‘This American Life Live’: Ira Glass is all about ‘The Invisible Made Visible’

Ira Glass

Ira Glass is a touchy talker. You wouldn’t necessarily know this from
listening to his voice come through your radio or earbuds every week.
But several times throughout a 40-minute conversation, the host of “This
American Life” literally reaches out to engage, with a “whaddaya make of that?” light knee slap or an “I know! Isn’t that crazy?” forearm squeeze.

tonight, Glass is all about showing the sorts of things that can’t come
through speakers, as he hosts a live two-hour presentation of “This
American Life” that will beam into more than 500 cinemas nationwide.  

a completely unnecessary extravaganza,” he says, proudly, before
rattling off highlights that include animations, dancers, a short film
from Mike Birbiglia — with whom Glass co-wrote the upcoming feature
“Sleepwalk With Me” — a reading from David Sedaris and an interactive
performance from OK Go.

“The last time we did this, we had 50,000
people in thea-ters all over North America, and this time, we expect
more,” says Glass as he scrolls through his iPhone to share an app that
was especially made for the 50,000-plus that Glass expects.

going to have everyone play a song together based on musical cues coming
up on the screen,” he says. “So everyone will play a song along with OK

Glass seems keenly aware that there might be a difference
between the tech preferences of somebody who listens to “This American
Life” on National Public Radio and somebody who downloads the podcast
version every week.

“People who don’t have a smartphone will do rhythm,” he says.

‘Got anything about chickens?’

The theme of tonight’s show is “The Invisible Made Visible,” but Glass says that wasn’t the initial idea.

“The theme was going to be ‘Things You Can’t Do on the Radio,’ but it’s hard to write stories about that,” he says. “All of the writers are just like, ‘I don’t know if I’ve got anything.”

It makes sense that radio writers aren’t exactly at the ready with things that can’t be done on the radio, but how often does that happen when they come up empty-handed with an idea?

“That happens a lot, but we’ve got enough people, where if we say, ‘Got anything about chickens?’ somebody usually does,” he says.


New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for…

By David DeKokHARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach"…


Future Boston Alliance invites you to #RidetheLine, support…

#RidetheLine aims to show the city, the nation, and the globe our creative impact as Boston citizens.


(Update) Body of missing BU grad Eric Munsell…

The dead man pulled from the water at Boston's Long Wharf Wednesday afternoon was that of missing 24-year-old Boston University alumnus Eric Munsell, Boston Police said today.


On newly released tape, 'Squeaky' Fromme says was…

Manson Family member Squeaky Fromme told a mental health examiner in newly released interview the "X" she carved in her forehead was meant to separate her from "the system."


Tribeca: 'Goodbye to All That' star Paul Schneider…

Paul Schneider talks about his new film "Goodbye to All That," not acting too much and how he'd rather indulge in simple pleasures than play the scene.

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.


Tribeca: Nikki Reed on going funny for a…

"Intramural" star Nikki Reed talks about being the straight person in a broad comedy, spending time in Austin and how "Thirteen" was a "miracle."


'Becoming Cuba' at Huntington is a bit short…

Playwright Melinda Lopez freely lampoons the English language for its lack of passion in her latest work, “Becoming Cuba.” Ironically, the Huntington Theatre Company’s playwright-in-residence…


2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version


5 infamous pitcher ejections for cheating

Never fear Yankees fans, Michael Pineda is far from the first MLB pitcher to be thrown out of a game for cheating.


Patriot’s schedule comes up fair

Those looking for built-in excuses for the Patriots 2014-2015 season will have to look elsewhere, because their schedule came up fair. For the fourth straight…


Nava demoted, Victorino return imminent

  Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava, who was batting a team-low .149/.240/.269, was demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday. "His struggles at the plate, I…


New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.


From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.


Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.


MAC & Proenza Schouler collection unveiled

MAC Cosmetics is releasing a new collection with Proenza Schouler.