The Dinner Party on WUNC

Sat 4p
  • Hosted by Brendan Francis Newnam and Rico Gagliano

Dinner Party Download Holiday Special

Mark your calendars! @The Dinner Party Download is hosting a FACEBOOK LIVE holiday party and YOU are invited. Brendan and Rico will answer your (holiday) etiquette questions and give you a sneak peek of our holiday episode! See you there?

Credit APM
Date: Dec 6

Time: 3 p.m. ET

On Facebook 

Email questions directly to dinnerparty@americanpublicmedia.org. All questions are due by 5 pm CT Monday, December 5, 2016.

The Dinner Party is a culture show designed to help you dazzle your friends at your next social gathering. Launched as a podcast in 2010, The Dinner Party is beloved by audiences for its spontaneity, thoughtfulness and exuberance. The show was lauded by Wallpaper magazine as one of the “Top 40 Reasons to Live in America” and hosts Gagliano and Newnam were named to Food & Wine magazine’s “40 Big Thinkers Under 40” list. 

What happened to your WUNC coffee mug, Rico?
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The show unfolds like a dinner party, kicking off with “The Icebreaker”— a joke to warm things up. Next comes “Small Talk,” in which top print and online journalists from around the country share their favorite odd news story of the week.  The “Cocktails” portion of the show features a true tale from this week in history with a handcrafted cocktail recipe themed after that it.

Later, we usually “Eavesdrop” on an author reading from a hot new release or answer listeners’ burning etiquette questions. The marquee segment of the show is the “Guest of Honor,” in which hosts Gagliano and Newnam interview some of the most fascinating celebrities in the world and routinely get them to talk about the most unexpected, dinner-party-worthy subjects.

Looking Back at Toshiro Mifune’s Legendary Career

Dec 2, 2016
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Lopez, Kristina

From the 1940s and into the ‘80s, Toshiro Mifune was known around the world as Japan’s answer to John Wayne. He starred in almost 200 movies, including a slew of classics directed by the great Akira Kurosawa.

His life is now the subject of a new film called, “Mifune: The Last Samurai.” It’s from Oscar-winning documentarian Steven Okazaki, and he chatted with us about the unexpected start of Mifune’s on-screen career, his rebellious spirit, and more.


Nora McInerny Recalls Living Life in the Face of Death

Dec 2, 2016
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Lopez, Kristina

In 2014, writer Nora McInerny had a year like few others: she miscarried a child, then lost her father and her husband to cancer. Those tragedies are the jumping off point for her new podcast “Terrible, Thanks for Asking,” a show about talking honestly — and with humor, too — about the painful things in life. Nora shares a story from her recent memoir, “It’s Okay to Laugh: (Crying Is Cool Too),” in the audio above.

Anthony Bourdain Gives Tough and Tender Advice

Dec 2, 2016

Each week our listeners send in your questions about how to behave, and answering them this time around is Anthony Bourdain. After talking with Brendan and Rico about his new cookbook and how the culinary world has changed since his “Kitchen Confidential” days, he stuck around to deliver some much-needed straight talk to our listeners.

Dealing with a loud friend in a quiet restaurant

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Lopez, Kristina

Actor Mackenzie Davis plays the punk rock coding genius Cameron in the AMC series “Halt and Catch Fire.” She has also appeared in the latest season of the celebrated U.K. anthology show “Black Mirror.” And you may have seen her on the big screen in “The Martian.”

Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner Spins Some Sweet Ol’ Tunes

Dec 2, 2016

Musician Kurt Wagner is the frontman for the Nashville music collective Lambchop and over the course of 12 albums, he’s drawn on everything from country to hip-hop, to create odd, lyrically rich music. With his new album, “Flotus,” he’s added beat-driven electronica into the mix. The Los Angeles Times describes it as, “something really magical.”

Rob Me Ronnie

Nov 18, 2016
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McGovern, Kathleen

The History Lesson

This week back in 2001, Ronnie Biggs returned to England. For most people, robbing a train is a pretty unusual thing to do. For Ronnie Biggs, that was just the beginning. The robbery went down on August 8th, 1963 — Ronnie’s birthday. Which he decided to celebrate by helping some pals steal 2.6 million pounds sterling from a mail train. Today, that’d be $60 million bucks. It was the biggest heist in British history.

The Tamarind

Nov 16, 2016
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McGovern, Kathleen

The History Lesson

This week back in 1922, the entrance to King Tut’s tomb was discovered. Tut’s tomb may be the most important archaeological find in history. And it was all made possible by a bored rich guy.

His name was George Edward Stanhope Molyneux Herbert. And — surprise! — he was a British aristocrat. He loved racing around in newfangled contraptions called “automobiles.” That is, until he crashed one. Frail of health, he started spending winters in Egypt.

The Young American

Nov 16, 2016
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McGovern, Kathleen

The History Lesson

This week back in 1973, an already odd kidnapping — got odder. Money can’t buy happiness. Case in point: John Paul Getty the Third. His grandfather, Getty Senior, was one of the richest oil men on Earth. So when John Paul was kidnapped in Italy at age 16? He probably didn’t think it’d be long before grandpa paid the $17 million dollar ransom.

The Song for Sejong

Nov 16, 2016
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McGovern, Kathleen

The History Lesson

This week back in 1446 the Korean alphabet was first published. They say the truth will set you free. But first you gotta be able to read the truth. And in 15th-century Korea, most people couldn’t. Read, that is. Or write. How come? Even though everyone spoke Korean, all writing was in a form of Chinese. And Chinese is hard. It’s made up of thousands of complex characters. Only a bunch of elite scholars really understood it. Everyone else was — illiterate.

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Lopez, Kristina

Before Rico and Brendan had all of our guests pile onto the stage to answer our live audience’s etiquette dilemmas at the Now Hear This Festival, they first chatted with guest Annabelle Gurwitch. You may know her from her appearances on TV shows like “Seinfeld,” and “Dexter,” or as host of the TBS series “Dinner and a Movie.”

Gustavo Arellano Pushes A Few Buttons

Nov 11, 2016
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Lopez, Kristina

Normally during Small Talk, we have a newshound share their favorite under-the-radar story. For our show at the Now Hear This podcast festival, we welcomed to the stage one of the most delightful bomb-throwers in Southern California journalism — Gustavo Arellano.

Davy Rothbart Finds the Hidden Tales in Lost Items

Nov 11, 2016
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Lopez, Kristina

Davy Rothbart is probably best known for his wonderful pieces on “This American Life” and for his magazine Found. The latter has been turned into a musical and, most recently, a hit podcast.

In a couple of weeks one of TV’s most beloved recent dramas is getting a reboot on Netflix… and Rico and Brendan have never watched an episode of it.

The show is “Gilmore Girls.” It ran on the WB and the CW networks from 2000 to 2007. It’s about a mother-daughter duo in a small Connecticut town. The revival, consisting of four 90-minute episodes, is called “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.” It premieres on the November 25th on Netflix.

The First-Ever Podcast – ‘Da Carriage House

Nov 11, 2016
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Lopez, Kristina

This historical first podcast was encoded decades ago with super primitive technology. To play it back, we had to use fire, a raptor bone… and an iPhone 3. Which was impossible to find. But we did it, and now, today, we’re unveiling it for the first time ever.

Listen below and enjoy!


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Lopez, Kristina

Investigative journalist Emily Witt’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, GQ, and more.

How Rick Astley Rolls

Nov 4, 2016
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Lopez, Kristina

Back in the ’80s, Rick Astley scored a string of synth-backed R&B hits. Including “Together Forever” … and another little number which, decades later, earned an unlikely second life as the internet prank called “rickrolling.” For the uninitiated, the idea is you send someone a generic link, telling them it points to something amazing or shocking, but when the user clicks — OMG you guys, AN ADORBS BABY PANDA!

That’s a rickroll.

Nick Offerman Carves Out His Own Niche

Nov 4, 2016
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Lopez, Kristina

For seven seasons, Nick Offerman starred as Ron Swanson on the sitcom “Parks and Recreation,” delivering deadpan zingers through a lush mustache. He’s also stolen scenes in delightful films, like “The Kings of Summer,” and “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” and recently landed a recurring role in TV’s “Fargo.” He’s also written a couple of books. But one of Nick’s true passions is wood.

Nick Offerman’s Key Advice: ‘Hug Before Punch’

Nov 4, 2016
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Lopez, Kristina

Each week you send in your questions about how to behave, and here to answer them this week with a bit of gruff wisdom is “Parks and Recreation” actor and comedian Nick Offerman. After chatting with Rico and Brendan about his new book and his woodworking passion, he stuck around to tell handle our listeners’ grilling quandaries and whiskey woes.

Coaster conundrum

What Is the Best Political TV Show of All-time?

Oct 21, 2016

Take Our Poll

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Lopez, Kristina

Last week, newly-minted “A Prairie Home Companion” host Chris Thile told us, “Here’s the one problem about me being in charge of a dinner party soundtrack: I loathe background music.”

And with that, he built us a party playlist filled with tunes he considered “required listening.” It got us thinking: which songs do our fans think of as “required listening”?

Well, we asked and many of you answered! We built out a special Spotify playlist featuring all your picks below!

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Lopez, Kristina

On October 15th, Chris Thile steps on-stage as the new, permanent host of public radio’s venerable variety show, “A Prairie Home Companion,” with the blessing of mentor Garrison Keillor.

Chris cut his teeth playing mandolin for bluegrass bands Nickel Creek and The Punch Brothers (he’s won four Grammys). But he’s a musical omnivore and — according to the MacArthur foundation— a musical genius.

The Posts Teach You How to Take a Compliment

Oct 14, 2016

Rico Gagliano: Each week, you send in your questions about how to behave. Often, we ask them willy-nilly to totally unqualified celebrities, but today, we’re calling in etiquette reinforcements.

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Lopez, Kristina

Hard to believe that while the East Coast was hammered with disastrous rains recently, Southern California is still enduring a drought.

Kyle Kinane’s Guide to Getting Loose

Oct 14, 2016
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Lopez, Kristina

Kyle Kinane has earned a following with gravel-voiced, self-deprecating stories, often about what he ate or drank– or wished he didn’t. He’s appeared on Netflix in Judd Apatow’s series “Love,” and you can also hear him on Comedy Central, where he’s their voice-over announcer. His new special premieres on that channel on Oct. 15. It’s called “Loose In Chicago.”


Kelly Reichardt’s Labor of Love

Oct 14, 2016
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Lopez, Kristina

Director Kelly Reichardt’s minimalist indie films like “Meek’s Cutoff” have won loads of critical acclaim and a devout following. Most are shot in the Northwest, and focus on characters on the fringes of society.

Her new movie “Certain Women” is no exception. It features an all-star cast including Laura Dern, and it’s based on short stories written by Maile Meloy. The movie examines the lives of very different people in modern-day Montana, and what happens when they collide.

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