Podcasts are usually an idle way to pass time. If you're doing busywork, commuting, cleaning your apartment, cooking, or winding down the day, there's always something to listen to that can help you laugh, learn, reflect, or relax. Live podcasts, by contrast, are all about engagement. The performative element joins the spectacle of stage with the theater of the mind. Sometimes watching a live podcast can add a new element of interactivity to some of your favorite shows and podcast personalities.
Since we live in Manhattan, there are plenty of chances to catch live podcasts and live radio, whether it's from people based here or who are making special appearances. Here are 7 live podcast and radio broadcast options that you should look into.
01 of 07
The Greene Space
The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space is located on the ground floor of New York Public Radio's headquarters (44 Charlton St.). Opened in 2009, The Greene Space allows New Yorkers to watch live WNYC broadcasts and live WQXR concerts. The venue has 125 seats, and the programming is diverse to say the least. In May, Greene Space programming includes live music as part of the New York Guitar Festival, an evening of stories about science and the truth featuring comedian Wyatt Cenac (The Daily Show), and a tribute to Prince featuring Touré and Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid.
In addition to hosting live programming from WNYC and WQXR, The Greene Space can also be rented for private events. thegreenespace.org
02 of 07
Fireside Mystery Theatre
Founded in 2011, Fireside Mystery Theatre brings audiences back to the days of the old-timey radio show. Actors on stage perform radioplays before your eyes. Between the stories, you can expect live music as accompaniment, special guests, and more. Experiencing Fireside Mystery Theater is like a combination of listening to a cathedral radio and constructing scenes with your mind's eye--the actors help set an evocative scene that you co-create through active listening.
Fireside Mystery Theater records once a month from September to May at The Slipper Room (167 Orchard St.), a Lower East Side burlesque and performance venue like something out of a film noir or hard-boiled pulp novel. It may be the perfect venue for their dimly lit brand of live podcasting. firesidemysterytheatre.com
03 of 07
Started in 2013, NYC PodFest is a celebration of popular podcasts, featuring unique shows performed in front of an audience. This year's NYC PodFest takes place Friday, May 20th through Sunday, May 22nd at Cake Shop in the Lower East Side (152 Ludlow St.) and The Bell House in Brooklyn (149 7th St., Brooklyn, NY). This is a unique chance to meet and interact with some excellent podcast personalities from New York and visiting from out of town.
Some of the featured podcasts in the fourth year of NYC PodFest include The Flop House, Tell 'Em Steve Dave, Mouth Time with Reductress, WFMU's Dr. Gameshow, Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast with the one and only Dick Cavett, and Risk! with special guests Janeane Garofalo and Seth Herzog. On the note of Risk!, creator and host Kevin Allison (best known for his work on MTV's cult comedy show The State) often records episodes live in New York City and also around the country. nycpodfest.com
04 of 07
The Vulture Festival
Associated with New York Magazine's culture and entertainment site Vulture, the Vulture Festival takes place on Saturday, May 21st and Sunday, May 22nd. This year's festival includes six live recordings of major podcasts: Hollywood Handbook, Chris Gethard's Beautiful/Anonymous, Reply All, How Did This Get Made?, NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, and Two Dope Queens. Two Dope Queens records regularly out of Brooklyn at The Bell House (149 7th St., Brooklyn, NY) and is co-hosted by comedians Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams (The Daily Show).
In addition to these live podcasts, the Vulture Festival will also feature a night of comedy with Sarah Silverman and special guests, early screenings of upcoming movies, and live conversations with Sopranos creator David Chase, Jessica Jones star Krysten Ritter, the cast and crew of Better Call Saul, and much more. Many of these events during this packed weekend will take place at Milk Studios (450 W. 15th St.). vulturefestival.comContinue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
Founded in 1997, The Moth is one of the premiere groups dedicated to the art, craft, and joy of storytelling. The non-profit organization holds countless storytelling events around the world, but it has its roots in New York City. The Moth's weekly podcast compiles stories from these many events around the globe, and The Moth Radio Hour is broadcast on more than 400 radio stations in the United States. This diverse range of voices will offer listeners unique perspective life and the joys and sorrows of living.
New Yorkers can attend regular Moth events and enjoy the art of storytelling live. Regular StorySLAMs are held as well, in which audience members get an opportunity to go up and share their own five-minute story about a specified theme. Common venues for these regular Moth events include Housing Works Bookstore Cafe (126 Crosby St.) and The Bitter End (147 Bleecker St.). themoth.org
06 of 07
LIVE from the NYPL
Launched in 2005. LIVE from the NYPL is the ticketed event series for The New York Public Library. The programming features interviews and performances from leading figures in literature, art, film, music, politics, and popular culture. Guests are noted innovators who have inspired others to create and change the world for the better. Previous LIVE guests include Toni Morrison, Debbie Harry, Junot Diaz, Neil Gaiman, Gloria Steinem, Elvis Costello, Shaquille O'Neal, Werner Herzog, Jay-Z, and Patti Smith.
Coming up in May, LIVE from the NYPL guests will include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Matt Dillon, Laurie Anderson, and Julian Barnes. If you can't make it to the live events, the LIVE from the NYPL podcasts can be found at the New York Public Library website. nypl.org
07 of 07
Started in 2002 after the discovery of a teenage love letter, Mortified is storytelling with a twist. It's sort of like The Moth or This American Life but awkward. Each Mortified storyteller shares something from their gawky years, such as a teenage journal or diary entry, old poems or song lyrics, bad childhood art, and so on. In sharing this embarrassing artifact from the past, storytellers are able to reveal something honest about themselves, both then and now.
Mortified is based in more than 20 cities, with a strong community here in New York. Many of the New York shows are held at Littlefield in Brooklyn (622 Degraw St., Brooklyn, NY). Anyone eager to get mortified can reach out to the Mortified curators in New York for more information about sharing their humiliation for the enjoyment of others. getmortified.com