816: Poultry Slam

816: Poultry Slam

Update: 2023-11-268


During the highest turkey consumption period of the year, we bring you a This American Life tradition: stories of turkeys, chickens, geese, ducks, fowl of all kinds—real and imagined—and their mysterious hold over us.

  • Prologue: Ira Glass talks with Scharlette Holdman, who works with defense teams on high profile death row cases, and who has not talked to a reporter in more than 25 years. Why did she suddenly end the moratorium on press? Because her story is about something important: namely, a beautiful chicken. (2 minutes)
  • Act One: Scharlette Holdman's story continues, in which she and the rest of a legal defense team try to save a man on death row by finding a star witness — a chicken with a specific skill. (10 minutes)
  • Act Two: Yet another testimony to the power chickens have over our hearts and minds.  Jack Hitt reports on an opera about Chicken Little.  It's performed with dressed-up styrofoam balls, it's sung in Italian and, no kidding, able to make grown men cry. (14 minutes)
  • Act Three: Ira accompanies photographer Tamara Staples as she attempts to photograph chickens in the style of high fashion photography. The chickens are not very cooperative. (15 minutes)
  • Act Four: Kathie Russo's husband was Spalding Gray,  who was best known for delivering monologues onstage—like "Monster in a Box," and "Swimming to Cambodia." On January 10, 2004, he went missing. Witnesses said they saw him on the Staten Island Ferry that night. Two months later, his body was pulled out of the East River. Kathie tells the story of the night he disappeared, and about how, in the weeks following, she and each of their three children were visited by a bird, who seemed to be delivering a message to them. (9 minutes)

Transcripts are available at thisamericanlife.org

Comments (45)

Mahdi Kafshyan


Dec 9th

POTUS 45, 46, & 47

Between June and October, Joe Briben' touted "Bidenomics" at least 100 times yet he hasn't said a word about it in over a month.

Dec 2nd
Reply (5)

Joe Biden is a miserable failure.

BREAKING: An Illinois Appeals Cout has upheld Jussie Smollett's disorderly conduct conviction over his 2019 hate crime hoax blamed on fantasy white supremacist Trump supporters. He must serve his 150-day jail sentence. They should have given him 20 years if you ask me.

Dec 2nd
Reply (19)

Joe Biden is a miserable failure.

If you like poverty, keep voting for democrats. If you like open air drug use, keep voting for democrats.

Nov 30th
Reply (11)

King Geedorah

Heard about how Joe Briben' isn't going to put up Xmas stockings at the white house this year? That's so he doesn't have to acknowledge the granddaughter his crackhead alcoholic sister-fucker son made with a stripper. Say what you will about the Trump Children, not a one of them is as white trash as a Briben.

Nov 28th

POTUS 45, 46, & 47

Heard about the 100% off Black Friday sale they had at the Nike store in LA?

Nov 27th
Reply (4)
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816: Poultry Slam

816: Poultry Slam

This American Life