Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ira in my life

When I listen to This American Life podcasts I usually spend most of the hour looking like this:

Beth "cry-baby" March
But it is totally worth it for the surprising, entertaining, shocking, hilarious and and nearly always moving stories that it collects and presents.* Like the episode Neighbourhood Watch, in which an older woman searches for people who might volunteer to be friends with her middle-aged Autistic son, so that when she dies he won't be left all alone. In which we hear about how regular everyday postmen save lives, stop fraud and get to know the people they deliver mail to daily. In which a man takes his baby daughter for a walk around the block for the first time and it's the most terrifying walk he's ever taken - because he's blind.

Also, I have a rather large crush on the nerdy host, Ira Glass. 

Ira "HandsomeInGlasses" Glass
When he came to town earlier this year I discovered I was not alone in my affection. Dagnammit. Many fellow admirers packed out the Athenaeum Theatre**. That time he wandered the stage, controlling music and audio clips from the iPad cradled in his arm and talked about what made a great story, and how great a medium radio is for telling these stories.

But now! Now you can go to the Cinema Nova and you can watch a two-hour long live This American Life show - with bonus visuals! Great animations, a short film, dance, music - the works! A cast of impeccable storytellers, and dishy Ira. It's absolutely brilliant, and includes David Sedaris. Wouldn't it be great to bottle these real life stories and then take them apart to figure out how to recreate it in fiction? Are they so amazing because they're spoken out loud, usually by the people to whom the story actually happened?

The very visual story about the discovery of Vivian Maier's photographs was the highlight for me, I think (oh, it was all so good). Check out her amazing photographs from the 50s and 60s here.

photo by Vivian Maier
Get tickets here. Last shows this weekend.

Visit the This American Life website.

* Totally worth the ugly, chin-wobbling sobfest. I just don't listen on the tram anymore. 
**Threatening via twitter to throw their undies.


  1. I just started listening to the episode What Is This Thing? that includes a trip to the Romance Writers of America conference - where the journalist realises she intended to be condescending and comes away marvelling at how NICE romance writers all are to each other. :-) So good.

    The three that have made me cry were Dan Savage's story "Our Man of Perpetual Sorrow" (

    Blood brothers (

    and When Worlds Collide (

    It just makes you realise how amazing humans are. I love that!


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