Rhymes with “Best”

In Anytown, U.S.A., being part of a live radio broadcast probably means getting a prank call from some Howard Stern wannabe on an FM morning show who tricks you into thinking you’ve been fired and that your wife is sleeping with your boss. Or being offered a free bratwurst during a promo in a Safeway parking lot from some scruffy DJ in a Hall & Oates T-shirt who wants to know “where you lost it.” But in San Francisco, U.S.A., we have West Coast Live, a variety show broadcast on KALW-FM and around the country via satellite. The show takes its name seriously. Most of the musicians, authors, comedians, and other performers who appear are from the Western United States, and its venues include numerous Bay Area locations. (It even equips volunteers with devices that broadcast the sound of waves in the bay — or the body of water nearest the venue.) Guests have included Joyce Carol Oates, Daniel Handler, Taj Mahal, and Ben Harper. Sure-footed host Sedge Thomson engages the guests with equal amounts of humor and genuine curiosity. “Think Bill Moyers meets David Letterman,” says the show’s website. Today’s lineup includes the Devil Makes Three, a band that offers “a slightly punky perspective on vintage American blues,” as well as authors Geoff Dyer (Otherwise Known as the Human Condition) and Louis B. Jones (Radiance). Also on hand is Lee James of Tierra Vegetables, which sounds like a band but is, in fact, a company that deals in sustainably grown vegetables and wool products. Jazz pianist Mike “The Gently Ironic” Greensill punctuates the performances and interviews.
Sat., May 7, 10 a.m., 2011

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