Episode 120: Chuck Klosterman, Diabolical Hawkes, and Zagats in the Zeitgeist

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Chuck Klosterman/Photo by Kris Drake

This Week: Author Chuck Klosterman tosses aside salad… Rap diva Big Freedia on booty etiquette… And the Zagats guide Brendan through the history of the Zagat guide. Plus, the Beatles’ rooftop concert in first-person, John Hawkes on playing a monster, and a soundtrack from a Little Dragon.

Icebreaker: Andrew Niccol
Filmmaker Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, The Truman Show) gives us a timeless bad joke… just In Time for his new sci-fi film.

Small Talk: Moondust Over My Hammy
Jessica Coen, editor-in-chief of women’s culture site Jezebel.com, leads us to a dark, dark place: the black market for “Moondust.” Strangely, it’s also your neighborhood Denny’s.

A History Lesson with Booze: Microwavable History and “Spencer’s Sour”This week back in 1955, the average home kitchen changed forever. You can thank Raytheon’s Percy Spencer – and the candy bar in his pocket – for being able to nuke your leftovers. Hear the radioactive history of the microwave, then get toasted in no time at all with this custom cocktail:

“Spencer’s Sour,” as cooked up by Bob McCoy of Island Creek Oyster Bar in Boston, MA – home of Raytheon corporation.

Into a Boston shaker (no ice) add:

  • 1 1/2 oz. chocolate-infused Cognac (via Dave Arnold’s nitrous-oxide technique)
  • 1 oz. Demarara syrup (raw sugar syrup)
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 egg white

Shake to emulsify the egg, then add ice and shake again. Strain into your favorite chilled glass. Add some chocolate shavings to the rim. Zap it down, instantly defrosting your tastebuds.

Guest List: Jason Bailey’s Horror Hybrids
Just ‘cause you like Halloween doesn’t mean you like horror movies. So Jason Bailey, film critic for Flavorwire (as well as The Village Voice and The Maddow blog), gives us a twist on the genre by sharing his favorite “horror hybrids” — comedies, rock musicals and family films, tarted up with monsters, spiders, and/or a few gallons of blood.

Guest of Honor: Chuck Klosterman
Chuck Klosterman is one of America’s best pop-culture essayists — equally at home expounding upon the mystery of Morrissey or the glory of pro football. His novels are equally wry and equally mindbending. Chuck returns to the show to tell Rico about his latest book, The Visible Man, to defend the deadliness of tiger’s whiskers, to decry the evils of salad, and to champion Sheepdogs.

Eavesdropping: The Beatles’ Rooftop Farewell
As the son of Irish actress Geraldine Fitzgerald, writer/director Michael Lindsay-Hogg rubbed shoulders with Hollywood and Broadway elites from an early age. He went on to direct some of history’s most influential music videos — including The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus and the Beatles’ 1970 documentary Let it Be. In this excerpt from his memoir Luck and Circumstance, he tells the tale of how he got the Fab Four up on the roof… barely.

Main Course: The Zagats
It’s been a busy fall for Tim and Nina Zagat — creators of the eponymous (and ubiquitous) Zagat restaurant guides. First, they landed a deal with Google worth a cool $151 million. Then they celebrated the 25th anniversary of their San Francisco guide. And this week they released their 2012 America’s Top Restaurants volume. Brendan talks with the happy couple about how a drunken idea became a dizzying empire… and how to pronounce their name.

Etiquette with Big Freedia
New Orleans MC Big Freedia is the self-proclaimed Queen Diva of “Bounce” – the hip-hop subgenre based on lightning-fast beats and rapid-fire booty-shaking. His hit song “Excuse” isn’t just a dance anthem; it’s also an etiquette primer… so we invited him to the studio to answer pressing questions about opening doors, text freaks, and a Gulf-draining Gumbo. (You can catch Big Freedia on the Check Yo Ponytail 2 tour this month.)

We’re always looking for new etiquette questions. Would you be so kind as to send them to dinnerparty@americanpublicmedia.org? Thank you very much.

Halloween Treat: John Hawkes on Playing Evil
In the new psychological thriller Martha Marcy May Marlene, a young woman (Elizabeth Olsen) pries herself away from a cult. Olsen’s performance is scary-good. But way scarier is John Hawkes’ portrayal of cult leader Patrick. Just in time for Halloween, Rico asks the Oscar nominee what it’s like to inhabit the creepiest character of the year.

Dinner Party Soundtrack: Little Dragon
Swedish band Little Dragon is known for swirling electronic grooves and the soulful, otherworldly vocals of frontwoman Yukimi Nagano. Last year they made a splash with an appearance on two tracks from electro-titans Gorillaz. This year their headlining tour — in support of their new album Ritual Union — is selling out venues around the world. Including L.A… where Yukimi graciously agreed to provide us with a list of her favorite party songs. They are: “Old Man” by Neil Young, “Crazy You” by Prince, and “Fright Night (Nevermore)” by Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti.

Other Music In this Week’s Show:

The Sea & Cake – “The Argument”

The Wedding Present – “Signal”

Tipsy – “Liquordelic”

The Faint – “Your Retro Career Melted”

The Meters – “Melting Pot”

Pavement – “Range Life”

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “Ffunny Ffriends”

Copy – “Real Scared”

The Sheepdogs – “I Don’t Know”

The Beatles – “Get Back” (live)

The Eagles – “Journey Of the Sorcerer (‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy’ Theme)”

Big Freedia – “Excuse”

Big Freedia – “Rock Around The Clock”

The Cult Of Youth – “Through the Fear”

Neil Young – “Old Man”

Prince – “Crazy You”

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – “Fright Night (Nevermore)”