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Here's the Thing
Alec Baldwin brings listeners into the lives of artists, policy makers and performers.
6 days ago
Ramona Diaz Decodes the Motherland
Filipino-American filmmaker Ramona Diaz says each of her films is a “yearning for the motherland.” She says she's in a unique position -- able to “decode” the Philippines for the rest of the world. Her most recent film, A Thousand Cuts, tells the story of Filipino-American journalist Maria Ressa and the struggle for a free press and the crackdown on news media in the Philippines under President Duterte. In 2018, Ressa was an honoree when Time Magazine’s Person of the Year issue focused on “The Guardians and the War on Truth.” Alec sat down with director Diaz to talk about her newest film as well as her other documentaries. Diaz draws deep portraits and her subjects vary -- from well-known figures like Imelda Marcos, to women who’ve just given birth at Fabella Hospital in Manila -- the busiest maternity ward in the world.
Jul 14, 2020
Everybody Loves Stanley Tucci
Alec and Stanley Tucci have only been on set together a couple of times, but they established a rapport deep enough to carry over into a Zoom interview more than a decade later. The two share stories from their families, discuss what they love about working with certain fellow actors, and the difference between working in Hollywood and the UK. Tucci also talks about how he gets into character for his most recent role, an 80-year-old woman in Apple TV's wonderful new animated series, Central Park.
Jun 30, 2020
Ingrid Newkirk Was a Deputy Sheriff Before She Founded PETA
Ingrid Newkirk is the co-founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA. It may be America’s best-known animal rights organization thanks to legal sophistication, scientific seriousness, and off-the-wall publicity stunts like throwing fake blood on models wearing fur, or infiltrating a KFC chicken-supplier to publicize alleged cruelty. They're also famous because a lot of big-name vegetarians have lent them a hand, including Alec, who narrated a documentary for PETA about animal abuse in traveling circuses, among other collaborations. Newkirk tells the story of her transformation from the happily carnivorous daughter of an engineer in New Delhi, to deputy sheriff in Maryland, to the nation's foremost warrior against "speciesism." Alec and Newkirk also go through all the big contemporary questions in animal rights, from hunting to animal-testing to roadside zoos, and she shares insights from her latest book about animal psychology and cognition, Animalkind.
Jun 16, 2020
Micky Dolenz on How The Monkees Went from TV Band to Real-Life Band
Micky Dolenz was a successful child-actor, but he became a full-fledged star at 20 in 1966 as the exuberant singer and drummer of The Monkees -- or rather, as the actor playing that character. At first, the band was a creation of NBC and only existed on the show The Monkees. For the first season, much of the backing music was played by a studio band. Eventually, that changed, and The Monkees' transition from a TV band to a real band is a fascinating story of hard work, perseverance, and marketing genius. Dolenz brings all the energy and humor he showed on The Monkees to this episode of Here's the Thing, telling Alec about the dynamics among the bandmates, his years as a successful TV producer in the UK, and what it's like touring -- and recording -- as a member of The Monkees 50 years after the end of the show.
Jun 2, 2020
On a Zoom Call with Woody Allen
Woody Allen's new book, Apropos of Nothing, starts with a portrait of his father, a tough-guy World War One Navy veteran and onetime gunman in a firing squad. It's the first of a series of surprising, fascinating stories from a life that went from working-class Jewish Brooklyn in the 1940s to movie sets in Rome and Paris. The book also addresses the accusation of an incident of sexual abuse leveled by Dylan Farrow. Allen and Alec cover it all -- plus how he's doing in the age of coronavirus -- in this candid and wide-ranging interview.
May 19, 2020
New York City's Post-COVID Future
In the midst of a crisis it can be healthy to think of what comes after. In this episode of Here's the Thing, two of the most influential New Yorkers when it comes to long-term economic planning join Alec to discuss whether the current economic crisis will end quickly when businesses can reopen, or whether instead it's the start of a longer decline. Kathryn Wylde is a veteran of the urban renewal battles of the 1980s and currently the head of the city's elite business consortium, the Partnership for New York City. She worries that what makes New York special will now be associated with the spread of disease: its dense population and communal spaces like theaters, museums, bars, and vibrant workplaces. Tom Wright's organization, the influential Regional Plan Association, is reshaping its long-term vision for the city based on the potential for reduced growth -- but Wright says that New York is well positioned to get back on track thanks to its experience overcoming past crises like 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy.
May 14, 2020
In Memoriam: Wynn Handman
Over a 70-year career, Wynn Handman added sharpness and craft to the natural talents of actors including Christopher Walken, Allison Janney, Raul Julia, Richard Gere, James Caan, Anna Deveare Smith, Joanne Woodward, and Mia Farrow. The World War II veteran studied acting on the GI bill and fell in with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse in 1946, when the "playhouse" was still two floors of an office building west of Times Square. In this remarkable conversation, Handman tells Alec about his experiences with Meisner, Lee Strasberg, and his many students -- as well as growing up in the 1920s in a Manhattan neighborhood where the streets still had not been paved. Handman died of complications from COVID-19 on April 11, 2020.
May 5, 2020
Brian De Palma on Scarface, Mission: Impossible, and the Movie He Made in College
Brian De Palma's astonishingly diverse hits as a director include Blow Out, Scarface, The Untouchables, The Bonfire of the Vanities, Raising Cain, Carlito’s Way, and Mission: Impossible. He wrote many of those screenplays, too. With his distinctive visual style and proven box office success, he's among the undeniable greats of both auteur and commercial filmmaking. In this live interview, he tells Alec about getting his start in directing as an undergrad at Columbia, and has stories from Blow Out, Scarface and Mission: Impossible. In 2019, the Hamptons International Film Festival gave De Palma its Lifetime Achievement Award; this conversation was part of the ceremony.