The Dinner Party on WUNC

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

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?
Credit APM

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.

Father John Misty drummed and sang with the band Fleet Foxes. But his solo albums — full of cynical, yet heartbreaking folk-rock songs — have made him an indie star.  After performing a few songs, we had him share with us his dinner party soundtrack: A playlist of songs he’d spin at a party. His choices included everything from Harry Nilsson covering an old pop classic to a song that’s… well, a little blue.

Lopez, Kristina

After Jenny, as Marcel the Shell, and Jason performed a scene from “Goodfellas” (yes, really) we decided that scene presents just a perfect example of how not to behave and was, therefore, the perfect segue into answering our audience’s etiquette questions.

Lopez, Kristina
Lopez, Kristina

Nile Rodgers was a member of the seminal disco band Chic and producer of some of the biggest hits in pop history (for nobodies like Madonna and David Bowie).

Jackson Musker

Encore Broadcast: This week we revisit one of our favorite 2015 episodes: Actor Jason Segel turns over a new leaf, as David Foster Wallace, in the biopic “The End of the Tour”… Rock star writer Diablo Cody (“Ricki and the Flash”) comes bearing etiquette (and karaoke) tips … Bobcat Goldthwait remembers Barry Crimmins, the man who brought conscience (and anger) to comedy… A taste of haute cuisine baby food, courtesy of the novel “The Kitchens of the Great Midwest”…Breakout musician Thundercat adds some crazy to the party…Plus: incendiary stoplights, magnetic moss, and more!

Best of 2015: Carrie Brownstein, Oscar Isaac, Shamir

Dec 23, 2015
Lopez, Kristina

Sit back, relax, and aim your ears at these standout moments from punk singer Carrie Brownstein, artist Laurie Anderson, actor Oscar Isaac, comedian Michael Ian Black, and dance-pop maestro Shamir. Plus, your favorite icebreaker and history lesson of the year… and a Small Talk mash-up. (We’ll call it Tiny Talk!) Here’s to lots more phenomenal arts and culture in 2016.

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Dec 22, 2015

Molly Crabapple Draws Blood, Dancers and Detainees

Dec 18, 2015
Lopez, Kristina

Molly Crabapple is an illustrator and activist whose work has appeared in Marvel comics… and on protest posters for the Occupy movement. She also traveled to Guantanamo to sketch the military hearings there.

Gael Garcia Bernal Goes From Messiah to Maestro

Dec 18, 2015
Lopez, Kristina

Gael Garcia Bernal was a TV star in his native Mexico from a very young age. He then broke into the international art house circuit with roles in the acclaimed films “Amores Perros” and “Y Tu Mamá También.” He went on to star in movies like “Babel,” “Rosewater,” and “The Motorcycle Diaries.”

Lopez, Kristina

Gael Garcia Bernal — a Golden Globe nominee for the series “Mozart in the Jungle” — goes from messiah to maestro… Comedian Hannibal Buress offers up etiquette advice for humans, from dogs… Illustrator and commentator Molly Crabapple likens drawing to dancing – to picking scabs… We tune into an offbeat holiday soundtrack, courtesy British song-smith Nick Lowe… And Rico sips some soup joumou – the hallmark of the Haitian New Year. Plus, the short-lived American Camel Corps, the one downside of “Master of None,” and more!

Lopez, Kristina

Nihar Patel is a writer and director who has contributed to Vice, Bloomberg, and the TV series “The Rotten Tomatoes Show.” He tells us about the many people who’ve asked him about “Master of None,” which he’d rather never talk about again. You can hear him tell the tale in the audio above or read his story over at Mcsweeney’s Internet Tendency.

Those Pesky Pigeons Can Actually Spot Cancer

Dec 4, 2015
Lopez, Kristina

Cindy Crawford is one of the most iconic supermodels in fashion history. In her new book, “BECOMING,” she uses images from photo shoots as launch pads for stories about her life and career. She shares some of the scariest with us.

Cindy Crawford: One of my favorite chapters in the book is about overcoming fears. I’m going to share three of my little stories that are in the book about scary things that I’ve been asked to, and how I either did it or figured out how not to.

Car Seat Headrest – ‘Two Tired’

Dec 4, 2015

Melodies and Metaphors with Car Seat Headrest

Dec 4, 2015
Lopez, Kristina

Seattle-based musician Will Toledo — of the indie band Car Seat Headrest — got his start in Leesburg, Virginia recording music in his car, hence the band’s name. He just signed to Matador Records, and he’s got a new album called “Teens of Style.” Here he is with a laid-back playlist.

Will Toledo: This is Will Toledo of Car Seat Headrest, and you’re listening to my dinner party soundtrack.

Lopez, Kristina

Back in 1966, at the height of his career, French filmmaker François Truffaut sat down with his hero, Alfred Hitchcock, and interviewed him about every film he’d ever made. That interview was transcribed into a book called “Hitchcock/Truffaut.” And if you’re a filmmaker, you have read it.

Encore Broadcast: “Magic Mike” star Joe Manganiello strips away our bad etiquette habits… Artist-musician Devendra Banhart ruminates on art, ritual, and everlasting honey… Grammy-winner Joy Williams (formerly of The Civil Wars) shares a party soundtrack, direct from her Nashville “Night Circus”…The pros and cons of dining with dogs… Nina Simone gets a close-up, from acclaimed documentarian Liz Garbus… Writer Rebecca Makkai asks, what if Bach were one of us? (and we wanted to date him). Plus!

The DPD Guide to Thanksgiving

Nov 25, 2015
Lopez, Kristina

Thanksgiving is upon us and since it is technically the biggest dinner party of the year, we thought it would be a good time to revisit a few pieces to help you win your Thanksgiving! You’ll find tips from Bon Appétit, an icebreaker, and a few more turkey day bits. It’s our way of giving thanks to you for listening to us each week.

The 2015 All-Food Show

Nov 20, 2015
Lopez, Kristina

Just in time for a week of feasting, it’s our special All-Food Show! Chefs Gabrielle Hamilton and Dan Barber turn food afterthoughts into fine dining … We ruminate on the history of the toothpick… Questlove and Conor Oberst play dinnertime DJ… Eddie Huang, of “Fresh off the Boat” fame, addresses do’s and don’ts about donuts… And more!

Darryl Dawkins Dunks and ‘The Chocolate Thunder’

Nov 13, 2015
Lopez, Kristina

Darryl Dawkins was always a special player. He was the first kid ever drafted into the NBA straight out of high school. And he soon became known for bein’ as much a showman… as an athlete.

Darryl didn’t charge onto the court with a serious game face. He’d smile and wave to fans. He played pranks on his own coach. And he asked announcers to introduce him in atypical fashion:

Episode 326: Allison Janney, Norman Lear, John Mulaney

Nov 13, 2015

Allison Janney, star of the CBS sitcom “Mom,” on the humor in life’s heavy stuff… Alan Palomo, better known as Neon Indian, DJs your bomb shelter dinner party (but you’ll have to bring your own food)…  Bon Appetit’s Adam Rapoport on how to pre-game for a food coma… The veteran producer behind “The Jeffersons” and “All in the Family,” Norman Lear, tells you how to behave… Up-and-coming comedy writer John Mulaney reveals the secret way to make him agree to anything… Plus, why scientists are studying the surface area of cats, one of France’s most peculiar battle strategies, and more!

Lopez, Kristina

Thanksgiving is closing in on us. Which means home cooks across the country are crafting Thanksgiving menus and confronting the annual paradox: how do you respect tradition and keep things interesting?

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