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Posts Tagged ‘Sarah Vowell’

Ira Glass Reveals The End Of “This American Life” TV Show

92y.JPGWhat started as a casual conversation about the humble beginnings of Chicago Public Radio‘s “This American Life” turned into an impromptu press conference last night as host Ira Glass announced the end of the popular radio program’s Emmy nominated television spinoff on Showtime.

“I don’t know if I can say this yet, but we’ve asked to be taken off of television,” Glass revealed.

Glass’ unexpected announcement came in the midst of a Behind the Scenes event hosted at Manhattan’s 92nd Street Y. The night’s panel, moderated by NY1‘s Budd Mishkin, included the show’s senior producers Julie Snyder, Nancy Updike, Jane Feltes and Sean Cole, as well as film rights producer Alissa Shipp and production manager Seth Lind.

Then, of course, there was Glass — the host and executive producer of the public radio golden child and Showtime program of the same name — who has become ubiquitous on television, billboards and panels alike. His Buddy Holly glasses and graying spiked hair are familiar by now, and his notoriety explains why his introductory applause was by far the most sustained.

Steering the conversation casually, Mishkin lauded the program, giving the night a celebratory feel as the show’s creators discussed its methods and told insider stories to the delight of the crowd. The event began with anecdotes from seemingly slapdash beginnings, as Updike recalled struggling to fill an hour broadcast, even letting Glass wing it live to fill time in the days before the show’s syndication.

The producers reflected on the various media properties that have resulted since the humble inception of “This American Life,” including the forthcoming Steven Soderbergh film The Informant! starring Matt Damon, which is based on an episode.

According to Glass, the show’s relationship with movies was all about supply and demand: “We had no money, but a large supply of ideas, while Hollywood had a large amount of money and no ideas.”

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2009 Indies Choice Book Award Winners

icba.jpgThe American Booksellers Association, a network of independent booksellers, have announced the winners of the 2009 Indies Choice Book Awards. We think they’ve done good:

  • Best Indie Buzz Book (Fiction): The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (The Dial Press)

  • Best Conversation Starter (Nonfiction): The Wordy Shipmates, by Sarah Vowell (Riverhead)
  • Best Author Discovery: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wroblewski (Ecco)
  • Best Indie Young Adult Buzz Book (Fiction): The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins)
  • Best New Picture Book: Bats at the Library, by Brian Lies (Houghton Mifflin)
  • Most Engaging Author: Sherman Alexie
  • If you haven’t read ‘The Story of Edgar Sawtelle’ yet, do. Part of the story is told from the point of view of a dog, a tricky endeavor that even in the hands of gifted writers often comes across as sentimental and contrived. But with the character of Almondine, the novel has what may be the most accurate- and compelling- depiction of the canine mind in modern fiction.

    State by State, Or, A View of America That Doesn’t Involve Lipsticked Pigs*

    wpagg.pngThis has been a long, and awful week for a lot of people (one of the upshots of being in the online world is that we don’t have any money to lose) filled with extremely depressing numbers. So we thought, hey, why not end the week with some interesting numbers that have absolutely nothing to do with money, or Wall Street, or anything financial whatsoever. Phew. For example, did you know that New York rates 36th in the country for toothlessness (17.5%), or that we are 25th when it comes to breastfeeding (maybe they forgot to include Park Slope), or that we have the lowest suicide rate (Alaska has the highest, insert Palin joke here), and the 7th most Classic Movie Theaters and Drive In’s per capita. We also rank last in population born elsewhere in the U.S., which sort of blows the theory that there no native New Yorkers.

    And no, we did not decide to read the Census bureau in lieu of the (scary) front page of the Times this morning. All these numbers can actually be found in the back of a new collection of essays called State by State, which features the likes of Anthony Bourdain (NJ), Rick Moody (CT), Sarah Vowell (MT), and Susan Orlean (OH) (just to name four of the fifty contributors — that’s right, one for each state). The book’s editors Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey took their inspiration from the WPA state guides of the 1930′s (a government intervention program we would love to see someone in Washington reconsider). There’s also a movie. You can watch the trailer for the movie that was made to accompany the book after the jump. Books have trailers these days, you know.

    *We haven’t actually read the whole thing yet, so we can’t guarantee the absence of lipsticked pigs.

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