Comedian Jim Gaffigan advises you to pack your kids’ lunch with pub fare… Novelist Emma Cline discusses the cult of her hit first novel… acclaimed Scottish composer Anna Meredith DJs your next dinner party/obstacle course… Writer Nicole Dennis-Benn finds trouble in paradise… Biographer Darryl W. Bullock sings the praises of the world’s worst opera singer… Plus, the square history of one of the world’s most popular toys, a puzzling cocktail, a Google Doc dilemma, and more!
This month marks the 72nd birthday of the inventor of an object that infuriated millions.
Scottish composer Anna Meredith's background is in classical music, but she's acclaimed for her jubilant synth pop. The Guardian says her work, "conjures images of a jetpack through the northern lights." Anna's latest album "Varmints" just won Scotland's Album of the Year Award and she's touring the U.K. now. Here's she is with a playlist for the next time you liven up your dinner party with a little "American Ninja Warrior" inspiration.
Over the last 20 years, Jim Gaffigan has become one of America's most-watched stand-up comics, with self-deprecating observations about raising five kids with his wife, and especially about his love of food. In fact, a couple years back, he published the best-selling book called, "Food: A Love Story." These days he’s out on tour and his TV Land sitcom, "The Jim Gaffigan Show," which he writes and produces with his wife Jeannie, is now in the midst of its second season. The comedian explains why the "Jim" you see on stage and on screen is a little dumber than his real-life counterpart, before delving into our listeners' hamburger hardships.
Lately, there's been a flowering of fiction from Caribbean writers. Jamaican-born Marlon James won last year's Man Booker prize. Now he's one of a chorus of voices singing the praises of his countrywoman Nicole Dennis-Benn, and her debut novel, "Here Comes The Sun."
Emma Cline is author of "The Girls," this summer's hottest literary debut. The New York Times describes it as, "A seductive and arresting coming-of-age story... told in sentences at times so finely wrought they could almost be worn as jewelry." She examines the cult around cults and talks about the beauty and darkness of California.
Each week in chattering class we're schooled by an expert in some party-worthy topic. This week our topic is "the worst opera singer ever." And our expert is a purveyor of fine, bad music author Darryl W. Bullock. He wrote "The World's Worst Records, Volume One and Two." And his new book's a biography called "Florence! Foster!! Jenkins!!!" Florence was an eccentric and beloved New York socialite who, in the 1900s, insisted on singing opera classics... stupendously badly. She became a local celebrity, and eventually, an international phenomenon.
After giving us a crash course on Florence Foster Jenkins, a New York socialite turned terrible opera singer, Darryl W. Bullock shared these audio atrocities with us that make up his top five favorite worst albums.
Cass McCombs, the modern-day troubadour whose songwriting has long been a favorite of other musicians. His new album called "Mangy Love" is out in August. Here's a track from it called "Opposite House."
All the music from episode 353.