Michael Ventura, who grew up Sicilian in New York, says that as a kid he thought Sinatra was in his family. His book The Death of Frank Sinatra is not really about Sinatra.
Before Sinatra died, Sarah Vowell appeared on this radio program and made a prediction about how network news would cover Sinatra's death ... and she made a simple plea. We hear whether her prediction came true.
Ira and music contributor John Conners on Sinatra's worst songs. And a brief history of what makes that 1950s Sinatra sound so great, with Will Friedwald, author of the definitive book on Sinatra's music, Sinatra! The Song Is You: A Singer's Art.
Gay Talese reads from his classic 1966 Esquire article, in which he followed around Sinatra at the height of Sinatra's power.
Sarah Vowell on the joy of making mix tapes of your favorite songs to send to loved ones. She spots an ad for someone who makes them for money. "Prostitute," she thinks.
Alix Spiegel tells the story of her friend Jayna, who made a Faustian bargain at 11 years old.
Carmen Delzell/Jay Allison's story on a guitar player.
Dael Orlandersmith's funny, moving story from her Obie-award winning show Beauty's Daughters. Though she's an African-American woman, she transforms herself in this story into a loudmouthed Italian guy. At a wedding, this character meets a woman who reminds him of who he was before he got married and had kids: a guy who loved jazz, a different guy than he is now.
Radio producer Dan Gediman's story about his older brother, "Alex Jones," who he idolized when they were kids. After many unsuccessful attempts to become a rock star, he finally made it in music, as a Tom Jones impersonator.
A reading from the zine Motorbooty about the crisis of World Band Overpopulation. Then, This American Life contributor Sarah Vowell on someone who is not part of the world band overpopulation problem: Scott Lee, the world's greatest fan of the Fastbacks, a respected, semi-obscure Seattle alternative band.
Ira with Sam Franco, a 72-year-old Chicagoan who spent his life playing and teaching accordion. He never became famous.
LA writer/performer Sandra Tsing Loh discovers that a local rock band has recorded a song about her own father, wildly misinterpreting who he is. They think he's a free spirit; she believes he's a worried, miserly grump.
Sherman Alexie's story "Because My Father was the Only Indian Who Saw Jimi Hendrix Play the Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock." (15 minutes)
A Bulls dream from Chicagoan Brett Grossman, and an acoustic guitar cover of Bulls theme music from Chicago musician Rick Karr.
Jo Carol Pierce released a CD, Bad Girls Upset by the Truth, which documents in part her teenage years. Host Ira Glass shares a couple of songs from the CD and some of the stories behind them.
Chicago writer/musician Rennie Sparks, a member of the independent band The Handsome Family, reads "Skanks," a story of a girl struggling in a situation where some rules are strict, but other rules are up for grabs.
Writer Quincy Troupe talks about how, as a boy, he idolized Miles Davis, and how, as a man, he actually became one of Davis's closest friends. And how his picture of the man changed.
Eighteen-year-old correspondent Claudia Perez goes to an audition where a thousand Mexican women and girls dress up to play the slain Mexican pop star Selena in an upcoming film about her life. Feelings about Selena run so high that when her fans talk about her, they often cry.
Ira plays tapes of his own father, Barry, who was a radio deejay in the mid-1950s. Barry gave up spinning records when he decided that he couldn't make a decent living at it, and for over a decade he was against his son going into radio, not wanting him to waste time the way he did.
Host Ira Glass talks about recently released archival television interviews with the Beatles, who suddenly seem a little less magic — and a lot more pedestrian (4 minutes).
A story about quitting by Sandra Tsing Loh.
Lisa Buscani reads a two-part story about not being able to quit something or someone. The piece was written for This American Life.
A Christmas radio play by David Sedaris and the Pinetree Gang.
Peter Clowney reports on Christmas at the Faith Tabernacle Baptist Church. Music from Faith Tabernacle Baptist Church all through the hour.