Chicago writer and actor Dave Awl, who runs a show called the Pansy King Cotillion, on how he accidentally discovered how not to get picked on as a sissy in high school.
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LuAnne Johnson is a teacher who sold her story to Hollywood and saw it made into the film and TV series Dangerous Minds, in which a character named LuAnne Johnson does things the real LuAnne believes are unethical and silly.
Julie Showalter, on a costume she wore as a kid.
Ira takes a Medieval scholar from the University of Chicago, Michael Camille, to Medieval Times — a chain of fake castles where visitors eat Medieval food and drink Medieval Pepsi and watch a supposed recreation of a Medieval jousting tournament. The scholar finds that there are many historical inaccuracies, but that Medieval Times does capture something essential and interesting about the spirit of the Middle Ages.
Ira with Sam Franco, a 72-year-old Chicagoan who spent his life playing and teaching accordion. He never became famous.
A first-grader explains to host Ira Glass how bullies become bullies. His explanation: They read a book on how to be a bully.
Author and kindergarten teacher (and MacArthur Genius Grant recipient) Vivian Paley tells the story of an experiment she conducted in her classroom to make children less cruel to each other. She instituted a rule: "You can't say 'You can't play.'" In other words, if two children are playing, and a third child comes over and wants to join them, they can't tell him or her to get lost.
Host Ira Glass follows the last month of rehearsals of Oak Park and River Forest High School's production of Neil Simon's Lost In Yonkers.
Who are the people we remember as significant figures from our childhood? What is their hold on our imaginations as we age? Ira visits McCosh Elementary on Chicago's South Side, where a man everyone calls "Mr. Lewis" is the surrogate dad for hundreds of kids — a nearly mythic figure.
Claudia Perez returns to talk about her year from a more personal perspective.