Host Ira Glass talks with filmmaker Alan Berliner, who for six years collected old home movies he found at thrift stores and garage sales. He says that almost all of them document either rites of passage, like birthdays and weddings, or moments of leisure—the beach is especially big.
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Jonathan Goldstein made every girl he ever dated watch the home movie of his family's Rosh Hashanah dinner he made when he was 17. He hoped that seeing his family life on film might make the women more sympathetic to his shortcomings.
David Sedaris tells a story about his mother who hated home movies, and how his brothers and sisters came to appreciate them. David's the author of several books, including When You Are Engulfed in Flames.
Host Ira Glass talks with Chris, who worked for a company that helped deaf people talk over the phone with hearing people. The deaf person would type what they wanted Chris to say, and Chris would say it, then type back the response from the hearing person on the line.
Host Ira Glass talks with Erin Einhorn, a reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News, who went to Poland to find the Catholic family that had sheltered and saved her mother from the Nazi concentration camps during World War II. She found that in Krakow where she was living, in a country where Jewish populations had been vilified and then exterminated by the Nazis, Judaism was suddenly trendy.
Ira's conversation with Erin Einhorn continues. She talks about the possible reasons that, 50 years after Auschwitz, 10,000 Polish hipsters will now show up to see a Klezmer music concert.
Novelist Miriam Toews, author of The X Letters (which appeared in an earlier episode of the show), tells the story of a road trip she took with her 15-year-old son.
In any family, giving other people what they want becomes fantastically complicated, often because people tend to give others the things they'd like themselves. Curtis Sittenfeld explains how the drama plays out in her family, when it comes to her father's weight.
In Los Angeles, Cris Beam reports on a family named the Paladinos that had a theory that explained their lives. And then, at some point, that theory came to seem inadequate.
Jon Ronson tells the story of how his parents decided to commission a family portrait, and how things went awry because of the brilliant but troubled local artist they hired for the job. In the story, Jon circles in a reluctant orbit around his parents, and his parents are in a rather energetic orbit of their own.
Host Ira Glass plays tape from the documentary TV series American High of a teenager fighting with his parents about which car he can take out that night. Every family has its own way of fighting and its own particular family dynamic, and if things go terribly bad, it's often hard to figure how the bad things could've been prevented.
The chronicle of a family that unravelled. Debra Gwartney loved her two oldest daughters like she loved herself.
Brent Runyon tells the story of the day in eighth grade that he set himself on fire...and what led to that. He wasn't a loner, he had friends, his mother was a teacher, his parents took an interest in his life.
Veronica Chater tells the story of her developmentally disabled brother Vincent, who one day quit his job and then quit everything else, mystifying everyone in his life. Veronica is author of the memoir Waiting for the Apocalypse.