This American Life, the true storytelling public radio show hosted by Ira Glass, is one of the most popular radio programs and podcasts today. Each week since 1995, Glass presents a theme — cars, summer camp, break-ups — and a variety of writers, comedians, journalists and everyday people share stories of their experiences with that subject. For the few unfamiliar with TAL, it’s one of those shows that will keep you in your car with the radio on long after you’ve pulled in the driveway.
Ira Glass will present his live show, Reinventing Radio, this Saturday at the Aronoff Center. CityBeat spoke to Glass about his history with public radio — check out our interview here.
To celebrate the program and its adorable bespectacled host, CityBeat staffers have compiled a few of our favorite episodes (in no particular order).
Why not start at the beginning? This American Life’s very first episode — back when the program was called Your Radio Playhouse — aired on Nov. 17, 1995. The theme: New Beginnings. One of the guests is Ira’s mom.
Fear of Sleep (Aug. 8, 2008) features tales on various things that go bump in the night. Comedian Mike Birbiglia shares his astonishing stories of sleepwalking, which later inspired his movie, Sleepwalk with Me.
This American Life has done a few live productions over the years. On May 10, 2012, Glass and friends took the stage at New York University’s Skirball Center for Invisible Made Visible, a performance that was streamed live in movie theaters across the country. It was an incredible interactive experience that included music, dance, comedy and a short film. Check out photos here.
From mistaken identity to evil twins, Dopplegangers (Jan. 11, 2013) has it all. Including Fred Armisen’s impeccable Ira Glass impression.
A lot of This American Life segments are anecdotal, but sometimes the show has taken on newsier issues — and one time, they got it all wrong. On Jan. 6, 2012, Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory aired. Mike Daisey spoke about the conditions of an iPhone factory in China, including vivid details and interviews with workers. Soon after, it was revealed that Daisey had fabricated his story and lied during the fact-checking process. Retraction is not only an interesting correction to the original Daisey program, but a commentary on journalistic integrity, the importance of fact-checking and the lengths people will go for a moment in the spotlight.
Reinventing Radio: An Evening with Ira Glass takes place at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Aronoff Center. Tickets: 513-621-ARTS or cincinnatiarts.org.