Radio you can watch – that’s the idea.
On November 15th, 2012, the public radio show This American Life will release a video of a two-hour episode entitled “The Invisible Made Visible.” Fans can download or stream the video for $5. It will also be released on DVD, exclusively via the show’s web store.
“The Invisible Made Visible” was originally performed onstage and broadcast live into movie theaters in May, 2012, to over 70,000 people across the U.S., Canada and Australia. Host Ira Glass personally curated the show. “The whole point,” he says “was to do stories that are far too visual to ever be on the radio.”
The result is a mix of animation, live dance from Monica Bill Barnes & Company, a wildly funny short film by Mike Birbiglia starring Fresh Air’s Terry Gross (I promise, you will not guess the ending), a classic This American Life story (told by Glass) about the brilliant street photographer Vivian Meier, a Chicago nanny who never showed anyone the pictures she took over decades on her days off. They were discovered almost by accident after her death. The show also has comic monologues by David Sedaris, Glynn Washington, and Ryan Knighton. My favorite is the story by comedian Tig Notaro (recently in the news for her monologue about cancer) about repeatedly running into 80’s pop star Taylor Dayne. There is music from OK Go. It’s all performed in front of changing illustrated backgrounds.
Probably the most memorable moment in the episode comes during a story by longtime This American Life contributor David Rakoff. He talks about the abilities he’s lost during his fight with cancer, and then, gracefully, beautifully, does a solo dance onstage. It was the last story Rakoff ever wrote for the radio show. He died three months later, in August.