Bullseye

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Corin Tucker and Lance Bangs

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Bullseye
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Corin Tucker
Guests: 
Lance Bangs

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Photo: Courtesy of Casey Campbell Photography

Sleater Kinney's Corin Tucker & filmmaker Lance Bangs On Mixing Up Marriage, Music, Movies

Corin Tucker is a rock legend. She sang and played guitar for Sleater Kinney and a bunch of other projects. These days she's also collaborating with REM's Peter Buck in the new band Filthy Friends.

Lance is a renowned director who works mostly in music videos and comedy. He’s worked with Nirvana, Odd Future, Jen Kirkman, Hannibal Buress just to name a handful. He's also been very involved with the Jackass movies and TV shows. If you've ever seen them do something on film that was so gross it made the cameraman puke that cameraman was probably Lance.

Lance and Corin tell Jesse about how they spent the last Valentine's Day and how they make their marriage and careers work after nearly two decades.

Academy Award nominated filmmaker Nicole Holofcener

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Nicole Holofcener

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Photo: Charley Gallay / Getty Images

Writer and director Nicole Holofcener on her new film: 'The Land of Steady Habits'

Filmmaker Nicole Holofcener recently received an Academy-Award nomination for best adapted screenplay and won the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the film "Can You Ever Forgive Me?." We'll revisit our conversation with Nicole – when she stopped by we talked about another one of her recent projects, "The Land of Steady Habits."

Nicole is probably best known for her films "Friends with Money" and "Enough Said." She's also worked on TV shows like "Parks and Recreation," "Orange is the New Black" and "Sex and the City."

Nicole's projects are intimate and always feature strong female leads. For the first time, her movie centers on a man. "The Land of Steady Habits" is about a middle-aged, retired finance guy, named Andres played by Ben Mendelsohn. Anders is going through kind of a late midlife crisis. He just left his wife, Helene, played by Edie Falco. And his relationship with his adult son is drifting away – Anders is losing him to drug use. It's safe to say that Anders has trouble figuring out where he fits in these days.

Nicole will tell us how she adapted the novel by Ted Thompson into this very poignant film, and why she felt this was an important story to tell. Plus, she'll reflect on her childhood – when she moved to Los Angeles as a early teenager she couldn't believe that the guys on the Metro bus would be exactly like the jerks on the New York subway.

Listen to this interview on YouTube!

Academy Award nominated director Debra Granik

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Debra Granik


Photo: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

Debra Granik on her new film 'Leave No Trace'

Debra Granik, wrote and directed the acclaimed 2010 film "Winter's Bone." The film was sort of a modern film noir, except instead of LA or New York, it was set in the Ozarks. It followed a 17-year-old girl as she pieced together the story behind her father's disappearance. Ree Dolly walked through burned out meth labs, negotiated with crime families, bail bondsmen and cops. And, of course: Ree Dolly was played by Jennifer Lawrence. It was her first ever starring role.

After 8 years, Granik just released her follow up - it's called "Leave No Trace," which is available to stream on Amazon now. Like "Winter's Bone," her new film "Leave No Trace" puts a compelling but compassionate focus on marginalized groups - one of the main threads is a combat veteran's struggle with trauma and homelessness.

It tells the story of a father and daughter who live entirely off the grid in a nature reserve not far from Portland, Oregon. The film details regular life for Will (Ben Foster) and his daughter Tom (Thomasin McKenzie). They forage and cook mushrooms. Will teaches Tom to play chess. They build fires for warmth. The way they live is peaceful, but not exactly legal. They are discovered in the woods by the police and social workers get involved, offering housing, work, school. But as you might imagine, it's a tough transition – especially for Will.

Debra Granik talks about the process of making her new film at length. Debra is also working on a film based on the book "Nickeled and Dimed," which is a thoroughly investigated, brilliant work of nonfiction about the impact of the 1996 welfare reform act on the working poor in the US. She'll tell us how she plans to turn that into a narrative film. Plus, she explain what she learned about film making from being wedding videographer long before she was a film director.

This interview originally aired in July of 2018

Listen to this interview on YouTube!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Barbara Kruger

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Barbara Kruger


Photo: kyle.tucker95/Flickr

Barbara Kruger On Art School And The Rewards of Teaching

Barbara Kruger is a fascinating and profoundly influential artist. She works in big, bold text usually in white font over ribbons of red. The text is usually superimposed over black and white photos, usually of people. The messages say stuff like "YOUR BODY IS A BATTLEGROUND," "WE DON'T NEED ANOTHER HERO," or "DON'T BE A JERK."

If this doesn't ring a bell yet, you can find thousands of samples of her work on the internet. Maybe the fonts and colors remind of you something: the Supreme logo? That Instagram filter? It all started with Barbara Kruger.

She does a lot of installation work these days, which is a fancy way of saying that her work just consumes entire rooms - huge rooms with huge strange writing taking up every inch of floor, ceiling, and walls.

Her messages are pretty clear: it's about politics, media, and culture, and the way it's presented provokes people to question themselves.

Her work is on display in Los Angeles at the Broad Contemporary Art Museum, and in contemporary museums across the world.

Click here to listen to Barbara Kruger's interview on YouTube.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Ludwig Göransson

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Bullseye
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Ludwig Göransson

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Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

The Song That Changed My Life: Composer Ludwig Göransson

Ludwig Göransson is both a composer and producer. He was born in Sweden, moved to the States in 2007, and started working in TV shows and movies. One of his first shows was Community. It was actually on the set of Community where he met Donald Glover. Ludwig's been the principal producer on all of Glover's Childish Gambino records.

He's scored some pretty big films, too: Fruitvale Station, Creed, Venom and Black Panther.

The music he wrote for Black Panther is up for the Academy Award for Best Original Score at this year's Oscars. Tune in Sunday, February 24 to find out if he wins.

Also, Ludwig received several Grammy awards this past weekend for his work on the Childish Gambino song This Is America - including Best Record. Congrats to Ludwig and Donald!

What song that changed his life? Enter Sandman by Metallica.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Adam McKay

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Bullseye
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Adam McKay


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Adam McKay On His Academy Award Nominated Movie Vice and The Joke That Inspired Him To Take Up A Career In Comedy

Adam McKay has had a pretty eclectic career. He started in sketch comedy first as a founder of the Upright Citizens Brigade, then as a writer on Saturday Night Live. He studied at Second City, too, and then he worked in movies.

He collaborated with Will Ferrell to make some stone cold comedy classics: Anchorman, Step Brothers, Talladega Nights. Lately, though, his work has been more serious, topical, and political.

A few years back, he wrote and directed The Big Short, which deconstructed and explained the 2008 financial crisis. He helped create the HBO show Succession - a drama about a family that owns a colossal American media empire.

Now there's Vice, his latest movie, which is the story of former Vice President Dick Cheney. It's playing in theaters now and is up for eight Academy Awards.

The common thread with McKay's work is that it's never boring, never forced. He'll take an extremely dumb joke and frame it in a way that's so clever and compelling that you just lose it. He'll find a way to explain credit default swaps that are so entertaining and engrossing that you forget you're learning about credit default swaps.

In this conversation, Adam tells Jesse how he manages to keep his films fresh, funny and weird, and also shares some of the more reckless tales in improv comedy from his time in Chicago.

Click here to listen to Adam McKay's interview on YouTube.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Killer Mike on his new Netflix show 'Trigger Warning'

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Killer Mike

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Killer Mike on his new Netflix show 'Trigger Warning'

The last time we spoke to Killer Mike, he was just coming off the release of his solo album, "I Pledge Allegiance to the Grind" back in 2007. Twelve years later, he's is still on that grind and busier than ever.

Nowadays he's one-half of Grammy nominated duo Run the Jewels with partner El-P. Together they've put out three great albums – with a fourth on the way later this year. Now, he's in his very own Netflix series, "Trigger Warning with Killer Mike."

In the show, Killer Mike tackles some of the most complicated racial and societal issues in America through social experiments. In the series, he tries to unpack subjects like religion, the black economy, education, and gangs.

In one experiment Killer Mike examines the hypocrisy behind celebrating violence and criminal activity. He rationalizes that if a biker gang like Hells Angels can sell merchandise on Amazon and capitalize on America’s fascination with the “bad guys," perhaps a gang like the Crips could do the same. He spends the episode trying to bring a product called "Crip-A-Cola" market. The result is quite funny, and very brilliant, too.

Killer Mike joins us to talk about his new Netflix series. He'll chat about the genesis of Run The Jewels and what it's like to collaborate with El-P. Plus, how he became friends with legendary comedian and activist Dick Gregory, and what it was like hitting the road campaigning with Bernie Sanders.

Listen to this interview on YouTube!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: John David Washington

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John David Washington

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John David Washington on his role in Spike Lee's 'BlacKkKlansman'

Before John David Washington was an actor, he was lacing up the pads every week for a career in professional football. He spanned the globe from Sacramento to Dusseldorf, Germany trying to make it work. It seems fitting that when he decided to pick up a career in acting that his breakthrough role was the portrayal of an NFL player on HBO's "Ballers." He definitely had the experience. In fact, he was injured from his hard work on the field when he auditioned for the role. He's been part of the main cast of "Ballers" for four seasons, and it's safe to say you'll be seeing a lot more of him soon.

This week, he chats about his portrayal of Ron Stallworth in Spike Lee's "BlacKkKlansman." It's a fantastic performance – his role in the film earned him a Golden Globe nomination earlier this year. It's a compelling and complex look at the life of the first African-American police officer and detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department. The film is based on Stallworth's 2014 memoir, which details his experience investigating the local chapter of the KKK with the help of a white undercover officer.

John David Washington tells us about the insane amount of times he had to audition for his role on "Ballers," and what it was like to chase a career in the NFL when your dad is superstar Denzel Washington. Plus, the challenges of portraying Ron Stallworth, and what it was like to getting stunning offer to play Stallworth via a text message from Spike Lee.

Listen to this interview on YouTube!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Tituss Burgess

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Tituss Burgess

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Tituss Burgess on Being 'Titus Andromedon' on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Following Your Instincts

Tituss Burgess is one of those actors who, no matter if it's a small church choir in Georgia or a starring role on Broadway, always brings magic to the role.

His successful audition for a small recurring part on 30 Rock put him on Tina Fey's radar and led to a role as Titus Andromedon on the Netflix original series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Burgess's performance on the show has earned him four consecutive Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.

In this interview, Tituss talks about his upbringing in Georgia, embodying the character of Titus Andromedon and coping with a broken microphone while performing live at the Tony Awards.

The second half of the final season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was recently released and is available on Netflix.

This interview originally aired in 2016.

Click here to listen to Tituss Burgess's interview on YouTube.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Carol Kane

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Carol Kane

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Photo: Jesse Thorn

Carol Kane on Her Childhood, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Auditioning

Carol Kane is a veteran actress who began her career in 1971. She landed some pretty heavy roles - one of her first films was in Mike Nichols's drama Carnal Knowledge. Later on, she'd work on other classics like Annie Hall and Dog Day Afternoon. She was even nominated for a best actress Oscar for her part in the 1975 film Hester Street.

She eventually found her home doing comedy, something she never expected she would do growing up. She appeared on Taxi as Simpka, the wife of Andy Kaufman's character on the show. She was in the Muppet Movie, The Princess Bride, Scrooged, and so many others. Her most recent project was Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt where she plays Lilian, Kimmy's landlord.

She and Jesse talk about her childhood, and the special school she went to that allowed actors time to audition.

The final six episodes of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt were released this month on Netflix and are available to stream now.

This interview originally aired in 2017.

Click here to listen to Carol Kane's interview on YouTube.

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