Welcome to The Dinner Party Download - an hour-long celebration of culture, food, and conversation designed to help you dazzle your friends at this weekend’s get-together. 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…meet an artist of note (say, Spike Lee or Willie Nelson)…learn the answers to your burning etiquette questions…savor an emerging food trend…and hear your new favorite song. Plus, unconventional wisdom from hosts Rico Gagliano and Brendan Francis Newnam.
Where to Find Us
The Dinner Party Download airs weekly in about 80 national radio markets, including Southern California, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Detroit. Its companion podcast is consistently ranked as one of the top culture shows on iTunes. The show is produced by American Public Media, the company behind A Prairie Home Companion and On Being. Millions of other folks know Brendan and Rico from their work on the popular public radio shows Marketplace and Take Two, where they dish out dinner party talking points. They also make occasional appearances on the The Splendid Table, public radio’s most popular food show, and on TV shows like Top Chef: Masters and Rocco’s Dinner Party. You’ll find some of the friendly magazine and blog reviews we’ve received after the jump.
Your Hosts and Party Planners
RICO GAGLIANO has worked in public radio for almost a decade. His pieces have been heard on All Things Considered, Weekend America, The Savvy Traveler and other series, but he’s best known as a reporter on Marketplace, for which he has filed stories from England, Ireland, Sweden, The Netherlands, India, South Korea and across the good ol’ USA. He also pens and performs 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. 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 NEWNAM is a native of Philadelphia, Pa., who still can’t come to terms with the fact that he lives in Los Angeles. Before working for the national public radio programs Marketplace, Marketplace Money and Weekend America, he was a freelance radio reporter and he freelanced domestically and abroad for various publications. He worked for three years as an associate producer for a local arts program at WRTI in Philadelphia and prior to that he was the staff researcher at the national public radio program Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Newnam holds a B.A. in English Literature from Rutgers University, where he graduated with high honors and he holds (and still pays for) a J.D. from Temple Law School where he was a member of the Moot Court Honor Society. He enjoys eating decadently, engaging in spirited debate and writing pop songs.
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 assistant producer position after two years of reporting/producing stories for L.A.’s 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 giving “a history lesson with booze.” 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.
STACEY VANEK SMITH has been eating dinner for many years. She started in Boise, where she learned, at a very early age, the crucial difference between the noble, Idaho russet and lesser, boiling potatoes…as well as how to make special sauce—America’s answer to hollandaise. Stacey headed east for college and graduated from Princeton with a degree in Comparative Literature and a minor in Creative Writing. Having almost no marketable skills, she moved to Paris (where they hate marketable skills and love dinner parties) and got a Masters degree in French History and Culture. The grim realities of commerce set in and Stacey came back to the US, where she attended journalism school at Columbia University and discovered the joys of making radio. She was hired by Marketplace in 2003 and finding fun stories for The Dinner Party Download is one of her favorite parts of the job. She maintains a serious disdain for boiling potatoes.
Here’s a small sample of what bloggers and tastemakers around the world are saying about The Dinner Party Download:
“This podcast has become our secret weapon at parties and events where we know there will be a lot of mingling. In fact, we weren’t sure we wanted to share it with you because then you’d know where we’ve been getting all our jokes and clever stories! But no, this podcast is too good to keep to ourselves. (Apartment Therapy)
*Rico and Brendan named to “40 Big Food Thinkers 40 and Under”” (Food and Wine Magazine)
“After the first 20 seconds, I was hooked. Literally 20 seconds… The show is a highly produced and brilliantly fast-paced … Dinner Party Download, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” (Public Radio Redux)
“These guys are good.” (Dick Cavett)
“Even more tips for all those kuntoilijoille cuisine, of which the home computer seems to exiting too painful: The Dinner Party Download the joy of serving illallispöytään. Housewife or the landlord needs only to cook, as this amusing podcast handle jokes, topics, and drinkkireseptit for you.” (Some one in Finland - translated by Firefox browser)