It was a big night Tuesday at the Petersen Automotive Museum for Slate’s LA based audio-video producer Andy Bowers. For the first time since the website’s “The Culture Gabfest” podcast ramped up in 2008, the program’s sharp-witted gang hit town for a SoCal audience taping.

FishbowlLA was in attendance as deputy editor Julia Turner, film critic Dana Stevens and critic at large Stephen Metcalf discussed the recent Mike Daisey-“This American Life” controversy, Zooey Deschanel‘s pixie-ish charms and the blockbuster adaptation of The Hunger Games. Joining the trio on stage for the last topic was the film’s co-star Elizabeth Banks, who proved to be a very fun participant and helped close out the show’s “personal endorsements” segment with a shout-out for graphic novels.

Bowers, once with NPR, still works out of the public radio network’s Culver City facilities, where he now rents space. Tuesday night’s event, co-presented by Zocalo Public Square, offered the unique pleasure of listening to an Internet podcast while surrounded by vintage cars from the days when vehicles had no radios. Among the second floor stunners flanking the Slate journalists was a shiny black 1949 Alfa Romeo Villa D’Este, the only known such model to exist in the U.S.

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