Episodes

Episode 186: Jessica Chastain, Dave Barry, Jimmy Cliff, and Joy(ful) Division

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This week: Oscar-nominated actress Jessica Chastain, of “Zero Dark Thirty” on Pitt and pigs… Insane advice from humorist Dave Barry… Joy Division’s Peter Hook tells the bright side of a dark band… A Super Bowl menu, minus meat?… We excavate the story of a crown jewel, then drink a sparkling cocktail… Reggae legend Jimmy Cliff plays dinnertime DJ… Plus, flying goats, contagious laughter, and the spider of the year.

Icebreaker: Dave Barry
Pulitzer-winning humorist Dave Barry gets the party started with a sick joke. His new book, “Insane City,” came out this week.

Small Talk: Reyhan Harmanci
Reyhan Harmanci, Deputy Editor of the food culture mag Modern Farmer, lays out the results of the coveted “Spider of the Year” awards.

A History Lesson with Booze: Diamonds and “Sparkling Diamond Cocktail”
This week back in 1905, South African miner Frederick Wells unearthed a record-breaking royal treasure. We celebrate his discovery with this glistening cocktail:

“Sparkling Diamond Cocktail,” as carved out by The Library Bar, in the jewel city of Johannesburg:

  • 20 ml vanilla liqueur – preferably Galliano Vanilla
  • 20 ml cranberry juice
  • 2 tsps. lime juice
  • 1 tsps. simple sugar syrup
  • 80 ml champagne, preferably an opulent French one

Serve it in a champagne flute, rimmed with sugar (for extra sparkle.) Take one sip, then another…and try not to faint from the extravagance of it all.


Guest List: Jimmy Cliff

Jimmy Cliff has been singing reggae hits for 50 years, including the title track of the classic movie “The Harder They Come,” in which he also starred. This weekend 110 million people or so will hear his voice – in a Volkswagen Super Bowl ad – covering “The Partridge Family” theme song “Come On, Get Happy.” (Check out this teaser, with Jimmy radiating good vibes.) This week, he made us happy with this sunny soundtrack:

  • Fats Domino – “Be My Guest”
  • Sam Cooke – “A Change is Gonna Come”
  • Rancid – “Ruby Soho”
  • Jimmy Cliff – “Reggae Music”


Guest of Honor: Jessica Chastain

Roger Ebert called Jessica Chastain “One of the finest actors of her generation.” She made a splash in 2011 when she starred in seven films, including Terence Malick’s “Tree of Life” and “The Help,” for which she earned an Oscar nomination. This year, she’s nominated again, for her role as an uncompromising CIA agent on the trail of Osama bin Laden in “Zero Dark Thirty.” Jessica chats with Brendan about idealizing mamas, channeling ‘nothing,’ and raising pigs.


Eavesdropping: Zsuzsi Gartner

Canadian writer Zsuzsi Gartner is known for her dark comic skewering of modern life. Her story collection “Better Living Through Plastic Explosives” was shortlisted for the Giller Prize – Canada’s highest for fiction. Today we overhear her read an artful passage.


Main Course: Super Bowl, Hold the Meat

Is it blasphemy, or divine inspiration? The L.A. restaurant Street – which specializes in global street food – is serving up a special Super Bowl Sunday menu…that’s entirely meat free. Rico catches up with chef and co-owner Sasha Alcher, and demands answers. Turns out, you can just as easily score tasty – and gloriously UN-healthy – veggie food.


Etiquette: Dave Barry

Pulitzer prizewinning humorist Dave Barry has written a whopping 38 books, many of them set in his adopted home – and beloved punching bag – of Miami. The Broadway play “Peter and the Starcatcher,” based on his children’s story, just nabbed 5 Tonys last year. And, of course, he’s probably best known for his stint as a nationally syndicated humor columnist. For reasons we’re still trying to figure out, we handed Dave our etiquette column, and he didn’t disappoint…as he proceeded to diss Pacino, impersonate a Miami nightclub, and declaim on sidewalk dimensions. In short, he’s a natural! (Barry’s latest madcap Miami novel “Insane City” came out this week.)


Chattering Class: Peter Hook

Peter Hook served as bassist for the seminal post-punk band Joy Division (1976-1980) – a band often described as dark and gloomy. Yet Peter’s new memoir “Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division” sheds some much-needed light on the experience. Peter tells Brendan about their status as a ‘working’ band, the final days of frontman Ian Curtis, and how his bass took the lead.


One for the Road: The Strokes – “One-Way Trigger”

Indie rock powerhouse The Strokes just announced a new album called “Comedown Machine” (due in March.) Here’s a little piece of the promising single “One-Way Trigger” – perfect for dancing away the frost.

Other Music In this Week’s Show:

The Sea & Cake – “The Argument”

Aphex Twin – “Girl/Boy Song”

Tipsy – “Liquordelic”

Eduardo Grossenstein – “The Diamond Contractor: Congada”

Pink Floyd – “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”

Phantogram – “Mouthful of Diamonds”

Fats Domino – “Be My Guest”

Rancid – “Ruby Soho”

Jimmy Cliff – “Reggae Music”

Sam Cooke – “A Change is Gonna Come”

PLANK! – “Dying For Pigs”

Jurgen Kneiper – “Urstromtal (The Glacial Valley)”

Handsome Boy Modeling School – “Class System”

Mozart – “Violin Sonata No. 13 in Bb Major K.454 mvt. III – Allegretto:”

Yim Hok-Man -“Poem Of Chinese Drum”

Tornados -“Pop Art Goes Mozart”

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

Joy Division – “Love Will Tear us Apart”

Joy Division – “Digital”

The Strokes – “One-Way Trigger”


Jessica Chastain's Gold Streak

Guest of Honor

Jessica Chastain stars in the new film "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby" (and five other movies coming out in the next year). We spoke with the actor hot off her Oscar win for "Zero Dark Thirty."