The Dinner Party Download

Fridays, 2:00PM - 3:00PM
  • Hosted by Rico Gagliano and Brendan Francis Newnam

The Dinner Party Download is an hour-long celebration of culture, food, and conversation designed to help you dazzle your friends at this weekend’s get-together. In every episode you’ll learn a joke…bone up on an odd bit of history and then wash it down with a themed

cocktail…meet an artist of note (say, Spike Lee or Willie Nelson)…learn the answers to your burning etiquette questions…savor an emerging food trend…and hear your new favorite song.

Plus, unconventional wisdom from hosts Rico Gagliano and Brendan Francis Newnam.

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Lopez, Kristina

Rico Gagliano: Each week you send in your questions about how to behave, and here to answer them this week is RuPaul. Not sure he needs an introduction, but suffice it  to say he’s probably the best-known drag queen in the world —


RuPaul: Best known drag queen in the world?! I am the most famous drag queen in the history of the world!

Brendan Francis Newnam: We were just about to say that!


Danny Boyle Reflects on 20 Years of ‘Trainspotting’

Mar 24, 2017
Lopez, Kristina

Back in 1994, director Danny Boyle and screenwriter John Hodge made the hit indie thriller “Shallow Grave,” then followed it up with an adaptation of the Irvine Welsh novel “Trainspotting.” With it’s hurtling energy and Britpop soundtrack, it was an international hit, made a star out of Ewan McGregor, and became one of the cultural milestones of the ’90s.

Our Podcast Picks for #Trypod

Mar 22, 2017
Lopez, Kristina

Brendan Francis Newnam (Co-Host)

Radiolab Presents: More Perfect

Listener Letters: Jeopardy Players Buzz In

Mar 10, 2017
Lopez, Kristina

This week, we took a moment to gaze into the dark heart of our mailbag/inbox/voicemail aka listener comments.

First up Carl from Dearborn Michigan chides Rico and Brendan for their pronunciation of “restaurateur.” Duly noted, Carl.

Jay Som DJs an Anachronistic Get-Together

Mar 10, 2017
Lopez, Kristina

Jay Som first gained attention with songs she wrote in her bedroom and posted online. Not long after, revered indie label Polyvinyl signed her and her debut album of smart lyrics and pop hooks called “Everybody Works,” comes out on March 10.

Here she is to spin music for a Halloween party in Spring… because why not?

Andy Shauf – “To You”

Gillian Jacobs Fakes Love and Tipsiness

Mar 10, 2017
Lopez, Kristina

For six seasons, actor Gillian Jacobs played the wannabe activist Britta Perry in the cult hit comedy show “Community.” She also did a star turn on Season four of HBO’s “Girls,” playing Mimi-Rose — a foil to Lena Dunham’s character, Hannah.

Gillian now stars in “Love” — a show about dating and relationships in modern Los Angeles. She plays Mickey, a program manager at a satellite radio station who struggles with alcohol, romance and just being a good person.

Why Rorschach’s Inkblots Are Still the Best Blots Around

Mar 10, 2017
Douglas, Emerald

Our topic for Chattering Class this week: Psychology’s infamous Rorschach test. And our teacher is author Damion Searls.

VOTE: Martini Madness

Mar 10, 2017
Lopez, Kristina

(Click to enlarge)

Wait, what is this?

It’s the perfect time of year for a totally made-up poll we’re calling Martini Madness! Think of it like a basketball tournament, except with booze instead of athleticism.

Lopez, Kristina

Viet Thanh Nguyen‘s first novel “The Sympathizer” won a raft of awards — including the Pulitzer Prize. He’s just published his second book to great acclaim. It’s a collection of short stories called, “The Refugees.”

Lopez, Kristina

We’re taking our show on the road to South by Southwest!

Lopez, Kristina

Memphis singer and guitarist Valerie June‘s last album “Pushin’ Against a Stone” was produced by the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach.

Douglas, Emerald

Comedians John Early and Kate Berlant are frequent collaborators and have performed together across the country. The duo also has a new Vimeo series, “555,” produced by Tim and Eric’s Abso Lutely, It tells five different tales of Hollywood desperation.

In the audio extra above, John and Kate talk about their favorite moments from “Waiting For Guffman,” how a teenage Kate got rejected by an agent for child actors, and how John threw his back out working at an ice cream shop in high school.

Brendan’s Sunday Stuffed Olives (VIDEO)

Feb 21, 2017
Lopez, Kristina

This past Sunday, Brendan joined Hannah Kirshner of Sweets & Bitters for a special Facebook Live with Food 52. We figured we all hate the Sunday blues, right? Monday is looming around the corner, and with that in mind, you can’t go too heavy on going out.

You might say, “But what about brunch?!?” Well, don’t get us started on what’s wrong with brunch.

Menu Mysteries: Wolfdown Edition

Feb 17, 2017
Lopez, Kristina

This isn’t just any ol’ Main Course segment this week. We’re launching something new: an occasional series we’re calling “Menu Mysteries.” In which we check out a restaurant’s menu and have the chef decode some of the lesser known ingredients on it.

For this inaugural outing, Rico went to Wolfdown in Los Angeles — a new restaurant from chef Jason Kim, who also runs the beloved local joint Forage.

The Health Nut Who Invented Corn Flakes

Feb 17, 2017
Lopez, Kristina

The History Lesson

John Harvey Kellogg wasn’t your average 19th-century doctor.

At a time when the American diet was mainly meat and potatoes, he advocated vegetarianism. Today, we’d laud him for that, but we might question some other moves he said would lead to excellent health. Like, standing inside an electrified metal cage. Or undergoing — sorry, there’s no nice way to put this — daily water and yogurt enemas.

Lopez, Kristina

[Ed note: The audio above is an extended web cut of the interview. The transcript below reflects the broadcast version of the chat.]

Our guest of honor this week is playwright/actor/rapper extraordinaire Lin-Manuel Miranda. In 2008, his musical “In The Heights” won the Tony for Best Musical. His follow-up “Hamilton” — about our nation’s first treasury secretary — broke box office records and earned him a bunch of Tonys, a Grammy and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Tinariwen – ‘Assawt’

Feb 9, 2017
Lopez, Kristina

Steve Aoki’s Hardcore Dinner Party Soundtrack

Feb 3, 2017
Lopez, Kristina

This week for our party soundtrack we have an actual DJ manning the controls — one of the most popular in the world, in fact.

Steve Aoki spins and mixes electro house music at massive parties from Las Vegas to Beijing. He collaborates with the biggest names in pop music, and a concert film about his work called “Steve Aoki: I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” is up for a Grammy on February 12.

Here’s Steve with a playlist that’ll probably wake your neighbor at three in the morning.

Rachel Bloom Gives us Some Not-So-Crazy Advice

Feb 3, 2017
Lopez, Kristina

Rico Gagliano: Each week, you send in your questions about how to behave, and here to answer them this time around is actor, writer, and musical number belter-outer Rachel Bloom. A few years back, she set the Internet ablaze with a heartfelt and highly vulgar musical tribute to the late…

Brendan Francis Newnam: You can talk while he’s doing this, too. It’s totally Ok.

Rachel Bloom: Oh, I can?

Brendan Francis Newnam: Yeah.


Lopez, Kristina

Brit Marling first attracted some attention when two movies she co-wrote and starred in premiered at Sundance in the same year. Those films, “Sound of My Voice” and “Another Earth,” were widely acclaimed by critics and they both explored metaphysical themes. We talked with her about “Another Earth” back in 2011.

Cristela Alonzo Finds the Funny in her Family

Jan 20, 2017
Lopez, Kristina

Comedian Cristela Alonzo grew up in south Texas and got her start performing stand up in Dallas. Then she struggled for years in the L.A. comedy scene before becoming the first Latina to write and star in her own TV show. It was called “Cristela” and it aired on ABC. Her new comedy special launches this Tuesday on Netflix, it’s called “Lower Classy.” She talks about the special and how her family had a major influence on her jokes. (Find her advice for the proper way to dine on pan dulce here.

Aravind Adiga Gives Us a New Definition of ‘Century’

Jan 20, 2017
Lopez, Kristina

One time financial reporter Aravind Adiga won the Booker Prize for his debut novel, 2008’s “The White Tiger.” He was the fourth Indian-born writer ever to do so.