Last night I went to see "This American Life Live". Ira Glass was on stage in NYC in front of a live audience previewing the new season of the TAL TV show on Showtime. The performance was broadcast live to movie theaters all over the country (including the Cinemark in Hadley where I was). I apologize for the lame camera phone photos, but I did not think to bring my camera with me.
I'm a TAL junkie. I've been totally addicted to the radio show (which I get as a free podcast every week from iTunes) for a while now. I do not subscribe to Showtime, but I downloaded the first season of the TV show from iTunes the day it became available. It is brilliant.
Last night Ira was his own sound tech, live on stage, inbetween clips from the new season and some stories that had to be cut from the season due to time constraints. There was a short clip of a story about teens in North Philadelphia (done with out the usual TAL narration). He showed the full story of a young Iraqi man road tripping through the southern US. The concept behind this story is brilliant and it will stick with me for a long time. It was both infuriating and inspiring at different times. TAL followed him from town to town where he set up the booth below and invited passers by to chat.Ira also talked about the process of transitioning from radio to TV and becoming a face to go with his famous voice. He showed several animations that were cut from the new season and a story about pre-teen boys at a stand-up comedy camp that also got cut, but was definitely worth airing.
It was an odd thing and it felt a bit strange to have spent $20 for what was basically a typical TAL show, but it was good to be in a full theater, knowing there were lots of full theaters around the country, sharing the same experience with my fellow NPR geeks.
The new season starts Sunday May 4th on Showtime. If you've got Showtime - watch it.