Episode 194: Taiye Selasi, Andy Cohen, and Alt-J’s Pagan Playlist

Taiye Selasi/Photo by Nancy Crampton

This week: TV personality Andy Cohen – the man who launched 1,000 “Real Housewives” – tells us how to behave… Rising literary star Taiye Selasi on making novels and dresses… British prog-rock phenoms Alt-J throw a party in the woods… Satirist Sam Lipsyte on the joys of fatherhood… We tiptoe into “Room 237,” a film about “The Shining”‘s fanatical following… And Rico tastes the secret of panuchos. Plus, a drink born from cold fusion, new music from Mikal Cronin, and a monstrous joke.

Rodney Ascher on Monsters


Filmmaker Rodney Ascher says monsters get thirsty, too. (Later you'll hear Rodney talk about his new doc "Room 237" - a profile of the fanaticism surrounding "The Shining.")

Sadie Stein and the geodesic dome

Small Talk

Dwell Magazine deputy editor Aaron Britt tells us about a geodesic dome worth a whopping $100,000… if you can pry it off its base.

Cold Fusion and The Saint

A History Lesson With Booze ®

This week in 1989, two respected electro-chemists, Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischman, announced they'd discovered science's holy grail: a process for generating clean fusion energy at low temperatures. The media called it a miracle... but was it too good to be true? Listen to the tale and then experiment with this custom cocktail.

Brit band Alt-J suggest some songs for a Druid barbecue


In December, buzzy Brit band Alt-J's debut album An Awesome Wave won the prestigious Mercury Prize (U.K. album of the year). This month they launched their first major U.S. tour, including a slew of acclaimed shows at the South-by-Southwest music festival. Keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton and guitarist Gwil Sainsbury share a few song suggestions for a totally normal dinner party...in the woods...with witches.

Don't ask to play catch with Andy Cohen


Andy Cohen knows a thing or two about TV. After beginning his career as a news producer for CBS, Andy went on to exec-produce Bravo's programming, including mega-hits "Top Chef" and the "Real Housewives" franchise. His own late night gabfest "Watch What Happens Live" has also won a rabid following. Andy tells us a few tales from his new memoir "Most Talkative: Stories from the Front Lines of Pop Culture" (out in paperback this week), and then muses on decibel levels, headdress protocol, and presidential pleas.

Sam Lipsyte reads from "The Republic of Empathy"


Writer Sam Lipsyte's pitch-black comedies - like the acclaimed 2010 novel "The Ask" - are filled with lovable lowlifes and schemers. His new short story collection "The Fun Parts" carries on the tradition - with punchlines and gut-punches flying fast and furious. Today we overhear an excerpt from the story "The Republic of Empathy" about the joys of parenting.

Panuchos, from the Yucatan to you

Main Course

They're fun to say...and to eat: Panuchos! The beloved dish of Mexico's Yucatan region is finally starting to catch on stateside - the San Francisco Chronicle's food editor is a big panucho lover, and the dish got a mention in USA Today this month. Picture a tostada, crossed with a taco... with a hidden surprise. Rico caught up with Gilberto Cetina, chef at the Yucatanian restaurant "Chichen Itza" in L.A., to dig into this under-sung import.

Rising literary star Taiye Selasi on making novels...and dresses

Guest of Honor

n 2005, Taiye Selasi's essay "Bye-Bye Babar (Or: What is an Afropolitan?)" introduced her to the world... and the world to her generation of well-off, well-educated, well-traveled African immigrants. Taiye grew up in Boston but she is of Ghanaian and Nigerian descent. Her short story "The Sex Lives of African Girls" was included in the "Best Short Stories of 2012." And her debut novel "Ghana Must Go" came out this month. Brendan chats with Taiye about shutting out one's audience (in a good way), probable causes, and deceptive dresses.

Rodney Ascher's 'Room 237'

Chattering Class

Filmmaker Rodney Ascher turned his lens on 'Shining' obsessives... Rodney chats with Rico about art and analysis, monomania, and Kubrick's (theoretical) moonlighting.

We put on 'Weight,' courtesy SF garage rocker Mikal Cronin

One For The Road

Mikal Cronin cut his teeth in San Francisco's garage rock circle (see: frequent collaborator Ty Segall). In 2010, he released a very well received debut, and now his follow-up "MCII" comes out in May on Merge Records. Here's a standout single from it - "Weight" - a perfect reminder that things aren't always as heavy as we think.

Playlist: Episode 194


Other Music in this week's show: The Sea & Cake - "The Argument" Aphex Twin - "Boy/Girl Song" Tipsy - "Liquordelic" Rainstick Orchestra - "Electric Counterpoint Fast" Joey Santiago - "Fake Purse" Dokken - "The Hunter" Portico Quartet - "Knee Deep in the North Sea" Stealing Sheep - "Shut Eye" Robbie Basho - ["Night Way"](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPe8gLe8OXk) Alt J - "Blood Flood" Mobius Band - "Year of the President" Johannes Brahms - "Lullaby" The Cure - "Close to Me (Lullaby style)" Mr. Scruff & Roots Manuva - "Giant Pickle" Music Brokers - "Dress Up" Badly Drawn Boy - "The Shining" Mikal Cronin - "Weight"