If there's one niche celebrity I would never imagine having a sex tape, it would be "This American Life" host Ira Glass. And luckily he doesn't have one! Even so, Julian Joslin decided to imagine what it might sound like. In his parody "sex tape" — which is just audio, no video, of course — the public-radio icon gets not one, but two acts of scandalous sexiness. Ira, whose timid, nasally nerd voice is perfectly impersonated by Joslin, even employs the help of the Planet Money Team to create his Craigslist ad, and every NPR personality appearance heard on the tape besides the fake-Ira is taken from real interviews. If you're a fan of "This American Life" or NPR in general this will make you crack up, but you might not think of Ira the same way ever again.
>> After announcing last month that she had parted ways with Jane Pratt and Say Media — the backers of Pratt's website, xojane.com — Tavi Gevinson is readying the launch of her own Web magazine, Rookie, on Monday.
The site's editorial content will have monthly themes, with the first focused around beginnings — “[It's] fairly wide-ranging, but definitely focused on ‘back-to-school’ and other ‘firsts,’” said Emily Condon, Rookie's managing editor, who was a former staffer for This American Life.
“Our content respects a kind of intelligence in the readers that right now a lot of writing about teenage girls doesn’t,” Gevinson told New York Times Magazine. “People think it’s just going to be another site or magazine that talks about how great celebrities are or how awful celebrities are or dieting . . .” she said. “And I’m like, ‘Just you wait and see.’”
Gevinson expects to do around three posts a day, with the first appearing after school, the second at dinnertime and the third “when you do your last Facebook check around bed or whatever,” Gevinson said. “I’m in school, and I can’t be at my computer all day.”
She's assembled a staff that includes Condon; New York Times blog specialist Jeremy Zilar acting as Rookie's project manager; Anaheed Alani (wife to This American Life's Ira Glass, who advised Gevinson in negotiations with Say Media, and a former freelance fact-checker for The New York Times Magazine) as story editor; regular writers like Lesley Arfin and Sady Doyle; and guest contributors including Zooey Deschanel, Miranda July, Winnie Holzman, Joss Whedon, Jack Black, Dan Savage, Patton Oswalt, Shannon Woodward, Anna Faris, Kid Sister, Supercute!, Paul Feig, JD Samson, Alia Shawkat, and Fred Armisen.
New York magazine's parent company, New York Media, is handling advertising for the site, and Gevinson's father, who now acts as her manager, says they're currently in talks with potential investors and sponsors.
All of the new DVD releases hit stores (and Netflix) on Tuesdays. So each week in What to Netflix: New DVD Tuesday, I sort through the best of the batch and tell you what to add to your queue. In addition to my selections below, you can also check out the dreamboat special that is Leatherheads and Simon Pegg's comedy Run, Fat Boy, Run.
Sex and the City: The Movie
Well, the big day has arrived: the Sex and the City movie is here for you to rent or own. Whether you missed this one in theaters (hard to imagine) or are excited to fast-forward to your favorite parts, the fab four has come full circle back to your small screen. I'm interested in revisiting this one, since the movie is super long and there is a lot to take in.
This is the kind of movie for which special features were made. Get a load of these: commentary by director Michael Patrick King; a conversation with Sarah Jessica Parker and Michael Patrick King; featurettes titled, "The Fabulous Fashion of Sex and the City," "Fergie in the Studio: Watch a Hit in the Making as the Singer Records Labels or Love for the Movie Soundtrack," and additional scenes.
So, are you bringing this one home this week?
Three more selections to go, so read more
The gorgeous, intimate television version of This American Life was one of the most pleasant surprises of last TV season. All my fears about how the radio show would translate to the big screen were erased by the end of the first installment, and the short, six-episode season left me wanting more.
The show returns for its second season this coming Sunday, May 4, and — as host and indie icon Ira Glass says in the Showtime trailer — this time they "actually sort of semi-even know what we're doing." Once again, each episode will have a theme (this Sunday's premiere is "Escapes"), with a variety of different takes on the theme — from mini-documentaries to first-person storytelling to animated cartoons.
Some of you will be able to get a sneak preview of the second season in theaters this Thursday, but if you can't make it (or can't wait), you can see a trailer for the show's second season when you read more
Now, on May 1, there will be a chance to see This American Life on an even bigger screen, as it comes to theaters nationwide for one night only. The theater version will be like the show's occasional touring stage readings — but on a very large stage, indeed, one that reaches hundreds of cities simultaneously. Basically, they'll film one show and send it via satellite to select theaters, live. (Well, not live on the West Coast, because it would have to start at 5 p.m. But it's live everywhere else.)
Tickets go on sale April 4, but for now, you can check out the complete list of participating theaters. It really is a long list, considering that not all that many theaters have the capacity to broadcast a live, digital satellite feed. "Everywhere we can show it," the producers say, "we are."
Also cool: Show creator Ira Glass will take questions during the broadcast. Want one of them to be yours? Here's how.
While we're at it, there's no word yet on when the TV show's second season will premiere on Showtime, but I'll keep you updated.
Photo courtesy of Showtime
No Showtime? No problem, if you want to see the first episode of the fantastic new "This American Life" TV show. Showtime has put the first episode online for free. No word on if they'll keep doing this, though the ad right below the video player encouraging people to subscribe to Showtime makes me think not.
While you're at it, check out the "What I Learned from Television" episode of the "This American Life" radio show. It's packed with goodies for TV junkies like me, but the best part comes in Act 3, just over 30 minutes in, when Ira Glass starts talking about his over-the-top love for "The OC." Also included: a performance of "California" by Mates of State. Love it!
Photo courtesy of Showtime
Those of you who have Showtime are in luck: I'm positively giddy about "This American Life," which premieres this Thursday. I've been nervously awaiting the TV adaptation of my favorite radio show, and having seen several episodes, I can say it doesn't disappoint. The show is as funny, quirky, and moving on TV as it is on the radio — only now, it's also pretty.
In fact, "This American Life" is the prettiest thing I've seen on television, period. It's full of sweeping landscape shots, rich colors, and interesting angles. As creator and host Ira Glass has said, it doesn't look like anything else on TV, but that doesn't mean it looks like a movie, either. I suppose it's most like a series of photographs that happen to be moving. The stories themselves manage to feel just as fresh and intimate on screen, so to hear more about the show and see some clips, read more
I've been a huge fan of the public-radio storytelling series "This American Life" for years. I'm so obsessed with the show's personal essays and quirky fiction that I used to record the broadcasts to cassette. (Now I just download the podcast). Once when I was in college in Chicago, I even walked out of a theater next to the show's nerdy-cool host, Ira Glass, and was too starstruck to say anything.
Naturally, I'm super-excited about two pieces of "This American Life" news: First, that the long-awaited TV show based on the radio stories will debut on Showtime on March 19, according to Entertainment Weekly. And second, that Ira Glass and the others have signed a deal with DreamWorks to develop movies based on the show's stories.
Granted, last year's Unaccompanied Minors, based on the show's story about kids stranded at a Chicago airport over the holidays, wasn't exactly a hit. But I think lots of other stories could make good movies — say, maybe this one about the stolen parrot?
Any other "This American Life" fans out there? Which episodes do you think would work on film?