Is there a better way to get through commuting, exercising, washing dishes, or running errands than with a podcast? Nope! While the medium makes for a great solo pleasure, imagine how much fun it would be to pull out your earbuds and be in a room full of fellow fans watching smart people engaged in live, spirited conversations. Now Hear This is a gathering of some of the best podcasts streaming today, including Chris Gethard’s achingly humane Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People; the dark, historical, and meticulously researched Lore; and Vox’s wonky The Weeds. This is your chance to see big names like Larry Wilmore (late of The Nightly Show, now host of Black on the Air) and Comedy Bang-Bang’s Scott Aukerman record their shows in person and meet other big-time podheads.
Why You Should Go: Now Hear This moves from Los Angeles to New York for its second year. Seems like a natural fit; NYCers have been known to download a podcast or two for their long subway commutes and or walks to work. Plus, you’ll want to be there to cheer when the hosts say, “Hello, New York City!”
Here are the panels we’re most excited about.
Lovett or Leave It
Friday, September 8
Jon Lovett used to be Barack Obama’s speech writer and has lately taken the political podcast world by storm as part of the founding team behind Crooked Media, a left-leaning pod network. Lovett or Leave It is his funny, always deeply informed take on the past week’s news, usually with a guest comedian or humor-enabled wonk.
Friday, September 8
The audio outgrowth of Davy Rothbart’s beloved cult magazine, Found is a repository for strange bits of ephemera, mysterious flotsam and jetsam, and all manner of discarded stuff picked up around the world. Rothbart has been presenting Found in various forms since 2004, and as long as people keeping losing stuff, he’s sure to have material for many more years.
Saturday, September 9
Lore is one of those shows that gets under your skin and makes you see the world in a new way. Host Aaron Mahnke digs deep into history, mythology, urban legends, and fantasy to weave strange, sometimes scary narratives that hover on the edge of dreams. Mahnke’s measured delivery is just as compelling as his yarns. This is storytelling at another level. No wonder Amazon has optioned it for a streaming series.
NPR’s Planet Money
Sunday, September 10
An outgrowth of the venerable This American Life, Planet Money has an almost impossible mission: make economics interesting. From banking to the real-estate market to copyright laws, the Planet Money team always finds funny, informative, understandable ways into a given topic, making this podcast less like homework and more like a breezy explainer. That may be why director Adam McKay relied on the show’s producers to help him communicate the complex financial ideas in his Oscar-winning screenplay for The Big Short.
Now Hear This
Jacob Javits Center
355 West 34th Street (between Eleventh and Twelfth Avenues), Hell’s Kitchen
Friday, September 8–Sunday, September 10
$75 for Friday one-day pass; $125 Saturday; $50 Sunday; $170 for three-day general admission
Can your earbuds handle a weekend full of podcasting? We’ll save you a seat at some of our faves.