Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 308 with Dana Stevens, John Swansburg, and Julia Turner with the audio player below:
And join the lively conversation on the Culturefest Facebook page here:
The sponsor of this week’s show is Audible. Get a free audiobook from Audible’s collection of more than 150,000 titles and a subscription to a daily audio digest when you sign up for a 30-day free trial at audiblepodcast.com/culturefest. This week’s pick for the Culture Gabfest Bucket List—the books you’ve got to read to be a smarter culture hound—is The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge, by David McCullough, read by Nelson Runger.
This week Slate Plus listeners will hear the gabbers’ take on another question from our Facebook page, this time on the movies that inspired them as youths. Who fully intended to become Annie Hall, and who asked for nothing more than to be in Sneakers? Go to slate.com/cultureplus to learn more about Slate Plus and join today.
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 episode, Julia, Dana, and Slate deputy editor John Swansburg talk about the glorious career of Robin Williams, who died this week. They each discuss some favorite moments from Williams’ oeuvre and celebrate the work of a truly remarkable man. Next, in Steven Soderbergh’s new medical drama, The Knick, Clive Owen plays Dr. John Thackeray, a racist, cocaine-addicted surgeon in 1900s New York. Rich with detail about surgical history, will the show steer period television in a thoughtful new direction, or is this just a moustachioed ER? Finally, weather: Is it interesting? The gabbers don their etiquette Sou’westers to decide once and for all whether you can bring your meteorological observations to a cocktail party.
Links to some of the things we discussed this week follow:
- Dahlia Lithwick shares her recollections of a day with Robin Williams on Slate
- Forrest Wickman celebrates Williams’ Disney Genie on Slate
- Marc Maron has reposted his 2010 interview with Williams, with a moving new introduction
- A.O. Scott pays tribute to Williams’ fireworks in the New York Times
- A few days ago, mental illness and comedy was the subject of “The Gist” on Slate
- Robin Williams’ brilliant guest spot on Louie, recapped on Slate
- Chris Wade on Williams inspiring him on Slate
- Willa Paskin reviews The Knick on Slate
- The Knick on Cinemax
- Troy Patterson advises party guests on how far to take weather talk on Slate
- Eric Holthaus’ weather writing for Slate
- Tom Scocca’s Weather Reviews on The Awl
- John Swansburg’s feature on the Weather Channel for New York magazine
- Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
- A reminder that the Instagram hashtag is #gabfestweather
John: Tom Wolfe’s classic of autosports writing, “The Last American Hero Is Junior Johnson. Yes!” in 1965 Esquire.
Dana: Paul Mazursky’s 1984 movie Moscow on the Hudson, a lovely film about immigration starring Robin Williams.
Outro: Elliott Smith, “No Name #3”
This podcast was produced by Ann Heppermann. Our intern is Josephine Livingstone.
TODAY IN SLATE
More Than Scottish Pride
Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself.
iOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.
Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You
Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows
The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything
It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.
Happy Constitution Day!
Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.