Episode 161: Gustavo Dudamel, Rob Corddry, and Terms of Service

Gustavo Dudamel/Photo by Richard Reinsdorf

This week: Classical music superstar Gustavo Dudamel conducts an interview… “Children’s Hospital” creator/star Rob Corddry prescribes etiquette advice… “Schott’s Miscellany” author Ben Schott on food service slang… author John Brandon perks up his wolf ears… “Darth Vader and Son” cartoonist Jeffrey Brown lists some soulful sci-fi… and rocker King Tuff suggests a party playlist. Plus: Debbie Millman on design, Madeleine Brand gets dreamy, and the uplifting history of the escalator.

Icebreaker: Jeffrey Brown

Jeffrey Brown, author of the bestselling cartoon book “Darth Vader and Son,” shares a joke from his son.

Small Talk: Madeleine Brand

Madeleine Brand, host of the eponymous show on Southern California’s KPCC-FM, explains some new dream logic.

History Lesson With Booze: The Rise of the Escalator and “The Iron Pier Swizzle”

This week back in 1859, a Massachusetts man Nathan Ames patented the idea of a “revolving stairway.” Let us walk you through the ensuing history of the escalator… then ascend to giddy heights with this custom cocktail:

The “Iron Pier Swizzle,” as patented by Katie Emmerson, bartender at The Hawthorne in Boston:

Add to a tall glass:

  • 1.5 oz Bully Boy white rum
  • .75 oz grapefruit juice
  • .5 oz cinnamon syrup
  • Barspoon grenadine
  • Dash of Angostura orange bitters

Add ice, and swizzle (with a real swizzle stick), as though you’re starting a fire with a twig. Watch the frost rise gradually… then float .5 oz of brandy at the top. Sip until elevated.


Guest List: Jeffrey Brown

Comic artist and writer Jeffrey Brown made a big splash this year with his bestselling “Darth Vader and Son,” which re-imagines Darth Vader as the proud-but-exasperated Dad of four-year-old Luke. Since Jeffrey illustrates the tender side of the Sith Lord, we asked him to share a few of his favorite sentimental sci-fi moments.

Guest of Honor: Gustavo Dudamel

At the ripe old age of thirty-one, Gustavo Dudamel is one of the greatest classical music conductors in the world. He’s currently the musical director of the Gothenburg symphony Orchestra in Sweden, the Simon Bolivar Orchestra in Venezuela, and of course the L.A. Philharmonic, with whom he won a Grammy this year for Best Orchestral Performance. This week, he’ll be conducting as part of festival he’s curated at the Hollywood Bowl called “Americas and Americans.” It brings together artists like Juanes, Juan Luis Guerra, and Placido Domingo, among others. He tells Rico about his gift for conducting, his fighting spirit, and his affection for a different kind of classic music.

Eavesdropping: John Brandon

John Brandon’s “Citrus County” was one of 2010’s most acclaimed novels. He just released “A Million Heavens,” which follows a motley band of characters in and around the Albuquerque desert. Today we overhear him reading a dinner party worthy-excerpt from the point of view of one of those characters: a wolf.

Chattering Class: Current Design

Debbie Millman, President Emeritus of the American Institute Of Graphic Arts and host of the internet radio show “Design Matters,” dissects a few current trends: complements for color-of-the-year ‘tangerine tango,’ making ‘something out of something’ (i.e. soap bottles made from trash), and a technological ‘sandbox’ full of shape-shifting cubes.

Etiquette: Rob Corddry

Writer-actor Rob Corddry is the mastermind behind Adult Swim’s twisted hit Children’s Hospital; he also plays the show’s clown physician. As the new season launches this week, Rob tells us about the show’s scary real-life parallels… and then diagnoses our listeners with all sorts of issues.

If you’ve got an etiquette or existential question, don’t ask the universe….Ask us! You can email dinnerparty@americanpublicmedia.org and we’ll ask it of a future guest. Thanks!

Main Course: Restaurant-ese

To understand how restaurant workers see the world… you’ve gotta speak their language. Writer Ben Schott, journalist and author of the popular ‘Schott’s Miscellany’ books, surveyed NYC’s top restaurants for examples of food service slang, and reported his findings in this Sunday’s New York Times. Turns out “pop the clutch” and “L.O.L” have alternate meanings in the kitchen… and certain phrases (“Inner Eagle”?) are just plain bizarre. (That’s a regular diner…who happens to be bald.) Brendan caught up with Ben (a “B.G.E”) to talk about his favorite slang discoveries.

Soundtrack: King Tuff

Kyle Thomas, aka “King Tuff,” is on tour now supporting his latest album of sweet garage rock. He took a break recently to share a soundtrack chock-full of intriguing imperfection… just the way he likes his own music.

Other Music in this week’s show:

The Sea & Cake – “The Argument”

Aphex Twin – “Boy/Girl Song”

Tipsy – “Liquordelic”

Erik Satie – “Le Piccadilly – Marche”

Blue Sky Black Death – “Stairway to Heaven”

Flo Rida and Timbaland – “Elevator”

Geoff & Maria Muldaur – “Brazil”

John Williams – “Amazing Stories theme”

Clinton Shorter – “District 9 Main Theme”

Gustavo Dudamel & The L.A. Phil – Brahms, “Symphony No.4 in E minor, Op.98: 3. Allegro giocoso”

Laura Marling – “Sophia”

Magicar – “Design A Wave”

The Johnny Keating Orchestra – “The Clown”

The Gaslight Anthem – “American Slang”

Caroline – “The Go”

Peter Grudzien – “The Unicorn”

Gap Dream – “My Other Man”

King Tuff – “Swamp of Love”