A Date Night at NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour

Recently I was offered tickets to see a live taping of the Pop Culture Happy Hour Podcast at Largo at the Coronet. Sadly, I couldn’t make it so my good friend Mary from Along Comes Mary filled in for me. Here’s her thoughts on the evening.

While it’s fun to live in such a great city like LA, I have to admit: sometimes, life gets boring. Like anyone else, life gets busy and repetitive, and while people far away may imagine that my husband and I are schmoozing with celebrities, hiking Runyon Canyon in between day trips to the beach and The Grove, most evenings you will find us bumming on the couch, with pizza and trying to decide between a Star Trek rerun or the latest Master Chef Jr.

But, then, a date night at last shows up for us, and I am quickly reminded at how lucky I am to live in one of the best cities in the world. For years, I have heard of Largo at The Coronet. A groovy little club on La Cienega in West Hollywood, whistling distance from The Beverly Center. Always just aware that great gigs go down there (I have missed secret shows with Fiona Apple, the Elliott Smith tribute night, and many, many more), I never had made it to Largo. Until Melanie had me go on assignment for the tour stop in LA for NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour.

The popular NPR podcast features host of NPR’s Monkey See and blogger Linda Holmes along with panelists Stephen Thompson (of NPR Music) and writer Glen Weldon, talking about what they know best: movies, music, television and books. Currently on the road and making stops across the country to record Pop Culture Happy Hour, I had no idea that the main performance room for our recording at Largo would be in a school-style auditorium! Definitely feeling like a set out of The Wonder Years, the recording began promptly at 8 and the crowd went absolutely nuts for Holmes and her main men!

Over the course of two hours, the team discussed the topics they know best, along with guests Shereen Marisol Meraji (Of NPR’s Code Switch) and Master of None writer and star, Lena Waithe. Meraji talked about one of her favorite directors, New Zealand native and Academy Award nominee, Taika Waititi. While known for his at times ethereal work, Meraji is having to come to terms that she will soon be seeing her beloved director in a project not usually her cup of tea: Waititi is directing Marvel’s new Thor movie, dropping this November! Many laughs arose as Meraji discussed the action scenes that never end when she accompanies her husband to see his kind of movies. Maybe Thor will at last make her come around?!

  Photo credit Jasin Boland. ©2016 Marvel Studios

I extremely enjoyed learning about Lena Waithe. While I have seen an episode or two of Master of None, she has now made me want to watch every episode. The Pop Culture crew applauded Waithe for her powerful Thanksgiving episode of the Netflix series that she wrote, which takes viewers through each year of the Turkey Day festivities until Waithe’s character, Denise, comes out as gay. Similar to my childhood, Waithe grew up watching Nick at Nite and dreamed of becoming a television writer to pen comedy classics like The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rhoda. She explained that these shows became as legendary as they did because of their timeless appeal. You can easily watch many shows of the 70’s like Mary Tyler Moore and not necessarily be aware of the era.

  Photo credit Netflix

After the show, it was great to relax with a glass of wine in their intimate bar and lounge, and take in their quite psychedelic, at times, kitsch styles. The vintage home movies of hippies and couples at a 1960’s LACMA were priceless! We also enjoyed several helpings of Noosa Yogurt, who are sponsoring the tour.

As NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour continues to record on the road, you can check out their latest episode here. It just so happens to be the show I was lucky to be at!

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