How believing in the end of the world can be the best thing that ever happens to you. Writer Sarah Vowell talks about three end-of-the-world groups she comes to know.
This is a story of a father and son—told by the son, Juan Zaldivar, who was born in Cuba. Juan has spent the past four years shooting a movie about his father, to try to reassure him that he did the right thing to leave Cuba with his family in the 1980s and come to America.
There's the pretending we do as individuals, and there's the organized pretending that happens in group therapy sessions, in the roleplaying games that are done in some clinical settings. Jack Hitt tells the story of the Mother of All Roleplaying Games.
There are the people who take two hours to get dressed every day, who dress primarily to be seen, and then there are most of the rest of us. Writer Sarah Vowell decides to make the leap into the two-hours group.
Host Ira Glass talks about the role of mealtime in family dynamics.
A story by Jay Allison and Annie Cheney, from Jay's Life Stories series. Annie tells a story of eating and not eating, and a life seen through one meal.
Writer David Rakoff explains how his life was changed—in a single evening—in a room of 5000 chickens.
When Eustace Conway was 17, he abandoned his normal life and decided to move to the woods.
We asked listeners to call and write with their camp stories. Hundreds did.
Camp Lake of the Woods holds a fake Indian powwow during the summer. This kind of fake Native American-ness has been a part of camping in America since organized camping began a century ago.
NPR's Adam Davidson tells a true story from his own childhood. He was sent to a camp run by the Israeli army at its own training facility.
In this special half-hour story produced by Jay Allison as part of his Life Stories series, Dan Gediman tracks down the original Zoom cast members to find out what his life would've been like if he had achieved his childhood dream of being on Zoom.
Mary Kay Prucha tells her story about the lies she told herself to deal with cystic fibrosis.
Sarah Vowell and her twin sister Amy re-trace the Trail of Tears. They visit the town in Georgia that was the capital of the Cherokee Nation before the Cherokee were expelled.
A case study of how children are asked to live the unlived lives of their parents. Author David Sedaris had a father who loved jazz but played no instrument himself.
As a teenager, Sarah Vowell was not casual about music lessons — music became her life. She was in marching band, jazz band, Band One, symphony band, pep band and the Bozeman Recorder Ensemble.
The modern history of Niagara Falls can be divided roughly into three phases: Schemers who came in trying to exploit the Falls for tourism and failed; schemers who came in and tried to exploit the Falls for hydroelectric power, who've all gone; and the people who are left in Niagara today. Our show is about this last group: People who live in the aftermath.
Ira with "The Hens," a group of nine middle-aged women who've known each other since girlhood. They play recordings of their recent three-day road trip from Chicago to a casino in a cotton field in Mississippi.
Writer Tim Melley.
Ira with Lynnette Nyman, who, as a girl, recorded her parents fighting with a cassette recorder she got for Christmas.
Sarah Vowell goes home to Montana to try and understand her gunsmith dad a little better.
Geoffrey Canada, author of the book Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America, talks about what it's like to carry a gun. He also talks about what poor neighborhoods in New York were like before the proliferation of handguns among young people. When he grew up in the South Bronx, kids had fistfights in a very formal arrangement with formal rules that everyone lived by. He reads from his book and talks with Ira.
Chicago Playwright Bryn Magnus with a quintessential gun story from his childhood in Wisconsin. It contains both the fear of guns and the pleasure of shooting one.
Susan Berman, author of the memoir Easy Street, the True Story of a Gangster's Daugher, reads from her book about her father Davie Berman, a Jewish gangster and one of the men — with Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel — who created modern Las Vegas. (7 minutes) Act Two continues after the break.