You’re invited to join WYSO every Saturday, starting today at 10am for “Dinner Party Download.” Described as a fast and funny hour of culture, food and conversation: “public radio’s arts & leisure section.” In every episode you’ll learn a joke; bone up on an odd bit of history and then wash it down with a themed cocktail recipe; meet artists of note; have your burning etiquette questions answered; savor an emerging food trend; and hear your new favorite song.
Your Hosts and Party Planners
RICO GAGLIANO has worked in public radio for over a decade. His pieces have been heard on All Things Considered, Weekend America, The Savvy Traveler and other series, but he was best known as a reporter on “Marketplace,” for which he filed stories from England, Ireland, Sweden, The Netherlands, India, South Korea and across the good ol’ USA. He also penned and performed many of the show’s “Marketplace Players” comedy sketches. Prior to radio, Rico worked as a TV writer on shows for MTV, ABC, Fox Family and The Cartoon Network… and as a freelance print reporter for LA Weekly, the Village Voice, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and others. He continues to contribute pieces to The Wall Street Journal and Dwell magazine. Rico co-created, performed and wrote for the circus-like L.A. sketch comedy troupe The Ministry Of Unknown Science, which at various times required him to drop his pants on stage, stand fully clothed in frigid ocean waves for half an hour, and stand way too close to the explosion caused by detonating a sex doll filled with propane. The troupe had a top-10 video podcast on iTunes and filmed pilots for Spike TV and the SyFy Network. Rico holds an MFA from the American Film Institute. He’s been a fan of dinner parties since childhood, when it meant he got to eat in his parents’ bedroom and watch TV all night while the grownups sat around in the dining room getting wine-tipsy.
BRENDAN FRANCIS NEWNAM has been winning dinner parties since first taking a seat at the kid’s table at his family’s holiday gatherings. Granted, by then he was in his 20s and had graduated from Rutgers at the top of his class while the rest of his tablemates were toddlers, but, still, a victory is a victory, even if you make a 5-year-old cry. A long time foodie, during the height of America’s cupcake craze, Brendan sought refuge in Europe, where he wrote and edited travel guides, music reviews and celebrity profiles for various websites and magazines, including Vice and Blackbook, and delivered lectures on the ontology of the gin martini. But even la dolce vita gets old, and he returned to America to embark on a career in law. But after earning a JD and spending a summer fighting for prosecutorial reform in Bulgaria, he was seduced by public radio’s siren call. (Or maybe that was the sound of corduroy rubbing?) Before launching The Dinner Party Download, he produced and reported for national public radio shows including “Marketplace,” “Marketplace Money,” “Fresh Air,” and “Weekend America,” and, in his spare time, created and produced “Audiovant,” one of the first music interview podcasts. Though he now has a stable income and is chipping away at his law school debt, Brendan continues to freelance for various outlets, including Dwell, Modern Farmer, Saveur, and CNN.com, where, in 2011, he penned a series of travel tales called “The State I’m In.” Brendan is also a past Knight Media Fellow, and lest you think he has a face for radio, the national fashion website Racked named him a “style icon,” and that’s without even knowing about his tattoo of the word “tattoo.”
JACKSON MUSKER wears many party hats. He calligraphs and hand-delivers invitations to our Guests of Honor. He folds napkins into endangered species for our Main Courses (to raise awareness). And he serves as the test subject for every cocktail, which is an issue on Deadline Friday. Jackson landed his producer position after reporting/producing stories for L.A.’s beloved arts & culture show Off-Ramp. Prior to his radio gigs, he studied English at Duke University and double-minored in History and North Carolina-style BBQ. Jackson enjoys writing fiction, teaching kids, critiquing movies, butchering other languages, and bemoaning the Dodgers’ annual collapse. He has contributed to NPR’s Morning Edition, The California Report, the San Francisco Bay Citizen, and Cyberfrequencies.com.
MICHELLE PHILIPPE loves bite-sized dinner party food and doesn’t talk with her mouth full. Which is really important when she’s narrating our “History Lesson with Booze” segment. In addition to telling you what happened this week in history for DPD, she tells you what’s coming up tomorrow in the “Marketplace Datebook.” Michelle, herself, tries to live in the moment. She does that as an actor. And until she lands her dream job playing an evil alien space queen, she considers herself lucky to have a pretty cool job at Marketplace. Though she doesn’t have the proper wardrobe for it, Michelle is also an amateur gardener. She grows tomatoes which she loves to eat and which her husband loves to compost.