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This Bay Area Life

Crosscurrents host Hana Baba interviewing Ira Glass

This edition of Crosscurrents is a special one-hour show dedicated to an interview with This American Life host Ira Glass by Hana Baba in KALW studios, and stories from his show that were based in the Bay Area. In that spirit, we’re calling this show This Bay Area Life (in which Hana tries to pull off a subtle imitation of Glass).

Glass speaks about his start in public radio, innovative public radio shows he enjoys, and he comments on some stories from the This American Life portfolio that take place in the Bay Area: “The Case of the PI Moms” and his tour of the Wax Museum at Fisherman’s Wharf. We also ask him what he thinks about a perceived lack of ethnic diversity in This American Life stories, about becoming a filmmaker, and the challenges of turning one of the show’s Acts – “Stranger in the Night” – into a feature film, starring comedian Mike Birbiglia.

IRA GLASS: The first step was to begin lying. All the incidents in the story happened, but to make a film they wouldn’t work in the order that they happened. So for example in real life, Mike Birbiglia is a comedian and he had been sleepwalking from the time he was a teenager. Well, that’s no good for a film. In a film, what you want is an incident that starts him sleepwalking.” Film is definitely harder, there’s just no contest. Maybe I’m just used to making radio, so it seems so simple to me. Even making the screenplay in a form that it would work, and then you find out what everything costs, and then rewrite to accommodate your budget, and then the actually shooting process is grueling. It took 3 years to make the film and it’s 80-something minutes long, and we make over 32 hours of stuff a year on the radio for much less money.

The audio of the entire show can be found here.

Find local screenings of Sleepwalk With Me here.

Hana Baba is host of Crosscurrents, KALW's weeknight newsmagazine that broadcasts on KALW Public Radio in the San Francisco Bay Area.