Episode 177: Tony Hawk, Benh Zeitlin & Incorrigible Ethels

Tony Hawk/1986

This week: Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk does some extreme couchsurfing… “Beasts of the Southern Wild” director Benh Zeitlin on axe-painting… Controversy-courting essayist Katie Roiphe offers advice… author Susanna Moore dines in wartime Berlin… Brendan learns the difference between jerks and Ethels… and SF band Thao & The Get Down Stay Down give us a tune that gets you up, keep you up. Plus the history of a New-Wave Band Aid, the science of Xmas music, and sherry wine: it’s not just for Grandmas anymore.

Icebreaker: Tony Hawk

Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk lands a joke… just barely. (The doc “Bones Brigade,” featuring Tony, Steve Caballero, and a host of other skating pioneers, is out on DVD this Tuesday.)

Small Talk: Amber Bravo

Amber Bravo of music mag The Fader tells us about what happens to the brain when it’s exposed to that most insidious of addictive substances: holiday tunes.

A History Lesson with Booze: Band-Aid

This week in 1984, 40 of the biggest pop stars in the world assembled in London to tape a charity Christmas song that became a UK record-breaker. Hear the story of their smash hit, then “raise a glass to everyone” with this liquid evidence that the world can work together in harmony:

The “Old Brew,” as composed by Melanie Schmidt at King’s Row gastropub in Pasadena, CA:

In a glass or mug combine:

  • 1/2 oz. Fair Café Coffee Liqueur (from Ethiopia)
  • 1 oz. Rittenhouse 100 Proof Rye Whiskey (from Kentucky)
  • 1 oz. Zaya Rum (From Trinidad)
  • 1/2 oz. Meletti Amaro Liqueur (From Italy)
  • 2 dashes Miracle Mile Toasted Pecan Bitters (from L.A.)

Add a twist of orange to take the edge off the potent liquors. Quaff and feel a charitable glow.

(California listeners: In the spirit of “Do they Know it’s Christmas,” King’s Row is donating a buck of every “Old Brew” they sell in December to the Wounded Warrior Project. Drink heartily for the cause)

Guest List: Tony Hawk

Legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk is not only one of the greatest skaters ever, but also a founding father of the modern skate industry. A new documentary called “Bones Brigade: An Autobiography” tells of how he and a few other carefree teens became one of the most influential teams in the history of the sport. Here’s Tony with a list of some other sports documentaries worth watching.

Etiquette: Katie Roiphe

Writer Katie Roiphie has enlightened – and enraged – many with her cutting, brilliant essays about family, sex, pop culture, and politics. She just put out a new collection “In Praise of Messy Lives” to stellar reviews…and now she turns her attention to the messy lives of our listeners.

Eavesdropping: Susanna Moore

Award-winning author Susanna Moore is known for her sensual prose style. Her latest novel — her eighth — is called “The Life of Objects.” This week we overhear her read an excerpt about the decadence of a surreal time and place. (Note: It’s been edited for time.)

Chattering Class: Aaron James on “Ethels”

We know A—holes when we see them on the highway, or hear them on television. But what does that unflattering expletive actually say about someone? Writer-philosopher Aaron James offers a rubric for these rude, unapologetic, and boorish types in his new book “A—holes: A Theory,” and gives Brendan a crash course. (Note, these individuals will henceforth be referred to as ‘Ethels’ for FCC purposes. No offense to actual Ethels intended.)

Guest of Honor: Benh Zeitlin

This week, filmmaker Benh Zeitlin’s “Beasts of The Southern Wild” was nominated for a slew of Independent Spirit awards — that’s the indie film world’s version of the Oscars. The movie is nominated for Best Picture, Benh’s up for best director… and his 8-year old star, Quvenzhane Wallis, is up for best female lead. She’s also widely expected to get an Oscar nomination. Rico spoke to Benh in June when the movie opened in theaters, just a few months after it had won the Grand Jury prize at the Sundance film festival.

Main Course: Sherry

Lately ‘dry’ sherries – that is, non-sweet sherries – have become the the darlings of the wine world. Brendan sought out the spirit – and some wisdom – alongside Peter Liem, author of a new book “Sherry, Manzanilla and Montilla.” They met at Manhattan’s Tinto Fino – an excellent Spanish wine shop in Manhattan that specializes in the old-new craze.

One for the road: Thao and The Get Down Stay Down – “Holy Roller”

For a few years now, San Francisco band Thao and The Get Down Stay Down has been putting out sweet indie pop that’s also as complex as its name. Here’s the first single from their new album “We The Common” (out February).

Other Music in this week’s show:

The Sea & Cake – “The Argument”

Aphex Twin – “Boy/Girl Song”

Tipsy – “Liquordelic”

Band Aid – “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”

USA for Africa – “We Are the World”

RJD2 – “The Glow”

Jimi Hendrix – “Easy Rider”

“Skater’s Waltz”

Handshake – “Two Door Cinema Club”

Paul Hindemith – “Sancta Susanna op.21”

Johann Strauss II – “Blue Danube Waltz” (Wiener Johann Strauss-Orchester, Willi Boskovsky, Conductor)

Rilo Kiley – “A**hole”

Why Are We Building Such A Big Ship? – “Don’t Cry”

Sonoi – “Sherry Fall”

Thao and The Get Down Stay Down – “Holy Roller”