Episode 201: James Franco, Paul Theroux, and a Cowardly Display

poses for a portrait during the 2011 Sundance Film Festival at The Samsung Galaxy Tab Lift on January 22, 2011 in Park City, Utah.

This week: We look back to one of our favorite episodes, in which actor/polymath James Franco rebels against beds… Preeminent travel writer Paul Theroux offers etiquette advice to globetrotters (and public radio hosts)… Nashville raconteur Todd Snider tells of his brush with NASCAR fame… The NY Public Library celebrates Noel Coward… and Hollywood’s top auctioneer remembers memorabilia. Plus: the history of blue jeans, a Twin Shadow tune, sommeliers for your ears, and smashing (Guinness) records.

Actor James Franco talks 'Rebel' art

Guest of Honor

James Franco is a major Hollywood player, but he doesn't act that part; he's also a writer, a student, and an artist. Last year, he assembled an art exhibit called "REBEL" at LA's MoCA, in which he and other artists riff on the myth and iconography surrounding the James Dean classic "Rebel without a Cause."

'A Room With A View' into the life of Noel Coward

Chattering Class

The late performer, playwright and songwriter Noel Coward gets a much-deserved close-up in the exhibit "Star Quality: The World of Noel Coward". Curator Brad Rosenstein walked Brendan through some of the highlights of the self-made artiste's career.

Etiquette that travels from globetrotting author Paul Theroux


Paul Theroux knows his way around the world. In masterful travel books, he transports readers to far-flung places with vivid prose. His new novel, The Lower River, recounts a man's ill-fated return to Malawi long after he first experienced the place as a Peace Corps volunteer. (Paul himself served there in the 60s.) He tells us about a one-time escape from Africa, then addresses listener questions about travel secrets...and epizeuxsis

Musician Todd Snider (Almost) Meets his Brother's Hero


Acclaimed musician Todd Snider is known for his folk-rock tunes... and for his onstage stories. Today we overhear him telling one about his brother's hero: Nascar driver Bill Elliott.

Hollywood Auctioneer Joseph Maddalena's Most Memorable Memorabilia

Guest List

Joseph Maddelana of Profiles in History, one of the world's top auctioneers of historical documents and movie memorabilia, has authenticated or priced everything from Marilyn Monroe's subway dress, to Dorothy's ruby slippers, to letters penned by Abraham Lincoln and his show, Hollywood Treasure, airs on the SyFy network. We asked Joe to give us a list of his most memorable (memorabilia) moments.

Music Sommeliers Pair the Tunes to the Food

Main Course

A recent LA Times article talked about the rise of "music sommeliers" - professional compilers of music playlists for restaurants - like the folks at Prescriptive Music. Brendan speaks with Prescriptive founder Allen Klevens about creating a song menu for every place... and every person.

Playlist: Episode 201


Songs from Episode 201