Election Day is nearly upon us. And instead of cold-calling you and everyone you know, we’d rather invite you to consider a few important (and non-partisan!) election-related questions. Like how did we get such a strange voting system? Why do more than 40% of eligible voters stay home? And why should we care?For some answers we turned to Erin Geiger Smith, author of the new book Thank You For Voting: The Maddening, Enlightening, Inspiring Truth about Voting in America.
We get you ready for the weekend with movies, books and everyone’s favorite thing: a new way to categorize life experiences. Trust us!
The millennial generation came into adulthood during an American recession, an era of crushing student loan debt and the rise of temporary workers and independent contractors. Add a global pandemic to that precariousness and you’ve got a perfect recipe for burnout.Today, Greta talks with author Anne Helen Petersen about Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation. It's our October pick for the Nerdette Book Club. And even if you aren't a millennial or haven't read the book,&nb...more
You didn’t already know? Nerdette talked with two brand new MacArthur Fellows — also known as MacArthur “geniuses” — about the important work they’re doing and what it’s like to get that phone call. Mary L. Gray is an anthropologist and a media scholar honored for her work investigating how “labor, identity, and human rights are transformed by the digital economy.” And Damien Fair is a cognitive neuroscientist honored for his research on the developing human brain.
What a wild week! And to celebrate the return of another weekend, we assembled a bunch of fun people to take a look back … in a merry, pop culture kind of way, not a CAPS LOCK newsy way.To talk about the big week for movies, we called up Eliana Dockterman, who writes about movies, pop culture and feminism for Time. Then, to break down the gloriousness that is Fat Bear Week, we talked with Mike Fitz, the resident naturalist at explore.org. And for all the rest, we hung ou...more
The seasons are changing but the novel coronavirus is still with us. And that’s left us with a lot of questions about how to safely socialize with friends and family when the weather makes small outdoor gatherings less viable.So we called up Dr. Emily Landon, an epidemiologist and infectious disease specialist at the University of Chicago. (She also gave Nerdette listeners some therapeutic advice about the pandemic back in June.)And now that autumn is upon us, Lando...more
You know Gillian Flynn as the genre-redefining writer behind Gone Girl, both the 2012 novel and the 2014 movie adaptation starring Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck. Since the success of Gone Girl, Flynn has written only for the screen, including the 2018 movie Widows and the HBO series Sharp Objects. Out now on Amazon Prime, Utopia is Flynn’s latest work, based on a 2013 BBC show of the same name.Greta talks with Flynn about Utopia, Gone Girl and what’s next.
Welcome to the Nerdette Book Club! Each month, we read a book and chat about it with a rotating group of panelists. This month’s pick is Maaza Mengiste’s historical novel The Shadow King.It’s based on the true story of the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in the mid-1930s. Against Italian Prime Minister Benito Musolinni’s technologically-advanced army, the citizens of feudal Ethiopia didn’t seem to have a chance. But they eventually overcame— and they had the help of a number of forgotten female fig...more
“I’m not woke. I’m aware.”That’s the answer Chicago comedian T. Murph gives when he’s asked about his relationship to the title of Woke, a new series that dropped on Hulu earlier this month.T. Murph plays the role of Clovis, friend and roommate of Keef, the show’s protagonist (played by Lamorne Morris), who tries to avoid controversy in his work until the world forces him to do otherwise.Greta talks with T. Murph about what being woke means to him, if he moves through the world like his characte...more
The Bechdel test asks a simple question: Does a work of fiction have two named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man?Today we talk with Sarah Kozloff, who was a film professor at Vassar College when she learned that The Lord of The Rings movies fail the Bechdel test. That inspired her to write The Nine Realms, a series of fantasy novels about a young princess who must grow up and fight her way back to the throne.Greta talks with Sarah about...more
Like it or not these seasons are a changing! And that means right now is a great opportunity to embrace flavors from late summer and early fall, and to make a chocolate zucchini cake! We talk with baker and cookbook author Shauna Sever — all about all the spices you should have, sourdoughs you should start, and pies you should scarf down immediately.
While researching for her novel, author Maaza Mengiste says she came across a New York Times article from 1935 that described a woman leading an army of 2,000 men into victory. She was shocked. Why had she never heard about this female wartime hero?“It struck me,” Mengiste tells Nerdette. “If there’s one, there’s two. If there’s two, there’s five.”We talk to Mengiste about her novel, The Shadow King, which is the Nerdette Book Club’s September pick. Listen to this spoiler-free con...more
Of course it's not too early to talk about fall books! We got ahold of NPR books editor Barrie Hardymon to get recommendations for some great autumn reads. Find the full list of recommendations at www.wbez.org/nerdette.
When considering some of the milestone moments in feminist history, you might think about the Seneca Falls Conference of 1848, the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But the 1990s?“This was actually one of the most pivotal decades, I believe, for feminist history.” We talk with Lisa Levenstein, the Director of the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at UNC Greensboro and the author of They Didn't See Us Coming: The Hidden History of Femini...more
Welcome to the Nerdette Book Club! Each month, we read a book and chat about it with a rotating group of panelists. This month’s pick is Sameer Pandya’s debut novel Members Only.It takes place over the course of one very intense week in the life of Raj, a middle-aged Indian-American anthropology professor. When he’s asked to help his tennis club interview potential new members, he’s thrilled by the opportunity to help diversify his tennis partners. But he makes a huge gaffe in front of a Black f...more
Argonne National Laboratory is a massive research facility outside of Chicago that’s run by the U.S. Department of Energy. And this week, Nerdette hosts Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen take you behind the curtain to learn about some of the innovative stuff happening there. Stuff like superbatteries, supercomputers, and questions that may never get answersThis episode originally aired on August 10, 2018.
The optimism of one woman’s 20s meets the disappointment of her 30s in I Used To Go Here, a new film from Chicago filmmaker Kris Rey.We talked to Rey about the inspiration for the film, her recent name change from Swanberg to Rey, and what she tells young filmmakers.“Go for it,” she said. “The stakes are not that high. You can always start over.”
The 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified exactly 100 years ago Tuesday, the culmination of decades of activism that finally gave women the right to vote.Finish the Fight! is a new children’s book that chronicles the stories of some of the lesser-known suffragettes that made the 19th Amendment possible. Greta talks with author Veronica Chambers about 100 years of women’s suffrage and some of her favorite, lesser-known suffragettes.
We’re all human, but who has the right to make mistakes? That’s a question at the heart of Members Only, the debut novel from author Sameer Pandya. In it, Raj Bhatt's life falls apart after he makes a racist remark to an African-American couple at a posh tennis club.In this Nerdette Book Club author interview, host Greta Johnsen talks with Pandya about the weaponization of the term “cancel culture,” why a tennis club serves as the setting for a story about Indian-American identity and who g...more
Some of you may already be familiar with Nerdette Recaps with Peter Sagal, the podcast where Greta Johnsen and Nerdette cohost-emeritus Tricia Bobeda recapped Game of Thrones with Peter Sagal, host of NPR's Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me! Well we are very happy to announce that we’re BACK, and this time, we’re doing '90s movies! So here is our very first episode! It’s a recap of 1995's 'Clueless,' featuring Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, and Paul Rudd. We break it down, ask if it holds up, a...more
We talk with New York Magazine advice columnist Heather Havrilesky about quarantine madness, cinnamon rolls and making friends during a pandemic.
More women are running for political office this year than ever before, but men still disproportionally represent the American populace.We talk with Erin Vilardi, the founder of VoteRunLead, an organization that encourages and trains women to run for office -- and win. Are YOU considering a run for office? Vilardi explains why women are well-suited for leadership and why you should take the plunge.
Welcome to the Nerdette Book Club! Each month, we read a book and chat about it with a rotating group of panelists. This month’s pick is Last Tang Standing by Lauren Ho.It tells the story of Andrea Tang, a thirtysomething Malaysian woman who lives and works in Singapore. Her love life is a mess and she’s vying for partner at her law firm, all while drinking a lot and somehow spending many hours playing Candy Crush.Listen along as Nerdette host Greta Johnsen discusses the book with podcast expert...more
As you'll soon find out, Emily Graslie has a contagious enthusiasm for science and discovery. She holds the very real title of “Chief Curiosity Correspondent” at the Field Museum here in Chicago. She hosts a YouTube series called The Brain Scoop. And she’s also the host of a series on PBS called Prehistoric Road Trip, where she travels across the western United States to examine the history of our planet.We talk with Emily about exploration and discovery, how loving art and science does not...more
When you hit a rough spot with a good friend, what do you do about it? Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman are longtime friends and business partners. Their fans also know them as the hosts and creators of 'Call Your Girlfriend,' a podcast “for long-distance besties everywhere.”When they recently hit a rough patch, the pair took what might be considered an unusual step to save a friendship: they went to therapy together. Their new book is called Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close. ...more
This is a weird year for [insert almost anything] and also summer blockbusters. But even though the theaters remain (mostly) closed, there's still plenty of great new movies to stream from the comfort of your own home. We talk with Eliana Dockterman, staff writer at Time, about the uncertain future for new movies, a few great films you can watch right now, and a few more that you'll have to wait for.
It’s the Nerdette Book Club! And today we're talking with Lauren Ho, the author of this month’s selection, Last Tang Standing.It's a wonderful summer romance that follows the story of Andrea Tang, a 33-year-old Chinese-Malaysian lawyer, as she tries to make partner at her Singaporean law firm while fending off the unhealthy interest her relatives have in her love life.Before she wrote this novel, Lauren herself was a Chinese-Malaysian lawyer living in Singapore. So ahead of our panel d...more
Kate Stayman-London loves reality TV. But even though shows like The Bachelorette and Love Island bring her joy, “we should also hold those things accountable to our values,” she said.Stayman-London’s debut novel, One To Watch, puts a plus-size woman as the star of a Bachelorette-style reality TV show. It’s both a lovely summer read and also a critical assessment of reality TV tropes.Greta talks with Kate about the impetus for the novel, what it means to see stories about large women, ...more
Sheyna Gifford spent a year living on a volcano in Hawaii with just five other people as part of a NASA project to simulate life on Mars. Living in a biodome the size of a two-bedroom apartment, the crew studied the psychological effects and group dynamics that could be at play when astronauts eventually make it to Mars.This interview — about relationships, food and free time while in isolation — originally aired on Nerdette back in 2017, but it also has a few interesting parallels to our c...more
In this chock-full-of-bassoons episode, we talk about the history of the orchestra's largest woodwind with bassoonist and culture writer Eileen Reynolds, we jam with a principal bassoonist from the Chicago Philharmonic, and we even call up the self-proclaimed “Bassoon King,” The Office's Rainn Wilson. Join Johnsen, Nerdette co-host emeritus Tricia Bobeda and this bevy of bassoon buffs for more bassoon than you knew you needed. This episode originally aired on August 11, 2017.
After she visited the very bottom of the Marianas Trench last month, Kathy Sullivan became the very first human to both fly to space and reach the deepest part of the ocean. We talk with her about about what drew her to the deepest part of the deep sea, what's so powerful about the power of discovery and why you, too, should follow your dreams.
The coronavirus pandemic is not over, but stay-at-home orders are starting to loosen up across the country. In Illinois, people can now visit hair salons, museums, restaurants and even bars. Meanwhile, other states are seeing more cases of COVID-19 than ever before. Which means all of this is really confusing.Dr. Emily Landon, an epidemiologist and infectious disease specialist at the University of Chicago, has spent a lot of time thinking about global pandemics, and COVID-19...more
It's Nerdette Book Club! Each month, we read a book and chat about it with a rotating group of panelists.This month’s pick is Brit Bennett’s sophomore novel, The Vanishing Half.The story starts in rural Louisiana in the late 1950s, when two light-skinned Black girls run away from home to New Orleans. When one decides to pass as white, she leaves her past behind. The book unfolds to tell the stories of both sisters and their daughters as they live with the repercussions of the choices they’v...more
We talk with Emily Pilloton, author of Girls Garage: How to Use Any Tool, Tackle Any Project, and Build the World You Want to See, about representation, being your own repair person and it's important to put power tools in the hands of young girls.
For the last few weeks, our “Introvert’s Guide to the Good Life” series has been all about helping you find ways to enrich your perhaps-more-than-usual indoors-based life. Today, we talk to Pooja Naik, founder of Chicago-based organizational consulting company Organizing With You. She tells us why you should make your bed and how decluttering your physical space can help with your head space.
For the last few weeks, our “Introvert’s Guide to the Good Life” series has been all about helping you find ways to enrich your perhaps-more-than-usual indoors-based life. Today, we talk to plant expert Tara Heibel, who owns a garden center called Sprout Home here in Chicago and also in Brooklyn, about why you might want to consider putting some of your anxious energy towards helping something simple grow.
Greta talks with Brit Bennett, the author of this month’s Nerdette Book Club selection, The Vanishing Half, which just climbed to the top of The New York Times bestselling fiction list amid nationwide conversations around racial inequality.The Vanishing Half tells the story of two light-skinned black sisters whose lives take very different directions: Desiree moves back home after escaping an abusive relationship with her dark-skinned husband while Stella chooses to pass as a white woman.He...more
It’s a question a lot of people are asking right now. So we talk with author and activist Kate Schatz about how white people can have constructive conversations with each other about racism in America. Ever since Schatz’s friend, comedian W. Kamau Bell, made Schatz responsible for “Conan O’Brien’s whiteness,” she’s been answering white people’s questions on Instagram live.
Widespread protests against police brutality have led many white people to ask how they can better understand the systems behind the disparities in our society.There are dozens of great resources out there. Nerdette host Greta Johnsen and NPR books editor Barrie Hardymon offer a few recommendations of the books they’ve found helpful. Plus a handful of summer reads, too.
We think you could use some joy and calm right now. So we’re taking a moment to take some deep breaths. Then, we’ll listen back to part of our delightful 2017 interview with Tom Hanks.
What if cities were embodied in human beings? If The Bronx were a human, what would she be like? And why is xenophobia so toxic? Listen along as Nerdette host Greta Johnsen discusses 'The City We Became,' the new novel from Hugo-award-winning author N.K. Jemisin, along with WBEZ host Jenn White and Michi Trota, editor for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.And then get ready for next month’s Book Club pick: The Vanishing Half, a new novel by Brit Bennett.
There are so many video game options that it can be hard to know where to begin. Which is why Nerdette host Greta Johnsen enlisted the assistance of Samantha Nelson, who writes about video games for The A.V. Club and Polygon. From simple task-oriented games to elaborate explorations, she’s got you covered. Plus, of course, we get plenty of recommendations from YOU.
Greta talks with grief counselor Claire Bidwell Smith about how anxiety is part of grieving and how grieving is now part of everyday life. Plus what you can do with all those anxious thoughts.
Have you been exercising lately? No shame if you haven't! But ... personal trainer Sarah Gonsiorowski of The Lunge Ladies has some ideas to get your body moving. We also hear about some great apps and workout routines from YOU, our lovely listeners.
How does one deal with existential horror from beyond? That’s one question at the heart of The City We Became, a new novel from Hugo Award-winning author N.K. Jemisin, in which New York City literally comes alive in order to fight off “creepy tentacle monster creatures."Nerdette's Greta Johnsen talked to Jemisin earlier this week about the novel, how all cities have personalities, and why she doesn’t describe racism with subtlety. AND in a couple weeks, we'll bring you a panel dis...more
TV! We need it, you probably need it, and New York Times TV critic Margaret Lyons has it! Lyons tells us about four great new TV shows — each of which fits into that “Just-feed-it-to-me-like grapes” model of show that we all so desperately crave right now. And of course, we field TV recommendations from listeners, too!
When Nerdette listeners told us last week what they would have done with a warning before stay-at-home orders, haircuts were top of mind. But is an at-home haircut ever a good idea?Nerdette host Greta Johnsen asked her friend (and hair stylist) Julia Pishko for some tips.
If you had a one-week pre-stay-at-home warning, what would you have done? This episode is filled with your pre-pandemic wish lists, from spending time with loved ones to buying nail polish to dancing your face off.
In the middle of a pandemic, dating might be the last thing on your mind. But some singles are feeling more isolated now than ever, and some of them want to do something about it. We talk with two dating experts — Bela Gandhi of Smart Dating Academy in Chicago and San Francisco-based dating coach Logan Ury — about the kinds of advice they’re giving their clients right now.
Are you ready for a fresh look at George Washington and his many foul diseases? You've come to the right place! Nerdette host Greta Johnsen joins Lulu Miller, co-creator of NPR's Invisibilia podcast and author of Why Fish Don't Exist, to break down Alexis Coe’s new biography of George Washington, You Never Forget Your First. We also eat hoecakes and consider bloodletting.Plus, get ready for next month’s book club pick: The City We Became, a new fantasy novel by Hugo Award-winning autho...more
There’s never a bad time to expand your musical horizons, and mid-pandemic is no exception. So we got ahold of Jill Hopkins, host of The Morning AMP at Vocalo, Chicago’s urban alternative radio station, to provide us with some positive listening. Nerdette listeners supplied the rest. Enjoy!(Need a list of the songs in this week's episode? Check it out right here.)
We’ve all heard the mythology around George Washington: He never told a lie! He had wooden teeth! There was a cherry tree that one time!But in her new biography, You Never Forget Your First, historian Alexis Coe revisits the origins of those myths and explores aspects of George Washington that may have been brushed over or misconstrued.Coe talked with Nerdette host Greta Johnsen about what surprised her most about our first president, the unfair portrayals of Washington’s mother, and why it’s im...more
We check in with podcast nerd Nick Quah to hear about some of the podcasts that can help you use your imagination, cook a meal and maybe even better yourself. And of course, we’ll get some pod recommendations from listeners, too!Here are the podcasts Nick mentions in this week’s episode:Home CookingPersonal BestPhoebe Reads a MysteryThe Anthropocene ReviewedThe Sound of Casual ViolenceWalking
Imagine you’ve written a new book, your first in six years. And your last book? It was a novel about the aftermath of a deadly pandemic. That’s Emily St. John Mandel, author of the award-winning 2014 novel Station Eleven. Her new book — released on March 24 and titled The Glass Hotel — is decidedly different; she called it “a ghost story with a Ponzi scheme and container shipping.”We talk with Mandel about what it’s like to release a highly-anticipated novel during massi...more
Let's all go to the lobby! But first, we check in with NPR film critic Bob Mondello about the best movies to watch right now. (Hint: he's not interested in pandemic movies like Contagion.) And of course, we’ll get some movie recommendations from listeners, too!
Welcome to the Nerdette Book Club! Each month, we read a book and chat about it with a rotating group of panelists. It’s just like a normal book club, except you don’t have to share your industrial-sized carton of Good & Plentys. The book on tap today is Emily St. John Mandel’s The Glass Hotel. On one hand, it’s a novel about a 2008 Bernie Madoff-esque ponzi scheme. On the other hand, it’s a ghost story. For insights and analysis, follow along with Nerdette host Greta Johnsen and New York m...more
Sure, lots of celebrities are hosting conversations and table reads on social media these days. But author and actor John Hodgman has been hanging out on Instagram Live for months already, interviewing random humans and their pets, in a show he calls … wait for it … “Get Your Pets.” Nerdette host Greta Johnsen talks to Hodgman about why he thinks “Get Your Pets” is maybe, actually some of the most important work he’s done. Plus, we hear from you about some of the creatures keeping you company ...more
A good book can get you through a lot of uncertainty. What’s better than diving into another world and staying there for hours and hours?In this episode, we’ll hear from a BUNCH of listeners about what’s getting you through these weird times. Plus, we’ll check in with Rebecca George, who owns Volumes Bookcafe in Chicago.
It’s a fair bet that stress baking is on the rise. (See what we did there?) So we thought it was time to check in with baker extraordinaire Shauna Sever, whose cookbook Midwest Made is full of amazing comfort foods. She has a recipe for the only banana bread you’ll ever need, and the name is true. And, of course, we hear from you! Your homework: We’d love to know what you’re reading these days. Are you doubling down on pandemic fiction? Dabbling in a presidential biography? Is your attention t...more
Today we check in with Nerdette book club regular Heather Havrilesky. She also writes the Ask Polly advice column for New York magazine, so she gives us another perspective on how everyone's doing out there. And of course, we hear from a bunch of you, too, which is quickly becoming the best part of this show.If you’d like to chime in, just tell us how you’re adapting, along with your name and where you’re from. You can record yourself on your phone and email the file to ...more
A lot of us are looking around and realizing the plans we had aren’t necessarily a reality anymore. Which can be scary and hard, but it’s also a great opportunity to adapt.Today, Greta checks in with her friend Shannon Downey. She’s a crafter with a big online community, but most of the work she does involves meeting people in real life, something that can’t happen right now. Hear what she decided to do, and the voices of Nerdette listeners from all over the place, about what they...more
One thing for which Greta is grateful? Danielle Kurtzleben, who works on theÂ NPR Politics PodcastÂ team, and whose tweet about wearing a ball gown while working from home isÂ exquisitely delightful.We’ll hear what Danielle appreciates now more than ever, and we’ll also hear from some of you!
Today, we ask how we can help ourselves while helping others. We also hear from some of you in this episode, and we want to keep that up! Tell us your name, where you’re calling from, and what you’re grateful for. Just record yourself on your phone and then email the audio file to us at email@example.com. Keep ‘em coming!
Now more than ever, we could all use a little pick-me-up.Starting today, we’re making regular mini-sodes with ideas on how to work from home, what you should be reading, and some things to help lift your mood.
We get help from longtime tech journalist Kara Swisher to dissect Anna Wiener's 'Uncanny Valley,' a fish-out-of-water memoir about a young woman who abandons New York’s publishing industry in favor of big tech and Silicon Valley.Join us! We assure you, the Nerdette book club is just like a normal book club, except we don’t shame you if you didn’t do the reading.
Welcome to the Nerdette Book Club! Where we read a book a month and chat about it with a rotating group of panelists. It’s just like a normal book club except no one shames you when you don't do the reading.This episode is all about Kiley Reid’s excellent debut novel, Such a Fun Age. It’s an incisive look at race and class in modern America, (and it also happens to be really funny.) Join Nerdette host Greta Johnsen, New York magazine advice columnist Heather Havrilesky and The Morning AMp a...more
Nerdette has always been a podcast for book lovers, but for the first few months of 2020, we’re doubling down. Join host Greta Johnsen and a rotating cast of panelists as they discuss the year’s buzziest books.Whether you can’t wait to dive in or just want to sound like you know what you’re talking about with your book nerd buddies, this is the podcast for you.First up: Such a Fun Age, Kiley Reid’s debut page-turner about race and class in America. Read it, and share your thoughts by recording y...more
Books! Books! Books! Greta read 72 books this year, and today she sits down and ranks her 10 favorites. (Plus, she speaks with the author of her favorite book of 2019, ‘Such A Fun Age’ by Kiley Reid.)Here's her full list, and you can get more details on each title at this link: 10. Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes9. The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman8. The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo7. Miracle Creek by Angie Kim6. Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson5. W...more
Good gravy! It's George R.R. Martin! If you're unfamiliar, he's the author of that little book series that became one of the most popular TV shows of all time, Game of Thrones. These days, he’s in the midst of writing the final two novels in that series. Before he sat down with Greta, his team told us that he couldn’t answer the question on everyone’s mind ("So, like, when’s the next book coming out?"). So we didn’t ask that one, but Martin did tell us plenty about how writing i...more
To celebrate the approach of another wonderful two-day break, Nerdette host Greta Johnsen talked with Alison Roman, author of the new cookbook Nothing Fancy, about three ways to make sure you host the most badass dinner party possible (she prefers to call it “having people over”). And did you know that the largest 3D printer in the world just printed the world’s largest 3D-printed boat? We talk to Habib Dagher, the executive director at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center at the Unive...more
We’ve finished The Testaments!Press play and join Nerdette host Greta Johnsen, New York Magazine’s Heather Havrilesky and Vocalo’s Jill Hopkins for this final installment of the #NerdetteBookClub.You’ll hear how each of us rated the book on a scale of 1-10 warm milks (10 being the best, obviously), what the professional reviewers thought, and how much your fellow book club members liked it!Plus, if you need post-Testaments-reading recommendations, check out this week's Nerdsletter (and subscribe...more
We’re two thirds of the way through Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments, and we’ve got a lot to talk about.This week is all about chapters 24 through 46, and our panel of intrepid feminists questions whether these storylines are just a little toooo convenient, whether it’s really possible to rip a person apart with your bare hands … and what the deal is with all that warm milk.Want to be a part of the #NerdetteBookClub? Easy! Just press play and join Nerdette host Greta Johnsen, New York Magazine’s...more
Our reading of Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments has commenced!This week, we’re talking about book chapters 1 through 23. So … spoilers abound.Join Nerdette host Greta Johnsen, New York Magazine’s Heather Havrilesky and Vocalo’s Jill Hopkins as they contemplate the motives of Aunt Lydia, wonder what’s in that darn safe and talk smack about the mean girls of Gilead.To follow along with us, read The Testaments through chapter 46 (pages 124-282) before next Friday, September 27.And hey, we want to h...more
Welcome to the Nerdette Book Club! It’s just like a normal book club but in podcast form, and you provide your own booze. In this episode, we're taking a look back at Margaret Atwood's 1985 dystopian novel 'The Handmaid's Tale' before sending you out to read Atwood's brand new sequel, 'The Testaments.' What are the rules of a book club podcast, you ask? Well, after this 'Handmaid’s Tale' refresher, we're all going to read 'The Testaments' together over the next three ...more
September is right around the corner, which means fall is coming.To celebrate, Nerdette host Greta Johnsen talks with Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks, author and illustrator of the new graphic novel Pumpkinheads. It’s about Deja and Josiah, two high schoolers who love working at an amazing pumpkin patch every autumn. But the story starts on their last day of work as they try to enjoy everything the patch has to offer one last time.We also check in with an atmospheric scientist who’s about to...more
Abra Berens is a Midwest born-and-bred farmer-turned-chef. And her cookbook, Ruffage, is a gorgeous A-to-Z guide to vegetables.The idea, she tells us, is this: You go to the grocery store, buy what inspires you and then you go home to look up meal ideas in her cookbook.Abra’s not a pretentious chef who poo-poos comfort food. Instead, she’s all about meeting people where they are (and encouraging you to enjoy your veggies).She talks with Greta about how she approaches cooking, why her book is cal...more
Chicago Magazine called this novel "a Midwestern Big Little Lies — an intimate character study of a group of affluent, secretive women." In this bonus interview, Greta talks with author Claire Lombardo about her debut novel, ‘The Most Fun We Ever Had.’ It’s the story of four radically different daughters from suburban Chicago. And it’s about love, family, forgiveness and the importance of showing up.
These days there are more and more celebrations of women who might have otherwise been relegated to the footnotes of history.As you can imagine, here at Nerdette we’re all about that. Totally into it. Zero complaints.But what is equally as wonderful is when the spotlight also lands on accomplished young girls. And that’s what author Kate Schatz and illustrator Miriam Klein Stahl have done with their book Rad Girls Can, which tells the stories of inspiring young women who have made positive impac...more
Is summer a great time for watching TV? Heck yeah it is. So we caught up with New York Times TV critic Margaret Lyons to get recommendations for the best of the best summer TV, including shows that are dark and mysterious, bright and fun, and also the throwbackiest throwback binges.
When anyone at WBEZ needs book recommendations, they go to Greta Johnsen, the station’s resident bookworm.So please enjoy Greta talking about some fantastic reads that you might want to pick up this summer.Contemporary Romantic FictionEvvie Drake Starts Over by Linda HolmesThe Unhoneymooners by Christina LaurenFantasyMagic for Liars by Sarah GaileyMystery/ThrillerSearching for Sylvie Lee by Jean KwokBiography/MemoirMore Than Enough: Claiming Space For Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) by Ela...more
If you know NPR’s Linda Holmes, it’s probably not as a novelist. She’s a pop culture correspondent, she co-hosts NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, and her recalcitrant dog Brian is mildly famous on Twitter.But she always wanted to write a novel. And at 48, she did. It's called Evvie Drake Starts Over and it is excellent. “This is what I think my story does actually prove,” Holmes tells Greta on this episode of Nerdette. “The fact that you haven’t gotten som...more
What’s it like to give people hallucinogenic drugs and study what happens? How might these drugs be used for therapy? And what causes people to take drugs in the first place? That’s what we asked Harriet de Wit, who runs the University of Chicago’s Human Behavioral Pharmacology Laboratory, where she administers drugs like LSD, ecstacy and psilocybin to volunteers in an effort to learn more about the human nervous system. “The whole world of researchers is feeling very cautious,” de Wit...more
Greta gives 'Booksmart' four out of four Gretas, a new rating system we've devised specifically for this wonderful new movie. Why's it so good? Well, it’s smart, funny, a little raunchy, and it embraces so many gorgeous, gut-wrenching elements of what it means to be a smart, funny teenage girl. This week on Nerdette, we talk with the wonderful Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein (the stars of the film) about the movie's themes: Friendship, growing older, sexuality, feminism, and dealing with...more
Bill Nye says that when he was in high school, the big skill that students had to learn was how to find information. “But the challenge now is to sort out the information that may not be true.”Greta talks to Bill from the stage at The Collider’s Climate City Expo in Asheville, N.C. Their conversation focuses on climate change, Bill's new Netflix series (called "Bill Nye Saves the World") and combatting dubious scientific claims with critical thinking and an abundance of evidence.And also: Fake t...more
Lizzo recently landed on the Billboard 200 chart for the first time with her new album ‘Cuz I Love You,’ making now the perfect time to revisit her 2016 conversation with Nerdette's Greta Johnsen. Lizzo and Greta talk about what inspired her 2016 EP 'Coconut Oil' and how Lizzo became Lizzo.And your homework after listening to this episode is, of course, to play ‘Cuz I Love You’ on repeat, forever?P.S. Get in on our lovely new tote bags! One’s for Nerdette and one’s for Nerdette Recaps Game ...more
Scientists around the world are trying to figure out how to mitigate the potentially disastrous impacts of climate change. Among the innovative ideas? De-extinction. “De-extinction is a scientific movement that’s aiming to recreate close versions of extinct species,” said Britt Wray, the author of Rise of the Necrofauna: The Science, Ethics, and Risks of De-Extinction. Wray says the idea is to create close facsimiles of “keystone species,” or animals that had a profound impact on their ecosy...more
Sahana Srinivasan is the host of the Netflix kids’ science show Brainchild, a series that’s all about exploring interesting questions about the world in which we live. On Nerdette, Sahana talks about what makes her show different from the kids’ science shows of the ‘90s, why it’s so important for kids to see a woman of color talk about science and what she’s going to do after she graduates from college.
Oh hey it's Lindy West!Lindy's the the executive producer of Shrill, a new Hulu series starring SNL's Aidy Bryant that's based on Lindy's 2016 novel of the same name. And we talk with Lindy about a few of the delightful scenes from the series (including an epic pool party), why Lindy left Twitter, and her forthcoming new book called The Witches Are Coming. She also tells us about how her new Hulu series subverts a common TV trope.“Usually what we get are weight loss narratives and make...more
At WBEZ (and maybe at your office too?) it seems like a lot of folks get sick at almost exactly the same time. But why?! Simple: People in our office are sick because sick people are in our office.“I think that is probably the single biggest thing that we could do to reduce the incidence of a lot of diseases,” says Sarah Cobey, an evolutionary microbiologist from the University of Chicago. "Just self-quarantine." On this episode of Nerdette, Sarah takes a walk through our open offic...more
Yep. Podcats. Not a typo. This week we take a journey back to 1994, just after an astronomer named Heidi Hammel — as well as the entire scientific community at large — learned that a fragmented comet named Shoemaker-Levy 9 was going to crash into Jupiter at a speed of more than 130,000 miles per hour. "We have witnessed other impacts,” Heidi tells us. “What was really special about the Jupiter one was we had warning that it was going to happen.” This moment was huge for Heidi, who...more
Winter is still here! (At least in the nation’s midsection.) And that means you’re looking for stuff to do when you’re stuck inside. And who better to recommend some good nerdy activities than Nerdette co-creator Tricia Bobeda?!? She did just that on WBEZ’s Morning Shift last month and we’re bringing it to you now because we love you. So please enjoy this binge-watchers guide to navigating the winter cold, featuring excellent TV, movie and book recommendations. Bonus: This intervi...more
Dana Czapnik has always been drawn to wanderers and wonderers, the kind of fictional characters who are always contemplating who they are and the world around them. But aside from the work of Virginia Woolf, Czapnik said she hasn’t come across many female characters who get those kind of opportunities.“That was one of the things that I was thinking of when I was working on this,” Czapnik says of her new novel, The Falconer. “That I wanted to write a female character who has the space to just be ...more
The Nerdette team recently moved next to the crew at Sound Opinions, WBEZ’s long-running rock n’ roll talk show. We bring that up because last year that team reviewed Dessa’s latest album, “Chime,” and not only did they call it “brilliant,” they called Dessa “a renaissance woman in the truest sense.”That’s because Dessa is a rapper, singer, author, poet, and whiskey co-creator. And she even participated in an “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”-type procedure in an attempt to remove memories...more
How does one ask their employer for more money? The short answer, according to Refinery29's Lindsey Stanberry, is just do it."It’s hard. And it’s not fun," Stanberry tells Greta this week. "I mean, you just have to ask."It's a new year. And now — RIGHT NOW — is the time to get your finances in order. So we're talking with a financial expert who's going to tell you to know your numbers, to know your worth, and — most importantly — to get out there and get that money.Stanberry is the author of "Mo...more
The year is at its end. And in 2018’s honor, Greta talked to four people who’ve made some amazing things about their favorite thing of the year. Make sense? It’s kind of like a miniature phone tree but for books, music, and TV. Or like a binder’s worth of homework dumped on you hours before the end of the semester. (You're welcome!) Here are our guest professors: Celeste Ng, author of the 2017 novel Little Fires Everywhere Curtis Sittenfeld, author of a 2018 ...more
Nerdette host Greta Johnsen has a rare genetic disease that CRISPR might be able to fix. As a four-year old in Juneau, Alaska, Greta was diagnosed with an eye condition known as "Best disease." That name is somewhat of a misnomer in that "Best disease" causes premature macular degeneration — but curiously it happens to be among the best diseases for experimenting with CRISPR, a genetic engineering tool that can be used to edit DNA. CRISPR has been in the news a lot lately (Google it) so...more
In a curious twist, venomous, killer sea snails are helping scientists make some incredible biomedical advances. Dr. Mandë Holford is the head of the Holford Lab in New York City, but her line of research often means she’s taking nighttime scuba dives in seas and oceans across the globe. “Yes, a snail can kill you,” Holford tells Greta. “But a snail can also help you! In various, various ways. And that’s what our lab is investigating: The power of these snails and the venom that they have ...more
A little while after Glory Edim created an Instagram account under the name Well-Read Black Girl, she said she started getting a lot of messages from young women thanking her for creating a space that offered reflections of themselves. “It’s not only just an Instagram account, but people don’t see themselves reflected in their libraries, in their bookstores, in everyday conversation,” Edim says on Nerdette podcast. “The common theme is: People don’t feel fully heard. And I’m doin...more
Barbara Kingsolver says her new novel, ‘Unsheltered,’ is “my love letter to millennials.” “Today’s problems can’t be fixed by yesterday’s people,” she tells Greta. “They’re going to be fixed by tomorrow’s people.”Kingsolver is the author of several award-winning books, including ‘The Poisonwood Bible’ and ‘The Bean Trees.’ ‘Unsheltered’ is set both in the run up to the 2016 presidential election and in the aftermath of the American Civil War, and she says it’s about “how people behave ...more
Samin Nosrat is the chef behind ‘Salt Fat Acid Heat,’ a book and a new Netflix series of the same name. She’s also a proponent of articulating your dreams."I do think taking a little bit of time, a couple times a year, to articulate your goals and your dreams and your desires is helpful because it helps orient you toward them," Nosrat says.She also tells Greta about the culinary value of those four primary elements, the importance of embracing your cooking mistakes, and she gives great homework!...more
Hey! Today we're talking with Jodie Whittaker! She is the first woman to play the lead role in the long-running, time-travel-based BBC television series Doctor Who. You'll hear her tell Greta the story of how she got the role, how so many lovely Doctor Who fans have reacted to her casting, and why she thinks her character’s gender, “more so than probably any other role I’ve ever played, is irrelevant.”
If you were bored by Homeric epics and Greek mythology in high school and college, Nerdette highly encourages you to reconsider. “There is a reason these stories have lasted for 3,000 years,” said Madeline Miller, author of Greta’s favorite book of 2018, a novelization of The Odyssey called Circe. “[These stories] are incredibly insightful about human nature,” Miller said. “Culture has changed and the way we go to war has changed, but the stories we tell about war and about loss and...more
Aileen Rizo was working as a math consultant at the Fresno County Office of Education when she discovered a recently-hired male colleague was being paid significantly more than her for the same work. Aileen had more experience and education than this colleague. What then began as a fight for herself quickly turned into a fight for equality for women everywhere. Aileen talked about the tough decisions she's made for herself and her family on a recent episode of the WBEZ podcast The Trouble. ...more
From Murphy Brown to Kidding to Doctor Who and more, New York Times TV critic Margaret Lyons reveals the shows she’s excited about.
U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois is one of only 52 women to ever serve in the Senate. There are currently 23 female senators, which is an all-time high. “There are not enough women,” Duckworth tells Nerdette host Greta Johnsen. “We’re 20 percent of the Senate. That’s it. That’s wrong. We’re 51 percent of the population, yet 20 percent of those who make the laws that govern our lives.”Duckworth also recently became the first sitting U.S. senator to have a baby while in office when she g...more
... Well, technically it's Pysc 157. This week Nerdette host Greta Johnsen speaks with the professor responsible for the most popular class in Yale University's 316-year history. Laurie Santos created a course called "Psychology and the Good Life” and about 1,200 students quickly enrolled in it. Put simply, the course teaches students how they can be happier.“The good news is that we can do it,” Santos tells Greta. “The bad news is that like all good things in life, it takes a lot...more
Here at Nerdette, we've wanted to visit Argonne National Laboratory for MANY YEARS. Why? Because it's a massive research facility, it's just outside of Chicago, and it shares many similarities with Hawkins National Laboratory, the fictional government science complex from the Netflix show Stranger Things.Greta, Tricia and our trusty guide Justin Breaux take a tour of Argonne, where we talk with a bunch of super-smart scientists about the stuff they're working on and the questions they're tr...more
Hey! Nerdette is about to go on a little summer break, but before we do we wanted to share this lovely conversation Greta had with WBEZ’s Jenn White and the owner of Volumes Bookscafe in Chicago, Rebecca George. They talk about what makes a good summer read before offering an INUNDATING LIST of killer summer books. You can check out the full list of those recommendations at this link. Enjoy! Have a KAS and see you in a few weeks!
Super-talented singer-songwriter Neko Case is not immune to self-doubt. In the years before becoming “an adult,” she tells us she had a complicated relationship with ambition. “I wanted to be in a band and I wanted to play music, but I couldn’t have even told you that then,” Case said. “I wouldn’t have even thought that I was capable of that, even though I was completely obsessed and had been my whole life.” Her work has gone on to receive a lot of critical acclaim over her 30-...more
“I’d been patronized as a child,” Dame Stephanie Shirley — a.k.a. Steve — tells us this week. “I wasn’t going to be patronized as an adult.”The kind of company that Stephanie Shirley wanted to work for didn’t exist in 1962, so she created her own.“I wanted a company that was suitable for me [and] that I would like to work in,” Shirley says. “And I knew there were lots of women who had also hit the glass ceiling and were completely and utterly ignored by the industry.”She’s talking about the soft...more
Speaking out about traumatic incidents can sometimes be more traumatic than the incidents themselves. That was the case for one reporter after she documented rampant sexual harassment at a recent music festival.Vera Papisova is the wellness editor for Teen Vogue and runs the magazine’s sexual assault awareness campaign. After Teen Vogue published her explosive article about sexual assault at Coachella 2018, Papisova became the target of internet trolls. “People usually say, ‘Ignore the trol...more
Audie Cornish says she had something like an epiphany after posting a photo of herself and her new baby on Twitter in April. "I realized, oh my god, I’m part of the problem," Cornish tells Greta Johnsen. "Because there is absolutely nothing worse than opening up a glossy magazine and seeing a picture of some woman with, like, a pet and a 3-year-old, everyone’s groomed to the nines, and she’s like, ‘I woke up like this.’”Cornish is the host of NPR’s daily news program 'All Things Considered....more
If you’re looking for a way to combat the online trolls and bots fomenting unrest in the U.S., comedian Negin Farsad might have a solution for you. It’s a philosophy she calls “Being aggressively delightful.” You might think that sounds exhausting, but Farsad says not so! “I also think rage is exhausting,” she told us in February 2018. “I might think rage is more exhausting than trying to be friends with people.” It’s genius I tell you! We’re replaying this great moment in Nerdette ...more
On Nerdette, our guests assign us homework. It’s usually something to read, watch, or do — like a great book, a compelling TV show, or a life-changing daily routine. We’ve been lucky enough to have famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson on the show TWICE, and both times he assigned homework that essentially asks you to save the world. “If I were to give homework, the homework would be that there are problems society faces — civilization faces — that cannot and will not be solved awaiti...more
On a scale of 1 to famous, Tom Hanks is off the charts. So how did we land this amazing interview? Easy! We put a 1939 Underwood Champion typewriter into a recording studio and lured him in Elmer Fudd style! (Bugs Bunny:Carrots::Tom Hanks:Typewriters) The reason we're rebroadcasting part of this episode right now is because our little show is celebrating a birthday. We've been around for FIVE YEARS! To celebrate, we're showcasing some of our favorite episodes AND we're asking y...more
Nerdette has been around for FIVE YEARS! And we're celebrating our birthday by showcasing some of our favorite parts of our favorite episodes. Did you know that writer Roxane Gay has a fascination with Channing Tatum's neck? You're about to! Because this special episode is from our 2017 interview with the amazing author of Difficult Women. Roxane Gay also tells us about her love of Thor, her co-authoring of a little Marvel comic called Black Panther, and how she never reads anybody's Goodre...more
In 2016, Grace Bonney spoke with 100 women doing creative work and turned those interviews into a book, In the Company of Women. It became a New York Times bestseller, and earlier this month, Bonney released a follow up: a biennial business magazine called Good Company. Plus, while she’s out promoting her new publication, she also runs the creativity website Design*Sponge. Like so many of us, Bonney is busy. So how does she refuel? “That’s one of the things I think everyon...more
We brought brothers Hari and Ashok Kondabolu on Nerdette to talk about making time for self-care in what can be a grinding, freelance economy. Instead, they unpacked their relationship. “Do you look up to me at all?” Hari asks his younger brother, with host Greta Johnsen listening in the wings.“No, we have completely different lives,” Ashok immediately responds.“This is not relaxing!” Hari says. Well, we tried. But Hari and Ashok DID give us some wonderful ideas about how to recha...more
Near the end of STS-125, NASA’s final space shuttle mission to the Hubble Space Telescope back in 2009, bad weather in Florida initially stopped the seven-member team from returning to Earth. The two-day delay that followed presented the astronauts with some unusual but much needed downtime. So what did they do with it? Looked out the windows. “I liked to listen to music and watch the world go by,” said Megan McArthur, a mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Atlantis....more
Let’s be real: life can be hectic sometimes. You don’t need to tell that to Amy Schumer and Aidy Bryant, two of the nation’s top female comedians. Who better to kick off our new project, Power Up? For the next few months, we're asking fascinating people how they set themselves up for success in an exhausting world. Knitting? Bowling? Researching the presence of alternate dimensions? “I literally will say to myself out loud in the mirror, like, ‘You got this, bitch,’...more
Here at Nerdette we’ve been thinking a lot about how much the world can wear us down. Which has led us to a very important question: How do so many successful, inspiring people have the time and energy to be so successful and inspiring? Power Up is a new project where we ask fascinating people how they set themselves up for success in what can be an exhausting world. How do amazing (non-robot) humans recharge their (hypothetical) batteries? We want to know! Because we all have the same num...more
The 90s TV drama 'My So-Called Life' had a profound impact on Nerdette host Greta Johnsen. (“Jordan Catalano still holds a special place in my heart,” she said of the fictional Liberty High School heartthrob played by Jared Leto.)Jason Katims helped create that TV show, along with other heart-wrenching dramas like 'Parenthood' and 'Friday Night Lights.' Now Katims is the writer and executive producer of another dramatic network TV show set in high school: 'Rise,' which combines footbal...more
Tomi Adeyemi is the 24-year-old author of 'Children of Blood and Bone,' a new young adult novel that — in terms of pop culture blockbusters — could be on par with 'The Hunger Games' or 'Harry Potter.' The book, the first in a West African-inspired fantasy series, hit shelves earlier this month — more than a year after the movie rights were picked up by Fox 2000. Adeyemi tells Nerdette that part of her motivation to write the book stemmed from racist reactions to 'The Hunger Games' movi...more
As a four-year old in Juneau, Alaska, Nerdette host Greta Johnsen was diagnosed with an eye condition known as "Best disease." That name is a misnomer for several reasons — the big one being that "Best disease" causes premature macular degeneration — but curiously it happens to be among the best diseases for experimenting with CRISPR, a genetic engineering tool that can be used to edit DNA. This very special episode of Nerdette follows Greta, her father, and Dr. Bruce Conklin, the scie...more
Anna Deavere Smith might be best known for her acting roles on NBC’s The West Wing and Showtime’s Nurse Jackie. But she’s also one of the most prolific playwrights of “documentary-style theater,” where she uses verbatim interviews as source material in hopes of pushing her audience toward “an adjustment in the way that they think.” Her latest work is a one-woman show called Notes From The Field, which was recently released on HBO. It examines how minority students living in poverty often en...more
If you’re looking for a way to combat the online trolls and bots fomenting unrest in the U.S., comedian Negin Farsad might have a solution for you. “I guess if I were to name it, it’s a philosophy called ‘being aggressively delightful,’” she tells us. Farsad, an Iranian-American Muslim, is the co-host of the podcast Fake the Nation, the author of the book How to Make White People Laugh, and sometimes you can hear her on our very own WBEZ as a panelist for NPR’s Wait...more
Ilene Chaiken has been a showrunner for TV hits like Fox’s Empire, an executive producer for Hulu’s The Handmaid's Tale, and a writer, producer, and director for Showtime’s The L Word in the mid-2000s. In other words, she’s a boss. “I don’t like the word that much,” Chaiken said on Nerdette. “I mean, I like it as in, ‘Oh, she’s a boss.’ You know, ‘She’s a badass. She’s a boss.’ But I don’t like the kind of hierarchical aspect of it.” Chaiken talked with Nerdette co-hosts Tricia Bo...more
Olympians and experts on the science of fear, the physics of sliding down ice super duper fast, and the feminist fight to get women into more sports.
When Teresa Woodruff started working for a biotech company fresh out of graduate school, her employer revealed that the first studies for a new heart attack treatment had been performed on 50,000 men. “And so I kinda raised my hand and said, ‘That’s interesting. Where are all the women?” Today, Teresa is an expert in ovarian biology and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University in Chicago. We ask her why so many prescription drugs were tested only on men for so many dec...more
Comedian John Hodgman, longtime fan of the lovingly-reviled Swedish spirit called Malört, tells Nerdette, “I’m fascinated with things that are still regional in an increasingly non-regional country.” He also calls the disagreeable beverage "“a delightful, heady blend of pencil shavings and shame.” Nerdette's Tricia Bobeda talked with Hodgman about his new book, Vacationland, before inviting in Sam Mechling, director of marketing for Jeppson's Malört, to better help us all understa...more
Jennifer Egan won a Pulitzer Prize in 2011 for her novel A Visit from the Goon Squad. Her most recent novel, Manhattan Beach, was among 10 works of fiction long-listed for the 2017 National Book Award. Not too shabby, right? But Egan told Greta that an early draft of Manhattan Beach was so bad she almost scrapped the whole thing. “I probably came as close to abandoning this as I have to any project I’ve worked on,” she said. On this week's Nerdette, Egan explains why things got ro...more
“I think it’s going to last more than a moment,” said the celebrated author on this week’s Nerdette. “But how much more than a moment, it remains to be seen." Nerdette co-host Greta Johnsen talks with author Margaret Atwood about the recent TV adaptations of her novels Alias Grace and The Handmaid's Tale, how her take on feminism has changed in recent years, and what needs to happen to make sure the “Harvey Weinstein moment” isn’t just a moment. Plus, we explore one of Atwood...more
Daveed Diggs says starring in the hit musical Hamilton opened a lot of doors for him. One of those doors? Meeting hip hop legend Busta Rhymes. “Like, I can text Busta Rhymes right now. That? That is a crazy thing to me.” Diggs stopped by WBEZ to talk with Greta about his first feature film, Wonder, out in theaters Friday. They also talk about Hamilton, his ABC TV series The Mayor, and his rap group Clipping.Note: In the audio of this week’s episode, we state that a groundnut ...more
Knitting can be dangerous. Just ask author, scholar, and (of course) knitter Eve Ewing. She explains what she calls “the sweater curse” to Nerdette hosts Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen. They also discuss the impact of the late music icon Prince, the rise of Afrofuturism, and why Ewing can’t wait to get off social media. Plus, an excerpt from Ewing's new book of poetry Electric Arches.
In her seminal work on 'Muppet Theory,' Slate reporter Dahlia Lithwick once wrote that "every living human" can be categorized as either a Chaos Muppet or an Order Muppet. On this super-special Supreme Court edition of Nerdette, lifelong SCOTUS-nerd and Nerdette host Tricia Bobeda asks Lithwick to apply her Unified Theory of Muppet Types to each Supreme Court Justice. The results are pure madness! Then Greta talks with Bryant Johnson, who is Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's perso...more
Like the Flintstones meeting the Jetsons, Betty and Veronica taking down the Predator alien, and Sabrina the teenage witch dating Eric Matthews on Boy Meets World, nothing beats an epic crossover. That’s why Nerdette hosts Greta Johnsen and Tricia Bobeda sat down with Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow, hosts of CALL YOUR GIRLFRIEND, the premiere podcast for long-distance besties everywhere. They talked friendship, feminism, and bodily fluids before playing a Newlywed-esque game to determine which pa...more
It’s a "dinner and a TV show" kind of night for Nerdette this week. We talk to Jane the Virgin actress Yael Grobglas about what it’s like to play your own twin and creating a villain who people love to hate. Then Iron Chef winner and Chopped judge Alex Guarnaschelli joins us to help dive into Grobglas’ obsession with food.
To celebrate the arrival of Star Trek: Discovery, we decided to talk to the biggest Trekkie we know: On The Media co-host Brooke Gladstone. She told us about her all-time favorite characters, why science fiction is so good at capturing a moment in time, and where Star Trek-beginners might want to get started. Oh yeah, and what better way to keep the party going then by calling up Star Trek legend Kate Mulgrew? Captain Janeway herself helped us talk through some of Brooke’s favorite episodes...more
In a conversation with Nerdette host and known Whovian Tricia Bobeda, Alex Kingston discusses her role on ‘Doctor Who’ as fan-favorite River Song, which helped pave the way for the show’s first female Doctor.
Nadia Sirota is Juilliard-trained violist who hosts Meet The Composer, a podcast that shifts the conversation around classical music by featuring interviews with modern-day composers. She’s also worked with artists ranging from Kesha to Paul Simon. Plus, she explains how being on tour led to a love of aquariums, and Nerdette connects her with the Senior Curator of Fishes at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium.
It might seem increasingly difficult to separate fact from fiction these days, but Studio 360 host and author Kurt Andersen says the dilemma is old — and one that’s exacerbated by unique characteristics of America. Oh, and cosplay and the Internet. Andersen sat down with Nerdette to discuss his new book, Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History. He's also obsessed with maps, so we put him on the phone with geographical expert Anne Knowles, who told us all to get lost — in t...more
As the 22nd United States Poet Laureate, Tracy K. Smith wants to make poetry more accessible to people across the country. So WBEZ’s Greta Johnsen put Smith to the ultimate test by having her analyze this summer’s hottest hit, “Despacito” featuring Justin Bieber.
Everest climber, guide and mountaineer Melissa Arnot Reid is the first American woman to ever summit Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen — a feat only 7 women worldwide have accomplished. Arnot Reid joins Nerdette host Tricia Bobeda to talk about the mindset of a high-altitude climber, what happens when you have snot frozen to your face, and how to train your body to reach Everest’s peak. Plus, Arnot Reid reveals her secret obsession with true crime stories, so we bring in former FBI Profi...more
Nerdette host Greta Johnsen reveals that she has a secret nerdery: she used to play the bassoon. So this week, in one, grand, bassoon-filled extravaganza, Johnsen and co-host Tricia Bobeda bring back the bassoon. First, they talk with culture writer and bassoonist Eileen Reynolds about the history of the bassoon. Then, they call up the self-proclaimed “Bassoon King” Rainn Wilson. Plus, Chicago Philharmonic Principal Bassoonist John Gaudette plays a familiar tune.
Jessica Pimentel, known for her role as Maria Ruiz on Orange Is The New Black, isn’t just an actress. She’s also in a band ... a death metal band. Nerdette’s Tricia Bobeda sat down with Pimentel to talk about what it’s like to lead an alternate life as a death metal frontwoman and how her music, which is heavy and hardcore, is inspired by her Buddhist faith. Pimentel also talks about what it’s like working with one of the most diverse, majority women casts on what she originally referred to as, ...more
Actress and comedian Jenny Slate has played many memorable characters on shows like Parks and Recreation, Kroll Show, Girls, and Brooklyn 99. She also wrote and voiced her web series Marcel The Shell. Her most recent role is alongside Edie Falco and John Turturro in the film Landline. But from all of her work on TV and film, few people know about Slate’s one true love: houseplants. Nerdette’s Greta Johnsen talked with Slate about why she loves houseplants, what she names them and how they play i...more
Samantha Irby released her third book, We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, this year, but it’s her first collection of essays that is being turned into a TV show. Last year, FX bought the rights to Meaty, Irby’s first collection of essays. Now Irby, who grew up in Evanston and lived in Chicago, is working with Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson and Inside Amy Schumer’s Jessi Klein to write for television for the first time. For Irby, almost everything is on the table when it comes to her work — whether i...more
The best part about the summer? Plenty of extra time to do homework! Guests on Nerdette always assign listeners homework, and we’ve compiled the BEST OF THE BEST into this hour-long Nerdette summer homework special. Tom Hanks talks typewriters, Jane the Virgin actor Jaime Camil recommends a show about aliens, and Jessamyn Stanley explains why yoga is meant for all body types. We’ll also hear from Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!’s Peter Sagal, space doctor Sheyna Gifford, astronomer Jill Tarter, and m...more
Astronomer and former SETI director Jill Tarter talks about the future of our planet and why she ate so many ice cream cones when she worked at NASA. Tarter’s career was the basis for Carl Sagan’s 1985 science-fiction novel, Contact, which was later made into a film starring Jodie Foster. She talks about what it’s like to have Sagan fictionalize her life, why we need to listen more than we talk, and why it’s important for us to think of ourselves as earthlings.
TV director Lesli Linka Glatter started her career as a choreographer, but after a serendipitous series of events, Glatter found her way to film and television directing. Since then, Glatter has directed a spate of well-loved shows, including Homeland, The Walking Dead, Justified, Mad Men, True Blood, Weeds, ER, The West Wing, and Gilmore Girls. Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen sat down with Glatter to talk about the differences between directing film and TV, working on shows with strong, complex...more
Stand-up comedian W. Kamau Bell is the host of CNN’s United Shades of America. He’s also the author of a new book, The Awkward Thoughts Of W. Kamau Bell. Nerdette’s Tricia Bobeda talked with Bell about why awkwardness and comedy go hand in hand, what it’s like to be a blerd (black nerd), and why the TV show Blackish is so great.
This week is all about looking for pieces of space, whether they’re in orbit or in Antarctic ice. First, asteroid hunter Carrie Nugent talks about chasing down elusive celestial bodies and why she doesn’t like talking about what it’s like to be a woman in science. And then we talk about meteorite hunting with the hosts of Undiscovered, a new podcast from NPR’s Science Friday team.
Sean Gunn is known for playing the ever-eccentric Kirk on Gilmore Girls and space-pirate Kraglin in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. On Nerdette, he talks about what it’s like to be in a movie directed by his big brother, and how intense Gilmore Girls fans are. Plus, Sean shares his little-known obsessions with math, cats, and rap.
Jaime Camil plays the dramatic, charismatic, slightly self-absorbed yet extra-endearing Rogelio De La Vega on the CW’s telenovela-style comedy, Jane The Virgin. Camil, who has starred in many Mexican sitcoms, films and telenovelas, tells Nerdette’s Greta Johnsen why Jane the Virgin is so relatable and how it’s changing the game for people of color on American television.
Yoga enthusiast, expert and internationally recognized teacher Jessamyn Stanley breaks all the stereotypes of a yogi. Nerdette’s Greta Johnsen and Tricia Bobeda sat down with Stanley to talk about her new book, Every Body Yoga; how yoga is for everyone (and not just the models drinking coconut water in the Lululemon ads); and why yoga is more than just a way to burn calories.
Rebecca Skloot talks about the long journey of turning her book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, into an HBO film starring Oprah.She also discusses the importance of storytelling in science and why, even after 18 years, she’s still traveling the world to talk about the life of Henrietta Lacks.
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and Apollo 13 astronaut Jim Lovell talk about the importance of failure, the future of innovation, and when we’ll get to Mars.
Author Roxane Gay talks about writing her most recent book, a collection of short stories called Difficult Women, and why Beyoncé, Law and Order SVU and Channing Tatum’s neck are mentioned in the book’s acknowledgements.Then, “reformed librarian” Kelly Jensen on why feminism isn’t always fun — but should be accessible — and how her new book is helping girls (and boys!) everywhere.
Orthodox Jewish sex therapist Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus founded one of the largest women’s sexual health clinics in the country. From taboos to vibrators, Bat Sheva talks about how she helps women embrace their sexuality. She also discusses her approach to solving specific challenges for women in the Orthodox Jewish community.
Amy Smeed, the leader of the animation team for Disney’s Moana, talks about what it’s like to build a character who is decidedly not a Disney princess, how the animation process works, and why deadlines are important.
YouTube’s queen of crappy robots, Simone Giertz, tells us how she got in the business of making the world’s best crappy robots, like an alarm clock that slaps you awake in the morning with a robotic arm, a robot that very terribly applies lipstick, and a vegetable chopper with 8-foot long knives.In an interview with Nerdette hosts Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen, she talked about how building terrible robots is a constant learning experience.
Hugo Award-winning author N.K. Jemisin talks about how all of her book ideas start with a simple question: “What if?” She also explains the unusual circumstances surrounding her Hugo Award victory and how science fiction is evolving for the better.
Derek Thompson, senior editor of The Atlantic, tells Nerdette's Tricia Bobeda about his new book Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction. He explains what makes Adele’s "Hello" and Drake’s "Hotline Bling" top hits and how Star Wars was almost totally unknown.
Dr. Sheyna Gifford tells us about her year living on a volcano in Hawaii with just five other people as part of HI-SEAS IV, a NASA project to simulate life on Mars. Sheyna was the space doc on the mission, accompanied by a physicist, an architect, an engineer, a biologist and a commander.Living in a 1200 square foot biodome and going outside only in their space suits, the crew studied the psychological effects and group dynamics that could be at play when astronauts make it to Mars. On Nerdette,...more
Maria Popova, the creator of the website Brain Pickings, explains how her job is to reflect on everything from literature and physics to astronomy and art. She tells Nerdette hosts Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen about her rigorous daily diet of reading, writing, tweeting, and reflecting, as well as her newest guilty pleasure: Playing bridge.
Singer, rapper and flute player Lizzo breaks down her debut EP Coconut Oil and her bevy of musical styles. The multitalented artist talks about her early days in music, from being a band geek and starting girl groups as a kid to making music now that’s empowering and body-positive.
Tom Hanks is a little obsessed with typewriters. So when we put the Academy Award-winning actor in front of a pre-WWII Underwood Champion, he gave Nerdette hosts Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen an impromptu master class on the machines he calls “self-contained printing presses with which you can change the world.”Want to support this show and get a sweet Nerdette mug and/or notebook as a thank you gift? Go to https://wbez.org/nerdalert
We talk to Andy Cohen, the man behind Bravo’s Real Housewives, about celebrity obsession. Then we break down some of the best podcasts of 2016 with help from Lauren Ober, host of NPR’s The Big Listen, and Brittany Luce, of Gimlet. And finally, author Margot Lee Shetterly on her book Hidden Figures (the inspiration for the new film by the same name) which tells the stories of black female mathematicians who played crucial roles in the early days of NASA.
Stephanie Beatriz plays Rosa on the Fox series Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Beatriz and her best friend Courtney Kocak also host Reality Bytes, a show where they discuss the myriad confusing things about having real relationships in the age of emojis and swipe-y apps. Then, delicious homework from cookie expert Dorie Greenspan.
Phoebe Robinson is a stand-up comic, the author of You Can’t Touch My Hair and host of two podcasts: 2 Dope Queens and Sooo Many White Guys. She talks about why people online flipped out about the title of ‘Sooo Many White Guys’ and how being a black feminist can be a full time job.
The Gilmore Girls revival is finally here, and we’ve got a LOT of feelings. First, we challenge Gilmore newbies (and Dinner Party Download co-hosts) Brendan Francis Newnam and Rico Gagliano to watch the first episode of the new series. Then, we chat with Liz Torres, the actress who plays Miss Patty. Finally, Tricia and Greta share their major takeaways from the revival.
Author Kate Schatz tells us about a few historical heroines and explains why Rad Women Worldwide is a book for boys.
Grace Bonney is the brilliant creator behind the website Design*Sponge. She talked to 100 women doing creative work and tells us what she learned by turning those conversations into the new book In The Company Of Women. She talks about the beauty of creative messes, what to do if we magically had an extra hour in the day, and the ever-elusive notion of work-life balance. Plus, we chat with the host of WBEZ's new podcast that tells the inside story about how Oprah's media empire ca...more
It’s been an interesting week to be alive! We have a new president-elect, and we almost elected America’s first female president. To help us understand what happened we’re joined by Carol Moseley Braun, the first African American woman to serve as a United States senator.
Issa Rae is the creator and star of HBO’s Insecure, a show about 29 year-old, her best friend, and their life choices. Issa tells us why we can’t all be Olivia Pope, how her new show reflects her own personality, and how a life crisis in your 30s is more interesting than one at 22.
Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfeld are the creators of the web-turned-HBO series High Maintenance. (Ben also plays “The Guy,” the show’s pot peddler.) On Nerdette, Katja and Ben talk about how the show has changed now that it’s an HBO production, why the simplest episodes are the most effective, and how they love to talk to strangers.
Two of our favorite podcast hosts and pop culture opinion-havers stop by to nerd out about their television favorites. NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour host, Linda Holmes, and Jim DeRogatis of Sound Opinions join us to talk about the most under appreciated and most anticipated shows in their queues.
We chat with the pop culture writer, known for her blog and now a new book brimming with well-intentioned side-eye. Plus, a conversation with Kimberly Hebert Gregory of HBO's Vice Principals.
Eugenia Cheng teaches math to artists and makes it delicious. Plus, Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!'s Peter Sagal stops by.
G. Willow Wilson writes Marvel’s Ms. Marvel comic. She tells us how a comic about an American Muslim teenager with superpowers came to be, what it’s like to write stories about outsiders, and why millennials can be hard to understand.
Author Victoria Schwab is a twenty-something wizard at writing sci-fi and fantasy. Her books are fast-paced, fascinating and often feature fierce feminist protagonists.
This is a special episode of Nerdette: hosts Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen hear from entrepreneurs and scientists who are forging into the frontier with pigeons, infertility, food, and feces.
In Hari Kondabolu’s new comedy album, Mainstream American Comic, Kondabolu takes on issues like Black Lives Matter, the presidential race, abortion, and white privilege. On Nerdette, Kondabolu chats about why comedy isn’t the same as activism and how to laugh in a deeply divided America.
Jessi Klein, head writer for Inside Amy Schumer, talks about the awkwardness of being a grown-up tomboy and when you’re finally too old to carry a backpack. Then she explains that there may only be two types of women in the world: wolves and poodles. Her new book is called You’ll Grow Out of It.
Lindy West on fat-shaming, fighting trolls and finding your voice. Her incisive, hilarious new book is Shrill. Then, Bitch Media Group co-founder Andi Zeisler looks at one of our favorite TV shows through a feminist lens.
Comedian Tig Notaro talks about how she turned a string of personal tragedies into comedy. Then Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl, discusses her nerdy obsessions.
Judy Blume's iconic books have defined the childhoods of multiple generations. And Newberry Award-winning writer Kwame Alexander crafts books for reluctant young readers. Both tell us why they write books for their inner tween.
W. Kamau Bell is the host of CNN’sUnited Shades of America, a show that explores the contentious, misunderstood corners of American culture. He talks about how he ended up with a comedy show on a news channel, why he loves The Hulk, and what makes Denzel the best actor of all time, period.
In this recording of a live event in Chicago, actress, gamer and internet royalty Felicia Day talks about being a weird kid, the importance of hard work, and how women can take over Hollywood. She's the author of a new memoir called You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost).Find Nerdette via iTunes | RSS | Facebook | Twitter | TumblrLike Game of Thrones? Check out our other podcast: Nerdette Recaps Game of Thrones with Peter Sagal.
Dan Savage is a relationship advice columnist, the creator of the “It Gets Better” project, and the host of the Savage Lovecast. We talk to Dan about the intersection between nerdiness and kink, the beauty of musical theater, and what it means to be “culturally Catholic.” Plus, a nerd confession from a merman.
First, we obsess over The West Wing with Joshua Malina and Hrishikesh Hirway, hosts of the recap podcast The West Wing Weekly. We discuss the musicality of Aaron Sorkin’s dialogue, the importance of W.G. Snuffy Walden’s scoring, and exchange serious trivia. Then, Tricia talks with the creator of Madam Secretary Barbara Hall.
We talk with Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Anna Quindlen about how to raise feminist sons and why she doesn’t care what other people think of her. Then, King of Horror Stephen King tells us about his short-legged obsession. And Greta calls a hotline to talk to a dream interpreter.
The question on everyone's mind: Dead or alive? Join Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me’s Peter Sagal and Nerdette's Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen as they discuss the premier of Game of Thrones' sixth season, and answer this and other questions: Is any character as good-hearted as the Onion Knight? Is Jamie set to go "Rambo" on Westeros? And what exactly did we learn about the Lady in Red? This and more on this week's Nerdette Recaps Game of Thrones with Peter Sagal.
Our guest is Baratunde Thurston, who runs digital for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. He's also got a podcast called About Race and is the author of How to Be Black. He joins us to talk about the role of comedy in uncomfortable conversations about race and politics, the presidential campaign, and what it's like to work on The Daily Show. Then, a nerd confession FULL of 90's memorabilia.
Rebecca Traister gives us an insightful look into the history of unmarried women and their escapades. That's also the focus of her new book: All the Single Ladies.Plus, we’ve got homework from Stacy Schiff and Sloane Crosley,
Author Amy Tan tells us how she finds creativity, what can go wrong when one must give a TED talk, and about the unusual the instrument she plays in a band with Stephen King and Dave Barry. Plus, we visit a Rube Goldberg Machine competition, which is just as delightfully nerdy as it sounds.
Kim Barker's true-life story about being a war correspondent in Afghanistan is now the subject of a new movie starring Tina Fey. We talk to her about the good, the bad and the absurd experiences she had overseas and with Hollywood. Plus, some whiskey-themed homework from Amy Stewart.
Nick Hornby has written dozens of delightful books, from High Fidelity to Funny Girl. His screenplay for Brooklyn is nominated for an Oscar. He talks with Tricia and Greta about the fine line between passion and obsession, the importance of characters at a crossroads, and why it's so important for artists to collaborate. He also gives us some Shakespearean homework. Plus, Tricia and Greta share a couple of nerd confessions.
Tricia sits down with one of her literary heroes: Sandra Cisneros. They talk about the difference between being a writer and an author, how travel helps us understand our homes, and why she'd like to be a judge on RuPaul's Drag Race show.
Author Jenny Lawson explains why she approaches mental health struggles with a sense of humility, hilarity and a surprising amount of taxidermy on the latest Nerdette.
Author Sarah Vowell explains why we're all swooning over a musical about a treasury secretary, how she finds the most interesting people in the footnotes of history, and recounts the most American 90 seconds of her life. We also discuss her latest book: Lafayette in the Somewhat United States. Plus: Yes, Nerdette has been on hiatus for a suspiciously long time. So we turned to podcast hosts and super sleuths Mike Pesca, Lulu Miller and Peter Sagal for their conspiracy theories to explain w...more
We missed you, nerds! And we're back with a new season full of interviews with your favorite authors, artists, scientists and more. But first, where have we BEEN? Conspiracy theories abound. Add yours to the mix: #nerdettelives
This brilliant British columnist is incisive, tenacious, inspiring, and hilariously fun. Caitlin Moran talks with us about her definition of feminism, why cynicism is the worst, and how the most effective tool against patriarchal nonsense is subversive laughter. Because everyone--even Britain's filthiest feminist--is a little nerdy about something.
Ecologist Clare Fieseler grew up as a secret geek on the Jersey Shore. Now she travels to the world's most beautiful places in the name of science.
Washington Post blogger Alexandra Petri, author of A Field Guide to Awkward Silences, discusses the most uncomfortable highlights of her life, joining a cult, and mastering the art of the pun.
Yes, rock critics are nerds too. We talk to Jessica Hopper, author of 'The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic' about finding your voice, busting through barriers and life changing mix tapes.
Listener Q&A about the finale of Game of Thrones from our live event at plus a follow up conversation about all the things that happened in Winterfell because, um, there were technical difficulties at Cards Against Humanity HQ. http://nerdettepodcast.com/listen
Sarah Mirk couldn't find a helpful relationship how-to, so she wrote her own. We highlight two women who helped make oral birth control a reality, and there's homework from Dan Savage.
Recap of “Mother’s Mercy,” the season 5 finale of Game of Thrones: in which we discuss who is actually dead, who is in trouble, who we couldn’t care less about, and what to read/watch while we wait for season 6.
Erik Larson, who brings history to life in his nonfiction, discusses how he documents his own life, how he makes his own luck, and where he'd go if he had a TARDIS. Plus, how the bicycle informed feminism and some transatlantic homework.
Season 5, Episode 9, The Dance of Dragons: In which we confirm that Stannis is the worst, compare Arya’s new job to the tamale guy, and predict who will die in the season finale. wbez.org/nerdetterecaps
We talk to the creators and cast of Night Vale, a bizarre and beloved fictional podcast, about the extreme enthusiasm of their fans and taking the show on the road. Then we get to know trans women who made history in the fight for LGBT equality.
Recap of Season 5, Episode 8, “Hardhome.” In which we delight in the interactions between Tyrion and Dany, wonder what’s next for Cersei, and realize none of it actually matters because white walkers.
Neil DeGrasse Tyson explains how pop culture fits into his plan to inundate us with a love of science. Andy Weir, author of The Martian, talks about his nerdy origin and what makes good sci fi believable. We remember the first professional female astronomer Maria Mitchell, and there's a nerd confession from BJ Leiderman.
J'Tia Taylor was labeled a 'mad scientist' on Survivor. But her real passion? Using her PhD in nuclear engineering to work on nonproliferation at Argonne National Laboratory. We talk about the intersection of pop culture and hard science. And ahead of Memorial Day, we get to know Rosie the Riveter.
Recap of Season 5, Episode 6, Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken. We lament the treatment of Sansa, scoff at the swashbuckling in Dorne and shower praise on Lady Olenna. We also address some listener questions. http://wbez.org/nerdetterecaps
Mike Pesca, host of The Gist, compartmentalizes sports nerderies, discusses the value of Bachman Turner Overdrive, and lets us in on a Twitter-related secret. Plus, we remember Jackie Mitchell, the woman who stuck out Babe Ruth, and there’s quite a romantic nerd confession.
Recap of Season 5, Episode 5, Kill The Boy: In which we discuss who lived and who died since last week's clashes, explore the rocky emotional terrian that is Ramsay Bolton's past, and respond to some listener questions.
Kate Mulgrew, also known as Captain Janeway from Star Trek Voyager, talks about her new memoir, life behind the big screen and what it's like to be Red in the Netflix hit Orange is the New Black.
April 21, 2015: Nearly 100 nerds packed into a theater at the Cards Against Humanity Headquarters to see Nerdette live. The evening included talk of Animorphs, Hot Dog University, and plant robots. There may or may not have been a lightsaber battle. In other words, it was magical.
Recap of Season 5, Episode 3, High Sparrow: In which we praise the young Starks and express concern about these Sparrow fellows. And Peter laments the show's baldist attitudes. http://wbez.org/nerdetterecaps
Recap of Season 5, Episode 2, The House of Black and White: In which we praise the evolution of Sansa Stark, discuss the allure of Podrick Payne, and lament the utter boringness of Dorne. http://wbez.org/nerdetterecaps
LET SEASON FIVE COMMENCE! Recap of Season 5, Episode 1, The Wars to Come: in which we discuss where everyone is and what they're up to, pep talks and flashbacks included. Tricia references The West Wing, Peter finds some Hemingway hiddenin the script, and Greta says dragons are boring. Then, we lament our least favorite parts of the series so far.
Game of Thrones recaps from Peter Sagal, host of Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me!, and the hosts of Nerdette. This week, a prologue to season five of the HBO show. Why the world needs another GoT recap podcast, who GRRM is, and what we love about the lore. SPOILERS ARE COMING.
Becky Stern, the queen of wearable technology, tells us about making mischief with computery crafts. The Breakfast Club’s John Kapelos gives homework and we’ve got a big announcement for fans of Peter Sagal and/or Game of Thrones.
Homework this week comes from Tom Scharpling and Jon Wurster of The Best Show. We talk with author Reif Larsen about ambiguity, unfinished lists, and the divine futility of making art. And Iranian journalist Nazila Fathi helps us get to know a Great Lady Nerd of History.
It's a space nerd extravaganza! Astronomers and scientists from Adler Planetarium talked with us in front of a live audience as part a Pi Day celebration. And you're really going to want to hear these nerd confessions.
Author Steve LeVine tells us about the motley crew of scientists on a quest to build a world-changing super battery. Get to know Hot Sugar, the musical maverick from Comedy Central's Broad City. And hear the origin story of Girl Scouts.
Maz Jobrani explains why he stopped taking terrorist TV parts but agreed to play Jafar, then shares insights on everything from telling jokes in Middle East to getting his kids to sleep. We travel back in time to the moment when Helen Keller met 'Miracle Worker' Anne Sullivan. Oh, and there's a faaaaabulous X-Files nerd confession.
'Drunken Botanist' author Amy Stewart on the glorious tradition of turning plants into alcohol. Delicious homework from a winery sherpa and cider nerd. And we celebrate civil rights icon and opera singer Marian Anderson.
Richard Linklater explains why it took 12 years to make his new film Boyhood. Scott Bonner, who runs the Public Library in Ferguson, Mo., talks about how he made the library a safe space. We remember Great Lady Nerd of History Audre Lorde. And there's a real nerdy Oscars nerd confession.
We talk to Melody Kramer, a public media oracle and digital brainiac who's taking her open-source ethos to the federal government. Beyonce singing her civil rights at the Grammys inspired us to get to know the political performers like Nina Simone who came before her. Plus dating tips for geeks by geeks. And your nerd confessions.
Scott McCloud creates stunning graphic novels and he's written the definitive text on why comics deserve more respect. We get the backstory of Elizabeth Blackwell, America's first female doctor. Plus a special nerd confession collected at the ALA's conference.
Miranda July talks about her new book, what it was like to make the Somebody App, and the overarching theme of her work: coming together clumsily. Plus, remembering Great Lady Nerd of History Bessie Coleman and a Shakespearean nerd confession.
We talk to the first U.S. woman to walk in space: Kathy Sullivan. Now she's in charge of NOAA and leads research on everything from the bottom of the ocean to the surface of the sun. We get to know Indira Gandhi on the anniversary of her election as Prime Minister of India. And we dig up a recipe for beating the winter blahs from Mike Royko.
We're baaaack! We talk with Lulu Miller and Alix Spiegel, hosts of the new NPR show Invisibilia. Then we get to know Great Lady Nerd of History Susan B. Anthony, and the inspiration behind Vinyl Me Please...because everybody's a little nerdy about something.
Roxane Gay is the author of the fantastic book of essays 'Bad Feminist' and many of our favorite tweets. We discuss what it takes to keep fighting the good fight on social media when there is so much turmoil 24/7.
We talk with Rico Gagliano and Brendan Francis Newnam about who influenced their (impeccable) taste, how they stay afloat in the sea of pop culture, and what their worst dinner party memories are. Also, some musical homework that will BLOW YOUR MIND.
This week we revisit our conversation with Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me host Peter Sagal. Hear him discuss his love of running, Lord of the Rings and Ray Bradbury.
Author Margaret Atwood is the queen of speculative fiction. We discuss feminism, the future of books and her latest collection of stories: Stone Mattress. Also: Why she loves duct tape. All that plus your nerd confessions.
Caitlin Doughty is host of the popular YouTube series Ask a Mortician and author of the new memoir Smoke Gets in Your Eyes & Other Lessons From the Crematory. We talk about the history and present of how cultures handle death. Plus a nerd confession that includes a Gollum impression.
Simon Rich was the youngest staff writer ever on Saturday Night Live. His new book 'Spoiled Brats' is a collection of funny stories, including one about time travel in Brooklyn that's being turned into a movie. We also talk with a producer at NPR who reported a story about how young-lady voices are received on the radio. Plus your nerd confessions.
The author of Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy uncovers maverick women of the Civil War. A night at a campfire with war reenactors. Plus Harry Potter homework and nerd confessions collected live while people drank Game of Thrones beer.
Super nerd Hank Green on the evolution of YouTube. Comedian Cameron Esposito gives homework. And Ariana Tobin of Marketplace on the disappearing act of pockets in women's fashion. Plus your nerd confessions.
It's Ada Lovelace Day! In celebration of the mother of computer programming, we get to know a great lady nerd of today: Hopscotch app co-founder Jocelyn Leavitt. Then we go behind-the-scenes at Serial, the new podcast from This American Life. Lauren Chooljian talks to singers from indie pop powerhouse Lucius about their nerdy passions. Mr. Superlative stops by. And a Gilmore Girls-related nerd confession.
Turns out comedian Judah Friedlander and New York Times Crossword editor Will Shortz both really, really love ping pong. We also talk about Judah's time on 30 Rock, Will's puzzle prowess and hear an intense Lord of the Rings nerd confession.
An out of this world conversation with author Lydia Netzer and a pretty powerful nerd confession from our intern Patrick.
Comedian Rob Delaney on being open about mental health without glorifying the 'tortured artist' trope, being a Twitter superstar and the most unexpectedly sexy thing about his marriage. Plus homework from Josh Gondelman and your nerd confessions. http://nerdettepodcast.com
Tricia and Greta gush over their favorite name on the new MacArthur genius grant list. Plus we revisit a conversation with Rookie editor - and now Broadway star - Tavi Gevinson. Then writer Tracy Letts gives homework.
An interview with Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, profile of great lady nerd of history Sally Ride and Klingon nerd confession make up this medley of our favorite space stories.
We picked the brain of one of our favorite podcasters: The Memory Palace's Nate DiMeo. Nate talks about bringing history to life, writing for Parks and Recreation and what we can learn from pop music. Oh, and SPACE. Plus a potentially shocking Simpsons-related nerd confession. http://nerdettepodcast.com
Author Elizabeth Gilbert talks about corgis, fairies, and her latest book about a lady botanist in the 1800s. Then plant expert Angela Overy describes what makes our gardens inherently illicit. And your nerd confessions. http://nerdettepodcast.com
Author Lev Grossman on his new book The Magician's Land, reviewing books for Time and raising nerdy kids. Then we get to know the story of Wonder Woman with comic historian Tim Hanley. And a tearful nerd confession about Chance the Rapper.
A summer reading list from Edan Lepucki, breakout author of the novel California. Then the hosts of On the Media's TLDR podcast stop by to chat about everything from explaining Reddit to old people to why Chipotle is a cruel mistress. http://nerdettepodcast.com
Tom Perrotta talks about his novel and new HBO show The Leftovers, why his nickname in high school was Frodo and what he learned from a summer working as a garbage collector. Plus a nerd confession about a Tinder match gone awry because of Game of Thrones.
Richard Linklater explains why it took 12 years to make his new film. Plus, Dan Weissmann from Marketplace on why killing comic characters is good business. Then Lauren Chooljian takes a road trip to meet Detroit's McClure brothers with her pickle nerd boyfriend. And your nerd confessions.
Emmy nominee Jessi Klein, a stand up comedian and head writer for Inside Amy Schumer, nerds out with Tricia and Greta about the Marx Brothers, Black Stallion and the fearlessly funny feminism of her sketch show.
Nerdette takes a trip back in time to get to know great lady nerds of history like opera singer Marian Anderson and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Hear a tapestry of voices recite Sojourner Truth's 1851 rousing call for equality. Plus a conversation with LGBT equality activists of today about the role of trans folk at Stonewall and beyond.
For America's birthday, a patriotic rejection of the patriarchy. Hosts Tricia and Greta bring you the stories of muckraker Nellie Bly, painter Georgia O'Keeffe and jazz singer Nina Simone. We talk to authors, unearth archives and send contributor Lauren Chooljian on a road trip. Plus, your #nerdconfessions.
Freaks and nerds unite! Freakonomics' Stephen Dubner teaches Tricia and Greta how to think like a freak. Plus a portrait of astronaut Sally Ride on the anniversary of her first trip to space, news Freaks (and Geeks) can rejoice over and your Cosmos-related #nerdconfessions.
Pop science author Mary Roach tells Nerdette hosts Tricia and Greta about answering gross questions most of us are too afraid to ask. Plus a conversation about the nerdy new AMC show Halt And Catch Fire. And, of course, your #nerdconfessions. http://nerdettepodcast.com
NPR news quiz Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me! host Peter Sagal abandoned his passion for science fiction and fantasy when he went to college, but tells Tricia and Greta that Game of Thrones brought him back into the realm of nerds. Plus his tips for introducing kids to your favorite movies, why he loves Ray Bradbury and homework that will require you to lace up your sneakers.
Nerdette LIVE featuring Tricia, Greta and Brain Scoop host Emily Graslie of The Field Museum in Chicago. Plus audience nerd confessions and the musical stylings of Drew Edwards from Blue Police Box Music. Our live audience? A heap of WBEZ members. Speaking of WBEZ... we have a pretty giant announcement in this episode.
Maria's back! We talk Game of Thrones with our favorite stepmother and chat about HBO's new Silicon Valley and the return of Veep. Plus Walter Hickey from fivethirtyeight.com breaks down the numbers on women in film. Plus homework from Tricia's trip down a Steve Jobs-related Netflix rabbit hole and Greta wants you to read The Leftovers.
Astronaut and author Chris Hadfield nerds out with Tricia and Greta about living in space, his substantial mustache, making science cool on social media and the science fiction that helped spark his interest in space travel as a kid.
Actor and environmental activist Ed Begley Jr. nerds out about building a green home and his new digital shows for Amazon and Evox. Plus we talk about his favorite memories from Arrested Development, Six Feet Under and other great gigs. Then 'lunatic farmer' Joel Salatin gives great homework on how to make yourself a little happier.
It's D&D time! Tricia dives into the world of Role Playing Games with expert guides from One Shot podcast, Greta gives Veronica Mars homework and The Atlantic's Olga Khazan highlights how women rank around the world when it comes to STEM jobs, the Second Shift and more.
The director of Girls in the Band helps us get to know the hippest women who played in big bands. Why Emily Pilloton blew up shop class and rebuilt it for teens. Special homework from Mr. Superlative. And a debrief on the finale of True Detective.
A chat with the director of Wicker Kittens, a new documentary about competitive jigsaw puzzlers. Then scientist Deanna Barch talks about how the Human Connectome Project is mapping the brain and what it might mean for people dealing with depression. And an ode to the best show about adult nerds on TV: Parks and Recreation. Your homework? Get ready to binge watch HBO's True Detective.
We nerd out about the Oscars - the nominees and the awards - with A.V. Club editor A.A. Dowd. Logan Jaffe offers a sound-rich essay about how we got to HER's Samantha and why Siri, and so much of our technology, sounds like a lady. Then our booze nerd Rebecca Poulson offers up a cocktail inspired her favorite Oscar nominee.
Pulitzer Prize winner Deborah Blum on the science of attraction, filmmakers fess up about how much horror movies and romantic comedies have in common and a boozy hot chocolate recipe to cozy up with on Valentine's Day. Plus your song dedications to the nerdy loves of your lives.
Tavi Gevinson, founder and editor of Rookie Mag, has a budding media empire that celebrates unabashed enthusiasm. She talks about the music, TV and more that she's obsessing over lately. Plus she gives homework. (Which she's still very familiar with.) Did we mention she's still in high school?
Two professors turned Supernatural fangirls tell us about how the show has changed their life. Plus get to know the biting and brilliant voice behind the new "Ladies Against Humanity" Tumblr Kate Stayman-London. Her jokes went viral and she got to visit Harry Potter World in Florida. Not a bad week.
From Ella Baker to Abbey Lincoln, Lena Horne to Dorothy Height, let's get to know women central to the civil rights movement. Some preferred staying behind-the-scenes, others performed their civil rights on stage and screen. Then we bring the conversation up to the present by talking about what's changed since then (and what hasn't) for performers like Beyonce.
On this week’s episode, Tracy Letts (August Osage County! Homeland!) gives some sonic homework. And lady nerd extraordinaire Meg Lowman talks about climbing trees, convincing her kids to count bugs and rainforest conservation. Plus an August Osage County-inspired cocktail and a heartfelt nerd confession from co-host Tricia Bobeda.
This week, a cocktail recipe to help you stay warm (and classy). Then WBEZ political reporter Alex Keefe counts down the best of the worst story pitches in his inbox. And we talk Orphan Black, Alpha House and more in a round up of our favorite TV from 2013 and a list of things we're definitely going to nerd about in 2014. http://nerdettepodcast.com
The good folks at WBEZ gave us an hour to nerd out on the radio over the holidays. This episode is that mix of old and new, with some of our favorite conversations from 2013 all wrapped up into one hour.
Author of 'Word Freak' and Scrabble evangelist Stefan Fatsis nerds out about his favorite board game and sharing that passion with his daughter. Plus Greta spent the weekend with some tile slingers and our first ever homework challenge with a prize on the line.
Gillian Anderson, aka Agent Scully of X-Files, nerds out about the ocean's health and talks about playing smart characters. Plus a behind-the-scenes look at a Shakespeare/Star Wars mashup play and we finally crack open the homemade Nerdette soda with Meghan Murphy-Gill.
Presidential historian (and O. G. Nerdette) Doris Kearns Goodwin nerds out about baseball, muckraker Ida Tarbell, Eleanor Roosevelt and the relationship between Teddy and Taft as told in her new book The Bully Pulpit. Plus Lauren Chooljian tells us about touching the toe bone of a newly discovered dinosaur and a Bully Pulpit-inspired cocktail from Rebecca Poulson. Thanks for listening and sharing! http://nerdettepodcast.com
The evolution of language is something linguistics professor slash word nerd Anne Curzan thinks about a lot. She wrote an article about the newest use of the slash (it's not just punctuation anymore). Then, third-generation word nerd Becky Vevea checks in with her eighth-grade English teacher mother and grandmother about what a hashtag is. And, of course, we have to talk about 50 years of Doctor Who!
Seth Reiss, head writer for The Onion, talks about their encyclopedia, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and gives great homework. Also, a weekend round up of our weekend activities-- Tricia liked Thor, especially Natalie Portman's call for girls in STEM fields, and Greta got to check out a Scrabble tournament.
We talk with folks from Business Insider about their list of the most famous books set in each state; then, how to get your homebrew on with Emma Christensen of Kitchn. Homework this week is a doozy-- check out Strange Brews, a WBEZ podcast about all things beery, and then watch The Crazy Ones on CBS. Oh, and if you have time, check out Wally Lamb's new book.
'Masters of Sex' author Thomas Maier helps us get to know another great Lady Nerd of History: Sex researcher Virginia Johnson. Novelist Ann Patchett gives homework. Plus a Masters of Sex cocktail, a Halloween nerd love story and a zombie debate. http://nerdettepodcast.com
Author Sharon Creech talks about her new book The Boy on the Porch. Plus Tricia counts down to the 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who, Lauren Chooljian provides the perfect playlist for sweater weather music and we've got some hip (hop) homework for you. http://nerdettepodcast.com
Get to know the mother of computer programming, Ada Lovelace. This great lady nerd of history inspires our conversation with women in STEM fields and teenage girls learning to code in Chicago. Plus author Malcolm Gladwell gives homework and nerds out about David and Goliath.
Media inventor and author Robin Sloan stops by to talk about Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore, its new prequel, secret societies and the future of technology. Plus autumnal homework from author Sharon Creech. http://nerdettepodcast.com
Author Victoria Schwab nerds out about hugging Neil Gaiman and explains her merit system for productive writing days. (It involves rewards of watching BBC shows). Plus your incredible responses to our superpower showdown question: Flight vs. The power to make baby animals stay baby. And homework from media inventor Robin Sloan.
30 Rock writer Colleen McGuinness on coming out as a nerd and all the TV, movies and board games she loves. (Bananagrams!) Plus she talks about teaming up with Tina Fey for her new NBC comedy pilot set on Fire Island. And she gives really good homework.
Ideas for filling the impending Breaking Bad-shaped hole in our lives. Plus we taste test 3 ABC comedy pilots in a round of Marry, Frack, Kill with Rebecca Poulson and nerd out about our favorite actors returning to TV this fall. Allison Janney! Bradley Whitford! Will Arnett! JB Smoove?
Could Progressive Era activist and feminist icon Jane Addams be considered a lesbian? We check in with the Curious City crew that tackled this tricky question. Lauren Chooljian serves up a playlist of her favorite female musicians of the moment. Plus Tina Fey returns to SNL!
Dive in with rock critic and Sound Opinions co-host Jim DeRogatis to learn about his passion for making military miniatures. Plus a #SEOclassics recap, David Tennant leaves Doctor Who far behind with his new BBC show and Tricia surprises Greta with some George R. R. Martin homework.
Night Film author Marisha Pessl's nerd confessions, a Kentucky Ghostbuster who cosplays for a good cause and an interview with Chewbacca at a 24-hour flea market. Plus a new word nerd game: #SEOclassics
Spoiler-free look at Breaking Bad's return (and the amazing Star Trek monologue), author Denise Kiernan nerds out and the new Strange Brews podcast crew introduces us to Marvel's comic-inspired beer.
NPR's Audie Cornish offers up nerd homework. Lots of Doctor Who news, Breaking Bad predictions and a Dexter rant. Plus our booze nerd brews up an Orange is the New Black inspired cocktail.
NPR's Audie Cornish draws a line in the nerd sand. Author MT Anderson discusses how technology changes how we think and speak. And Tricia and Greta have a whole lot of feelings about Orange is the New Black. Plus, homework!
Planet Money's Zoe Chace nerds out about Louie CK, country music and making radio. Author MT Anderson tells us about creating new slang and how technology changes language. Plus your homework this week is brimming with British accents and Jenji Kohan goodness.
We nerd out about something old (that Hemingway novel you haven't read since high school), something new (JK Rowling's new book), something borrowed (an urban foraging menu) and something blue (a bramble cocktail recipe). Guests include Lauren Chooljian, Eden Robins and Rebecca Poulson. Our intern Claire is at circus camp this week. Maybe this time she'll finally learn to juggle.
Bitch Magazine's online editor Sarah Mirk stops by to nerd out about making and reading comics, her new Sex from Scratch project, feminism myths and more. Plus your additions to our summer reading list, HBO homework and the weird weather in Alaska.
NFL punter and vocal LGBTQ ally Chris Kluwe talks about making up new curse words, Carmen Sandiego and his new book Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies. Comedian Brian Babylon talks nerdy to us (about his favorite Star Trek movie) and our pal Meghan lets us listen in as her stepmother convinces her to watch Game of Thrones.
Author Meg Wolitzer nerds out about summer camp, Scrabble and her new book The Interestings. Plus a recipe for a campfire old-fashioned cocktail and our intern Claire tells us about running away to the circus.
What happens when TV characters need to die? We discuss the shows that are best (and worst) at pulling the plug. Plus a dramatic reading of Hillary Clinton's Twitter bio. And we nerd out about Superman with author Julia Keller, who had the best comic book collection on her block. [Spoiler alert for Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad and Walking Dead.]
Autopsies! Mormons! Time Travel! We asked for your nerdy summer camp stories and you didn't disappoint. Hear three camp stories about what it's like to grow up, go back in time and get your hands dirty. Plus an angst-laden list of how Game of Thrones is giving our intern Claire an anxiety disorder [spoiler alert].
It’s all happening! In our first episode, Nerdette co-hosts Greta Johnsen and Tricia Bobeda bring in a friend to play Frack, Marry Kill with three summer TV shows: Maron, Newsroom and Family Tree. Julie Shapiro of the Third Coast International Audio Festival talks about her piece in Transom that digs into why so few women host podcasts. And our intern has a rage-fueled list of things she’s worried may be Zooey Deschanel’s fault. http://nerdettepodcast.com
Greta Johnsen and Tricia Bobeda are nerding out hard about the return of Arrested Development. They talk hopes, fears and chicken dance in the first mini-episode of the Nerdette Podcast.