Coming to You Live

What is it about live performance that makes it so appealing, terrifying, and wonderful? What drives people to stand up in front of an audience, to perform without a safety net and put themselves on the line? In today’s data-driven world, where everything can be recorded, stored, and recalled at any time, what role does live performance play? This episode begins with the harrowing experience of our host subjecting himself to the most extreme form of live performance of all: stand-up comedy. We continue with a story from playwright Amy Freed and Stanford professor of drama Kay Kostopoulos. And finally, we follow a production of the Stanford Spoken Word Collective, and get a peek at what goes on behind the curtain.

Host: Micah Cratty
Producers: Daniel MacDougall, Micah Cratty
Featured: Amy Freed, Kay Kostopilous
Music: Noah Burbank, Dave Chisholm, Greg Sell, Chris Babson, Zach Katagiri, and Kissing Johnny

Release Date: 19 May 2008

Listen to the Full Show:

Story 1: I Figured Doing Stand-Up Would Help my Dating Life

Micah Cratty never set formal goals for college, but there were things he thought he should accomplish, like winning the Super Bowl, dating a supermodel, that kind of thing. But one goal seemed achievable, perform comedy at a comedy club in front of an audience of strangers.

Producer: Micah Cratty

Story 2: Saying Yes to the Human Being

Producer: Daniel MacDougall
Featuring: Amy Freed and Kay Kostopilous

Story 3: I eat Chromosomes for Breakfast

In our last story we take a look at a kind of live performance whose popularity is secure, at least in college: spoken word. We went behind the scenes at the Stanford Spoken Word Collective’s Spring Show preparations to try to capture the magic of the live.

Producers: Micah Cratty
Featuring: The Stanford Spoken Word Collective

Unexpected Superheroes

Although superheroes may seem like two dimensional relics of our childhoods, they can have a significant impact on our lives. Stories of superheroes battling in academia, superheroes living among us, and fictional superheroes fighting real-world battles.


Host: Micah Cratty

Producers: Micah Cratty, Lee Konstantinou and Matt Larson

Featuring: Professor Scott Bukatman and Robert Walker

Music: Kissing Johnny and Noah Burbank

Release Date: 21 May 2009

Listen to the Full Show:

Intro Story: With Gawking Eyes

When Victor sees New York for the first time, he sees comic book magic. When he moves to New York for graduate school, the magic fades… then he applies for a job at Marvel Comics.
image via flickr

Story 1: Academic Superheroes

Lee Konstantinou talks with Scott Bukatman and finds that comic book superheroes have followed this esteemed professor from his childhood to the halls and classrooms of academia.

Story 2: What’s Your Superpower?

Matt Larson heads out to discover the super abilities and superheroes hiding in plain sight. After listening, you might not ever look at your fellow co-workers or students the same way again.
image via flickr

Story 3: Superheroes Can Fight Diseases Too

Robert Walker creates a set of super heroes who fight the most vicious killer on earth: HIV/AIDS.


We attempt to come to better terms with our impending doom. This is such a mind-blowing episode that it is in a record eight parts: one short story, one excerpt from a novel, two poems, one interview, one story-booth vignette, one ballad, and a correspondence with our friend Pete, on the other side.



Host: Bonnie Swift

Producers: Jonah Willihnganz, Bonnie Swift, Dan Hirsch, Micah Cratty, Lee Konstantinou, Killeen Hanson, Elizabeth Bradfield, Hannah Krakauer, Jack Wang

Featuring: Daniel Steinbock, Adrienne Chung

Music: Nataly Dawn

URLs: People Say I’ve Changed, Pop Apocalypse: A possible Satire, Long Now Foundation

Release Date: 28 May 2009

Listen to the Full Show:



SSP producer Micah Cratty reads his story of post-apocalyptic magical totalitarianism. You can also read this story at the McSweeney’s website.



Adrienne Chung reads her poem “Dr. Excelsior,” followed by music from Nataly Dawn.



Lee Konstantinou reads an excerpt from his novel,Pop Apocalypse: A possible Satire, which was published by Harper Perennial in 2009.



Daniel Steinbock sings “The Last Dance,” a song he wrote before an spring quarter circus party at Synergy house. For many Stanford Students, this was the last party before graduation. photo via flickr



The SSP Apocalypse takes to the streets, asking members of the Stanford Community about their feelings on the doom that potentially approaches all that is everything. Responses range from the very serious to the very un-serious.



Stanford Creative Writing Professor Adam Johnson waxes poetic on the many various Apocalypses that each of us faces in our daily lives.



Elizabeth Bradfield reads a poem of when Biblical stories are transformed into a shape that Arctic Native Americans can relate to.



Bonnie Swift interviews Alexander Rose, director of the Long Now Foundation. Among other things, they discuss Long Now’s 10,000 Year Clock project, in which they are constructing a gigantic mechanical clock in the middle of a mountain. This clock, when completed, is likely to outlast any civilization collapses that may occur in the next handful of millennia.

No Work and All Play

What is it to be a toy or a tool? What is the difference between work and play, or is there a difference at all? Seriously playful stories from an archaeologist, a designer of toys for disabled children, and circuit-bending musicians. Who is influencing who in the process of design, creation, and the use of toys and tools?



Host: Hannah Krakauer

Producers: Hannah Krakauer, Liz Bradfield, Daniel Hirsch

Featuring: Michael Shanks, Jessica Zarin Kessin, Reed Ghazala, Sridharan Devarajan, Mike Rosenthall, Mike Mellenthin, Heather Roberts

Music: Kissing Johnny, Dubious Ranger, Nimbleweed

Release Date: 14 May 2009


Story 1: World Of Things

Michael Shanks shares his experience with Chrysler Automobiles and their pursuit of understanding how people interact with their things, whether it be a car, an instrument or a cell phone. How do we, in an age of generic devices and mass produced baubles, define ourselves as individuals with these modern day artifacts?


Story 2: Enabling

The world of product design represents an academic and practical synthesis of engineering, psychology and art, put to test every day in the products we purchase and use. Stanford graduate and entrepreneur Jessica Zarin Kessin shares her experience starting and building her company, Development By Design, which creates developmental toys for children with disabilities.


Story 3: Using Toys to Make Music

Circuit Benders make music with machines. Co Hosts Mike Mellenthin and Heather Roberts interview Circuit Bending Legend Reed Ghazala, “Bent Fest” Organizer Mike Rosenthall and other musicians to get to the root of a question: what is the difference between music and noise?


Photos via flickr (1, 2, 3)