Like late-night for radio, hosted by Luke Burbank (Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me), the show artfully blends an eclectic mix of artists, musicians, writers, filmmakers, comedians and cultural observers. Music, comedy, and conversation, live and packed with surprises.
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello share stories of fictional and nonfictional dissertations; writer Chuck Klosterman explains why a puma in an airplane bathroom appears in his newest collection "Raised in Captivity;" humorist Tiffany Midge pokes holes in the notion of the “contemporary” Native writer; and indie pop group Tacocat performs “Grains of Salt” from their latest album "This Mess Is a Place."
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello share the superpowers they would most like to possess; comedian Rhys Darby schools us on the secret underwater continent of Zealandia; comic book writer Kelly Sue DeConnick explains how she uncovers the humanity in her superhero characters; theater artist Ahamefule Oluo admits that performing a one-man show about his mother is sometimes awkward… especially when she’s in the audience; and indie rocker Cataldo teams up with Oluo to perform “When You First See the Waves” from the new album "Literally Main Street."
Host Luke Burbank recounts how a garter snake got “The Last Laugh” when it refused to leave his dining room; comedian Josh Gondelman attempts to be a nice guy in the competitive world of comedy; author Clyde W. Ford reflects on his father’s career as the first black software engineer in the nation; endurance athletes Alex Borsuk and Kaytlyn Gerbin discuss how they broke a record by conquering Mount Rainier’s Infinity Loop; and Americana duo The Lowest Pair perform “Rosie” from their album “The Sacred Heart Sessions.”
In this special Live Wire episode, host Luke Burbank catches up with comedian Pete Holmes on his "Comedy Sex God" book tour, where he explains how TV success took him in a new spiritual direction; poet Franny Choi discusses how she incorporated Google Translate and the Turing Test into her latest collection "Soft Science;" and powerhouse vocalist Jimmie Herrod, with Pink Martini, performs a rendition of the classic ballad “The Exodus Song.”
Humorist and former Live Wire host Courtenay Hameister reads from her recent nonfiction book "Okay Fine Whatever: The Year I Went from Being Afraid of Everything to Only Being Afraid of Most Things," which is a semi-finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor. Courtenay shared this essay on stage during Live Wire's 15th anniversary show in June 2019 at Revolution Hall in Portland, Oregon.
Celebrating Live Wire’s 15th anniversary, host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello give advice to their 15-year-old selves; writer and TV creator Lindy West explains why she is not the lead character in her Hulu series "Shrill;" comedian Dave Hill demonstrates how making mother jokes will get you kicked off of Twitter; and genre-crossing musical group Pink Martini perform the first song they ever wrote, the French language “Sympathique.”
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello contemplate a life on Mars; acclaimed author Karen Russell explains why she creates fantastical worlds in her stories to get at truth; comedian and television host W. Kamau Bell describes how his CNN show "United Shades of America" is really about gentrification; and multi-instrumentalist Kishi Bashi performs “Summer of ’42” from his latest album "Omoiyari."
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello share their personal catchphrases; comedian Paul F. Tompkins impersonates iconic German filmmaker Werner Herzog to review his local Trader Joe’s; author and activist Anuradha Bhagwati discusses the challenges women face for equal treatment in the Marines; and singer-songwriter Patterson Hood performs “21st Century USA.”
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello reveal their wild sides; podcasters Eula Scott Bynoe and Jeannie Yandel discuss why their show “Battle Tactics For Your Sexist Workplace” is always relevant; comedian Kurt Braunohler admits that becoming a new father finally put his “dad looks” to good use; Mongol derby winner Lara Prior-Palmer explains how she became the first woman to win the longest horse race on earth; and the world's first gay country band Lavender Country perform, “I Can’t Shake the Stranger Out of You.”
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello discuss the pop songs they think really “get to the point" of life; actor and comedian Michael Ian Black proves the low barrier into podcasting with his show Obscure; writer Melissa Febos calculates the personal risks of writing confessional memoirs; fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad explains how her childhood ambition carried her all the way to the Olympic podium; and soul-rock group Dirty Revival perform “Pipe Dreams.”
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello share their favorite words, both literally and figuratively; actor and television writer Ryan O’Connell explains how keeping his cerebral palsy a secret inspired his book and Netflix series "Special;" grammar expert Mary Norris recounts her early days at The New Yorker and her foray into all things Greek; comedian Jackie Kashian isn’t buying the “empathic” abilities of her fellow comics; and soul-rock group The Get Ahead perform “Deepest Light.”
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello discuss doing away with minor annoyances in the “Not Too Distant Future;” U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon describes how partisan politics have gotten personal; poet Anis Mojgani laments his love-hate relationship with the possum; Sharon Ross, aka Afrovivalist, tells us how she prepares for eminent disaster; comedian Joe Zimmerman explains why his credit card purchases are the perfect alibi; and Hawaiian soul group Ron Artis II & The Truth perform “Carry Me Along” from their album from "Soul Street."
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello reveal their personal “Balancing Acts;” author Pam Houston reconciles her great love of the natural world and the challenges of living within it, as outlined in her latest book "Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country;" comedian Naomi Ekperigin talks couples therapy for comedians; entrepreneur and social activist Nadya Okamoto explains why she ignited the “menstrual movement;” and Shook Twins perform “Safe” from their album "Some Good Lives."
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello get down to some “Real Talk;” writer Mitchell S. Jackson discusses how – in his latest book “Survival Math” – he uses men of history to frame his own painful relationships with women of his past; author and psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb explains the importance of delivering a “compassionate truth bomb” to loved ones in need; comedian Mohanad Elshieky recounts how his confrontation with the border control on a Greyhound bus went viral; and blues-rock group Revel in Dimes perform “Tough City for Love.”
This podcast short features the original interview with award-winning writer Elena Passarello who, after this appearance, became Live Wire's announcer. Elena is the author of two books of nonfiction, "Let Me Clear My Throat" (2012) and "Animals Strike Curious Poses" (2017). She is also the first female winner of the annual "Stanley and Stella Shouting Contest" held in New Orleans. Listen to this podcast to hear Elena's winning scream! And stay tuned for a song by folk rock singer This is The Kit, who performed on Live Wire in 2017.
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello discuss not-so-classic “Ice Breakers;” endurance athlete and adventurer Colin O’Brady recounts his world record-breaking trek across Antarctica; author Dani Shapiro explains how a mail-in DNA test revealed a deep-seeded family secret; comedian Chris Garcia pokes fun at his life choices by channeling his hard-working Cuban father; and Casey Neill & The Norway Rats perform “Savages” from their album “Subterrene.”
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello unpack the concept of “Going Rogue;” blogger Geraldine DeRuiter of The Everywhereist explains why she hangs onto things that spark rage; comedian Matteo Lane debates the job description of pharmacists; Seattle chef Makini Howell describes why she's an advocate of inclusive vegan cuisine; and Valley Maker performs “Beautiful Birds Flying” from their latest album “Rhododendron.”
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello discuss what it means to be “Buggin’ Out” in their forties; music writer and New York Times bestselling author Hanif Abdurraqib explains how music is a vehicle for writing about life on the periphery; grief expert and podcaster Nora McInerny comments on the intersection of grief and desire; comedian Nore Davis riffs on the secret lives of school teachers; and singer-songwriter Alela Diane performs “Albatross” from her latest album "Cusp."
This special Live Wire episode brings together some "All-Star" guests by way of the Portland Book Festival; celebrated author Luis Alberto Urrea dissects the dynamics of his Mexican family, which inspired his latest book "The House of Broken Angels;" master poet Eileen Myles takes on the presidency in a reading of their epic poem "Acceptance Speech;" and internet sensation Moshow The Cat Rapper gives lessons on peace, love, and not declawing your cats.
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello dispute the importance of their dream lives; satirist Caitlin Kunkel shares her favorite jokes from her new book, "New Erotica for Feminists: Satirical Fantasies of Love, Lust, and Equal Pay;" comedian Ian Karmel takes down the masculinity of men's grooming products; radio host Al Letson revisits an uncomfortable conversation with a far-right vlogger whose life he saved; and singer-songwriter Laura Gibson performs "Tenderness."
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello unpack the ominous implications of “The Morning After;” author and journalist Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall describes his gonzo attempts to find the cure for the hangover; comedy duo Frangela riff on why they’re not giving up their healthcare; sex and relationship columnist Dan Savage advises on monogamy, gender pronouns, and online social etiquette; and Ethio-Jazz performer Meklit makes her return to Live Wire with the song, “I Want to Sing to Them All.”
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello discuss the significance of “Hand-Me-Downs”… namely, Luke’s childhood stirrup jeans; author and humorist John Hodgman recounts how inheriting his mother’s vacation home led him into the wilderness of homeownership; writer RJ Young explains how he got immersed in the world of race, guns, and self-protection after being gifted a pistol from his father-in-law; musician Fabi Reyna shares why she launched "She Shreds" – the only magazine devoted to female guitarists; and cumbia/Latin band Sávila perform “La Danza.”
In this second installment from the Portland Book Festival, host Luke Burbank and Elena Passarello explore the process of “character building” for actors; celebrated author Lauren Groff makes the case for why art is not a competition; writer Tommy Orange discusses how urban Native identity became the theme of his debut novel There There; comedian Caitlin Weierhauser admits to telling all her secrets to pugs; and singer-songwriter Lucy Kaplansky performs her tune “Keeping Time.”
In this special Portland Book Festival episode, host Luke Burbank and Elena Passarello discuss "hitting the road" and the risks of hitchhiking; Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson recounts her solo cross-country road trip; writer Nicole Chung discusses her journey of discovering the difficult truth behind her own adoption; Peter Sagal, host of Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, takes a marathon-length inspired quiz; and Seattle soul group The Dip perform their single “Atlas.”
Host Luke Burbank and Elena Passarello describe moments when they "paid their dues;" memoirist Thomas Page McBee shares what he learned about masculinity while training to become the first transgender man to box at Madison Square Garden; dope queen Phoebe Robinson reflects on managing debt and embracing "trash" culture; entrepreneur Lainey Morse reveals the origins of goat yoga; and Americana wunderkind Sammy Brue performs the song "Our Garden."
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello confess to how bad they are at “letting go;” poet Tommy Pico explains how writing as his alter ego "Teebs" allows him to be less self-censoring in his work; journalist Eli Saslow discusses Derek Black – the subject of his new book "Rising Out of Hatred" – and how the once-heir to the white nationalist movement made a stunning transformation; comedian Emily Heller spins gut-busting analogies to online dating; and indie rock duo The Helio Sequence perform “Lately” from their album “Keep Your Eyes Ahead.”
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello “face their fears” of the IRS and snakes; journalist Jose Antonio Vargas recounts coming out as an undocumented immigrant who faces deportation at any moment; comedian Marcella Arguello makes the case for staying single over 30; writer and former Live Wire host Courtenay Hameister describes how she spent a year facing her anxiety head-on by engaging in activities that pushed her boundaries; and folk duo Planes on Paper perform “Hermit Song.”
Host Luke Burbank gets a “fresh start” when he learns how to correctly pronounce announcer Elena Passarello’s name; writer Gary Shteyngart recounts how his Greyhound adventures across America inspired his new book “Lake Success;” comedian Hari Kondabolu shares his experience teaching stand-up to prison inmates; 14-year-old Maxine McCormick explains how she became the two-time world champion of fly casting; and Portland folk band Lenore perform their track, “Thick Skin, Tender Heart.”
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello “Face the Music” in this episode from a hotel room in the Live Music Capital of the World – Austin, Texas. Busker-turned-bona fide blues artist Charley Crockett subs in as Live Wire’s house band; poet Roger Reeves stops by and tells us why poetry is the harbinger of the future; and the women behind Austin’s famed La Barbeque – music and fashion photographer LeAnn Mueller and her partner Ali Clem – share the secrets to quintessential Texas BBQ.
In this studio segment, Luke speaks with mortician Caitlin Doughty, who is known for advocating death acceptance and the reform of the Western funeral industry. She is the creator of the web series "Ask a Mortician," founder of the organization The Order of the Good Death, and is the author of two bestselling books, "From Here to Eternity" and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." In this interview, Caitlin discusses death phobia, corpse interaction, and how many cultures outside of the United States tend to have a more positive relationship to grief.
Kevin Young, acclaimed poet and poetry editor of The New Yorker, speaks on his writing process, the inspiration he gleaned from Prince, and the cross-section between hip hop and poetry in describing the black experience. Young also reads from his collection "Blue Laws," including a poem about boxer Jack Johnson – the first black heavyweight champion.
A humorist, novelist, and television writer, Rich talks with Luke about his youthful appearance making him "seem like a pretty clever 14-year-old," which leads to the longest awkward pause in Live Wire history. As a bonus treat, humorous segments from Rich's books are performed by Faces For Radio Theater.
In this podcast short from the Live Wire archive, author and activist Barbara Ehrenreich ("Nickel and Dimed") speaks to Luke Burbank back in 2014 about her book “Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth About Everything," defining the mysterious "visions" she experienced as a lifelong atheist, and her unending quest for knowledge.
Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello relive their “great escapes;” writer Tessa Fontaine explains how learning to eat fire as a part of America's last traveling sideshow helped mend her broken heart; comedian and actor Moses Storm riffs on a childhood spent living in a bus with his missionary family; memoirist and visa lottery winner Abdi Nor Iftin recounts his journey from war-torn Somalia to rural Maine; and singer-songwriter Laura Veirs performs the T.S. Eliot-inspired “Margaret Sands” from her latest album “The Lookout.”
Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello talk “do-overs” with real and hypothetical tattoos; author Anya Yurchyshyn discusses her new memoir “My Dead Parents,” in which she explores aspects of her parents she never knew; journalist and podcaster Mike Pesca dissects the most intriguing “what ifs” in sports history; science vlogger Lindsey Murphy reveals how she engages her young “Fab Lab" audience; comedian Robby Slowik ruminates on the need for a national anthem; and doom-wop singer-songwriter Prom Queen gives herself a musical makeover with her track “Blonde.”
Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello reveal what takes them out of their comfort zones; comedian Paul F. Tompkins discusses the perils of improvising on his podcast “Spontaneanation” and shares the secrets behind writing his theme to the film, “Phantom Thread;” writer Ijeoma Oluo unpacks the themes of racial oppression in her new book, “So You Want to Talk About Race;” and hip hop artist Open Mike Eagle performs a track from his concept album “Brick Body Kids Still Daydream” about the Chicago Housing Project where spent time as a kid.
Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello talk personal “breakthrough” moments, including the Jimmy Buffett lyric that has eluded them both; poet and music writer Hanif Abdurraqib discusses essays from his critically acclaimed book “They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us” and why he's no longer willing to suffer for his art; Portland scientist Mary Zelinski shares the breakthrough research on male contraceptives; comedian Beth Stelling spins stories on childhood guinea pigs and skin conditions; and folk humorist John Craigie performs, “Let’s Talk This Over When We’re Sober and Not at Burning Man.”
Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello recall times when they were way over their heads; Marine-turned-writer Matt Young reflects on how his experience in the military informed his gut-wrenching memoir “Eat the Apple;” Portland non-profit leader Brandi Tuck explains how bringing together musicians and homeless mothers can produce healing; comedian Katie Nguyen riffs on the new “dewy” beauty standard; and musician Tomo Nakayama plays the title track from his airport-inspired album “Pieces of Sky.”
Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello talk about their true beliefs; Chapman & Maclain Way, creators of the Netflix docuseries “Wild Wild Country,” discuss the incredible true story behind the followers of guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh who established a controversial commune in 1980s rural Oregon; sports journalist Mary Pilon details the life of Olympian Kevin Hall and his struggles with the Truman Show delusion; high school senior Raley Schweinfurth explains her award-winning efforts to save Portland’s bees; comedian Ahmed Bharoocha questions the crow flight training program; and Hawaiian soul group Ron Artis II & The Truth perform “Searching for Answers.”
Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello confess their guilty pleasures; New York Times columnist Lindy West reveals how she tried to entice Donald Trump into blocking her from Twitter; Sarah Gertrude Shapiro unpacks how her Lifetime series UnREAL was inspired by her own troubled experiences as a producer of The Bachelor; comedian Alex Falcone shares his frustrations over the "fashion raccoons" of secondhand boutiques; Portland startup entrepreneur Stephen Green speaks on the importance of supporting local Black businesses; and soul group Moorea Masa & The Mood perform “Ever Moving.”
Comedian Laurie Kilmartin talks about her new book Dead People Suck, in which she uses dark humor to process the death of her father; writer, podcaster and YouTube star Gaby Dunn spills about her problems with money and defining her sexuality in the age of social media; singer-songwriter Chris Staples reflects on being mistook for a popular country singer with a similar name, and host Luke Burbank is joined onstage by writer Elena Passarello to unpack a story about watching a tongue-in-cheek puppet show of actor Ethan Hawk… and how relaying the tale to the actor himself fell flat.
Writer Terese Marie Mailhot discusses her new memoir “Heart Berries” and the importance of empathy for the indigenous experience, comedian Jason Traeger describes his therapist choices in Portland, program director of the American Culinary Institute Sophie Egan talks about what’s known as the American food psyche, and former Fats Domino band member and saxophonist Reggie Houston performs the jazz standard “Autumn Leaves."
Luke Burbank describes his attempts to get enlightened, acclaimed author George Saunders explains how swimming in a river of monkey poop led to an illustrious writing career and opens up about his newfound admiration for Abraham Lincoln (the protagonist of this newest work, "Lincoln in the Bardo"), comedian Jay Larson riffs on passive-aggressive Yelp reviews, Unlikely Hikers' Jenny Bruso reflects on her journey to make the outdoors more accessible for all, and indie folk band Horse Feathers perform the first track off their forthcoming album, “Appreciation.”
Host Luke Burbank details how his contrarian streak affects his marriage, author Lidia Yuknavitch shows us how to embrace our inner misfit, Dinner Party Download hosts Rico Gagliano and Brendan Francis Newnam make the case against brunch, comedian Andy Kindler discusses how his recent foray into therapy has changed his comedy, and Ural Thomas and the Pain bring us musical relief.
Say goodbye to 2017 with the Live Wire Time Capsule Throw Down! Recorded at Seattle’s Neptune Theatre, host Luke Burbank plays a game with guests John Roderick and Ken Jennings in which they attempt to encapsulate this past year in all its strangeness.
Omnibus podcast hosts Ken Jennings and John Roderick give a glimpse of what stories are inside their audio time capsule for future generations (and/or alien invaders), BuzzFeed grammar wiz Emmy Favilla breaks down the problem with punctuation, Seattle’s Civic Poet Anastacia-Reneé shares what it’s like to have an identity that encapsulates everything the president hates, and singer-songwriter Laura Gibson utilizes her newly acquired MFA to improvise musical CliffsNotes about literary classics.
Luke Burbank kicks off the “Cautionary Tales” episode with a harrowing anecdote about his dog’s actual tail, Welcome to Night Vale creators Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor provide some techniques for concentrating on art during trying political times, poet Danez Smith deconstructs wokeness, author Edan Lepucki shares her methods for conjuring a ‘female snarl’ writing state, and musician and animator Chad VanGaalen performs the track “Static Shape.”
In this special “Leftovers” edition of Live Wire, host Luke Burbank offers up a smorgasbord of cutting room floor delights. Snap Judgment host Glynn Washington crafts cocktail-related stories, a hypnotist helps Elna Baker discover she has 11 fingers, futurist comedian Baratunde Thurston stands his intellectual ground, Ariel Levy evaluates the credibility of some celebrity factoids using only her journalistic instinct, and folk troubadour John Craigie performs the tune, “I Am California.”
Luke Burbank reflects on the lessons he learned from a day without his iPhone, New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik shares his 40-year nostalgia theory and how sex with a long-term partner can reach civil war reenactment status, essayist Elena Passarello coins the term “animalsonified” while examining humans’ complicated relationships with famed mammals, and RnB singer Blossom performs the brand new track, “Possibilities.”
Luke Burbank peels back the curtain on a show recording gone wrong that later became the foundation of Live Wire Miracle Day, author and advice columnist Cheryl Strayed offers up some Thanksgiving table survival techniques, futurist comedian Baratunde Thurston reveals the dangers of “anti-social people developing all of our social tools,” and musical guest Meklit brings us along on her journey to find beauty and music in everyday sounds.
Luke Burbank remembers a childhood basketball wager that put the fate of Christianity on the line, Cards Against Humanity co-founder Max Temkin depicts his “particular subspecies of nerd,” poet Kevin Coval explains why hip-hop deserves a Nobel Peace Prize, comedian Adam Burke asks Chicago to drop the “no ketchup rule,” and rapper Malcolm London performs songs from his latest release, OPIA.
Filmmaker Lynn Shelton details how working on a fishing boat helped her appreciate life on a film set, Second Wave podcast host Thanh Tan details her life as a child of Vietnamese immigrants long after the war, comedian Kevin Avery describes how his podcast “Denzel Washington Is The Greatest Actor Of All Time Period” made his run-in with the star especially awkward, and Makana schools us on slack-key guitar.
Host Luke Burbank makes yet another mid-life crisis purchase, iconic B-movie actor Bruce Campbell explains why you’ll never meet Tom Cruise, folk legend Loudon Wainwright III muses about his own propensity to share intensely personal experiences and his children’s (occasionally hurtful) ability to do the same, and comedian Karinda Dobbins spins personal anecdotes about systemic racism into comedy gold.
In this special edition of Live Wire, Luke goes backstage during soundcheck for "Lampedusa: Concert for Refugees" to talk to some of the most iconic musicians of our time. Emmylou Harris reveals how she got waylaid on her way to Woodstock, Dave Matthews talks about managing a wide spectrum of his feelings during live performances, Steve Earle discusses how his real-life struggle with addiction intersected with his role on the HBO series The Wire, Patty Griffin recounts how she overcame her shyness through music and how her parents have helped her stay humble and Brandi Carlile reflects on her musical start as a teenager winning karaoke championships.
Live Wire visits Salt Lake City! Olympic gold medalist Picabo Street details the complex mental gymnastics that go into avoiding a fatal ski crash, author Mark Sundeen shares stories of people who make radical choices to live their values, radio producer Scott Carrier recounts how hitchhiking to NPR’s headquarters kicked off his career, and musical prodigy Sammy Brue reveals musical wisdom beyond his 16 years.
Author Salman Rushdie reveals the Queen’s go-to icebreaker for talking to authors, comedian Joe Kwaczala questions the singing training of Catholic priests, showrunner Shadi Petosky describes how she’s working to increase queer representation in children’s media, and Death Cab for Cutie sideman Dave Depper takes the spotlight.
Luke Burbank remembers the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption before speaking with two hikers stranded in the Eagle Creek Fire, writer Chuck Klosterman shares his theories about flawed thinking, author Shawn Wen describes the creative journey her fascination with mime Marcel Marceau has taken her on, and Justin Townes Earle talks about growing up in the shadow of musical greatness.
In this special Labor Day episode of Live Wire, blind adventurer Erik Weihenmayer recalls summiting Everest and what it was like seeing his son’s face for the first time, social entrepreneur Leila Janah illuminates issues with current aid models and how conscientious consumers can change the world, comedian Mohanad Elshieky takes some punches at the American political system, and singer-songwriters Walter Martin and Jason Isbell chime in with their own labors of love.
Another episode from our archives: Luke and writer Sherman Alexie discuss kicking Philip Roth's literary ass, thinking beyond the reservation, and the particular challenge of being jealous of your kids.
In this special studio episode of Live Wire, Luke Burbank explores the notion of freedom. Amanda Knox continues the difficult work of healing from the trauma of her wrongful murder conviction and four years in an Italian prison, "Dear White People" creator Justin Simien discusses the catharsis and challenges of taking a satirical look at race relations, and alt-folk musician Shakey Graves rattles us to the core with a live version of “Roll the Bones.”
Ron Funches details finding his comedic voice and what it takes to make his mother proud, author Walter Kirn reveals how even a trained journalist could fall into a serial killer’s elaborate con as an imposter Rockefeller, and The Secret Sisters delight with a harmonic folk earworm.
Comedian Hari Kondabolu questions the devil’s need for advocates, journalist and author Faith Salie admits that being an approval junkie is particularly challenging when releasing a book on that topic, and looping violinist Joe Kye creates a complex and beautiful soundscape.
Author and prolific actor Stephen Tobolowsky takes us to the genesis of his spiritual reawakening, New Yorker writer and memoirist Ariel Levy opens up about what it’s like to keep reliving the worst year of her life, The Minimalists preach the purging gospel, and singer/songwriter Haley Heynderickx brings it home with the impromptu harmonic help of the Live Wire house band.
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Live Wire travels east to Pendleton,Oregon! Abstract painter James Lavadour recalls growing up on the Umatilla Reservation and how his energetic connection with the land transfuses into his work, Roam Schooled podcasters Jim Brunberg and his twin daughters restore the wonder of searching for answers without a wifi connection, June Colony introduces us to her new breed of sheep, and local legend Rodney Bonifer teaches Luke how to yodel before taking us out on a ballad about the Pendleton Round-Up.
In this special spring membership drive edition of Live Wire, we look behind the scenes at Fox’s animated TV sitcom Bob’s Burgers with actor Kristin Schaal and writer/producer Scott Jacobson. Plus original songs from the show featuring Laura Gibson and John Roderick!
Support Live Wire today: livewire.ejoinme.org/spring2017
NPR’s Snap Judgment host Glynn Washington shares his desire to build empathy through vulnerable storytelling, Kelly McEvers of NPR’s All Things Considered explains how her malfunctioning danger sensor has led her to a career in deep-dive journalism, Environmental Services Field Supervisor Randy Belston gives us a taste (and scent) of what it’s like to work in Portland’s sewer system, and Grammy-winning neo-soul artist Bilal finishes off this lowdown episode on a stunningly high note.
Savage Love columnist and the “It Gets Better Project” mastermind Dan Savage takes us on a trip down sex advice memory lane, author and “Inside Amy Schumer” head writer Jessi Klein puts forth the compelling argument that taking baths actually makes one dirtier, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson provides step-by-step instructions for how to sue your president, and alt-rocker Ayron Jones takes us out on a spine-chilling note.
“Rick and Morty” co-creator Dan Harmon talks about his creative process and the impending stalemate with his therapist, actor and playwright Lauren Weedman discusses the merits and perils of revealing personal (and often painful) stories to the world, poet Anis Mojgani leaves us hanging on every word, and Fruit Bats frontman Eric D. Johnson sings of unrequited love.
Saturday Night Live cast member Sasheer Zamata recalls her journey to the comedy stage, author Ayelet Waldman details her experience as an LSD microdosing case study of one, Last Comic Standing winner Alonzo Bodden tears into the American zeitgeist, and Craig Finn (of The Hold Steady) defends his Minnesotan honor before performing a new song about his home state.
My Drunk Kitchen star and author Hannah Hart details the long process of coming out to herself and her family, former child actor and memoirist Mara Wilson recalls the end of her love affair with Hollywood and making peace with forever being Matilda, Jim Norton poses a theory on why you don’t see classically beautiful comedians, and folk singer John Craigie performs an ode to some incriminating photos on his phone.
Journalist Matt Taibbi recounts the years leading up to our current post-factual predicament, graphic novelist Thi Bui recalls her family's harrowing escape from South Vietnam, comedian El Sanchez deconstructs the gender binary, and musical act Hibou provides a synth-soaked nostalgia-inducing soundtrack.
Comedian Horatio Sanz recounts his days at SNL and the roll of comedy in political journalism, comedian Aparna Nancherla teaches us how to turn anxiety into comedy gold, the owners of Portland’s cat cafe explain the benefits of purr therapy, and Kyle Craft warns of the dangers of walls.
Author Elna Baker recounts childhood memories of workshopping material at her Mormon church’s “open mic” sessions, comedian and former SNL writer Brooks Wheelan teaches us how to fast talk our way out of illegal situations, Zahir Janmohamed breaks down the peanut butter and jelly controversy that led to the naming of his podcast The Racist Sandwich, and jazz virtuoso Thundercat treats us to a scale-flipping treasure from his forthcoming release, Drunk.
Author Maria Semple gives tips for sneaking into rock bands' hotel rooms, actor Misha Collins talks about doing good through his philanthropic scavenger hunt, activist and author Gyasi Ross reports back from his time at the Standing Rock protests and demonstrates the transformational power of a long hug, and Telekinesis reminds us of all the good in the world.
Performer Reggie Watts talks improvisation and composes a ringtone for us, chef Rick Bayless discusses the merits of eyeball tacos, and journalist Jenn White reveals why Oprah's legacy continues to resonate.
Congressman Earl Blumenauer shares his perspective on the recent election, chef Naomi Pomeroy strives to make a gourmet dish with ingredients sourced from our local convenience store, Darcelle reflects on her path to becoming America's oldest drag queen, comedian Mohanad Elshieky compares notes on life in Portland to his hometown of Benghazi, and My Bubba makes us lonesome... in a good way.
Sherman Alexie discusses how his father's death inspired him to write a children's book, Garrard Conley recounts his journey through gay conversion therapy and how it impacted his relationship with his parents, and Shovels & Rope harvest their family's experiences into a rollicking hootenanny.
Lindy West shares why she keeps speaking up on the internet despite her better judgment, Jonathan Lethem explains why he only plays poker with college professors, Emma Straub reveals why she believes her first four novels were (deservedly) rejected, and Blitzen Trapper does us right with a Gillian Welch cover.
In this special election episode of Live Wire, Radiolab hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich provide a cautionary tale of civic strife, comedian Baratunde Thurston speculates how the election has come to this divisive point, coder and artist Roopa Vasudevan explains what social media can show us that the polls can't, and subway performer Mike Yung demonstrates why his powerful voice went viral and reassures us that “A Change is Gonna Come.”
MSNBC's Chris Hayes' parents compete to see who knows the most about his career, comedian Michelle Buteau recounts the challenges of communicating with her Dutch in-laws, author Jonathan Safran Foer discusses negotiating the distance between who we are and who we want to be, and Kadhja Bonet casts a musical spell with her dreamy vocals.
Comedian Phoebe Robinson discusses the unexpected value of Googling herself and other not-so-guilty pleasures, former Simpsons writer Bill Oakley describes the dark reality of a comedy writers' room, Dr. Brian Druker shares why he is hopeful about the future of cancer research, and Blind Pilot navigates us through a lush musical landscape.
Comedian Nicole Byer professes her deep love for her therapist, Dr. Embriette Hyde explores the mysterious workings of our guts, NBA legend Terry Porter recalls overcoming his own doubt as an athletic late bloomer, and David Bazan's music resurfaces all those feelings we were trying to forget.
Live Wire goes to Phoenix, where Luke attempts to eat the hottest pepper in the world, entomologist Justin Schmidt tells us what getting stung by thousands of insects has taught him about pain, magician Penn Jillette describes the startling benefits of eating only potatoes, and Tucson’s official troubadour Ted Ramirez sings a love song to his hometown.
Bruce Campbell reflects on his status as a cult film actor, Colin O’Brady explains how it feels breaking the world record for climbing the highest peaks on each of the seven continents, Shannon Balcom discusses her gardening-related Pinterest fail, and Farnell Newton & The Othership Connection brings all the funk we can handle.
Comedian Paul F. Tompkins talks about his role on BoJack Horseman the simple joy of receiving handwritten mail, Another Round host Heben Nigatu describes how her podcast fits into the long tradition of black women talking to each other... and what she had to say to Hillary Clinton, The Oatmeal cartoonist Matthew Inman discusses accepting that he'll never be happy despite his massive success, and Pete Bernhard of The Devil Makes Three gifts us with a hauntingly beautiful Townes Van Zandt cover.
In a special Labor Day episode, comedian Mike Birbiglia chats about his latest film as well as his evolving definition of success, former NFL quarterback Joey Harrington discusses whether he’ll allow his sons to play football, and the band Joseph demonstrates how to achieve harmony between siblings.
In a show all about the art and science of being a lady, Luke plays "Marry, Boff, Klll: Scientist Edition" with Science: For Her! writer Megan Amram and talks to trans activist Joanna Lynne Ponce about seeing both sides of the gender equation, all while the Alialujah Choir lays down some boss harmonies.
Luke quits Facebook and darkness falls, Community creator Dan Harmon opens up about booze and NBC, comic Jackie Kashian explains why Native Americans may not be over the whole "stealing their country" thing and indie superband Eyelids rocks it.
Top Chef Boston finalists Gregory Gourdet and Doug Adams judge the first-ever Live Wire Bottom Chef competition, astrophysicist Sara Seager fills us in on the heated discussions behind naming planets, and Loch Lomond fill the hall with beautiful harmonies.
In an episode all about the unknown, The Gist's Mike Pesca tells Luke how to take the perfect nap, we go to great lengths to discover what scares "The Indiana Jones of Journalism" Nicholas Kristof (spoiled milk is on the list) and jazz great Bill Frisell plays a haunting version of "In My Life."
Author Sebastian Junger examines the struggles soldiers face readjusting to life at home and what they can tell us about the flaws of modern society, comedians Natasha Leggero and Moshe Kasher discuss the traditions they invoked (and invented) for their Jewish wedding, comic Claire Mulaney provides a cautionary tale for mixing pot cake with bowling, and La Luz’s “surf noir” sweeps us away.
Mandolinist Chris Thile discusses what excites him about his new gig as host of A Prairie Home Companion, comedian Dave Hill recounts what it was like writing ringtones for Donald Trump, and The Wild Reeds dazzle us with their astounding harmonies.
Comedian Paul Gilmartin discusses how his podcast helps erase the stigma around mental illness, Neal Bascomb recounts a courageous group of Norwegians that stopped the Nazis from obtaining the atomic bomb, and Open Mike Eagle reveals what “the Kurt Vonnegut of rap” sounds like (spoiler alert: pretty awesome).
Peggy Orenstein discusses how young women struggle to achieve “intimate justice” in their sex lives, professor D. Watkins recounts the path that took him from selling drugs in East Baltimore to his life as a published author, and Walter Martin charms us with his musical musings.
Sarah Vowell challenges Luke's public radio references, writer Chris Offutt examine's his father's secret profession, Sam Outlaw's sings about heading home again, and the Live Wire Lovebirds face-off in "The Cohabitation Examination."
Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist Jack Ohman talks about the most amazing moment of his career, poet Kevin Young reads from his latest collection, Minnesota Public Radio music host Andrea Swensson reminisces about the time Prince asked her to dance, and The von Trapps musically bid us adieu.
Live Wire celebrates Earth Day! Survivalist and Alone reality show contestant Dr. Nicole Apelian reveals her packing list for living solo in the wilderness, two teen activists explain why they are suing the U.S. government, wildlife photographer Gerrit Vyn attempts to identify some very... uh... unique bird calls, Anis Mojgani poeticizes his memories of growing up in New Orleans, and Fruition’s strings and harmonies take us out of this world and back again.