Cecil Baldwin: On The Road

Jul 28, 2017
Originally published on September 29, 2017 11:11 am

Puzzle Guru and honorary beat poet Cecil Baldwin has wandered all over this great big country of ours. And with the help of guest musician Julian Velard, he's going to give us the beat on a couple of 'burgs he's blown through.

Heard On Janeane Garofalo & Lili Taylor: Returning To 'Marvin's Room'

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OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

For our next game, put on your beret and get ready to express your appreciation in snaps. But first, let's check in with our contestants. So, Leigh, what inspired you to start powerlifting, by the way?

LEIGH LATIMER: Well, going to business school, I decided I wanted to be as intimidating as possible on all fronts so...

(LAUGHTER)

LATIMER: ...Physical, you know, and otherwise.

EISENBERG: Really, that's why you decided?

LATIMER: (Laughter) Yeah. Well, I also did watch "American Ninja Warrior," and I was a little bit inspired by some awesome runs by the ladies out there.

EISENBERG: Oh, yeah. So do you have a goal in powerlifting? Like, is it an amount that you're trying to ultimately lift or is it reps? How does it work?

LATIMER: Yeah, a lot of people go for a goal. I'm just kind of there but, you know, let's...

(LAUGHTER)

LATIMER: ...See what happens, kind of like tonight.

EISENBERG: I like a laissez-faire approach to powerlifting.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Greg, you're involved with a summer math camp for gifted students from around the world.

GREG BURNHAM: That's correct.

EISENBERG: That sounds very, very fun. I mean, I assume it's fun.

BURNHAM: Oh, yeah, it's...

EISENBERG: Yeah.

BURNHAM: ...Super nerdy, super fun.

EISENBERG: OK, so what are the fun little, you know, summer program, camp-like things you do to them? Is there, like, fun little...

BURNHAM: So mostly, it's math classes. But then...

(LAUGHTER)

LATIMER: What more do you need?

BURNHAM: But, you see, that's - they like that.

EISENBERG: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

BURNHAM: That's their summer vacation.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

BURNHAM: And then on weekends, it's your regular, you know, whitewater rafting or hiking or - and there's one math relays which combines running with doing math problems.

(LAUGHTER)

BURNHAM: Two life skills.

EISENBERG: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: And while they're whitewater rafting, are they just going, if only we were doing math?

(LAUGHTER)

BURNHAM: Yeah, yeah.

EISENBERG: Kind of.

BURNHAM: You remind them what the rest of the world is like. And they're like, oh, thank goodness, it's Monday again.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) Yeah.

BURNHAM: We can do more math.

EISENBERG: I don't have to deal with that crazy stuff. Very cool. Well, Cecil Baldwin will channel his inner Alan Ginsburg to lead our next game. Greg, you won the last game, so you win this and you're off to the final round. Leigh, you need to win this, or we're going to introduce you to a man from Nantucket.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Cecil, take it away.

CECIL BALDWIN: Thanks, Ophira. So, Julian Velard, could you give me some mood music?

JULIAN VELARD: Absolutely.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BALDWIN: I'm a well-traveled man, whether it's touring with the hit podcast Welcome To Night Vale or my own jaunts across this crazy experiment we call the United States of America. I'll tell you about my journeys. Buzz in and identify the cities I'm talking about. Here we go.

EISENBERG: And for this game only, I'd like our live audience here - yeah, (snapping) you can reward them with snaps. Like, we're really in some beat poetry stuff.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BALDWIN: Let's go, Gonzo. Somewhere around Barstow, the drugs begin to take hold. Bats and lizard people bring nothing but fear and loathing if you follow Hunter S. Thompson to this city of neon.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Greg.

BURNHAM: Las Vegas.

EISENBERG: That is correct, yeah.

(SNAPPING)

EISENBERG: Oh, my God, I want this every show.

(LAUGHTER)

BALDWIN: Jewel by the bay. The scene is jumping, and the poetry is flowing. Going to stop by City Lights Bookstore to howl, howl, howl.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Greg.

BURNHAM: San Francisco.

EISENBERG: San Francisco is correct.

(SNAPPING)

BALDWIN: Nike, goddess of victory. Nike HQ, 8 miles outside of Armisen and Brownstein's comedy playground.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Greg.

BURNHAM: Portland.

EISENBERG: Portland, Ore. That is correct.

(SNAPPING)

BALDWIN: If you see a faded sign at the side of the road, stay at the Neutral Milk Hotel, get some R.E.M. sleep. The University of Georgia covered in public ivy.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Leigh.

LATIMER: Atlanta.

EISENBERG: Leigh, Atlanta is not correct. Greg, can you steal?

BURNHAM: Athens.

EISENBERG: Athens, Ga., is what we are looking for.

(SNAPPING)

BURNHAM: This is a really weird game.

LATIMER: (Laughter) This is a weird game.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: I would say top 10 weirdest games we've ever done.

(LAUGHTER)

BALDWIN: You're both welcome.

EISENBERG: You're welcome.

(LAUGHTER)

BURNHAM: I dig it. I dig it.

EISENBERG: Yeah, we're happy.

BALDWIN: Pop - 1981 and one lonely Prada store in the middle of the desert. Celebrities, artists, hipsters flock to Texas for the scene and the burritos. The secret password is "I Love Dick."

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Greg.

BURNHAM: Austin.

EISENBERG: Good guess. That is incorrect. Leigh, I was just watching your face after this clue and you grimaced.

LATIMER: That's true.

EISENBERG: Which I understand. Do you have a answer to steal?

LATIMER: Waco.

EISENBERG: Good guess as well but incorrect. We were looking for Marfa, Texas. "I Love Dick" is an Amazon show set in Marfa, starring Kevin Bacon, who plays a guy named Dick.

BALDWIN: This is your last poem. Dig it.

(LAUGHTER)

BALDWIN: Cadillacs roll off the GM assembly line, but you can't manufacture Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder or Aretha Franklin.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Leigh.

LATIMER: Detroit.

EISENBERG: That is correct.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Out with a bang.

(SNAPPING, LAUGHTER)

BALDWIN: Ophira, how did our contestants do?

EISENBERG: Leigh, we're sorry to see you go. Greg, you won two games, so you are moving on to the final round at the end of the show.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Coming up, we'll find out who will face off against Greg in our final round at the end of the show. And we'll meet our special guests, Janeane Garofalo and Lili Taylor, who star in the Broadway revival of "Marvin's Room." Lili Taylor made her career in independent films, Janeane Garofalo in alt comedy. And in the '90s, alt was a good word to put in front of something. These days, it just helps you figure out who to block on Twitter. I'm Ophira Eisenberg, and this is ASK ME ANOTHER from NPR.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.