NPR's "Cabinet of Wonders," a new series for public radio featuring the best of the acclaimed New York variety show which finds leading novelists, musicians and comedians each performing as part of a rare showcase of talent hosted by musician and author John Wesley Harding, is now airing nationally as a six episode radio program (WXPN Philadelphia and WFUV in New York are among the first to carry the show). Episode six featuring comedian Janeane Garofalo, musicians Mary Chapin Carpenter, Tift Merritt and Simon Dinnerstein, Kelly Hogan and Langhorne Slim and author Sam Lipsyte is now available as a podcast at NPR.org; previous episodes are also available to stream at cabinetofwonders.npr.org.
Stocking this season's Cabinet are musical performances by Rosanne Cash, Ted Leo, Josh Ritter and the New Pornographers' A.C. Newman; readings from authors Colson Whitehead, Sarah Vowell and Rick Moody; and acts from comedians Eugene Mirman and John Hodgman. All programs were recorded in front of a live audience at the City Winery in New York City. NPR joined together with Cabinet of Wonders to record, broadcast and exclusively distribute the radio show, making its engaging dialogue and eclectic performances available to audiences nationwide.
Since forming in 2009, Cabinet of Wonders has established itself in New York, and on tour in other U.S. cities, as an exciting stage for both prominent and emerging voices in music, literature and comedy. Harding originally conceived Cabinet of Wonders as a stage to bring together his creative friends; he handpicks the performers and facilitates unusual onstage collaborations for each show, managing to weave the diverse lineup into one highly entertaining hour. An acclaimed artist in his own right, Harding has 18 albums and three novels (published under his given name Wesley Stace) to his name.
Since his critically acclaimed 1990 debut Here Comes the Groom (lauded by the LA Times as "the first great rock record of the '90s") John Wesley Harding has recorded for both major (Sire, Hollywood) and independent (Mammoth, Rhino, Appleseed) labels alike, with his most recent release The Sound of His Own Voice (Yep Roc Records) being hailed as "Wes' most exciting album ever" by Magnet and "first-rate folk-rock" by the Utne Reader. His novels have been published by Little Brown and Picador in the U.S.