This American Life Releases “The Invisible Made Visible” Today

Ira Glass and The Cast of The Invisible Made Visible
The Invisible Made Visible

Like Louis CK, Aziz Ansari, and Jim Gaffigan before them, the folks at This American Life are releasing a video of their live film, The Invisible Made Visible, as a DRM-free $5 download starting today (Nov 15). In addition to the download/stream option, fans can also purchase a DVD of the show for $16 at the show’s web store which includes a bonus Q&A feature. All proceeds go to directly to the show.

Radio you can watch – that’s the idea.

On November 15th, 2012, the public radio show This American Life will release a video of a two-hour episode entitled “The Invisible Made Visible.” Fans can download or stream the video for $5 at, with proceeds going directly to the show. It will also be released on DVD, exclusively via the show’s web store.

“The Invisible Made Visible” was originally performed onstage and broadcast live into movie theaters in May, 2012, to over 70,000 people across the U.S., Canada and Australia. Now the rest of the show’s 1.8 million radio listeners and 750,000 podcast subscribers will have a chance to see it. The download is available worldwide.

Host Ira Glass personally curated the show. “The whole point,” he says “was to do stories that are far too visual to ever be on the radio.”

The result is a mix of animation, live dance from Monica Bill Barnes & Company, a short film by Mike Birbiglia starringFresh Air’s Terry Gross, a classic This American Life story (told by Glass) that’s primarily visual, about street photographer Vivian Meier, plus comic monologues by David Sedaris, Glynn Washington, and Ryan Knighton. ComedianTig Notaro tells a now-famous story about repeatedly running into 80’s pop star Taylor Dayne. Rock band OK Go provides music. It’s all performed in front of changing illustrated backgrounds.

Probably the most memorable moment in the episode comes during a story by longtime This American Life contributor David Rakoff. He talks about the abilities he’s lost during his fight with cancer, and then, gracefully, beautifully, does a solo dance onstage. It was the last story Rakoff ever wrote for the radio show. He died three months later, in August.

A unique component of the show is a custom mobile app (for iPhone and Android) developed with OK Go, that allows the audience to play along with the band on digital hand bells, following animated cues. For the streaming version of the show, a web version of the app will automatically appear on screen.

Watch a trailer from The Invisible Made Visible after the jump.