How Did Welcome to Night Vale Become So Successful? Slate’s Culture Gabfest Talks With the Show’s Creators.

Slate's weekly roundtable.
Oct. 23 2013 10:31 AM

The Culture Gabfest “Radiators and Bassoons” Edition

Slate’s Culture Gabfest on 12 Years a Slave, Up Late with Alec Baldwin, and Welcome to Night Vale.

Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 266 with Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner with the audio player below.

And join the lively conversation on the Culturefest Facebook page here:

Advertisement

The sponsors of this week’s show are Stamps.com and 23andme.com. Go to Stamps.com and use the promo code “CULTUREFEST” for your no-risk free trial and bonus offer. Go to 23andme.com/Slate for your $99 personal genetic profile.

Culturefest is on the radio! “Gabfest Radio” combines Slate’s Culture and Political Gabfests in one show—listen on Saturdays at 7 a.m. and Sundays at 6 p.m. on WNYC’s AM820.

On this week’s show, the critics discuss 12 Years a Slave, a new drama—already an Oscar front-runner—from director Steve McQueen. Based on the 1853 memoir of Solomon Northup, a free black northerner kidnapped and sold into slavery for the titular 12 years, the film brings visceral immediacy to a violent history. Next the gabbers grapple with Alec Baldwin’s new talk show Up Late on MSNBC. Does Baldwin’s celebrity facilitate his interviews or dominate them? And finally, the critics are joined by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, the creators of the cult podcast Welcome to Night Vale to discuss the wild popularity of their program and the return of the radio drama.

Links to some of the things we discussed this week follow:

Endorsements:

Julia: White Flower Farm’s spectacular catalog

Joseph Fink: Trick ‘r Treat, a Halloween-perfect horror film, directed by Michael Dougherty

Jeffrey Cranor: The Read’s hilarious, Beyoncé-loving pop culture podcast

Steve:  Tom Waits’s Swordfishtrombones and his tremendous capacity for self-reinvention

You can email us at culturefest@slate.com.

This podcast was produced by Sally Herships and engineered by Chris Wade. Our intern is Anna Shechtman.

Follow us on Twitter. And please Like the Culture Gabfest on Facebook

Stephen Metcalf is Slate's critic at large. He is working on a book about the 1980s.

Dana Stevens is Slate's movie critic.

Julia Turner is the editor in chief of Slate and a regular on Slate's Culture Gabfest podcast.

TODAY IN SLATE

Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

Here’s Just How Far a Southern Woman May Have to Drive to Get an Abortion

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Marvel’s Civil War Is a Far-Right Paranoid Fantasy

It’s also a mess. Can the movies do better?

Behold

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Watching Netflix in Bed. Hanging Bananas. Is There Anything These Hooks Can’t Solve?

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 20 2014 1:50 PM Why We Shouldn’t be Too Sure About the Supposed Deal to Return the Abducted Nigerian Schoolgirls
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 2:16 PM Even When They Go to College, The Poor Sometimes Stay Poor
  Life
Outward
Oct. 20 2014 2:19 PM A Procedural Rule Could Keep Gay Marriage From Ever Reaching SCOTUS Again
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 1:10 PM Women Are Still Losing Jobs for Getting Pregnant
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 1:26 PM This $248 Denim Jumpsuit Is the Latest Example of a Horrible Fashion Tradition
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 20 2014 1:51 PM Will Amazon Lead Us to the Golden Age of Books? A Future Tense Event.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 10:23 AM Where I Was Wrong About the Royals I underestimated the value of building a team that’s just barely better than mediocre.