Monday, July 13, 2015: Louis Ferrante has been on this show a few times before. He told us about his former life of crime as a member of the Gambino mafia family in New York. We heard about his time in prison and how the power of literature and books changed his life. Ferrante wrote a memoir called Unlocked then another book that compared Mob Rules with those of “legitimate” businessmen. Now he’s here to discuss his new book titled The Three Pound Crystal Ball: How the Dreaming Brain Can See the Future. Ferrante also talks about his time in the Clinton Correctional facility, what life in prison is really like and the difficulties ex-cons face after jail.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015: In the US, we celebrate Independence Day every year on July 4th to commemorate our nation’s independence from Great Britain. On July 14th, the French celebrate Bastille Day, not to mark independence from another country, but from their own monarchy. Writer Ina Caro takes readers into French history via rail in her historical travelogue Paris to the Past: Traveling through French History by Train. Tonight, Major League Baseball marks the halfway point of its season with the annual All-Star game. Bob speaks with New York Times sportswriter George Vecsey about his book — Baseball: A History of America’s Favorite Game.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015: On July 15th, 1979, President Jimmy Carter addressed the country on live television. It is now remembered as the “malaise” speech, though the President never said that word. What President Carter did say was that the country’s dependence of foreign oil “threatens our economic independence and the very security of our nation.” He also said it was an act of patriotism to conserve energy, to turn down the thermostat and to carpool. Historian Kevin Mattson is the author of What the Heck Are You Up To, Mr. President?. It argues that the speech should have changed the country. Instead, it led to Carter’s mockery and downfall and the rise of conservatism. Then, one night in 2001, aspiring actor Charlie Todd was out with his friends at a Greenwich Village bar when they decided to pretend that Charlie was the famous but rarely recognized musician Ben Folds. After an evening of signing autographs and getting free drinks, Todd realized New York City was the ultimate stage for his craft and from there dreamed up his group Improv Everywhere which is still living up to its mission statement: “we cause scenes.” Founder Charlie Todd and fellow agent Alex Scordellis recount their finest missions in the book Causing a Scene: Extraordinary Pranks in Ordinary Places with Improv Everywhere.
Thursday, July 16, 2015: Denis Leary started his career as a stand-up comedian, but has developed into a respected film and television actor. He led his own award-winning dramatic series Rescue Me on FX. Tonight, Leary’s new show premieres on the cable network. In Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll, he plays a washed up rock star looking to make a comeback. Leary is also the author of a book called Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid. Bob chats with Michael Ian Black about his career in comedy. Black is an actor, pop critic and comedian who was our guest in 2007 to discuss his first stand-up album titled I Am a Wonderful Man. He’s a member of The State comedy sketch group, has been a TV pitchman in many commercials and regularly pops up in new television series. The latest is called Another Period.
Friday, July 17, 2015: Documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney is back – yet again. The Peabody and Oscar Award-winner is here to share the life and work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. That documentary is titled Gonzo. Then – a bonus feature from Gibney. Magic Trip features archival footage shot in 1964 by Ken Kesey and “The Merry Band of Pranksters” as they traveled by psychedelic bus from the West coast to the World’s Fair in New York City. They documented their LSD-fueled trip to the “World of Tomorrow” with 16mm film, but never quite finished editing the 100 hours of footage.