Guest host Josh Radnor presents works by Carrie Brownstein and George Saunders. The multi-talented Brownstein is the founder of the indie bands Sleater-Kinney and Wild Flag, as well as the television comedy series “Portlandia.” She reads from her memoir Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, an excerpt recounting of a life-altering tour with Pearl Jam. Following her reading, we hear Brownstein and Saunders in conversation with Josh Radnor.
George Saunders is the award-winning author (and MacArthur Foundation “genius) of such story collections as Civilwarland in Bad Decline and 10th of December. He has just published his first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, to great acclaim. Saunders teaches writing in the Syracuse University MFA program. BD Wong performs Saunders’ “My Chivalric Fiasco,” about a janitor who is promoted to goofy knight errant at a Renaissance fair, where all medieval hell breaks loose. Wong is a Tony Award winner for his performance in “M. Butterfly.” Other Broadway appearances include revivals of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown,” and “Pacific Overtures.” Wong’s extensive television portfolio includes featured roles on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Oz,” “Awake,” and “Robot.”
While “Fiasco” unspools slowly, Saunders is equally masterful at the other end of the spectrum, as in this program’s final story “Sticks.” It’s a short vivid portrait of an eccentric dad. It’s read by “Rent” star Anthony Rapp, who also appeared in the revival of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown,” and in the musical “If/Then.”