WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Elemental Nightlife

Jul 9, 2021

As if being in a regular nightclub wasn't stressful enough, Quinta Brunson (A Black Lady Sketch Show, She Memes Well) and Taylor Garron (Look I Bought Plants: And Other Poems About Life and Stuff, As of Yet) navigate some new clubs themed after elements on the periodic table. It's already loud and sweaty people keep bumping into you? Great! Now answer questions about boron!

Heard on Fenway Bark And The Litter Box Disco.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.


JONATHAN COULTON: This is NPR's ASK ME ANOTHER. I'm Jonathan Coulton. Here's your host Ophira Eisenberg.


Thanks Jonathan. We're playing games with Quinta Brunson, who wrote the book "She Memes Well," and Taylor Garron, writer and director of the movie "As Of Yet." Are you ready for another game?

QUINTA BRUNSON: I am fully...

TAYLOR GARRON: Yeah, let's do it.

EISENBERG: So we've invented some new nightclubs themed after elements on the periodic table.


EISENBERG: So we're going to describe the club, and you're going to tell us the element. Taylor, this first one is for you.


EISENBERG: Everyone is welcome at the bar What the H? In fact, it's the most abundant chain in the universe. Their specialty is deconstructed water, but it's BYOO, as in bring your own oxygen molecule.

GARRON: So this is Club Hydrogen. I've heard of them. I've heard of them.


EISENBERG: That's right.

GARRON: I know the guys who run it actually. They're super sweet.

EISENBERG: Can you get me in?

GARRON: I can see what I can do. I can see...

COULTON: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: (Laughter) Thanks.

GARRON: But yeah, they do actually have enforcers that make you drink a glass of water after every drink, which is nice. I've never woken up feeling bad after it. Long lines for the bathroom, I will say.


COULTON: All right. Quinta...


COULTON: ...Tourists flock to the Banana Tree Bar to drink their signature banana daiquiris that are chock full of the elements symbolized by K. It's so overrated. Avocados and sweet potatoes have even more of the element, which doesn't even start with K. Don't get me started.

BRUNSON: OK. I'm going to have to - thanks to, once again, television and film, I can answer this question, not science at all.

COULTON: Beautiful.

BRUNSON: But, potassium?

COULTON: Yeah, potassium's correct.


BRUNSON: Club potassium. Thank you.

COULTON: Club potassium.

BRUNSON: "Honey, I Shrunk The Kids."

GARRON: OK. That's what it was from.

BRUNSON: Yeah. Yeah.

GARRON: I was trying to figure out where I know it. Yeah. OK.

COULTON: Where does it come up in "Honey, I Shrunk The Kids"? I don't remember.

BRUNSON: So it's not "Honey, I Shrunk The Kids."


BRUNSON: It's one of the after - and it's not even "Honey, I Blew Up The Kid."

GARRON: "Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves."

BRUNSON: "Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves."


GARRON: One of them has, like, a seizure or something, right? There's a medical emergency.

BRUNSON: Yes. Yes.

GARRON: And they were like, we need to get him a banana. It has potassium. He has to...

BRUNSON: Yo, that is...

GARRON: I just pulled that from the depths of my mind.

COULTON: That's impressive.

BRUNSON: Wait. No, but me, too. You pulled it as it was coming - you actually put it back in my brain.

GARRON: That was kind of like a tag-team effort.

BRUNSON: That was.

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

COULTON: I love you guys have both seen the - whatever, fourth or fifth Honey, I Shrunk The - movie.


EISENBERG: Yeah. Exactly. I wasn't even sure I knew that one existed. I'll be honest.


EISENBERG: I wasn't...

COULTON: I'm really impressed.


EISENBERG: All right. Taylor...


EISENBERG: ...At the Blue Period, young artists take shots of Bacardi and B-12 out of ancient vases from China. They're all dyed with a distinctive blue-color pigment made with this element.

GARRON: This one is - I don't know. Can I get another hint? Or can I get, like, a multiple-choice?

EISENBERG: Sure. It could be - is it boron or, B, cobalt or, C, sulfur?

GARRON: Well, I'm going to go with B, cobalt, simply because I know that is a shade of blue.

EISENBERG: Yes, you are correct.


EISENBERG: Absolutely.


EISENBERG: Yeah. Cobalt was traditionally used to make blue pigments. And it's really hard to mine, which is why, actually, in German, it's referred to as goblin ore.



COULTON: That's pretty fantastic.

GARRON: Go ahead, Germans.

EISENBERG: I know. I think we should bring that back.

BRUNSON: They have fun with their language.

COULTON: The Germans are so colorful and fun.

GARRON: They really do.

BRUNSON: They pop off.

GARRON: Always doing it up.


EISENBERG: It seems like it's one of the few ways they have fun. But, yes.


GARRON: Oh, dear.

COULTON: All right. Quinta...


COULTON: ...Recharged is my favorite battery-themed bar. DJ Samsung Galaxy Note 7 keeps the explosive beats going all night long. She only plays remixes of one specific Nirvana song from 1991. Plus, at happy hour, everyone takes a shot of mood stabilizer.

BRUNSON: Lithium. Yes.

GARRON: There you go.

COULTON: Lithium. That is correct.

EISENBERG: You got it. All right. Taylor...


EISENBERG: ...Stay away from Lick if you're trying to lower your blood pressure because every drink in that bar is salt-rimmed. But this place is one big thirst trap. And only VIPs have access to the Maldon room.

GARRON: Ooh, OK. The Maldon room. That's, like, the fancy stuff.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) That is the fancy stuff.

GARRON: One time, I went to the bodega for this particular element. And they only had a box of the fancy stuff. And for some reason, it was $5. So I imagine somebody came in there and was like, yo, I found this box of...

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

GARRON: ...Sodium. Do you want to buy it off me for $2.50? And they were like, yeah, sure. And they resold it for $5. And that stuff retails for - it's fancy salt. It really is. It's, like, this tiny sprinkle on top, like...


COULTON: It's good salt. It's good salt.

EISENBERG: It's the finishing salt.

GARRON: Precisely. Yeah.

EISENBERG: I love an answer inside of an anecdote.

BRUNSON: Me, too. Taylor, that was fantastic.

COULTON: All right. Last one, Quinta.


EISENBERG: Last night at the Bad Penny was wild. I think I had too many live wire shots because I woke up this morning with dyed bronze-red hair.

BRUNSON: Copper.

COULTON: Copper. You got it. That's right.

BRUNSON: Yes. I didn't have any fun anecdotes because I was just so excited to know it...


BRUNSON: ...That I just had to say it before it left my brain.

COULTON: I mean, who has a lot of fun anecdotes about copper? Not too many.

BRUNSON: I don't know. That's, like, pretty good.


EISENBERG: No, you both did amazing. Thank you so much. Taylor Garron is the co-author of the book "Look I Bought Plants: And Other Poems About Life And Stuff." And Quinta Brunson's book of essays is called "She Memes Well." Both books are available now. Thank you so much for joining us.

BRUNSON: Thank you for having us.

GARRON: Thanks for having us. It's been so much fun.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.