Bullseye with Jesse Thorn
Bullseye from NPR is your curated guide to culture. Jesse Thorn hosts in-depth interviews with brilliant creators, culture picks from our favorite critics and irreverent original comedy. Bullseye has been featured in Time, The New York Times, GQ and McSweeney's, which called it "the kind of show people listen to in a more perfect world." (Formerly known as The Sound of Young America.)

"Who is your dream interview?" you might ask Jesse Thorn, or another public radio host. And for Bullseye, here is your answer: Randy Newman!

 

Randy's career spans over half a century. He's written music for films (duh), but has also revealed himself to be an artist of the highest caliber on his solo records. His music is beautifully written, funny, dark and unmistakably American.

 

Jesse dives deep into Randy's roots - how a family of musicians and jokesters gave him a love for classic American music and comedy. They'll also talk baseball, run-ins with the two Franks (Sinatra & Jr.), and why he has trouble coming to terms with some of his most critically acclaimed music. This is a real deal all-timer, folks.

 

Finally, for the outshot: enough about rock music! Jesse talks about the terrifying, awesome wonder of Levitated Mass, a sculpture at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

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This week, we want to introduce you to a new comic:  Johan Miranda. He lives in Los Angeles, was raised in San Francisco. When he was three years old, he and his parents traveled to the US on a tourist visa - and they haven't left since. Johan is one of the approximately 700,000 people covered under the US Government's DACA policy (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). A DREAMer.  And as immigration rhetoric has ramped up, Johan's status in this country has grown even more uncertain. He's got a new one man show to talk just about that - it's called "Why Johan Miranda Should Be Deported" and it's debuting in Los Angeles on July 27.

 

Then, after that: a conversation with Debra Granik. In 2010 she wrote and directed "Winter's Bone," the acclaimed drama that launched Jennifer Lawrence's career and was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. Now, the long awaited follow-up is in theaters. It's called "Leave No Trace" and it's been met with similar acclaim. She and Jesse talk about the new film, about the pitfalls of calling an artist a "genius" and her first ever paid movie gig: shooting weddings!

 

Finally: a tribute to Joe Pera. A comedian who will help you buy a tree. Or go to sleep. Or learn about iron.

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This week, we've got April Wolfe holding things down in the host chair. April is a film critic and panelist on the Maximum Fun podcast Who Shot Ya. She also hosts her own show here at MaxFun - it's called Switchblade Sisters. Every week on Switchblade Sisters, April talks with a female filmmaker about a different genre film - horror, cult, western, all kinds of stuff. What follows is a fascinating and refreshing discussion on theory and craft in filmmaking.

 

This time on Bullseye, you'll hear April talk with Bo Burnham. Bo's one of the original Youtube celebrities - before Justin Bieber, before Rebecca Black, even before Leave Britney Alone! But he's turned that career from novelty into a diverse and really funny body of work - standup specials, albums, TV shows. Now he's gone behind the camera and created his first movie - it's called Eighth Grade. It's a funny and sincere coming of age story told from the POV of an Extremely Online 13 year old girl.

 

You'll also hear a touching interview between Jesse and Morgan Neville. The Academy Award winning documentary director just made a new film that looks into the life of Fred Rogers -- Mister Rogers. And finally: April will tell you about the filmmaker and actress who made a brilliant, extremely real movieā€¦ and then stopped.

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We're doing something a little different this week: you're about to hear three of our favorite interviews from Heat Rocks, one of our sister shows here at company Maximum Fun. Heat Rocks is a music podcast about passion. It's hosted by Oliver Wang, a veteran hip-hop writer, and Morgan Rhodes - she's a music supervisor who's worked closely with Ava DuVernay. Each week, Heat Rocks brings you a conversation with a guest about the album that shaped their lives. Morgan and Oliver have talked with people like Cut Chemist, Ishmael Butler, Ann Powers and more.

 

Expect deep, compelling conversations about R&B, Soul, Jazz, Hip-hop and more. Oliver and Morgan use each record as a jumping off point to talk about its history, its context, and why we care about it. This week you'll hear from Jay Smooth, the radio DJ and commentator, singer/songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello and Vernon Reid, founder of Living Colour.

Direct download: Heat_Rocks_Special_Jay_Smooth_Meshell_Ndegeocello__Vernon_Reid.mp3
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Hey all! Just popping in to give you a special treat this Thursday. You've probably heard about it already, but Maximum Fun - the company that makes Bullseye, Judge John Hodgman and more - just produced its very first scripted series. It's called "Bubble," it's sort of a sci-fi sitcom and we're all *extremely* proud of it.

The show follows four twenty-somethings working the same side hustle to make ends meet. They're contract workers for an app called Huntr. The app hires people to kill the monsters that occasionally slip through the town's protective barrier.

On this special bonus episode of Bullseye, you'll hear Jesse talk with creator Jordan Morris and writer/producer Nick Adams. It's a discussion not just about the show but about cities, why people live in them, and the insane lengths some of us will go to just to stay.

Give it a listen and, if you haven't already, subscribe to Bubble! You'll be glad you did.

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We're listening to some of our favorite interviews from Bullseyes past this week, and we've got a couple doozies. First up: the living legend, the master of funk music, Dr. Funkenstein himself: George Clinton, from 2014. The impact he's had on modern music is so huge that he's almost more myth than actual person nowadays, but Clinton's life story is a fascinating one: starting in doo-wop, moving on to Motown, and then creating his own genre from scratch: funk. He'll talk about that, his struggle with drug addiction and some of his best wild stories from Parliament Funkadelic's early days.

 

Then, Cristela Alonzo, from last year. She's a veteran standup comedian and actress. You might've seen her on the ABC sitcom Cristela -  she was the show's creator, star, she also wrote and produced it. Alonzo was actually the first latina ever to do all that on one TV show. She's been working on her standup act more lately, and it's really great. Cristela mixes political humor with her own life story (including her time spent living in an abandoned diner) to a hilarious and really endearing effect. She's also starring on the new Maximum Fun podcast Bubble, which you should check out if you haven't already. C'mon!

 

And, finally: Jesse tells you about an SNL sketch that he connects with on a profound, deep level. And - since you're a Bullseye listener - we bet you will, too.

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