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Everything Starts With LA

Nov 3, 2017

Singer-songwriter Aimee Mann joins Jonathan Coulton for a rendition of "All This Time," from his latest album "Solid State." Then, our two winning celebri-testants vie for the starring role in our Ask Me Another Famepocalypse reboot. We challenged them to a final round in which every answer starts with the letters "L-A."

Heard On Los Angeles: Famepocalypse Part Two

This, That, Or The Other

Nov 3, 2017

Lance Reddick and Paul Rust teamed up for a very glamorous This, That, Or The Other. Can you guess whether each phrase is the name of a TV series on the BBC, a type of flower, or an erotic technique described in the Kama Sutra?

HIGHLIGHTS

Lance Reddick On His Ideal Night In

I'm gonna give you the PG version. My wife and I binge-watching our latest whatever show we're crazy about and ordering in and cuddling on the couch. And I'm gonna give you [PG-]13— we kiss a little bit.

Paul Rust On His Ideal Night In

We wrote an audio quiz for Lance Reddick and Paul Rust that's loud, abrupt, and inaccessible to industry outsiders. We inserted the Wilhelm scream, a famous inside joke among sound editors, into the middle of iconic movie quotes.

HIGHLIGHTS

Lance Reddick On His Early Inspiration

I always wanted to be Captain Kirk, and once I found out that William Shatner was a trained Shakespearean actor, I would open up monologues and try to do them like Captain Kirk.

Paul Rust On His Hometown, Le Mars, Iowa

In International Name Only

Nov 3, 2017

Perhaps best known for playing Lt. Cedric Daniels on the HBO series The Wire, and for his stints on the iconic dramas Oz and Lost, Lance Reddick currently stars as another tough-as-nails police chief on Amazon's Bosch, and will appear in the post-apocalyptic thriller The Domestics. After conquering the world of drama, Reddick is due for a comedy break. "Goofing off is always better than working," he told host Ophira Eisenberg.

Guesstimators: Jesse Thorn

Nov 3, 2017

Jesse Thorn, host of the NPR program Bullseye with Jesse Thorn, challenged Jonathan Coulton to somewhere between zero and two guesstimation games.

Heard On Los Angeles: Famepocalypse Part Two

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

An LA World

Nov 3, 2017

Jeff Garlin and Linda Cardellini compete for a spot on our Walk of Fame in this music parody game. We rewrote "A Whole New World" from the movie Aladdin to be about famous Los Angeles landmarks, locations, and businesses.

HIGHLIGHTS

Linda Cardellini On Her First Time On A Studio Lot

It was dirty... I expected it to be fancy. It was not fancy.

Jeff Garlin On His First Time On A Studio Lot

I snuck onto Paramount every day. This was in the '80s. It was a different time.

This spring, we talked to Shereen Marisol Meraji, the co-host of the Code Switch podcast, about why she doesn't really like superhero films but was excited to see what director Taika Waititi did with Thor: Ragnarok. Shereen is a Waititi fan, having loved his work in the past, including the feature films Hunt For The Wilderpeople and What We Do In The Shadows.

Daniel "Hondo" Harrelson has a way with words that borders on magic. At least, it seems that way after watching a few episodes of CBS's newest police drama reboot, S.W.A.T.

In the new show, beefcake star Shemar Moore is Hondo, a nonwhite guy (the show isn't more specific) from a tough neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles who winds up leading a Special Weapons and Tactics police unit. Every chance he gets, he defuses tension with suspects or crime victims (often people of color) by telling them about his hardscrabble background.

It was April 4th, 2004, and troops from the 1st Cavalry, out of Fort Hood, Texas had just arrived in Iraq. They had been handed a routine mission, escorting Iraqi sewage trucks through a Baghdad suburb, and they were done for the day, headed back to base. Then the streets emptied, machine gun fire and rocket-propelled grenades rained down. Eight Americans died in the ambush that day, and 65 were wounded. For the U.S. military, it marked what was, at the time, the worst single day in terms of casualties since Vietnam.

The title of Greta Gerwig's semi-autobiographical Lady Bird refers to the name— not the nickname, the name — a mildly rebellious senior gives to herself, part of the comprehensive array of quirks meant to separate her from the pleated drones of an all-girls Catholic high school. She insists that everyone call her "Lady Bird," including her parents, who grudgingly oblige, though they prefer the name they gave her, Christine, and it stings a little to see it rejected so casually.

There's one thing curator-producer Jeff Deutchman couldn't have known when he set out to make 11/8/16, a coast-to-coast, dawn-to-midnight look at the most recent U.S. presidential election day. Not who was going to win, but how inescapable the effects of that victory would be.

We always want to know where evil comes from, even though the "answer" rarely solves anything. Jeffrey Dahmer, who murdered, sodomized and brutally dismembered the bodies of 17 young men between 1978 and 1991, came from the same Midwestern middle-class background as many Americans. He had a family and went to public school. His classmates knew who he was, and some came over to his house. In the end, none of that really explains his compulsions, which seemed to arise from some level of personal darkness most of us never have access to.

Having cut an audacious path through any number of film genres, from Dazed and Confused to the animated Waking Life, the wonderfully gabby Before Sunrise/Before Sunset/Before Midnight trio all the way to his acclaimed Boyhood, Richard Linklater lands another smart one with Last Flag Flying.

'Thor: Ragnarok' Is Hela Good

Nov 2, 2017

Ragnarok, an incontrovertibly bitchin' word that refers in Norse myth to the final, winner-take-all smackdown between good and evil, is an awfully heavy subtitle for a movie as affably insubstantial as The Mighty Thor's mighty third.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

You know what today is? It's Thorsday (ph). Marvel's hammer-throwing Norse god is back in movie theaters. NPR critic Bob Mondello says whole worlds are at stake in "Thor: Ragnarok."

Joe Hagan knew, before he typed out the first word of Sticky Fingers, his new biography of Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner composed of endless access to Wenner and his extensive archives, and interviews with 240 others, that it would receive little love from its subject upon publication.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

The chicken for sale at your local grocery store isn't like the chicken your grandparents used to eat. They're bigger and more "breasty," says public health journalist Maryn McKenna — and that's by design.

"In the United States, we much prefer to eat white meat, and so we have bred chickens and genetically redesigned chickens in order for them to have a lot of breast meat," McKenna says. She attributes the change in poultry to factors like precision breeding, hormones and nutrition, but adds, "Antibiotics started this process."

There are some authors you go to for good stories — and others you go to for good ideas.

Then there are those who do both, giving readers complex characters, richly imagined stories and, finally, ideas that reach beyond the narrative to change how you see the world.

There are two kinds of short story collection. The first is the sampler, in which each story sounds and feels brand new, its voice distinct from the ones around it. The second is more unified. Not a linked collection as such, but a collection in which each story comes from the same world and speaks in the same tone. I love both; I want to read both. But if you're in search of a unified scene, you can do no better than to read Daniel Alarcón's new book.

Ashley Nicole Black was four years into a Ph.D. program at Northwestern University when she decided to drop everything and pursue a career in comedy. It was a risk, but it ended up paying off. She's now a writer and correspondent on TBS' Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.

How many taco trucks do you know that not only have a cookbook but a theme song? Wes Avila's Guerrilla Tacos truck does – and has once again made food critic Jonathan Gold's influential list of favorite Los Angeles eateries.

New York Times columnist Lindy West knows what it's like to encounter a barrage of Internet hate. West, who often writes about feminist issues and body positivity, was "doxxed" by Internet trolls — her home address and cell phone number were posted online.

But West hasn't been silenced; she continues to speak out against harassment and misogyny. In her book Shrill, she writes about learning to like her body and to insist on a place for herself in public life.

California is now the first state to ban pet stores from selling animals from commercial breeders, thanks to a new law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in October. Animal advocates say it will reduce what they claim is the needless suffering of animals like puppies, kittens, and rabbits bred for sale. But critics say it will hurt pet store owners and force consumers to go underground.

The law goes effect in January 2019.

It remains one of the oddest coincidences of American history. On July 4, 1826, the 50th birthday of the Declaration of Independence, former President Thomas Jefferson died in his Virginia home. Five hours later, John Adams, his predecessor as president, passed away in Massachusetts; word of his longtime friend's death hadn't yet reached him.

Growing up in Pennsylvania, actor Jonathan Groff was a Disney-obsessed kid who dressed up as Mary Poppins and Cinderella and dreamed of one day performing on Broadway.

Other parents might have balked at a little boy dressed in women's clothing and singing show tunes — but not Groff's mother. "She didn't bat an eye," he says. "She was all about letting us express ourselves however we wanted to, which was amazing."

On this day 500 years ago, an obscure Saxon monk launched a protest movement against the Catholic Church that would transform Europe. Martin Luther's Protestant Reformation changed not just the way Europeans lived, fought, worshipped, worked and created art but also how they ate and drank. For among the things it impacted was a drink beloved throughout the world and especially in Luther's native Germany: beer.

The change in beer production was wrought by the pale green conical flower of a wildly prolific plant — hops.

The Producers Guild of America has removed Harvey Weinstein from its ranks, hitting the movie mogul with a lifetime banishment that the group says came via unanimous decision, after allegations surfaced that Weinstein sexually harassed and assaulted numerous women.

"This unprecedented step is a reflection of the seriousness with which the Guild regards the numerous reports of Mr. Weinstein's decades of reprehensible conduct," the Producers Guild said. "Sexual harassment can no longer be tolerated in our industry or within the ranks of Producers Guild membership."

In 2005, writer Adam Federman came across an obituary that recounted the remarkable life of a British food writer named Patience Gray, 87, whose works exerted an outsized influence on chefs ranging from April Bloomfield to Alice Waters. The piece extolled Gray's most famous book, Honey from a Weed: Fasting and Feasting in Tuscany, Catalonia, The Cyclades and Apulia (1986), as "one of the best books that will ever be written about food." Yet Federman, a former line cook, bread baker and pastry chef, was completely unfamiliar with both Gray and her masterwork.

Halloween is a time for surprises, which makes this a great time for the release of a new book by Fabien Vehlmann and Kerascoët. In 2014 this French team summoned the creepies with Beautiful Darkness, a ghoulishly comic tale in which tiny people lived on the decaying corpse of a small girl left in the woods. Like its predecessor, Satania seems to burst forth from an innocent, morally chaotic imagination. It's not actually a story about Hell, nor is it a fantasy — or, not exactly. What it is, is thoroughly surprising.

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