Episode 116: Jeanne Darst, Gary Hustwit, Justin Torres

Testing our show's new recipe/LAPL (1927)

This week, we continue to prepare for the hour-long version of the show by serving up some new courses. You’ll “overhear” a story from author Jeanne Darst, take a Chattering Class on urban design with filmmaker Gary Hustwit, and learn the number of our new dinner-party hotline. (Drunk dialing allowed.) Let us know what you think! Plus, a traumatizing joke from debut novelist Justin Torres, and a new tune from the Stepkids.

Icebreaker: Justin Torres
Far more ink has been spilled about author Justin Torres’ We the Animals than would fit in pages of his slim debut novel. And deservedly so – it fuses the memories and myths of childhood to powerful effect. As he embarks on his tour, Justin drops by to relive some mental – and dental – trauma.

Chattering Class: Gary Hustwit
We’re trying to find a fun way to learn about parts of culture that we normally don’t cover, so we set up Chattering Class, where we get a primer on a topic from someone who knows about it. Filmmaker Gary Hustwit has crisscrossed the globe in search of bold and baffling trends in design. His films constitute a sort of “Design Trilogy”: Helvetica picks apart the ubiquitous font, Objectified examines product design, and now Urbanized (out in October) tackles issues in urbanism. We invited Gary to share some talking points in urban design, so that we’re not caught off-guard at our next party.

Overheard: Jeanne Darst
We’re experimenting with ways of previewing work from artists we like. Here’s one attempt – “Overheard.” Writer and comedienne Jeanne Darst solves the mystery of her mother’s disappearing skirt. Jeanne’s memoir Fiction Ruined My Family comes out this week.

One for the Road: Stepkids – “Shadows on Behalf”
The Stepkids are three singer-writer-musicians who do that increasingly uncommon thing – prioritize their sound over their look. The track “Shadows on Behalf” (off this week’s debut LP) is a prime showcase for their blend of classic and psychedelic sounds.