Bullseye from NPR is your curated guide to culture. Jesse Thorn hosts in-depth interviews with brilliant creators, culture picks from our favorite critics and irreverent original comedy. Bullseye has been featured in Time, The New York Times, GQ and McSweeney's, which called it "the kind of show people listen to in a more perfect world." (Formerly known as The Sound of Young America.)
The Song That Changed My Life: Doc Severinsen
The Song That Changed My Life is a segment that gives us the chance to talk with some of our favorite artists about the music that made them who they are today. This time around, we're joined by American jazz trumpeter Carl Hilding "Doc" Severinsen. Doc is an amazing trumpet player who led the band over at "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" for thirty years and almost the entirety of Carson's run. He's known for his impeccable-styled costumes and eclectic musical styles. He's recorded with Eddie Fisher, Dinah Shore and still tours at 93 years old. He's had an enchanted career that extends all the way back to the second world war where a chance encounter gave him the opportunity to play for his childhood idol—trombonist Tommy Dorsey. Catch "Never Too Late: The Doc Severinsen Story" on your local PBS station.
Archivist and filmmaker Rick Prelinger
Rick Prelinger is an archivist and professor at UC Santa Cruz. He's a collector of found and discarded footage: home movies, outtakes from industrial videos and never before seen b-roll from old feature films. Rick also co-founded the Prelinger Library in San Francisco. It's one of the largest collections of ephemeral films in the world. In the film series Lost Landscapes, Rick compiles footage from his archives to create documentaries about changing cities. He's covered San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oakland, Detroit and more. We talk with Rick about his film series, how he curates his archives and his passion for all things ephemeral. Plus, Rick shares a story about the time he found a video of himself as a child in someone else's home movies.
William Jackson Harper
William Jackson Harper won the hearts of fans as the sweet philosophy professor Chidi Anagonye on NBC's The Good Place. The role helped jump start his career and earned him a handful of award nominations including an Emmy nod. In 2019, he also starred in the critically acclaimed horror film Midsommar. His latest project is a leading role alongside Aya Cash in the romantic comedy We Broke Up. He's also set to appear in the upcoming Amazon series The Underground Railroad, which is directed by Barry Jenkins. He joins guest host Linda Holmes of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour to talk about his new film and upcoming projects, The Good Place, some of the TV shows he's been binging and a new hobby he's picked up during the pandemic. Plus, they'll chat about his love for scary movies and dive into some of his favorite horror films and thrillers.
Documentary Filmmaker Ric Burns
Ric Burns has written, produced, and directed many documentaries over the last 25 years that capture fascinating narratives about different topics in American history. A few subjects he's covered include New York City, The American Civil War, The Chinese Exclusion Act, and many more. His latest documentary explores the life, work, and legacy of the legendary neurologist and bestselling author Oliver Sacks. After being diagnosed with terminal cancer in early 2015, Sacks approached Burns about creating a documentary to tell his life's story. Ric Burns chats with Jesse about his experience working closely with Oliver Sacks on the project before his passing in August of 2015. He also talks about how creating this film alongside Sacks changed him as a person and the way he sees the world.
Director Raoul Peck
Raoul Peck makes sweeping, breathtaking, insightful films that marry the political to the personal. As a director, he's made both documentaries and feature films. That includes 2000's Lumumba about the assassinated Congolese leader, Patrice Lumumba, 2016's Oscar-nominated I Am Not Your Negro which vividly reworked the writings of the late James Baldwin and 2017's The Young Karl Marx—a biopic about the German philosopher's young adulthood. His latest project is Exterminate All the Brutes, an HBO docuseries. Based on the book by Sven Lindqvist, the film delves into the destruction and desolation caused by European colonialism in places like Australia, Africa, Asia and the Americas.
Remembering Jessica Walter
Last month, the actor Jessica Walter died. She was 80 years old, her family says she passed away in her sleep. Her career spanned over six decades. She's starred in hundreds of on screen performances, from Arrested Development, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, The Love Boat, and Trapper John, M.D. to a starring role in Clint Eastwood's directorial debut Play Misty for Me. We're taking a moment to remember the brilliant Jessica Walter by revisiting our conversation from 2014. At the time she was promoting the latest season of the animated show Archer. She talked about her voice work on the program, her love of Lucille Bluth and working with Clint Eastwood.
Insightful Interviews with Interesting People
Jesse Thorn is a great interviewer who goes beyond the surface level questions you might get on a shorter interview. His longer interviews usually get something new from the subject, and he’s always well prepared. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, but is always respectful to the guests and takes them seriously.
NPR should listen to this
Poor treatment of guests
Gotcha journalism, disappointing.