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How to Observe Presidents' Day, Observed

From: The Little Gray Book Lectures
Series: The Little Gray Book Lectures
Length: 58:34

Sarah Vowell, John Hodgman and Joshuah Bearman on Presidents' Day, along with a fifteen-piece marching band and a new song about all forty-three presidents. (PRX editorial warning for stations: Refers to Bush as current president. Preview before licensing.)

Lgbwig_small "Like Garrison, John is a terrific writer who succeeds in establishing a strong, funny tone for the program immediately. You want to hear what this guy has decided to tell you, in part because you can't quite predict what he'll say next." -- Chris Bannon, Executive Producer, WNYC John Hodgman's Little Gray Book Lectures -- a mix of readings, songs, discussions, cooking demonstrations, appearances by mascots of professional sports teams and occasional contests -- are praised by the LA Times as "increasingly conspicuous." In this lecture, Sarah Vowell reads from her book "Assassination Vacation," in which she fails to connect with a group of tourists in a Massachusetts bed and breakfast on the subject of Presidential assassinations. Welshman Jon Langford (The Mekons) accompanies her on vocals and guitar. Joshuah Bearman lectures on the subject of Bigfoot and his alleged encounters with President Theodore Roosevelt, and host John Hodgman recounts with love George Washington's wise and kind decision to be our President only twice. As with every Little Gray Book Lecture, Jonathan Coulton will sing an original song, this one about all forty-three presidents, accompanied by a fifteen-person marching band playing "Hail to the Chief."

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Piece Description

"Like Garrison, John is a terrific writer who succeeds in establishing a strong, funny tone for the program immediately. You want to hear what this guy has decided to tell you, in part because you can't quite predict what he'll say next." -- Chris Bannon, Executive Producer, WNYC John Hodgman's Little Gray Book Lectures -- a mix of readings, songs, discussions, cooking demonstrations, appearances by mascots of professional sports teams and occasional contests -- are praised by the LA Times as "increasingly conspicuous." In this lecture, Sarah Vowell reads from her book "Assassination Vacation," in which she fails to connect with a group of tourists in a Massachusetts bed and breakfast on the subject of Presidential assassinations. Welshman Jon Langford (The Mekons) accompanies her on vocals and guitar. Joshuah Bearman lectures on the subject of Bigfoot and his alleged encounters with President Theodore Roosevelt, and host John Hodgman recounts with love George Washington's wise and kind decision to be our President only twice. As with every Little Gray Book Lecture, Jonathan Coulton will sing an original song, this one about all forty-three presidents, accompanied by a fifteen-person marching band playing "Hail to the Chief."

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Review of How to Observe Presidents' Day, Observed

There is something strangely comforting in the just slightly off-perfect mix of the show as it opens -- a good reminder that this stuff is LIVE. It's kind of singer/songwriter type radio without the painful pretension of the singer/songwriter's craft. The atmosphere of the program has the intimacy of a coffeehouse -- not the awe and silence of a concert hall crowd.

For example, Sarah Vowell offers a possessed reading from her latest -- the kind of thing that just doesn't hit the air often enough. Nice addition of bits from Sondheim's Assassins makes this visit to destinations on Assassination Vacation a must-hear and -- perhaps a first -- Ms. Vowell performs in a musical number for the edification and hallucination of all. In sum, a blast.

But other performers are not to be denied -- Joshua Berman offers spirited presentations that one can only seem to find among the Little Gray Book Lectures.

And then there's John Hodgman, who, while not arriving at the level of cinema, has nonetheless arrived at television (albeit cable). As always, the line between fact and fact seems a bit blurrier, a bit hazier, a bit more disquieting once Hodgman has brought his expertise to bear on matters presidential.

PDs, your presidents day programming will be noncomplete without this Little Gray Book lecture,

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Review of How to Observe Presidents' Day, Observed

Public radio should be happy to have a talent like John Hodgman in our midst. This is a fascinating program that would work particularly well in the evening -- the sort of place you probably started This American Life. Young, hip, literate listeners will be drawn to this like moths to a flame.

Broadcast History

Only available via PRX: January 31, 2006

Transcript

BILLBOARD :60

John Hodgman has been hosting the Little Gray Book Lectures in Brooklyn since 2001. Every lecture is a mix of readings, songs, appearances by mascots of professional sports teams and occasional contests. In honor of Presidents' Day Observed, the Little Gray Book Lectures will present Lecture number 30. Sarah Vowell will read from her book "Assassination Vacation" accompanied by the Welshman Jon Langford, formerly of the rock band the Mekons, on vocals and guitar. Joshuah Bearman lectures on the subject of Bigfoot and host John Hodgman recounts with love George Washington's wise and kind decision to be our President only twice. Stay tuned for The Little Gray Book Lecture.

INTRO:

Up Now: Little Gray Book Lecture Number 30, with John Hodgman, Jonathan Coulton, Joshuah Bearman, Jon Langford and Sarah Vowell from the Galapagos Bar in Brooklyn, New York: "How to Observe Pr...
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Timing and Cues

00 Music fade in - NARRATOR IN: "John Hodgman has been hosting..."

:46 NAR OUT: "...Little Gray Book Lecture"

:59 MUSIC OUT

:60 Langford music start - a couple of songs with some talk in between

5:59 Langford music fades out

6:00 Music fade in - NAR IN: "Up now, Little Gray Book Lecture..." followed by Hodgman starting off, "All right, everyone close your eyes..."

23:44 After Sarah Vowell's story... NAR OUT "...after a short break."

23:45 Langford song fades in

23:45 Langford song has faded out

23:46 NAR: "And now back to How to Observe President's Day Observed..." followed by Hodgman welcoming people back.

58:32 NAR CREDITS END over music "...Endowment for the Arts."

58:38 Music has faded out

Musical Works

Includes a live performance by Jon Langford of five 30-second excerpts of Stephen Sondheim's "The Assassins."

Additional Files

Related Website

http://www.littlegraybooks.com