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Ira Glass in Chico

Ira Glass was in Chico last night pimping his radio show, "This American Life" (which is also now a television show) and a new book he has put together titled The New Kings of Nonfiction.

Glass spoke to a crowd of nearly 1300 about the art of storytelling-- in his case, true stories. He rallied the students in the audience to "Ban the Topic Sentence" when writing papers. He openly dismissed the idea of journalistic objectivity and encouraged writers and journalists to confess their biases and even to put themselves in their own stories. He made a case for never leaving out details that entertain or amuse you as a writer.

Ira Glass2 I've only been a fan of "This American Life" for a few months. The reason is because it airs Friday nights at 7:00 pm and this just does not jive with my hipster schedule, you understand. However -- a few months ago the adoring boyfriend bought me an i-pod in a masterful attempt to get me to shut-up about his pathetic World of Warcraft video game addiction.

It worked.

I discovered the glory of the podcast. Now I listen to any number of NPR programs and other non-NPR related podcasts whenever and where ever I want. "This American Life" has emerged as my favorite. Once a week they upload a free podcast of their show.

Ira did a book signing afterwards and he let me snap this photo. I asked him what his all-time favorite book is and he said, Among the Thugs by Bill Buford. Now that's not really fair because New Kings contains an excerpt from this book, but Ira is soooo sexy in a tall, dark, geeked-out, atheist, Jew kind-of way, that all I could do was twirl my hair and twitch nervously while I backed away, thanking him.

new kings autograph

The New Kings of Nonfiction is an anthology of nonfiction stories selected and introduced by Glass. "The stories," Glass explains, "come from a stack of favorite writing that I've kept behind my desk for years." All the proceeds from the sales of this book will be given to a literacy program in Chicago that helps kids aged 6 - 18 with their writing skills.

Ira Glass has many more speaking engagements coming up, perhaps in a town near you.

x-posted to npr_junkie


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 5th, 2007 03:24 am (UTC)
Bill Buford is the bomb.

I'm currently reading Heat, and it is just the best.

The perfect read for the Mario Batali freak.

I used to think Mario was a superhero--I now think he's a god.
Nov. 5th, 2007 02:39 pm (UTC)
I'm not very familiar with Buford and even less so with Mario Batali so I don't understand the connection.
Nov. 5th, 2007 10:25 pm (UTC)
Re: ?
Mario Batali is a celebrity Italian chef (an Iron Chef, in fact) with several restaurants in New York--and a renowned maverick. He wears shorts and orange clogs and has a long red ponytail, and he's known for his flamboyant style.

He's also my sekrit pretend boyfriend! ;-)

Bill Buford wrote a series for the New Yorker magazine about being invited to be a line cook in one of Mario's restaurants which led to a trip to Tuscany to learn real Florentine cooking and butchery.

It's hilarious, and edge-of-your-seat tense, and informative...

It's a great read for anyone who loves to cook.
Nov. 5th, 2007 03:59 am (UTC)
"However -- a few months ago the adoring boyfriend bought me an i-pod in a masterful attempt to get me to shut-up about his dorky World of War Craft video game addiction."


I'm gonna take that ipod away and give it to Evangeline.
Nov. 5th, 2007 04:16 am (UTC)
You should be thankful I used the word "dorky" instead of "pathetic."
Nov. 5th, 2007 04:42 am (UTC)
I recently discovered mr glass. He's phillip's cousin, which is way cool too. There's a youtube series on storytelling he did that's super-inspirational too. Thanks for the link, I'm definitely going in february.
Nov. 5th, 2007 04:51 am (UTC)
I didn't know Phillip is his cousin. He played some snippets of the music they use in the program and he played a little Phillip Glass and I wondered if they were related.

Glad to hear you're going to see him in Feb. Hope you'll post about it.
Nov. 5th, 2007 03:29 pm (UTC)
Oh duh, THAT Ira Glass- when you said mosh pit i thought it was some new band!
Nov. 5th, 2007 04:56 pm (UTC)
Well that's just about the sweetest, while at the same time dorkiest photo of a person I've ever seen.
Nov. 6th, 2007 03:59 am (UTC)
Very cool that you got to meet him and get your book signed! I like This American Life because there are some fantastic tales told on that show. I have to admit, though, that I don't really get the fascination people seem to have with Glass himself. He always seems to strike me as someone who thinks he's so hipster but is, at least from my perspective, too hipster for his own good. Perhaps you could illuminate....

I see that his book contains a piece by Chuck Klosterman. I just used one of Kloserman's essays in my Comp & Crit classes today. Great writer.

Nov. 6th, 2007 04:48 am (UTC)
Well, I can't explain the attraction. Sometimes when I'm listening to TAM, Glass comes off a little too smug for me. Plus his voice is kind-of femmy and annoying.

But in person he's self-deprecating, charming and awkward at the same time, like a taller, more attractive, much less sleazy Woody Allen.

I haven't read any Chuck Klosterman. Which essay of his did you have you students read? I fear The New Kings book may be too testosterone-driven for me. We'll see. I'm being presumptuous. I just find it hard to believe that Ira's all-time favorite book is Among the Thugs.
Nov. 6th, 2007 04:22 pm (UTC)
Cool Beans
Wow, I am happy to hear that you enjoyed his "talk". I remember when we were talking about you getting the tickets. Great experience and it sounds inspirational.
Nov. 8th, 2007 09:25 pm (UTC)
well to not conflict with your hipness, he also re-airs sunday @ 11am inbetween cartalk and garrison keiller
Nov. 9th, 2007 01:24 am (UTC)
Oh really? Gotta love those second chances! Thanks.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )