Arts & Culture

The Ira Glass Infatuation Post/This American Life Roundup: Rest Stop

Nearing the end of summer, the city cools off while Glass is a liquid turning to plasma in the volcanic heat that is this week’s episode: Rest Stop. Accompanied by a picture slideshow, this repeat episode airs exactly one year … Read More

By / August 25, 2010

Nearing the end of summer, the city cools off while Glass is a liquid turning to plasma in the volcanic heat that is this week’s episode: Rest Stop. Accompanied by a picture slideshow, this repeat episode airs exactly one year after its original broadcast on the most popular roadtrip weekend of the year. At the Plattekill rest stop an hour and a half outside of New York City, Ira pontificates, "We thought that for once we would not leave after ten minutes and stick around and find out who the people are, where they’re going…what they’re thinking about." Ira and his entourage use the magic of a press pass to tap into the philosophies and love affairs normally sequestered below the surface of polite conversation. Lacking true acts, a cast of dozens of rest stop goers convey tidbits of American life that will light your fire. Regular folk, I know it’s hard to resist his charm,as it is often difficult to hold in disdain someone who helps you love yourself. His interview with the New York Magazine did me in even more when he conveyed his love of "excess." 


Speaking with international students stationed at the rest stop for the summer, Ira declares, "It seemed like such a crazy thing to fly all the way to America and then be stuck behind a counter in the middle of nowhere." It’s a proud moment for this Jewkrainian when our host finds evidence for Ukrainian students as the "rowdiest group by far." Compared to Taiwanese students last summer who unhappily frequented outlet malls on their days off, Evgeniya, Dascha and friends arrived as a pack and KGB’ed their way into the crucial network that opened up classified info: American boy Adelaide and his Yankee partying ways. "It’s impossible to drink as much as the Americans do," finds Dascha. I foresee Baltika-Bud culture fusion as the students return to their motherland with newly found skills including housepartying, flipcup, and beerbong expertise reappropriated. The nihilistic spirit of the post-Soviet party people is ravishing, attitudes about the possible aftermath to their going out hard and irresponsibility mirroring Ira when he said in the magazine interview of what it means to be a New Yorker, "I could give a fuck." This kamikaze Sovietsky loyalty to a good time is as hot as Elisabeth Shue’s relentless submission to Val Kilmer in The Saint despite oncoming asphyxiation due to passion-induced asthma. Don’t stop.

Notable ordinarians interviewed by the likes of Nancy Updike, Lisa Pollak, Jonathan Goldstein and Sean Cole among others stand out as citizens in flux. Like a raging orgy, people flow in and out of the action,adding individual flair to the choreography of the on-the-go scene at large. From a man who knows the ropes and how to navigate to all the pleasure centers of the region (Lenny Wheat) to the many lovers with complicated heartstrings, we as an audience are invited into a very intimate vantage point rarely exposed to the not-so-inquisitive masses. And you didn’t even have to pay a quarter. Are you the messiah, Ira? Because I’ve been waiting for you.

"Coming up: Love in the Middle of the Night:" Top 5 Hookups of Episode 388

Russian Empress + Dick

"A rail-thin Russian American woman," Barbara and her beau Richard hit the road on their way to their summer rental.  More sexy is Barbara’s recollection of her mother’s fling with a Parisian grand pianist and their bittersweet intercontinental break due to national loyalties. Her advice is applicable to even the most Soviet of sufferings: "That’s why, in order to keep a form of sanity, you must have a sense of humor."

Nathan’s Hotdogs + Brioche Doree

Alex and Heather, food court hotpants and new parents are young and crazy about each other. Still living with their respective parents, Heather foresees, "We’ll probably get married eventually…he’s 20…so he’s kinda still young…I’m 21." Young, dumb, hotdog buns.

Dad+ Very Special Lady Friend

"You have a feeling that you want to call a person and yell at them and talk about it and you realize you don’t have that relationship anymore." Cooling off post-divorce, Dan’s relationship with his children’s mother is nothing to speak of. But this rating isn’t about that heartache, it’s about his new bella stationed in the passenger’s seat. "I found a woman that really loves me and I’m so overbowled by that…it’s a miracle." Nothing like quenching togetherness for the thirsty at heart.

This candidate contrasts slightly with the less-than-harmonious relationship of Sam and his sweetly nicknamed girlfriend, the War Department. With a cigar dangling from his mouth, Sam says, "We never argue. She told me to say that."

Edita and Peter

Empty nesters Edita and Peter are giggly like teenagers on their way to pick up campkids after marathon sessions in the past weeks. Nancy Updike’s questioning leads them to reveal that it had been twenty years since they had time to butter each other up. Like the tango dancing couple, "you could feel the endorphins radiating off of them" through the radio. Yeesh, it’s a surprise that they even returned for their kids.

West Virginia Local Girl + Baby Daddy

Jack, Hot Wheels and various babies on a drive from"motherfucking Boston" ride with hotmama Chrissy who’s never left her home before (I don’t just live in West Virginia, I live in West Virginia". Lesson learned from the happycouple? "Don’t bring your new girlfriend to your ex-wife’s house."

Meanwhile, I’m way into singleton Stevie-an almost naked,yoga-loving, cigarette-smoking, schoolbus driving Woodstock vet. His freespirit drives me nuts, like the badboy guilty pleasure counterpart to my mensch addiction. Con cigarette, he is busy opening up "the fountain of youth in the front of the hip joint." Abra Cadabra.

Thanks for the phenom nostalgia and twenty-one Q interview, Ira. Sure beats Christwire’s version of bunk boudoir reportage this week.

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