Podcast | Live Wire Radio

Episodes

Episode #370
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello confess to how bad they are at “letting go;” poet Tommy Pico explains how writing as his alter ego "Teebs" allows him to be less self-censoring in his work; journalist Eli Saslow discusses Derek Black – the subject of his new book "Rising Out of Hatred" – and how the once-heir to the white nationalist movement made a stunning transformation; comedian Emily Heller spins gut-busting analogies to online dating; and indie rock duo The Helio Sequence perform “Lately” from their album “Keep Your Eyes Ahead.”
Episode #369
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello “face their fears” of the IRS and snakes; journalist Jose Antonio Vargas recounts coming out as an undocumented immigrant who faces deportation at any moment; comedian Marcella Arguello makes the case for staying single over 30; writer and former Live Wire host Courtenay Hameister describes how she spent a year facing her anxiety head-on by engaging in activities that pushed her boundaries; and folk duo Planes on Paper perform “Hermit Song.”
Episode #368
Host Luke Burbank gets a “fresh start” when he learns how to correctly pronounce announcer Elena Passarello’s name; writer Gary Shteyngart recounts how his Greyhound adventures across America inspired his new book “Lake Success;” comedian Hari Kondabolu shares his experience teaching stand-up to prison inmates; 14-year-old Maxine McCormick explains how she became the two-time world champion of fly casting; and Portland folk band Lenore perform their track, “Thick Skin, Tender Heart.”
Episode #367
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello “Face the Music” in this episode from a hotel room in the Live Music Capital of the World – Austin, Texas. Busker-turned-bona fide blues artist Charley Crockett subs in as Live Wire’s house band; poet Roger Reeves stops by and tells us why poetry is the harbinger of the future; and the women behind Austin’s famed La Barbeque – music and fashion photographer LeAnn Mueller and her partner Ali Clem – share the secrets to quintessential Texas BBQ.
Caitlin Doughty (Short)
In this studio segment, Luke speaks with mortician Caitlin Doughty, who is known for advocating death acceptance and the reform of the Western funeral industry. She is the creator of the web series "Ask a Mortician," founder of the organization The Order of the Good Death, and is the author of two bestselling books, "From Here to Eternity" and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." In this interview, Caitlin discusses death phobia, corpse interaction, and how many cultures outside of the United States tend to have a more positive relationship to grief.
Kevin Young (Short)
Kevin Young, acclaimed poet and poetry editor of The New Yorker, speaks on his writing process, the inspiration he gleaned from Prince, and the cross-section between hip hop and poetry in describing the black experience. Young also reads from his collection "Blue Laws," including a poem about boxer Jack Johnson – the first black heavyweight champion.
Simon Rich (Short)
A humorist, novelist, and television writer, Rich talks with Luke about his youthful appearance making him "seem like a pretty clever 14-year-old," which leads to the longest awkward pause in Live Wire history. As a bonus treat, humorous segments from Rich's books are performed by Faces For Radio Theater.
Barbara Ehrenreich (Short)
In this podcast short from the Live Wire archive, author and activist Barbara Ehrenreich ("Nickel and Dimed") speaks to Luke Burbank back in 2014 about her book “Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth About Everything," defining the mysterious "visions" she experienced as a lifelong atheist, and her unending quest for knowledge.
Episode #366
Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello relive their “great escapes;” writer Tessa Fontaine explains how learning to eat fire as a part of America's last traveling sideshow helped mend her broken heart; comedian and actor Moses Storm riffs on a childhood spent living in a bus with his missionary family; memoirist and visa lottery winner Abdi Nor Iftin recounts his journey from war-torn Somalia to rural Maine; and singer-songwriter Laura Veirs performs the T.S. Eliot-inspired “Margaret Sands” from her latest album “The Lookout.”
Episode #365
Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello talk “do-overs” with real and hypothetical tattoos; author Anya Yurchyshyn discusses her new memoir “My Dead Parents,” in which she explores aspects of her parents she never knew; journalist and podcaster Mike Pesca dissects the most intriguing “what ifs” in sports history; science vlogger Lindsey Murphy reveals how she engages her young “Fab Lab" audience; comedian Robby Slowik ruminates on the need for a national anthem; and doom-wop singer-songwriter Prom Queen gives herself a musical makeover with her track “Blonde.”
Episode #364
Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello reveal what takes them out of their comfort zones; comedian Paul F. Tompkins discusses the perils of improvising on his podcast “Spontaneanation” and shares the secrets behind writing his theme to the film, “Phantom Thread;” writer Ijeoma Oluo unpacks the themes of racial oppression in her new book, “So You Want to Talk About Race;” and hip hop artist Open Mike Eagle performs a track from his concept album “Brick Body Kids Still Daydream” about the Chicago Housing Project where spent time as a kid.
Episode #363
Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello talk personal “breakthrough” moments, including the Jimmy Buffett lyric that has eluded them both; poet and music writer Hanif Abdurraqib discusses essays from his critically acclaimed book “They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us” and why he's no longer willing to suffer for his art; Portland scientist Mary Zelinski shares the breakthrough research on male contraceptives; comedian Beth Stelling spins stories on childhood guinea pigs and skin conditions; and folk humorist John Craigie performs, “Let’s Talk This Over When We’re Sober and Not at Burning Man.”
Episode #362
Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello recall times when they were way over their heads; Marine-turned-writer Matt Young reflects on how his experience in the military informed his gut-wrenching memoir “Eat the Apple;” Portland non-profit leader Brandi Tuck explains how bringing together musicians and homeless mothers can produce healing; comedian Katie Nguyen riffs on the new “dewy” beauty standard; and musician Tomo Nakayama plays the title track from his airport-inspired album “Pieces of Sky.”
Episode #361
Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello talk about their true beliefs; Chapman & Maclain Way, creators of the Netflix docuseries “Wild Wild Country,” discuss the incredible true story behind the followers of guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh who established a controversial commune in 1980s rural Oregon; sports journalist Mary Pilon details the life of Olympian Kevin Hall and his struggles with the Truman Show delusion; high school senior Raley Schweinfurth explains her award-winning efforts to save Portland’s bees; comedian Ahmed Bharoocha questions the crow flight training program; and Hawaiian soul group Ron Artis II & The Truth perform “Searching for Answers.”
Episode #360
Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello confess their guilty pleasures; New York Times columnist Lindy West reveals how she tried to entice Donald Trump into blocking her from Twitter; Sarah Gertrude Shapiro unpacks how her Lifetime series UnREAL was inspired by her own troubled experiences as a producer of The Bachelor; comedian Alex Falcone shares his frustrations over the "fashion raccoons" of secondhand boutiques; Portland startup entrepreneur Stephen Green speaks on the importance of supporting local Black businesses; and soul group Moorea Masa & The Mood perform “Ever Moving.”
Episode #359
Comedian Laurie Kilmartin talks about her new book Dead People Suck, in which she uses dark humor to process the death of her father; writer, podcaster and YouTube star Gaby Dunn spills about her problems with money and defining her sexuality in the age of social media; singer-songwriter Chris Staples reflects on being mistook for a popular country singer with a similar name, and host Luke Burbank is joined onstage by writer Elena Passarello to unpack a story about watching a tongue-in-cheek puppet show of actor Ethan Hawk… and how relaying the tale to the actor himself fell flat.
Episode #358
Writer Terese Marie Mailhot discusses her new memoir “Heart Berries” and the importance of empathy for the indigenous experience, comedian Jason Traeger describes his therapist choices in Portland, program director of the American Culinary Institute Sophie Egan talks about what’s known as the American food psyche, and former Fats Domino band member and saxophonist Reggie Houston performs the jazz standard “Autumn Leaves."
Episode #357
Luke Burbank describes his attempts to get enlightened, acclaimed author George Saunders explains how swimming in a river of monkey poop led to an illustrious writing career and opens up about his newfound admiration for Abraham Lincoln (the protagonist of this newest work, "Lincoln in the Bardo"), comedian Jay Larson riffs on passive-aggressive Yelp reviews, Unlikely Hikers' Jenny Bruso reflects on her journey to make the outdoors more accessible for all, and indie folk band Horse Feathers perform the first track off their forthcoming album, “Appreciation.”
"On the Contrary"
Host Luke Burbank details how his contrarian streak affects his marriage, author Lidia Yuknavitch shows us how to embrace our inner misfit, Dinner Party Download hosts Rico Gagliano and Brendan Francis Newnam make the case against brunch, comedian Andy Kindler discusses how his recent foray into therapy has changed his comedy, and Ural Thomas and the Pain bring us musical relief.
"Word on the Street"
Omnibus podcast hosts Ken Jennings and John Roderick give a glimpse of what stories are inside their audio time capsule for future generations (and/or alien invaders), BuzzFeed grammar wiz Emmy Favilla breaks down the problem with punctuation, Seattle’s Civic Poet Anastacia-Reneé shares what it’s like to have an identity that encapsulates everything the president hates, and singer-songwriter Laura Gibson utilizes her newly acquired MFA to improvise musical CliffsNotes about literary classics.
"Cautionary Tales"
Luke Burbank kicks off the “Cautionary Tales” episode with a harrowing anecdote about his dog’s actual tail, Welcome to Night Vale creators Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor provide some techniques for concentrating on art during trying political times, poet Danez Smith deconstructs wokeness, author Edan Lepucki shares her methods for conjuring a ‘female snarl’ writing state, and musician and animator Chad VanGaalen performs the track “Static Shape.”
"Leftovers"
In this special “Leftovers” edition of Live Wire, host Luke Burbank offers up a smorgasbord of cutting room floor delights. Snap Judgment host Glynn Washington crafts cocktail-related stories, a hypnotist helps Elna Baker discover she has 11 fingers, futurist comedian Baratunde Thurston stands his intellectual ground, Ariel Levy evaluates the credibility of some celebrity factoids using only her journalistic instinct, and folk troubadour John Craigie performs the tune, “I Am California.”
"Brave New World"
Luke Burbank reflects on the lessons he learned from a day without his iPhone, New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik shares his 40-year nostalgia theory and how sex with a long-term partner can reach civil war reenactment status, essayist Elena Passarello coins the term “animalsonified” while examining humans’ complicated relationships with famed mammals, and RnB singer Blossom performs the brand new track, “Possibilities.”
"The Truth Hurts"
Luke Burbank peels back the curtain on a show recording gone wrong that later became the foundation of Live Wire Miracle Day, author and advice columnist Cheryl Strayed offers up some Thanksgiving table survival techniques, futurist comedian Baratunde Thurston reveals the dangers of “anti-social people developing all of our social tools,” and musical guest Meklit brings us along on her journey to find beauty and music in everyday sounds.
"Game On"
Luke Burbank remembers a childhood basketball wager that put the fate of Christianity on the line, Cards Against Humanity co-founder Max Temkin depicts his “particular subspecies of nerd,” poet Kevin Coval explains why hip-hop deserves a Nobel Peace Prize, comedian Adam Burke asks Chicago to drop the “no ketchup rule,” and rapper Malcolm London performs songs from his latest release, OPIA.
"Hidden Talent"
Filmmaker Lynn Shelton details how working on a fishing boat helped her appreciate life on a film set, Second Wave podcast host Thanh Tan details her life as a child of Vietnamese immigrants long after the war, comedian Kevin Avery describes how his podcast “Denzel Washington Is The Greatest Actor Of All Time Period” made his run-in with the star especially awkward, and Makana schools us on slack-key guitar.
"Tell It Like It Is"
Host Luke Burbank makes yet another mid-life crisis purchase, iconic B-movie actor Bruce Campbell explains why you’ll never meet Tom Cruise, folk legend Loudon Wainwright III muses about his own propensity to share intensely personal experiences and his children’s (occasionally hurtful) ability to do the same, and comedian Karinda Dobbins spins personal anecdotes about systemic racism into comedy gold.
"Lampedusa"
In this special edition of Live Wire, Luke goes backstage during soundcheck for "Lampedusa: Concert for Refugees" to talk to some of the most iconic musicians of our time. Emmylou Harris reveals how she got waylaid on her way to Woodstock, Dave Matthews talks about managing a wide spectrum of his feelings during live performances, Steve Earle discusses how his real-life struggle with addiction intersected with his role on the HBO series The Wire, Patty Griffin recounts how she overcame her shyness through music and how her parents have helped her stay humble and Brandi Carlile reflects on her musical start as a teenager winning karaoke championships.
"West of Ordinary"
Live Wire visits Salt Lake City! Olympic gold medalist Picabo Street details the complex mental gymnastics that go into avoiding a fatal ski crash, author Mark Sundeen shares stories of people who make radical choices to live their values, radio producer Scott Carrier recounts how hitchhiking to NPR’s headquarters kicked off his career, and musical prodigy Sammy Brue reveals musical wisdom beyond his 16 years.
"Choice Words"
Author Salman Rushdie reveals the Queen’s go-to icebreaker for talking to authors, comedian Joe Kwaczala questions the singing training of Catholic priests, showrunner Shadi Petosky describes how she’s working to increase queer representation in children’s media, and Death Cab for Cutie sideman Dave Depper takes the spotlight.
"(Not So) Small Talk"
Luke Burbank remembers the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption before speaking with two hikers stranded in the Eagle Creek Fire, writer Chuck Klosterman shares his theories about flawed thinking, author Shawn Wen describes the creative journey her fascination with mime Marcel Marceau has taken her on, and Justin Townes Earle talks about growing up in the shadow of musical greatness.
"Making it Work"
In this special Labor Day episode of Live Wire, blind adventurer Erik Weihenmayer recalls summiting Everest and what it was like seeing his son’s face for the first time, social entrepreneur Leila Janah illuminates issues with current aid models and how conscientious consumers can change the world, comedian Mohanad Elshieky takes some punches at the American political system, and singer-songwriters Walter Martin and Jason Isbell chime in with their own labors of love.
Cameron Esposito (Short)
A listen back to Cameron Esposito's 2014 appearance on Live Wire, including her attempt to update Luke's lesbian cultural references and her completely original pronunciation for "guacamole." 
Sherman Alexie (Short)
Another episode from our archives: Luke and writer Sherman Alexie discuss kicking Philip Roth's literary ass, thinking beyond the reservation, and the particular challenge of being jealous of your kids.
"Burbank on Burbank"
This week we dig into our archives to bring you Luke's first ever appearance on Live Wire...where he reflects on a less than stellar interview from earlier in his career.
"Freedom"
In this special studio episode of Live Wire, Luke Burbank explores the notion of freedom. Amanda Knox continues the difficult work of healing from the trauma of her wrongful murder conviction and four years in an Italian prison, "Dear White People" creator Justin Simien discusses the catharsis and challenges of taking a satirical look at race relations, and alt-folk musician Shakey Graves rattles us to the core with a live version of “Roll the Bones.”
"Adaptation"
Ron Funches details finding his comedic voice and what it takes to make his mother proud, author Walter Kirn reveals how even a trained journalist could fall into a serial killer’s elaborate con as an imposter Rockefeller, and The Secret Sisters delight with a harmonic folk earworm.
"Above and Beyond"
Comedian Hari Kondabolu questions the devil’s need for advocates, journalist and author Faith Salie admits that being an approval junkie is particularly challenging when releasing a book on that topic, and looping violinist Joe Kye creates a complex and beautiful soundscape.
"Cut the Crap"
Author and prolific actor Stephen Tobolowsky takes us to the genesis of his spiritual reawakening, New Yorker writer and memoirist Ariel Levy opens up about what it’s like to keep reliving the worst year of her life, The Minimalists preach the purging gospel, and singer/songwriter Haley Heynderickx brings it home with the impromptu harmonic help of the Live Wire house band. Support Live Wire today: livewire.ejoinme.org/spring2017
"Off the Beaten Path"
Live Wire travels east to Pendleton,Oregon! Abstract painter James Lavadour recalls growing up on the Umatilla Reservation and how his energetic connection with the land transfuses into his work, Roam Schooled podcasters Jim Brunberg and his twin daughters restore the wonder of searching for answers without a wifi connection, June Colony introduces us to her new breed of sheep, and local legend Rodney Bonifer teaches Luke how to yodel before taking us out on a ballad about the Pendleton Round-Up.
Special Edition with Bob's Burgers
In this special spring membership drive edition of Live Wire, we look behind the scenes at Fox’s animated TV sitcom Bob’s Burgers with actor Kristin Schaal and writer/producer Scott Jacobson. Plus original songs from the show featuring Laura Gibson and John Roderick! Support Live Wire today: livewire.ejoinme.org/spring2017
"The Lowdown"
NPR’s Snap Judgment host Glynn Washington shares his desire to build empathy through vulnerable storytelling, Kelly McEvers of NPR’s All Things Considered explains how her malfunctioning danger sensor has led her to a career in deep-dive journalism, Environmental Services Field Supervisor Randy Belston gives us a taste (and scent) of what it’s like to work in Portland’s sewer system, and Grammy-winning neo-soul artist Bilal finishes off this lowdown episode on a stunningly high note.
"Against the Grain"
Savage Love columnist and the “It Gets Better Project” mastermind Dan Savage takes us on a trip down sex advice memory lane, author and “Inside Amy Schumer” head writer Jessi Klein puts forth the compelling argument that taking baths actually makes one dirtier, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson provides step-by-step instructions for how to sue your president, and alt-rocker Ayron Jones takes us out on a spine-chilling note.
"Own Worst Enemy"
“Rick and Morty” co-creator Dan Harmon talks about his creative process and the impending stalemate with his therapist, actor and playwright Lauren Weedman discusses the merits and perils of revealing personal (and often painful) stories to the world, poet Anis Mojgani leaves us hanging on every word, and Fruit Bats frontman Eric D. Johnson sings of unrequited love.
"Breaking Through"
Saturday Night Live cast member Sasheer Zamata recalls her journey to the comedy stage, author Ayelet Waldman details her experience as an LSD microdosing case study of one, Last Comic Standing winner Alonzo Bodden tears into the American zeitgeist, and Craig Finn (of The Hold Steady) defends his Minnesotan honor before performing a new song about his home state.
"Going Your Own Way"
My Drunk Kitchen star and author Hannah Hart details the long process of coming out to herself and her family, former child actor and memoirist Mara Wilson recalls the end of her love affair with Hollywood and making peace with forever being Matilda, Jim Norton poses a theory on why you don’t see classically beautiful comedians, and folk singer John Craigie performs an ode to some incriminating photos on his phone.
"Uncharted Waters"
Journalist Matt Taibbi recounts the years leading up to our current post-factual predicament, graphic novelist Thi Bui recalls her family's harrowing escape from South Vietnam, comedian El Sanchez deconstructs the gender binary, and musical act Hibou provides a synth-soaked nostalgia-inducing soundtrack.
"Funny Feelings"
Comedian Horatio Sanz recounts his days at SNL and the roll of comedy in political journalism, comedian Aparna Nancherla teaches us how to turn anxiety into comedy gold, the owners of Portland’s cat cafe explain the benefits of purr therapy, and Kyle Craft warns of the dangers of walls.
"Full Disclosure"
Author Elna Baker recounts childhood memories of workshopping material at her Mormon church’s “open mic” sessions, comedian and former SNL writer Brooks Wheelan teaches us how to fast talk our way out of illegal situations, Zahir Janmohamed breaks down the peanut butter and jelly controversy that led to the naming of his podcast The Racist Sandwich, and jazz virtuoso Thundercat treats us to a scale-flipping treasure from his forthcoming release, Drunk.
Bonus: A DAPL Update from Gyasi Ross
An update from author, attorney, and rapper Gyasi Ross about what's going on at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation and why he believes it's an amazing time to be alive.