Episode 113: Gus Van Sant, Government Lunches, and Glutenny

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Gus Van Sant/Scott Green / Sony Pictures Classics

This week: Filmmaker Gus Van Sant gives us the silent treatment… America says Uncle… And Brendan gets the lowdown on gluten from Erin “Babycakes” McKenna. Plus, Soleil Moon Frye (a.k.a. Punky Brewster) kids around, and Feist offers up a bluesy new tune.

Icebreaker: Soleil Moon Frye
Soleil Moon Frye, child star of ’80s sitcom “Punky Brewster,” now jokes about her own children. (Her new book is Happy Chaos)

Small Talk: Reyhan Harmanci
Reyhan Harmanci, culture editor at the San Francisco Bay Citizen, tells us there’s a clear(ish) solution to the city’s public restroom problems.

A History Lesson with Booze: The Real Uncle Sam & “The Government Lunch” This week back in 1813, prosperous meatpacker (and army supplier) Samuel Wilson of Troy, NY became known “Uncle Sam” – a moniker that ultimately spread to cartoonish proportions and came to represent the U.S. government at large. Sam WANTS YOU to hear his story whilst sampling this custom cocktail:

“The Government Lunch,” as doled out by “Brother” Bob Fornasiero, general manager at The Ruck in Troy, NY.

Stir these Hudson Valley staples with ice in a rocks glass:

Top with fresh apple cider, and then garnish with:

Accept this shipment from Uncle Sam, and soak in the patriotism.

Guest of Honor: Gus Van Sant
Filmmaker Gus Van Sant got Oscar nominations for directing the popular dramas Milk and Good Will Hunting. But he’s also been lauded for his long parallel career crafting smaller indie films about young people on the margins. The latest example being Restless (opening September 16th), about a couple of star-crossed young lovers in the Pacific Northwest. Gus talks to Rico about teens in space, spontaneity on set, and the silent treatment.

Main Course: Fighting Glutenny
Erin McKenna, owner of Babycakes, has built a franchise on selling delicious sweets to sensitive palates. Gluten-free eaters, especially, have flocked to her bakeries. She gives Brendan the scoop on this strange elastic protein, why it’s so maligned, and how to make “gluten-free” taste good.

One For The Road: Feist – “How Come You Never Go There”
Both on her own and as an occasional member of Broken Social Scene, Canada’s Leslie Feist is one of the most respected rock performers in the world. In advance of October’s Metals – her much anticipated follow-up to The Reminder – comes this soulful number. The understated piano and horns make an ideal backdrop for her voice, which wails, whispers and captivates as usual. Best listened to when you’ve got a question that can’t be answered.

Music On This Week’s Show:

Sea & Cake – “The Argument”

Aphex Twin – “Girl/Boy Song”

Tipsy – “Liquordelic”

Estelle – “American Boy” (instrumental)

Hawkwind – “Uncle Sam’s on Mars”

Miles Davis – “In A Silent Way” (DJ Cam Remix)

The Black Keys – “Set You Free”

Feist – “How Come You Never Go There”

Bonus Recipe for Applejack’d Cherries

  • 1 lb. sweet local cherries
  • 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
  • Fresh grated cinnamon to taste
  • 1/2 cup Cornelius Applejack

Combine the sugar, water, lemon juice, cinnamon and 1/4 cup of the applejack in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, add sweet cherries and simmer for approx. 5 minutes allowing some reduction to occur. Remove from heat, stir in remaining Applejack and allow cooling before storing in an airtight container. Refrigeration recommended.