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.)

A favorite from the Bullseye archives this week. First up: Comedian, writer, and podcast host  Guy Branum recently wrote a book called "My Life as a Goddess: A Memoir through (Un)Popular Culture." It's a collection of personal essays. Kind of a combination of memoir and manifesto that covers his childhood, college, his early days as comic. It's also got his opinions on football movies, politics, and which city has the hottest guys (It's Los Angeles, btw).

We're revisiting our conversation with Guy from last year where he sat down with Jesse to discuss his truTV series Talk Show The Game Show.

Then, academic and writer Emily Lordi, author of the 33 ⅓ book Donny Hathaway's Live tells us why she thinks the classic Hathaway live performance deserves to be added to the canon of all time great albums. Then, Jesse tells us about why he loves the Errol Morris ESPN documentaries: It's Not Crazy, It's Sports.

Direct download: Bullseye180828.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:38pm EDT

This week, we’ve got another Emmy-nominated guest - W.Kamau Bell! He’s known for his stand-up comedy. But he might be even more beloved for the  television shows he’s hosted. “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell,” was kind of a hybrid between a political satire show and a talk show. But unlike, say, “The Daily Show” Kamau wasn’t inclined to be the star. Rather, he let his guests do that. Kamau just asked questions - both funny and serious ones. That made the show really special. W. Kamau Bell’s, “United Shades of America,” airs on CNN and is up for three Emmys. He’ll tell us why he’s particularly proud about the series.

Then, we’ll talk to Mike Pesca about his newest book: “Upon Further Review: The Greatest What-Ifs in Sports History”. It’s a collection of essays from over 30 different writers - people like Robert Siegel, Nate DiMeo, Jesse Eisenberg and more. They all ask hypothetical questions about the most pivotal moments in sports history… and what would have happened if things had gone differently. Pesca also talks about what it was like working for NPR as one of two sports reporters and about the time he was the guest host of “Wait Wait.. Don’t Tell Me!” (including the outcry he received for having Kim Kardashian-West on that program).

And finally, for this week’s Outshot, Jesse breaks down “Aretha Live at the Fillmore West” and why the San Francisco-recorded live album might be the perfect showcase for the late Queen of Soul.

Direct download: Bullseye180821_-_W_Kamau_Bell__Mike_Pesca_-_PODCASTc.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 4:33pm EDT

It's Emmy season! Bullseye brings you two talented, fascinating Emmy nominees this week. First up: Megan Mullally! One of the best in the game. Like, maybe you're a fan of Parks and Recreation. She played Tammy, the ex-wife of Ron Swanson. She's a kind of menacing, toxic seductress. Or maybe you saw her on Childrens Hospital, or 30 Rock, or heard her on Bob's Burgers (she plays Gayle). But, she's best known for her role as Karen Walker on the groundbreaking sitcom Will & Grace. She was just nominated for what could end up being her *third* Emmy for her role on the show.

Then, a special treat: Karen Tongson, professor and panelist on our sister show Pop Rocket, talks with the one and only Tracee Ellis Ross. Tracee is nominated in the best actress category for her role on ABC's Blackish - she plays Rainbow Johnson (aka Bow) on the show. She and Karen go deep into her work acting and directing Blackish. Plus, her relationship with her mom... Diana Ross. Diana Ross!

Finally, Jesse tells you about one of the most charming people who ever lived. And she's got a book and documentary to prove it.

Direct download: Bullseye180814.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:24pm EDT

This week, we'll remember Jonathan Gold by revisiting our conversation with him. Jonathan's work in food criticism was legendary. In 2007, his work earned him a Pulitzer. To this date, he's still the only food critic to ever earn that honor. When he joined us in 2011, he discussed the one food fear he just couldn't overcome, and how he discovered Los Angeles and the world – one meal at a time. Plus, he threw shade at the burritos from the Mission District in San Francisco.

 

We'll also revisit our conversation with Beth Ditto from last year. Beth is singer of the band Gossip. Beth talks about the process of creating her solo album, and about her time fronting Gossip. She'll also open up about her queer identity and what it was like setting up punk shows in her small Arkansan town. You can catch her on the road this summer opening for Sam Smith.

 

And finally, Jesse explains how Sly and the Family Stone made a perfect album, even as they slowly disintegrated as a group.

Direct download: Bullseye180807.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:05pm EDT