Monthly Archives: December 2018

Paul Attanasio – Oscar-nominated Screenwriter, TV Creator



Live on campus, Paul Attanasio, one of the most respected and successful TV/screenwriters of our time. Paul has created four TV series that have gone to air…and counting. One of ’em is Homicide: Life on the Street, a forebear of our current golden age. Paul was also behind House MD, one the most popular shows in the world for a time. Paul was Oscar-nominated for Donnie Brasco, a favorite among screenwriters. But throw all those other projects out, and Paul would still be one of Aaron’s heroes thanks to Quiz Show, the brilliant, layered, morality tale about the rigged game show scandals of the 1950s, directed by Robert Redford.

Join Aaron and Paul in front of a live audience at Yale for a fascinating conversation about Paul’s movies, shows, and craft.


Ep. 5 – Lisa Margonelli on the big ideas termites raise about science, technology, and morality



Termites outweigh humans ten to one. If they went on strike, ecological chaos would ensue. We speak with science writer Lisa Margonelli, author of the new book Underbug: An Obsessive Tale of Termites and Technology, about the questions these small creatures raise about technology, power, morality, and the nature of scientific progress.


Mark Harris — Film Journalist, Writer, Biographer



One of the most brilliant writers, reporters, and commentators on film, Mark Harris joins Aaron for the hour. Mark’s book, Pictures at a Revolution, about the Best Picture nominees of 1968 as a lens through which to view a cultural revolution and shift in filmmaking, is one of Aaron’s all-time favorites. Mark’s follow-up, Five Came Back, about the iconoclastic directors whose work and lives were forever changed by their experiences in World War 2, became a Netflix series, narrated by Meryl Streep, and starring 5 of their filmmaking descendants: Coppola, del Toro, Greengrass, Kasdan, and Spielberg.

Mark’s upcoming book, the definitive biography of Mike Nichols, has Aaron counting the days till its release.


Ep. 4 – Dr. Irene Pepperberg on revolutionizing what humans think of bird brains



In 2007, Dr. Irene Pepperberg said goodnight to her avian research subject, Alex, an African Grey Parrot. “You be good,” he replied. “I love you.” “I love you, too,” Dr. Pepperberg said, to which Alex asked, “You’ll be in tomorrow?” “Yes, I’ll be in tomorrow.” Alex died the next morning, prompting an international outpouring of grief that included an obituary in the Economist. We speak with Dr. Pepperberg, whose pioneering experiments with Alex revolutionized the field of avian cognition, about how she used communication as a window into his mind.


Eleanor Bergstein – Dirty Dancing Screenwriter



Coming to you live and in person from the Upper West Side of New York, Aaron joins screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein for an intimate chat about one of the most beloved movies of all time, Dirty Dancing. Eleanor is the screenwriter, producer, and principal creative force behind that movie, which she has since adapted into an internationally successful stage show. Hear gripping behind-the-scenes stories about the screenplay and production.


Ep. 3 – Dr. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh on learning from humanity’s closest living relatives



Twenty minutes southeast of Des Moines, Iowa, you’ll find a large, unassuming cement complex with fenced in grounds. You’d never know it, but inside are five bonobos—including the world-famous Kanzi—thought to be the only remaining nonhuman apes capable of communicating verbally with humans. We speak with Dr. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh about what she’s learned from and about bonobos, humankind’s gentle cousins, during an extraordinarily ambitious, 30-year investigation into their minds.