Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

The Secret Life of NPR’s Terry Gross (Video)

Ever wonder what Terry Gross does after she wraps up her “Fresh Air” show on NPR and ever-so-sincerely thanks one of her guests?

The bust-a-gut-funny storyteller Mike Birbiglia let his imagination run wild, and got Gross to play along. He made the short film below for the 2012 “This American Life” live show, which was broadcast to some 500 movie theaters full of public radio fans on Thursday night (including the one I visited in lovely and foggy San Bruno, Calif.).

Another segment of the live show — which was themed around performances that wouldn’t work on the radio — was a special audience smartphone participation number by OK Go.

The band, which is famous for its creative music video concepts, created an app that split the audience into different tones of chimes. Then we provided accompaniment by pressing buttons within the app while OK Go played a couple of songs and projected a scrolling color-coded score, like in Guitar Hero or Dance Dance Revolution.

Getting permission to allow people to use their cellphones in theaters was no easy task, and required multiple personal pleas to CEOs, said “This American Life” host Ira Glass, when he introduced the band.

While I had my phone turned on, I snapped the picture below:

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus