Feeling down about the human condition? Looking for a glimmer of the spiritual in contemporary life? Constellation Prize, a podcast from The Believer magazine, talks to subjects about their existential problems—how art, God, and loneliness fit in their lives.
Out now, Season 2: a four-part miniseries in which host Bianca Giaever goes nightwalking with the poet Terry Tempest Williams.
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Season 2: Nightwalking
I. A Call from Terry
Bianca receives a call from a famous writer, Terry Tempest Williams, who suggests they do a project together. They plan to embark on a ritual—taking walks at night, and writing each other daily letters. Terry promises that this will bring them closer to God. Bianca has doubts.
Music by: Ishmael Ensemble, John Caroll Kirby, and Elori Saxl.
II. Dark Country Roads
Bianca walks the dark country roads of Vermont, while Terry walks across quiet Utah canyons. Through their letters they grow closer, though it’s still unclear how this exercise will reveal the divine. Meanwhile, Bianca’s grandfather says the project is stupid. Bianca is stressed, until she unexpectedly meets a lover.
Music by: Greta Morgan, Peter Sandberg, Andy Mills, h hunt, Domenique Dumont, and Gideon Crevoshay.
Terry’s nightwalking ritual brings her closer to ecstasy. Bianca is still struggling. The moon continues to grow, until the final night of the project arrives. Terry is confident she will have a spiritual experience.
Music by: The Westerlies, Greta Morgan, Lullatone, and Zubin Hensler.
IV. New York City
Bianca goes nightwalking in New York City and talks to strangers about God. She meets an exterminator, two lonely Russian men on a Tinder date, a bodega owner, a college student questioning her faith, and a costume designer mourning a lost lover, who seems to understand the whole project.
Music by: Zubin Hensler, h hunt, and Sam Prekop.
Season 2 Credits:
Writer and producer: Bianca Giaever
Story Editor: Daniel Guillemette
Executive Editor: Daniel Gumbiner
Sound design, sound mixing, and additional story editing: John Delore
Trumpet theme music: Riley Mulherkar
The concept of councils was conceived by the artist Sludge Thunder and her accomplice Graham
Tolstoy was played by Mandy Patinkin
A huge thank you to everyone who allowed their lives to appear in this series: Terry Tempest Williams, Brooke Williams, my sidekick Matthew Kielty, and Gideon Crevoshay
Additional editorial support from Peter Chinman and Emily Forman
The man who talks to birds is Enrique Enriquez
Nightwalking experts: Roger Ekirch author of At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past and Matthew Beaumont author of Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London
For more updates, you can follow Bianca on Instagram at @ biancagiaever or contact her at email@example.com.
I. Crossing Guard
Bianca goes looking for a stranger and meets Sophia, a school crossing guard. They spend six months together.
Featuring: Sartre, twists, and organ music.
Thank you to Sophia for letting me tell her story. Music in this episode was by Zubin Hensler and Stellwagon Symphonette. Special thanks to Andrew Leland and Laura Irving.
II. Caveh is God
Nonfiction filmmaker Caveh Zahedi, creator of The Show About the Show, talks about how his relationship to God has changed over the course of his life.
Featuring: mushroom trips, a metaphorical meat locker, and an earthworm.
Music in this episode was by Greta Morgan. You can check out her music project Springtime Carnivore. We also featured the song “Pale” by Akira Kosemura. It was mixed by Zubin Hensler.
III. Spool of Thread
A short reflection on a spool of thread.
Featuring: the aforementioned spool of thread.
Music and mixing by Zubin Hensler.
IV. Two Years With Franz
Bianca spends two years listening to over 500 recordings made by the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Franz Wright.
Featuring: a tape recorder, a cat named Robert, and a hatred for MFA programs.
This piece was produced with Jay Allison for the public radio website Transom.org. Music by Zubin Hensler, The Westerlies, Springtime Carnivore, and Stellwagen Symphonette. Special thanks to Samantha Broun, Sydney Lewis, Viki Merrick and Melissa Allison. Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.
V. What is Boring? with B. Wurtz
The artist B. Wurtz reflects on what is boring, and a three decade relationship with his only belt.
Featuring: socks, garbage, and Andy Warhol.