this american life

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Harmon Leon’s Bodyslamming for Jesus and Infiltrating Porn, for You

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What’s it like to be a clothed extra at a porn shoot? How about a member of the most hated church in America? A carney? O.J. Simpson’s hired sidekick on a reality TV show? Harmon Leon’s gone undercover to get answers, and thank God he’s willing to do it because let’s face it, you couldn’t pay most sane people to join any of these grim demographics (welllll, maybe the porn extra, but Leon’s here to tell you you’d regret it.)

Leon has written about his adventures for VICE, published five books about them, and tours with his always-evolving one-man show, coming to The Unicorn Saturday and the Kraine Theater Tuesday. On stage he uses video and other multi-media elements to give audiences a close-up look at what it’s like to infiltrate of some of America’s most fascinating subcultures. Leon took a few minutes to chat with us about, yes, the aforementioned stunts, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg–he’s been doing this a long time.
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Listen to Iggy Pop Talk Burroughs and Then Go To William’s 101st Birthday Party

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During Friday’s episode of This American Life, Ira Glass confessed that — just like he thought “Shakespeare sucks” — he totally didn’t get William S. Burroughs. Until, that is, a BBC Radio documentary narrated by Iggy Pop — and featuring interviews with John Waters, Will Self, and some of Burroughs’s biographers and lovers — totally made him realize what all the hoopla over the man’s 100 birthday was last year.
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Jena Friedman and Elna Baker On Girls: ‘My Daddy Issues Are That I Love My Dad Too Much’

Welcome to Girls Talk, in which two of our favorite New Yorkers share the text messages they sent during this week’s episode of Girls.

(Courtesy of HBO)

(Photo: Jessica Miglio/Courtesy of HBO)

Elna and Jena. (Photo: Jena's Instagram)

Elna and Jena. (Photo: Jena’s Instagram)

The text in green belongs to Elna Baker. Based in Greenpoint, she is the author of The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance, and has appeared on This American Life. On the last Wednesday of each month, she hosts The Talent Show at Littlefield.

The text in white belongs to fellow comedian Jena Friedman. She’s a former writer for The Late Show with David Letterman, who lives in the East Village.
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