Live Wire with Luke Burbank
Summary: Like late-night for radio, hosted by Luke Burbank (Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me), the show artfully blends an eclectic mix of artists, musicians, writers, filmmakers, comedians and cultural observers. Music, comedy, and conversation, live and packed with surprises.
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello reminisce about their most memorable Halloween costumes; filmmakers Cristina Costantini & Kareem Tabsch reveal the man behind the cape in their Netflix documentary "Mucho Mucho Amor" about famed Puerto Rican astrologer Walter Mercado; and singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell takes us to the underworld of Greek mythology to discuss her Tony Award-winning folk opera "Hadestown," before performing one of its hit tracks "Wedding Song."
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello get rid of some unnecessary things; poet Tommy Pico explains how writing as his alter ego "Teebs" allows him to be less self-censoring in his work; journalist Eli Saslow discusses Derek Black – the subject of his book "Rising Out of Hatred" – and how the once-heir to the white nationalist movement made a stunning transformation; comedian Emily Heller spins gut-busting analogies to online dating; and indie rock duo The Helio Sequence performs “Lately” from their album "Keep Your Eyes Ahead."
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello share the small things that fascinate them; writer and Radiolab co-host Lulu Miller unpacks the problematic practices of turn-of-the-century taxonomist David Starr Jordan; comedian and New York Times contributor Sopan Deb discusses his memoir "Missed Translations" about reconnecting with his immigrant parents; and Moorea Masa performs her latest single "Honey."
Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello relive some of their greatest escapes; writer and former sideshow performer Tessa Fontaine explains how learning to eat fire helped mend her broken heart; comedian and actor Moses Storm riffs on why he and his mom once had the same platinum blonde hairdo; memoirist and green card lottery winner Abdi Nor Iftin recounts his journey from war-torn Somalia to rural Maine; and singer-songwriter Laura Veirs performs “Margaret Sands” from her album "The Lookout."
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello divulge some particularly small skills they've never been able to master; comedian and television writer Demi Adejuyigbe ("The Good Place," "The Amber Ruffin Show") explains why he feels the creative pressure every September 21st; journalist Drew Magary sets out to improve his terrible handwriting; and powerhouse duo The War and Treaty perform the moving song "Five More Minutes" from their soulful new album "Hearts Town."
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello reflect on what they still have faith in during these uncertain times; Chapman & MacLain Way, creators of the Netflix docuseries "Wild Wild Country," discuss the incredible true story behind the followers of guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, who established a controversial commune in 1980s rural Oregon; comedian Ahmed Bharoocha questions the flight training program for baby crows; high school student Raley Schweinfurth explains her award-winning efforts to save Portland’s bees; and Hawaiian soul group Ron Artis II & The Truth perform “Searching for Answers.”
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello reveal their personal theme songs; cultural critic and poet Hanif Abdurraqib describes how his playlist project "68to05" reflects the origins of his personal music fandom; author Eula Biss unpacks the intersection of homeownership and white privilege in her newest collection of essays "Having and Being Had;" and alt-country singer Lydia Loveless performs "Say My Name" from her latest album "Daughter."
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello tell stories of risks they've taken; Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Timothy Egan unpacks his relationship to faith during a thousand-mile trek across Europe that inspired his new book "A Pilgrimage to Eternity;" activist Jeannette Ward Horton discusses her organization NuLeaf, which advocates for minority inclusion in the legal cannabis industry; and indie pop duo Pure Bathing Culture perform "All Night" from their latest album "Night Pass."
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello consider what misconceptions their families have about them; comedian Maria Bamford convinces us that anybody can create their own comedy special; stand-up comedian Nore Davis riffs on the secret lives of school teachers and rescue animals; and country singer-songwriter Brandy Clark spins her love of the film "Jaws" into a relevant and heartfelt new song, aptly titled "Bigger Boat."
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello share what they wish they had been talked out of; Chioke I’Anson, the voice of NPR’s underwriting, admits to feeling self-conscious about the sound of his own voice; journalist Leah Sottile unpacks the symbiotic relationship between the federal government and fringe patriot groups, as investigated in her podcast Bundyville; and we pay tribute to the late singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle by sharing his 2017 performance of "Maybe a Moment."
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello go down some internet rabbit holes; W. Kamau Bell breaks down the difference between white supremacy and white supremacists on his CNN documentary series "United Shades of America;" science reporter Julia Rosen schools us on the invasive nature of earthworms; and singer-songwriter Samantha Crain details how her days as a child powerlifter prepared her for a life of touring, before performing "High Horse" from her album "A Small Death."
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello give themselves some pre-pandemic advice; humorist John Hodgman ponders themes of fame, prestige and airline mileage, as outlined in his new book “Medallion Status: True Stories from Secret Rooms;” writer Jon Mooallem takes a deep dive into the inner-workings of his meditative podcast “Walking;” and soul singer Allen Stone performs “Brown Eyed Lover” from his album “Building Balance.”
Host Luke Burbank and guest announcer Hari Kondabolu admit to being undecided on matters of personal hygiene and bed-making; science journalist Sarah Scoles encounters some true believers at the International UFO Congress; and singer-songwriter Angelica Garcia performs "I Don't Believe in Death" from her latest album "Cha Cha Palace."
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello discuss how they've been staying in touch with their loved ones during lockdown; author Jami Attenberg unpacks the complexities of American families in her new book "All This Could Be Yours;" podcaster James Kim explains how language barriers and silence are used as narrative tools in his fictional podcast Moonface; and psychedelic rock group Federale perform the title track from their album "No Justice."
Host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello discuss what they've learned about themselves recently; writer Lidia Yuknavitch describes her latest collection of stories as a series of devotionals to the outcasts among us; comedian Atsuko Okatsuka admits to her insecurities around teenagers; and rock group The Black Tones perform "Mama! There's A Spider In My Room!"