Episode 165: Junot Diaz, One-Shot Wonders, and Orange Wine

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Junot Diaz/Photo by Nina Subin

This week, Pulitzer-winning author Junot Diaz bares the soul of a cheater… Actress Emily Blunt explains dolphin romance… Music video director Natasha Pincus picks some one-shot wonders… We toast the peaceful fallout from the only wartime aerial bombing of mainland USA… Financial etiquette from Marketplace’s Paddy Hirsch… Orange vintages add color to wine stores… And the unsung heroes of Fall TV. Plus: a new Grizzly Bear track, laffs from artist Wayne White, and lap dances in the high courts.

Icebreaker: Wayne White

Wayne White – multimedia artist, provocateur, and Emmy-winning set designer of “Pee Wee’s Playhouse” – cuts down an Ivy. The documentary “Beauty is Embarrassing,” which showcases Wayne’s eventful life, opens this weekend in LA, NYC, and Seattle and expands this fall.

Small Talk: Reyhan Harmanci

Reyhan Harmanci, editor at news and entertainment website Buzzfeed, explains why there’s now lap dancing in New York state’s high courts.

A History Lesson with Booze: The Lookout Raid and “The Bonsai Fireball”

70 years ago this week, the U.S. suffered the only wartime aerial bombing by a foreign power in history. Learn why the Japanese bomb fizzled – then salute the incident’s peaceful resolution with this sweet-and-fiery drink.

The “The Bonsai Fireball,” as dropped on us by Adam VanCleave, bartender at the Superfly Martini Bar & Grill in Brookings, OR, near the impact zone:

Combine in a cocktail shaker with ice:

  • 2 parts Superfly vodka
  • 1 part Orange Juice
  • 1 part Fresh muddled strawberry
  • 1/2 tsp. Sriracha

Shake and strain into a martini glass with a sugared rim. Feel the burn…and then let sweetness reign.

Guest List: Natasha Pincus

Writer-director Natasha Pincus’ video for Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” has racked up close to 315 million hits on YouTube… and this week it was nominated for two VMAs including “Video of the Year.” The Aussie auteur is known for her off-kilter visions, and for putting her artists through the wringer (see: Gotye’s painstaking 26 hour shoot, partly in the nude, or Missy Higgins’ repeated immersion in pounding ice-cold surf). But she’s also particularly fond of ‘single shot’ videos, in which the action unfolds in one long take, sans edits. She offers us a list of three of her favorite one-shot wonders. (Watch them all — and suggest your own favorites — here.)

Guest of Honor: Emily Blunt

Actress Emily Blunt first made a splash in the U.S. as the neurotic senior assistant to Meryl Streep’s character in “The Devil Wears Prada.” She’s since starred in films like “Young Victoria” and “The Adjustment Bureau.” Her latest film (one of four this year) is the Judd Apatow-produced comedy “The Five-Year Engagement.” It comes out on DVD this week. And next up: the much-hyped sci-fi mindbender “Looper” (out 9/28.) Back in April, Brendan met up with Emily and talked about teenage memories, salmon (over)fishing, and dolphin break-ups.

Eavesdropping: Junot Diaz

Junot Diaz’s debut novel “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” (2007) won him legions of fans… and the Pulitzer Prize. That book follows a Dominican-American boy and his immigrant family in New Jersey…a milieu to which Junot returns for his short story collection “This is How You Lose Her” (out this week). We overhear him reading an excerpt from the showstopping finale “The Cheater’s Guide to Love.”

Chattering Class: Fall TV

Compared to a few decades ago, today’s TV landscape is blessed with an embarrassment of groundbreaking shows: from “Mad Men” and “Homeland” to “Breaking Bad.” But what about the shows that don’t announce themselves as art… but still have something to offer? We asked Nuzhat Naoreen, ace TV reporter at Entertainment Weekly, to give us a crash course in some unexpectedly gratifying shows in the fall line-up. Enter “The L.A. Complex,” “Teen Mom” (yup), and “Househunters International.”

Etiquette: Paddy Hirsch

Many know Paddy Hircsh as a senior producer for public radio’s business shows “Marketplace” and “Marketplace Money,” and as the master of the “Whiteboard” explainer series. He recently distilled his wisdom into the book “Man vs. Markets,” an approachable primer on all money matters. Paddy offers listeners tips on tipping, wad-flashing, and shooting yourself in the stomach (financially-speaking.)

Main Course: Orange Wine

There’s red wine, white wine…and now there’s orange wine. It’s made from white grapes, not oranges, but it looks and tastes completely unusual. There’s a growing cult following for the stuff, and famed upscale restaurants like Delfina in San Francisco have started offering offering flights of it this summer. Rico checks in with Randy Clement of L.A.’s Silverlake Wine to learn about this mutant wine, and what it has in common with Bob Dylan.

Soundtrack: Grizzly Bear – “Yet Again”

Brooklyn-based indie rock band Grizzly Bear’s last album “Veckatimest” received loads of critical acclaim and reached number 8 on the U.S. Billboard charts. The band’s new LP “Shields” comes out in a few weeks. Here’s a track called “Yet Again” – perfect for shaking up a routine.

Other Music in this week’s show:

The Sea & Cake – “The Argument”

Aphex Twin – “Boy/Girl Song”

Tipsy – “Liquordelic”

Glenn Miller & His Orchestra – “American Patrol”

The Coral – “Wildfire”

Kamikaze – “Just An Animal”

Gotye – “Somebody that I used to Know”

Radiohead – “No Surprises”

Mess Hall – “Pulse”

Coldplay – “Yellow”

Damu the Fudgemunk – “Gone with the Sunset”

Damu the Fudgemunk – “You Know Who”

Nomo – “Patterns”

Television – “Marquee Moon”

Smokey Johnson – “Tippin’ Lightly”

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – “Orange”

Grizzly Bear – “Yet Again”