Episode 174: Jon Ronson, Eric Idle, and Flying Leotards

Jon Ronson

This Week: Monty Python’s Eric Idle leads us in song… Writer Jon Ronson plays sidekick to a real-life superhero… Folk icon Iris DeMent shares a homey party playlist… Adam Pally of TV’s “Happy Endings” swings from the rafters… Kale invades Thanksgiving… and The Evens play The Odds. Plus, the birth of the leotard, video games NOT named “Halo,” and bedtime tales for dogs.

Icebreaker: Jon Ronson
Writer Jon Ronson kicks off the party with a joke that kills… but only in a room full of psychologists.

Small Talk: Richard Lawson
Richard Lawson, senior writer for The Atlantic Wire, tells us about a scientifically-calibrated method for putting your dog to bed, great British actor not included.

A History Lesson with Booze: the Flying Trapeze and “The Flying Jules”
This week back in 1859, Frenchman Jules Leotard wowed audiences with a daring circus act that had never been seen before. Learn about it – and the outfit he wore – before turning your world upside down with this custom cocktail…

“The Flying Jules,” as created by Emeric Aguilar, bartender at the Playtime Cocktails Club in Paris’ Arthus Hotel… not far from the Circus where Jules first performed his feat.

In a shaker, add:

  • 4 cl. vodka
  • 2 cl. St. Germain liquor
  • 1.5 cl. lime juice
  • 3 cl. apple juice
  • 1 cl sugar syrup

Shake, twirl three times, then strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with two Amarena cherries, for a pop of color befitting the garish duds for which Jules was responsible.

Dinner Party Soundtrack: Iris DeMent
Iris DeMent’s debut album “‘Infamous Angel” was called one of the “Essential Recordings of the Nineties” by Rolling Stone magazine. She’s sung duets with Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris and, most famously, John Prine. Now she’s released her first album of new material in sxiteen years; “Sing the Delta” has garnered wide-ranging praise. Iris graciously offers up some musical suggestions for a close-to-home dinner party.

Etiquette: Eric Idle
Monty Python co-founder Eric Idle gave the classic sketch troupe melody. Since then he’s penned songs, novels, Tony-winning Broadway musicals and just about everything in between – all shot through with winks and wordplay. This Tuesday, Eric’s latest play – “What about Dick” – appears online as a digital download. It’s a raucous tale of the decline and fall of the British Empire narrated by a piano. Eric talks “Dick,” then answers listeners’ questions about Limey pronunciation, arm-slapping, and late-night singalongs.

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.

Eavesdropping: Adam Pally
Comedian Adam Pally is a longtime performer at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater. Now he’s also plays lovable slacker Max Blum on the TV show “Happy Endings” (Tuesdays at 9 on ABC). It just began its third season. Today we overhear him regale us with a tale of his one-teenager war on religion.

Chattering Class: Unsung Video Games
In the last two weeks, two of the best-selling video game franchises ever – “Halo” and “Assassins Creed” – released much-anticipated new titles. Which got us wondering… what games have been missed in the avalanche of Halo hype? Kirk Hamilton, features editor at the gaming site Kotaku, clues us into a few worth checking out: “XCOM,” “Skyrim” (PC Version), and the meme-generated horror phenom “Slender.”

Main Course:Thanksgiving Trends
Every year, Zach Patton and Clay Dunn of beloved blog “The Bitten Word” dissect the Thanksgiving issues of food mags and come up with a list of holiday trends. (This marks the fifth year of their turkey-day trend watch.) This year apparently, Thanksgiving is back… and comes laden with leeks, kale, and anti-vegetarianism.

Guest of Honor: Jon Ronson
Over the last 25 years, Welsh writer and journalist Jon Ronson has made a name for himself with funny, thoughtful reporting on the world’s most unusual people and subcultures… like psychopaths (“The Psychopath Test”), psychic-obsessed army colonels (“The Men Who Stare at Goats”) and UFO believers. Jon’s latest collection “Lost at Sea” collects a number of ‘mysteries’ he’s explored in his nonfiction essays. He tells Rico about playing sidekick to a Seattle superhero, explains why compassion defeats condescension, and what’s in the cardboard box beside that mattress.

One for the Road: The Evens – “King of Kings”
Ian McKaye (of Fugazi fame) and Amy Farina make up D.C. duo The Evens; they’re about to release new album called, of course, “The Odds.” To whet your appetite, here’s their first single “King of Kings” – perfect for a rally at the gates.

Other Music In this Week’s Show:

The Sea & Cake – “The Argument”

Aphex Twin – “Boy/Girl Song”

Tipsy – “Liquordelic”

The Big Top Orchestra – “Entry Of the Gladiators”

Don Redman & His Orchestra – “The Man on the Flying Trapeze”

Willie Nelson – “Come On Up To The House”

Mahalia Jackson – “How I Got Over”

Aretha Franklin – “How I Got Over”

Greg Brown – “The Cheapest Kind”

Iris DeMent – “Go on Ahead and Go Home”

Peter & Gordon – “A World Without Love”

Soundgarden – “Mind Riot”

School of Seven Bells – “The Wait”

John Williams – “Jaws” Theme

John Williams – “Raiders Of the Lost Ark” Theme

Bernard Herrman – “Shower Scene” (from “Psycho”)

Jefferson Airplane – “Wild Turkey”

The Secret Love Parade – “Secret Love Parade”

The Evens – “King of Kings”