The Voice is a Thief We explore the extremes of the human voice with essayist Elena Passarello, winner of New Orleans’ annual “Stella!” scream competition, in which participants channel Marlon Brando’s abject bawling. You’ll also hear Passarello’s rendition of how Koko, the gorilla with a lexicon of 1000 signs, tells the legendarily dirty vaudeville joke “The Aristocrats.”
Sleeping Knowledge How can sound heal a body? With our guides, Susan Rogers—who recorded albums for Prince and David Byrne—and hypnotherapist Daniel Ryan, we explore the psychoacoustic properties of lawn sprinklers and the human voice in a journey that encompasses magician David Blaine, “spiritual entertainer” Alan Watts, parents of crying children, and all of us.
Episode 78: The Topiary Martin Starr (Silicon Valley, Freaks and Geeks), Matt Bush (Adventureland), and Lilan Bowden (Parks and Recreation) star in this science-fiction audio drama. On a distant space colony, Leon carves erotic topiaries as a way to become closer to his coworker Michael—until the arrival of a visitor on the final tourist shuttle begins to turn the men against each other.
Episode 76: A Radio Wave In My Brain What is the position of acne-picking in contemporary literature? Otessa Moshfegh, author of Eileen and most recently the collection Homesick for Another World, writes descriptions of bodily functions that rival those of Louis CK. Moshfegh, who was raised in an immigrant family and trained in classical piano, pushes the sonic idiosyncrasies of English as she brings the reader into uncomfortable intimacy with her characters.
Episode 75: The Cool Gaze of Madame Realism Lynne Tillman writes art criticism starring a fictional character, “Madame Realism,” whose experience of art includes more than just the viewing of paintings. Here, Tillman takes the Organist on an expedition through the MoMA, and during a brief misunderstanding, along the sidewalk outside the MoMA…
Episode 74: It's Very Indian to Watch AbFab Tommy Pico’s first book is one long poem in the form of a text — call it an epic sext. But it doesn’t just chronicle Pico’s dalliances with "boys, burgers, and booze" — it rewrites the figure of the Indian, redefining what it means to be a Native American poet in the age of the Internet.
Episode 70: A New Career in a New Town SNL’s Kyle Mooney on the art of crafting a three-dimensional bro impersonation and the ways in which the act of uploading a video to YouTube constitutes character development. Also: David J, the bassist of Bauhaus, follows a harmonica line from a jukebox playing "Groovin’ With Mr. Bloe” all the way into David Bowie’s afterlife.
Episode 69: The Testosterone Abyss The website Weird Dude Energy is singularly devoted to collecting the most inexplicable male behavior on the internet. It’s funny and weird, but if you study it carefully, it also raises some troubling and complicated questions: about contemporary masculinity and community—and about violence, misogyny, and Donald Trump.