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Chance encounters and improvisation characterize the two stories on this program.

First, Miranda July’s “Roy Spivey” plays on a common fantasy—its heroine is seated next to a Hollywood star (“Roy Spivey” is a pseudonym, she insists coyly) on a plane flight. Miranda July’s story collection NO ONE BELONGS HERE MORE THAN YOU won the Frank O’Connor International Story Award in 2002.  She wrote, directed, and stared in her first feature film ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW in 2005, and this won a special jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival as well as four prizes at the Cannes Film Festival.  The reader is Oscar nominee (“Gone Baby Gone”) Amy Ryan.

 Our second story—from a program celebrating the film-noir tradition presented at The Getty Center in Los Angeles—finds the late crime-story master Ed McBain in a darkly playful mood. In “Improvisation,” a man picks up two girls in a bar—with unforeseen consequences.  McBain’s long career included dozens of gritty novels set in the fictive big city 87th precinct.  In 1986, the Mystery Writers of America awarded him its Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement.  “Improvisation” is read by SHORTS host Isaiah Sheffer, who likes to dust off his tough-guy accent once in a while.

  “Roy Spivey” by Miranda July, read by Amy Ryan

“Improvisation” by Ed McBain, read by Isaiah Sheffer

 The musical interlude is Jon Mercer’s Mambo Fever, from the album Hooray for Hollywood.  The SELECTED SHORTS theme is Roger Kellaway’s “Come to the Meadow.”

 For additional works featured on SELECTED SHORTS, please visit Symphony Space

 We’re interested in your response to these programs.  Please comment on this site or visit

Listener’s choice!

On June 9th, 2010, SELECTED SHORTS at Symphony Space in New York will feature stories selected by our nationwide audience.  Go here.

to submit your suggestions for a published story you think we should read.  Then in the spring, you’ll vote for your favorite from among the final contenders.