This month, take the opportunity to improve your small talk abilities and quirky knowledge of celebrities with The Dinner Party.
American Public Radio's The Dinner Party explains itself to be "the culture show that gives you an edge in your weekend conversations." And it certainly does. The show is hosted by Rico Gagliano and Brendan Francis Newnam, who are both humorous and entertaining to listen to. Each episode captures all the highlights you'd expect to find at a dinner party in several short, snappy segments. Here, we break them down so you know what to expect to find when you download this intelligent and entertaining podcast.
Like any good dinner party, the show starts off with an "ice breaker." Here a celebrity who appears again later in the episode offers a funny joke you can retell at your next gathering.
From there, they jump into "small talk." But rather than covering the usual gossip and news you've been seeing in the headlines, they offer up something from current events that's quirky and interesting but that hasn't quite hit the front page. For instance, did you know Delta Air Lines took away all the frequent flyer points from a world-renowned cello player because he was collecting points on both his seat and the one he bought for his cello? When you listen to The Dinner Party, you learn random facts like this one and can spice up the conversation topics at your next event.
When you're done with some basic small talk, it's time to get into cocktails. But rather than offering your usual beverages, serve something super creative. The show discusses an event that happened over the course of this week in history. The hosts then enlist the help of a bartender to come up with a drink that's inspired by the historical event. You'll get all kinds of cool new drink ideas with this one. And they list the cocktail recipes on the website, so you can pull them out and impress your friends anytime you want.
Want to set the right mood and ensure you have enough to chat about the next time you throw a party? Then you'll appreciate this next segment, in which the hosts either invite a musician to recommend good party music or have a celebrity guest come in to share his or her thoughts on a particular topic.
When it comes to their "guest of honour" segment, they definitely subscribe to the "go big or go home" philosophy. You'll be privy to interviews with the world's top directors, actors, writers and more. After a fun and insightful interview, they always ask two standard questions: "If we were to meet you at a dinner party, which question would you least like to be asked?" and "Tell us something we don't know." You're sure to garner some great (and often unexpected) insights you can share with your friends when the weekend comes.
If you've ever been to a dinner party and spent more time listening to the conversation going on at the other end of the table than paying attention to the oddball talking your ear off, then you'll appreciate the "eavesdrop" section of the program, where you get to listen in on a celebrity telling of a personal experience or a writer sharing an excerpt from his or her work.
A dinner party is nothing without good food, and you'll learn a whole lot more about what kind of quirky meals can be found out there when you listen to the "main course" segment of the show. For this clip, Rico Gagliano interviews a chef or food expert on a new and interesting food trend. Ever heard of pretzel dumplings or drinkable shrubs? You'll find out about them and many other tasty dishes here.
An "etiquette" segment is next on the agenda. Here the hosts have either a celebrity or an etiquette expert answer listeners' questions and offer advice on manners. If you've ever had any concerns or questions about how to talk or act in a certain situation, you'll either learn a lot or laugh a lot with this one.
Just in case you hadn't soaked up enough new information by the end of the podcast, the second to last segment, "chattering class," will fill up your learn-o-meter to the max. Here an expert is brought in to "school" the two hosts on a dinner party-worthy topic.
Every dinner party needs a good ending, and that's why the show finishes off with a song you can listen to on your way to or returning home from your next dinner party.
Although the show airs on the radio in the U.S., you can download it as a podcast on iTunes, where it comes with no commercials. Plus it's free, so you have nothing to lose and a whole lot of entertainment and knowledge to gain!
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