Episode 126: Gary Oldman, Top Chef: Etiquette, and Instant History

This week: Actor Gary Oldman turns our world upside-down… Top Chef’s Gail Simmons spills some sweet and saucy etiquette tips… Artist/Musician Terry Allen uncovers 3 lost gems… We toast the instant replay (twice)… and author Lou Beach tells 6 stories with 420 characters. Plus, a crash course in video games, a joke from Brit-com phenom Stephen Merchant, and a tune from Chairlift.

Icebreaker: Stephen Merchant
Comedian Stephen Merchant, creator of “The Office,” shares this punchline — unlike a certain spiny mammal we could mention. Stephen’s Hello Ladies comedy tour kicks off its U.S. run in NYC next week.

Small Talk: Sadie Stein
“The Paris Review” deputy editor Sadie Stein gives us the semi-sordid details about a literary award given this week… for the worst sex-scene writing of 2011. Um, congratulations?

A History Lesson With Booze: History, RewoundThis week, back in 1963, CBS’ Tony Verna changed the world of sports by replaying a crucial moment in an Army v. Navy college football game. Learn about the history of instant replay, then toast Tony repeatedly with this custom drink.

“The Instant Replay,” as reimagined by Al Sotak, head bartender at Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company (that’s a bar) in Philly… where the first sports game to feature TV instant replay was held.

In a shaker, add:

  • 1 tsp. acid phosphate (you can get it here)
  • 1/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. Blackberry syrup
  • 1 oz. Smith & Cross Jamaica rum
  • 1 oz. Rittenhouse bonded rye whiskey

Double shake. Strain into a Collins glass, then top with 3 oz of any bitter IPA, thus “blue collaring” the drink. Drink it down once, then do it again, in slow motion if desired.

Guest List: Terry Allen’s Lost (and Found) Things
File under “It happens to the best of us.” This past week, celebrated artist and musician Terry Allen released a recording that had been lost for almost four decades. He tells us about the newly-rediscovered “Live From Al’s Grand Hotel” album, then he shares a few other “lost” gems worth finding: the Rip Torn drama Payday, Delaney and Bonnie’s LP Motel Shot, and Five Car Studa harrowing piece that just resurfaced at the L.A. County Museum Of Art after 40 years in storage. (For more information about Terry’s album, click here.)

Etiquette: Gail Simmons
Top Chef judge, Food and Wine contributor and tastemaker Gail Simmons knows her way around a dinner party… and how to behave at one. She graciously offers listeners advice on over-cooked bacon, how to handle Uncle Mo, and the sweet smell of success. You can catch Gail on the current Texas-centric season of Top Chef, or the spin-off Top Chef: Just Desserts. Her memoir, Talking with My Mouth Full, comes out this winter.

Eavesdropping: Lou Beach
Lou Beach’s fantastical collage art has graced galleries, magazine covers, and albums by David Bowie, Brian Eno, and others. This week, he releases his first book: 420 Characters. It’s a collection of short, short stories that he first composed as Facebook updates. We give Lou three minutes, then listen in as he reads us six stories.

Chattering Class: Chris Dahlen
Chris Dahlen, editor-in-chief of the respected gaming mag “Kill Screen,” schools Rico in video game trends: turn-based games (like Alec Baldwin’s favorite), sound innovations, and quality-over-quantity standouts like the fiendish Dark Souls.

Main Course: Gluten Positive
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 the elastic protein, why it’s so maligned, and how to make “gluten-free” taste good.

Guest of Honor: Gary Oldman
Gary Oldman launched his film career as the smack-shooting punk-rock martyr Sid Vicious in Sid & Nancy. 25 years later he’s probably best known for playing Sirius Black and Comissioner Gordon — paragons of virtue in two of the biggest movie franchises ever. So he’s got range, is what we’re saying. On the eve of the release of the cold-war thriller Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy — in which he plays one of the most famous characters in post-war UK literature — Oldman chats with Rico about his accidental jump to to the big screen, wrestling the ghost of Alec Guinness, and the voice of the BBC.

One for the Road: Chairlift – “Met Before”
It’s fitting that “Met Before,” from Brooklyn trio Chairlift, sounds like a tune that *must have landed on the charts already. But no, the pop group’s 80s-inspired, choir-happy tune just came out, and the full LP (Something) doesn’t drop til January. Best heard sitting high above a snowscape.

Other Music in this week’s show:

The Sea & Cake – “The Argument”

Aphex Twin – “Boy/Girl Song”

Tipsy – “Liquordelic”

The Shadows – “Shindig”

Johnny Pearson – “Heavy Action (Theme From Monday Night Football)”

Quasi – “I Never Want to See You Again”

Terry Allen – “Red Bird”

Delaney & Bonnie – “Neverending Love For You”

Judy Caplan Ginsburgh – “Manners”

Kraftwerk – “Computer Love”

The Black Keys – “Set You Free”

Alberto Iglesias – “George Smiley”

Chairlift – “Met Before”