feuds in the Spanish countryside... Novelist David Gilbert shares a story of absent fathers, from his acclaimed book "& Sons"... And the Mona Lisa goes missing! Plus, conflict cuisine, organic baseball, and HAIM makes it in under "The Wire."


'Nebraska' Photocall - The 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival

Episode 211: Laura Dern, Billy Bragg, and Bite-Sized Giants

This week: "Enlightened" actress Laura Dern on brains and Baio... Folk-rocker Billy Bragg wins hearts and minds in our etiquette segment... They Might Be Giants list tiny gems... We toast the first man(nequin!) in space... The story behind SXSW, as told by the festival's co-founder... Indie musician Tracey Thorn finds her voice... Plus, build-your-own hotels, cocktails by the barrel-ful, Side of the Road music, and lots more.


"Computer Chess" Portraits - 2013 Sundance Film Festival

Episode 210: Andrew Bujalski, Andrea Martin, and Fishy Business

This week: pioneering indie filmmaker Andrew Bujalski plays "Computer Chess" and speaks up about mumblecore... SCTV alum and Tony-winner Andrea Martin gets car-jacked, politely... Debut novelist Gabriel Roth debuts a list of debuts... "Blackfish" director Gabriela Cowperthwaite plunges into controversy... and NYC's Russ & Daughters celebrate herring season by teaching Brendan to eat like a marine mammal. Plus: America's first parking meters pop up... Emily Post's great-great-grandkids give bad manners a summer holiday... and your next holiday could be a camping trip on the moon.


Herb Alpert. Photo by Art Streiber.

Episode 209: Herb Alpert, Chuck Klosterman, and Big Stars

Pop Savant Chuck Klosterman grapples with villains… Music legend Herb Alpert grapples with your etiquette questions... Comedian Tig Notaro has a *very* rude awakening…Why cult rockers Big Star never quite lived up to their name… Documentarian Lucy Walker does call it a comeback… The explosive birth of the bikini… Indie metal darlings Deafheaven get a little loud… and we crunch the numbers (and cucumbers) behind the McWrap.