Living fearlessly in and out of the dojo

When author Susan Schorn decided to learn karate as a way to deal with being an anxious person, she chronicled her journey from novice to double-black-belt in her McSweeney’s Internet Tendency column, “Bitchslap.” Now in her book, Smile at Strangers and Other Lessons in the Art of Living Fearlessly, she explains how lessons learned in the dojo apply to life in the day-to-day world. She gives Brendan a (non-contact) primer.

Doo-Wop sensation Kenny Vance recalls rolling with The Stones

Kenny Vance had his first musical success at 15 years old - and then went on to record 15 albums with his doo-wop vocal group Jay and the Americans. In their heyday the group opened for The Beatles’ first US performance, but Mr Vance tells us the story of a different concert they played: the NYC debut of some band that he didn’t think was very cool at the time, called…The Rolling Stones.

Dan Savage on skanky pigeons, extreme musicals, and his new book

Author, journalist, and activist Dan Savage is best-known for his internationally-syndicated weekly column “Savage Love,” in which has been answering readers’ sex and relationship questions since 1991. He talks to Rico about squeamishness, skanky pigeons, and his snowboarding soundtrack.

Summer delights from ‘The Kings of Summer’ Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts honed his chops with short films and Funny or Die comedy videos, before taking his debut feature, The Kings of Summer to Sundance. Since the film is all about the sense of freedom the summer evokes, so Jordan offers up a few other things that evoke that seasonal sensation.

Big Black Delta – ‘Side of the Road”’

If the British rock group Electric Light Orchestra had a grandchild, chances are it would sound like Big Black Delta - the solo musical project from musician Jonathan Bates. Here’s a tantalizing tease of Delta’s forthcoming album - it’s called “Side of the Road.”

The 411 on SXSW

Every March, crowds in the hundreds of thousands flock to Austin, Texas for the arts festival South-by-Southwest. Co-founder Louis Black chats with Rico about why it caught fire, the tears that fuel the fest, and a memorable close-up with Johnny Cash.

The pros and cons of cocktails on tap

Not every craft cocktail is best made right when you order it. At bars like The Eveleigh, mixed drinks are being aged in barrels and poured out of taps - and the compliments are flowing.

Indie Queen Tracey Thorn (Everything But the Girl) finds her voice

British singer Tracey Thorn has recorded hits with the duo Everything But The Girl and in collaboration with acts like Massive Attack. More recently she’s released a couple of solo albums, like 2012’s Tinsel and Lights.) Tracey’s new memoir “Bedsit Disco Queen: How I Grew Up and Tried to Be a Pop Star” covers her decades-long career in punk and pop. Today we overhear a tale about the time she found her voice.