18-52 Segment 2: Celebrating New Year’s as a Night In

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New Year’s Eve is a huge night for bars, but what if you’d rather not brave the elements and pay big cover charges? We discuss ways to ring in the new year on your couch with festive drinks, snacks, and maybe a movie.

Guests:

  • Tim Federle, author, Gone with the Gin: Cocktails with a Hollywood Twist
  • Christian DeBenedetti, co-author, Beer Bites: Tasty recipes and perfect pairings for brew lovers

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Culture Crash 18-52: Anthony Bourdain

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Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine what’s new and old in entertainment.

As the year draws to a close, it’s the time on the calendar when we take a look back at who we lost this year. One such cultural giant was Anthony Bourdain, the famed chef and author turned travel documentarian.

His death is a curious one for me personally, because at the time of his death on June 8, I had very little exposure to his work. I had seen bits and pieces of his TV shows, but the night he died was the first time I ever watched an episode of Parts Unknown in its entirety. Bourdain’s library will be familiar to many of you: In each episode, he traveled somewhere in the world- it could be Houston or Chicago, Hong Kong or Puerto Rico, The Greek Islands or Hanoi, Vietnam. He would explore the terrain by eating their food and talking to locals about the cuisine and culture of whatever place he was in. By the time I went to sleep that night, I had zipped through four episodes, and was in love with his writing style and his adventures.

Since his passing, I have spent a lot of time with Anthony Bourdain. Before traveling to Melbourne last month, I made it a point to seek out an episode of his old show No Reservations where he went to Melbourne, and my wife and I modeled much of our trip after Bourdain’s. We sought out Middle Eastern food at two restaurants: Rumi and A1 Lebanese Bakery, both at Bourdain’s recommendation. We ventured into Chinatown, just as Bourdain had. I ate red chilis, barbecue quail, and a sausage at the Grand Victorian Market, just like Bourdain had. I was trying to retrace his footsteps, yes, but also he just had a way of describing food that made me absolutely have to try some of it for myself. Anyone on that trip to Australia with me heard me say his name at least a few times, because he became something of a travel guide for my trip. And the results were tremendous: the food was delicious and diverse. His words took us outside of the main Central Business District and urged us to take a trip to culturally rich corners of Melbourne I wouldn’t have even known about without him.

Since returning, I have spent the past few weeks reading his debut book Kitchen Confidential, where I have been able to learn so much more about him as a person: passionate, kind, and, yeah, rough around the edges with a certain brashness that lets you know he knows what he’s talking about.

When Anthony Bourdain died in June, I knew very little about him. But through his shows and his writing, I have gotten to know him like a friend. I’m so grateful for all that he left behind, and I so wish he hadn’t left the world of his own volition. There were more places that could have used a visit, or a return visit, from such a compassionate world traveler.

Resources for those contemplating suicide are always available at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or by calling 1-800-273-8255.

Anthony Bourdain was 61. 

I’m Evan Rook. 

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18-51 Segment 1: Letters to Max: Two friends confront their mortality through letters

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Sarah Ruhl is a MacArthur Fellowship recipient and a famed playwright. As a professor, she met Max Ritvo, who went on to become a published poet. She recounts the story of their friendship and how they used letters to make a connection and comfort one another while Ritvo faced the end of his life.

Guest:

  • Sarah Ruhl, co-author, Letters to Max: A book of friendship 

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18-51 Segment 2: The Pearl Harbor Christmas

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Christmas 1941 came just weeks after the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor dragged America into World War II. We talk to historian Stanley Weintraub about how America was getting ready for war while trying to celebrate the holiday season.

Guest:

  • Stanley Weintraub, historian, author of Pearl Harbor Christmas: A World at War, December 1941

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Culture Crash 18-51: Roma

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Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine what’s new and old in entertainment.

A new movie recently popped up on your Netflix homepage. It’s called Roma, and it’s director Alfonso Cuarón’s passion project. You may know of Cuarón from Gravity, Children of Men, Y Tu Mamá También, or even Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. In Roma, he tells the story of Cleo, a young maid in Mexico City during 1970 and 1971. She and her fellow maid, Adela, live with a family and end up being the people most responsible for keeping the home together. They cook, clean, they even help put the kids to bed.

Cuarón has been forthcoming about the fact that the movie was inspired by his own childhood. It’s even dedicated to his family maid, Libo. One of my favorite things about Cuarón is how Cuarón filters his memories through Cleo’s experiences. When the Corpus Christi massacre starts taking place outside the window of a shop Cleo is in, the camera doesn’t shift to show this moment in history. It stays with her, and we follow her back into the world through the chaos. 

Roma is a Best Picture contender and a Best Director contender, but even more important, it’s a masterpiece. You truly get to know and care for Cleo. You understand her struggle. And further, the film is technically brilliant, with beautiful cinematography and featuring such realistic sound design that I actually turned around in the theater on two different occasions, thinking someone was making noise inside the room, when in fact, it was coming through the speakers. It’s a movie that is well-served to be seen in theaters, but if that’s not an option near you, then that’s where that Netflix subscription comes in handy. Roma is now streaming– Just make sure to eliminate distractions and let yourself be swept up in the story. It’s a trip into the past that is worth taking.

I’m Evan Rook. 

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18-50 Segment 1: The Many Planets Outside Our Galaxy and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life

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We know about the planets within the Milky Way Galaxy, but what about planets outside of our neighborhood? We talk to Dr. Donald Goldsmith about “exoplanets” and where science stands on the issue of life thriving somewhere else in the universe.

Guest:

  • Dr. Donald Goldsmith, author of Exoplanets: Hidden Worlds and the Quest for Extraterrestrial Life

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18-50 Segment 2: Tips and Tricks for Holiday Cooking Success

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Cooking for holiday parties can be a major source of stress. We have big groups at our house for hours at a time, and you want to impress them with your culinary skills. But some of us don’t really have many culinary skills. We talk to Julia Turshen for some insight into how to impress with our holiday cooking this season.

Guests:

  • Julia Turshen, author of Small Victories: Recipes, advice + hundreds of ideas for home cooking triumphs

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