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The Bechdel test asks a simple question: Does a work of fiction have two named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man? Today we talk with Sarah Kozloff, who was a film professor at Vassar College when she learned that The Lord of The Rings movies fail the Bechdel test. That inspired her to write The Nine Realms, a…
 
Six weeks of movie recaps and there still seems to be no sign of intelligent life anywhere. This week it’s all about the 1995 Pixar classic Toy Story, starring Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and all of our collective childhood memories. Listen as Peter, Tricia and Greta recall the moments that made them weep, search for hidden religious analogs and consider …
 
Like it or not these seasons are a changing! And that means right now is a great opportunity to embrace flavors from late summer and early fall, and to make a chocolate zucchini cake! We talk with baker and cookbook author Shauna Sever — all about all the spices you should have, sourdoughs you should start, and pies you should scarf down immediatel…
 
While researching for her novel, author Maaza Mengiste says she came across a New York Times article from 1935 that described a woman leading an army of 2,000 men into victory. She was shocked. Why had she never heard about this female wartime hero? “It struck me,” Mengiste tells Nerdette. “If there’s one, there’s two. If there’s two, there’s five.…
 
The $5 milkshake. Once a shocking, exorbitant example of the scourge of inflation. Now, a hot bargain that shouldn’t be missed! Welcome back to Nerdette Recaps with Peter Sagal! It’s the podcast where we rewatch movies of the ‘90s and dissect them like the intense nerds we are. Episode 5 is all about 1994’s Pulp Fiction, starring John Travolta, Uma…
 
Does Dazed and Confused have a plot? Barely! Does that matter? To some people, yes! This week's recap is all about 1993’s Dazed and Confused, starring young versions of Matthew McConaughey, Parker Posey, Ben Affleck and Anthony Rapp. It’s also an early film from director Richard Linklater, who went on to make critically-acclaimed movies like Before…
 
When considering some of the milestone moments in feminist history, you might think about the Seneca Falls Conference of 1848, the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But the 1990s? “This was actually one of the most pivotal decades, I believe, for feminist history.” We talk with Lisa Levenstein, the Director of t…
 
Welcome to the Nerdette Book Club! Each month, we read a book and chat about it with a rotating group of panelists. This month’s pick is Sameer Pandya’s debut novel Members Only. It takes place over the course of one very intense week in the life of Raj, a middle-aged Indian-American anthropology professor. When he’s asked to help his tennis club i…
 
We didn’t ask him, but I think we can say it with certainty: Peter Sagal definitely cannot dunk. Episode 3 of Nerdette Recaps features our very first sportsball movie: 1992’s White Men Can’t Jump, starring Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson and Rosie Perez. It’s director Ron Shelton’s followup to Bull Durham and the script might just contain more obsce…
 
Argonne National Laboratory is a massive research facility outside of Chicago that’s run by the U.S. Department of Energy. And this week, Nerdette hosts Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen take you behind the curtain to learn about some of the innovative stuff happening there. Stuff like superbatteries, supercomputers, and questions that may never get …
 
The optimism of one woman’s 20s meets the disappointment of her 30s in I Used To Go Here, a new film from Chicago filmmaker Kris Rey. We talked to Rey about the inspiration for the film, her recent name change from Swanberg to Rey, and what she tells young filmmakers. “Go for it,” she said. “The stakes are not that high. You can always start over.”…
 
If you’re a former fighter pilot and the world is facing annihilation at the hands of an alien species whose only motivation is permanently ending the human race, well then, who cares if you’re the president? You belong in the air, baby! Welcome back to Nerdette Recaps with Peter Sagal, the podcast where we rewatch movies of the ‘90s and dissect th…
 
The 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified exactly 100 years ago Tuesday, the culmination of decades of activism that finally gave women the right to vote. Finish the Fight! is a new children’s book that chronicles the stories of some of the lesser-known suffragettes that made the 19th Amendment possible. Greta talks with author Veronica C…
 
We’re all human, but who has the right to make mistakes? That’s a question at the heart of Members Only, the debut novel from author Sameer Pandya. In it, Raj Bhatt's life falls apart after he makes a racist remark to an African-American couple at a posh tennis club. In this Nerdette Book Club author interview, host Greta Johnsen talks with Pandya …
 
Some of you may already be familiar with Nerdette Recaps with Peter Sagal, the podcast where Greta Johnsen and Nerdette cohost-emeritus Tricia Bobeda recapped Game of Thrones with Peter Sagal, host of NPR's Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me! Well we are very happy to announce that we’re BACK, and this time, we’re doing '90s movies! So here is our very fi…
 
Welcome back to Nerdette Recaps with Peter Sagal! the podcast where we rewatch movies of the ‘90s and talk about them like the intense nerds we are. Our first selection is Clueless, the 1995 Emma adaptation filled with ridiculous footwear, Paul Rudd putting mayo on cold cuts and also Friedrich Nietzsche for some reason. Listen to our conversation, …
 
What better way to remember a simpler decade than by watching some of the biggest films from 30 years ago? Join Greta Johnsen, Tricia Bobeda and Peter Sagal of NPR’s Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! as they dissect movies from the ‘90s. (And yes, we’re totally gonna do Dazed and Confused.) Listen to this new trailer, then come back here on Wednesday, Aug…
 
More women are running for political office this year than ever before, but men still disproportionally represent the American populace. We talk with Erin Vilardi, the founder of VoteRunLead, an organization that encourages and trains women to run for office -- and win. Are YOU considering a run for office? Vilardi explains why women are well-suite…
 
When you hit a rough spot with a good friend, what do you do about it? Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman are longtime friends and business partners. Their fans also know them as the hosts and creators of 'Call Your Girlfriend,' a podcast “for long-distance besties everywhere.” When they recently hit a rough patch, the pair took what might be considered…
 
This is a weird year for [insert almost anything] and also summer blockbusters. But even though the theaters remain (mostly) closed, there's still plenty of great new movies to stream from the comfort of your own home. We talk with Eliana Dockterman, staff writer at Time, about the uncertain future for new movies, a few great films you can watch ri…
 
It’s the Nerdette Book Club! And today we're talking with Lauren Ho, the author of this month’s selection, Last Tang Standing. It's a wonderful summer romance that follows the story of Andrea Tang, a 33-year-old Chinese-Malaysian lawyer, as she tries to make partner at her Singaporean law firm while fending off the unhealthy interest her relatives …
 
Kate Stayman-London loves reality TV. But even though shows like The Bachelorette and Love Island bring her joy, “we should also hold those things accountable to our values,” she said. Stayman-London’s debut novel, One To Watch, puts a plus-size woman as the star of a Bachelorette-style reality TV show. It’s both a lovely summer read and also a cri…
 
Sheyna Gifford spent a year living on a volcano in Hawaii with just five other people as part of a NASA project to simulate life on Mars. Living in a biodome the size of a two-bedroom apartment, the crew studied the psychological effects and group dynamics that could be at play when astronauts eventually make it to Mars. This interview — about rela…
 
In this chock-full-of-bassoons episode, we talk about the history of the orchestra's largest woodwind with bassoonist and culture writer Eileen Reynolds, we jam with a principal bassoonist from the Chicago Philharmonic, and we even call up the self-proclaimed “Bassoon King,” The Office's Rainn Wilson. Join Johnsen, Nerdette co-host emeritus Tricia …
 
The coronavirus pandemic is not over, but stay-at-home orders are starting to loosen up across the country. In Illinois, people can now visit hair salons, museums, restaurants and even bars. Meanwhile, other states are seeing more cases of COVID-19 than ever before. Which means all of this is really confusing. Dr. Emily Landon, an epidemiologist an…
 
It's Nerdette Book Club! Each month, we read a book and chat about it with a rotating group of panelists.This month’s pick is Brit Bennett’s sophomore novel, The Vanishing Half. The story starts in rural Louisiana in the late 1950s, when two light-skinned Black girls run away from home to New Orleans. When one decides to pass as white, she leaves h…
 
For the last few weeks, our “Introvert’s Guide to the Good Life” series has been all about helping you find ways to enrich your perhaps-more-than-usual indoors-based life. Today, we talk to Pooja Naik, founder of Chicago-based organizational consulting company Organizing With You. She tells us why you should make your bed and how decluttering your …
 
For the last few weeks, our “Introvert’s Guide to the Good Life” series has been all about helping you find ways to enrich your perhaps-more-than-usual indoors-based life. Today, we talk to plant expert Tara Heibel, who owns a garden center called Sprout Home here in Chicago and also in Brooklyn, about why you might want to consider putting some of…
 
Greta talks with Brit Bennett, the author of this month’s Nerdette Book Club selection, The Vanishing Half, which just climbed to the top of The New York Times bestselling fiction list amid nationwide conversations around racial inequality. The Vanishing Half tells the story of two light-skinned black sisters whose lives take very different directi…
 
It’s a question a lot of people are asking right now. So we talk with author and activist Kate Schatz about how white people can have constructive conversations with each other about racism in America. Ever since Schatz’s friend, comedian W. Kamau Bell, made Schatz responsible for “Conan O’Brien’s whiteness,” she’s been answering white people’s que…
 
How does one deal with existential horror from beyond? That’s one question at the heart of The City We Became, a new novel from Hugo Award-winning author N.K. Jemisin, in which New York City literally comes alive in order to fight off “creepy tentacle monster creatures." Nerdette's Greta Johnsen talked to Jemisin earlier this week about the novel, …
 
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