270 episodes

Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso is a weekly series of intimate conversations with artists, activists, and politicians. Where people sound like people. Hosted by Sam Fragoso. New episodes every Sunday.

Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso Sam Fragoso

    • Society & Culture

Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso is a weekly series of intimate conversations with artists, activists, and politicians. Where people sound like people. Hosted by Sam Fragoso. New episodes every Sunday.

    Nick Offerman: Out of the Woods

    Nick Offerman: Out of the Woods

    Actor, author, and woodworker Nick Offerman joins us in the studio! We begin with his new book, Where the Deer and the Antelope Play (5:05), which was inspired by Nick’s upbringing in rural Minooka, Illinois (6:12), the writings of poet Wendell Berry (7:30), and his experiences with the late Sam Shepard at Steppenwolf Theatre (8:08). 


    Shortly after working with Shepard, Offerman began to find his footing—on and off the stage—as a performer, carpenter, and fight choreographer (9:35). He reflects on his galvanizing role in the film Going All the Way (15:14), the guiding principles of George Saunders (20:00), lessons from his sensei Shōzō Satō (25:26), the start of his nearly two-decade marriage with actress Megan Mullally (26:30), the phone call that changed his life (35:50), and the complicated legacy of Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation (41:45). 


    Then, before we go, we return to the timely (and urgent) message of his new book (46:47), a song by Jeff Tweedy (49:50), and a poem by Wendell Berry (51:58).
     
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    • 56 min
    How to Reconnect to Earth (with Author Richard Powers)

    How to Reconnect to Earth (with Author Richard Powers)

    This week we have a soulful (and long overdue) conversation around climate change and the restorative power of nature with Pulitzer-prize winning author Richard Powers. We begin by defining the thematic through-line between The Overstory and Bewilderment (5:06), the eco trauma articulated in each text (9:10), how we may redefine hope in 2021 (16:08), and what the pandemic may teach us about the looming climate crisis (26:18). Powers also details the ecological shortcomings of capitalism (29:00), our myopic interpretation (and fear of) death (30:56).

    On the back-half, we unpack why he writes (33:48), the need for “productive solitude” (40:40), and the singular way he writes analytical and emotional characters (44:42). To close– a fitting scene from one of Powers’ earlier works, Plowing the Dark (50:30), in which an older man enters an used bookstore, unable to find the book intended. And in the absence of that book, Richard Powers will continue to do so (52:50).

    On the back-half, we unpack why he writes (33:48), the need for “productive solitude” (40:40), and the singular way he writes analytical and emotional characters (44:42). To close– a fitting scene from one of Powers’ earlier works, Plowing the Dark (50:30), in which an older man enters an used bookstore, unable to find the book intended. And in the absence of that book, Richard Powers will continue to do so (52:50).
     
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    • 57 min
    Actor Noomi Rapace’s Homecoming

    Actor Noomi Rapace’s Homecoming

    Upon the release of her new film Lamb, we sit with actor Noomi Rapace. We begin with how she explained the project to her son (4:24), after two decades of fearless performances (6:18) ignited by her breakout role in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (17:24). As we reflect on the pandemic, she describes a feeling of stillness (20:09) that emerged after Lamb—a counter to the years of “running” during Prometheus, Sherlock Holmes, and The Drop (23:02). As we leave, we revisit an early interview clip (25:05), her realizations about motherhood (30:02), and what it means to listen more (34:36).
     
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    • 39 min
    Poet Nikki Giovanni: Life is a Good Idea

    Poet Nikki Giovanni: Life is a Good Idea

    For the past 50 years, Nikki Giovanni has been one of our preeminent poets. She joins this week, reflecting on how her childhood led to a life of writing (4:28), the enduring impact of a televised conversation with James Baldwin (11:40), the story behind her famous poem, “I Married My Mother” (16:30), and why she doesn't believe in role models (21:43). On the back-half, we work our way to the present, as Nikki shares her experience of visiting the African American Museum (27:15), the evolution of her poetry (30:02), and how she grappled with two cancer diagnoses (33:55). To close, Nikki reads from her inventive about the author page (39:17).
     
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    • 43 min
    Julie Delpy: Just Passing Through

    Julie Delpy: Just Passing Through

    For nearly four decades, artist Julie Delpy has been creating in front of the camera and behind it. She joins us this week to discuss her emotional investment in the work (4:05), the seed of truth that formed her new Netflix series, On The Verge (7:29), and how her views on parenting informed the show (8:57).

    Growing in Paris with two actor parents (11:18), Delpy reflects on entering the movie business at fourteen (12:59), navigating an industry of misogyny and predation (14:53), and why she began writing as a means of escape (17:48).

    Before we go, we sit with the Before trilogy (22:55), her directorial career (25:30), a breathtaking scene from Before Midnight (32:14) and the personal story behind it (34:24). To close– Julie walks us through her idea of a day well spent (41:58).
     
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    • 47 min
    A Portrait of Artist Toyin Ojih Odutola

    A Portrait of Artist Toyin Ojih Odutola

    Toyin Ojih Odutola is one of our finest visual artists working today. Her art has been featured in the Whitney, MOMA, and the Smithsonian. She joins us, in studio, on the heels of her revelatory monograph, Toyin Ojih Odutola: The UmuEze Amara Clan and the House of Obafemi. 
     
    Accompanied by a virtual gallery (see link below), Toyin tells her story: coming to America from Nigeria at age five (6:44), why she started drawing (10:02), a formative trip to her homeland at age sixteen (12:50), the challenge of creating art at the start of the 2008 recession (16:03), a troubling bout with grad school (18:04), and the words that kept her going—from Toni Morrison (20:49).
     
    Then, we sit with our virtual gallery (26:30-1:00:00). In it, Toyin’s shares her daily art-making practices (37:00), how she combats both the omnipresence of the white gaze (41:56) and the insidious rise of the “art star” (54:27). As we leave, she walks us through the full-circle moment of her Zadie Smith portrait (59:26), and what it means—to her—to be alive today (1:04:38).


    Visit the virtual gallery here: https://talkeasypod.com/toyin/ 
     
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    • 1 hr 8 min

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