Host Boris Dralyuk is joined by his fellow soviet-emigre Sasha Razor, and Soviet Scholar David MacFadyen, to conjure the spirit of the Holiday Season in the Workers' Paradise. Sasha, David, and Boris relate how the beloved Soviet-era traditions remain alive across the vast territories of the USSR; and also among Southern California's huge immigrant communities from the former Communist Empire. Also, Boris and Sasha recommend Peter Pomerantsev's excellent book on Putin's Russia, "Nothing is True and Everything is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia."
Hosts Medaya Ocher and Kate Wolf decide that in a year unlike any other, it's time for a different approach to holiday gift giving. How can we give the gift of resistance against the anti-democratic forces empowered on November 8th? Medaya and Kate raise this question with guests Adrienna Wong from the ACLU of Southern California, Adrian Martinez from Earthjustice, and Shahid Buttar of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Author Susan Kaiser Greenland talks with Laurie Winer about her new best-selling book Mindful Games: Sharing Mindfulness and Meditation with Children, Teens, and Families. The question is raised: Can mindful meditation be the antidote to the toxicity of Trump? Also, in recognition of Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize in literature, LARB's Gustavo Turner drops by to recommend two works of literature: Bob Dylan's "Love and Theft" and Leonard Cohen's 10 Songs, great albums overlooked because they were released on (or around) 9/11/01. The show closes with Gerard Manley Hopkins' poem Spring and Fall.
Emily Witt, author of Future Sex, joins co-hosts Laurie Winer, Medaya Ocher, and Kate Wolf for a wide-ranging discussion of changing attitudes towards sex in the digital age. Also, Leo Braudy drops by to talk about one of his earlier works, The Frenzy of Renown, and its particular relevance in The Age of Trump. The show closes with a reading of Edna St Vincent Millay's Love Is Not All.
Leo Braudy talks with host Laurie Winer about his new book Haunted: On Ghosts, Witches, Vampires, Zombies, and Other Monsters of the Natural and Supernatural Worlds; and its relevance for understanding our terrifying new post-election world. Impresario Paul Crewes recommends Michael Morpurgo's WWII yarn The Amazing Story of Adopho Tips; and we listen to Dorothy Parker's Love Song.
Paul Crewes, the new Artistic Director of the Wallis Annenberg Center in Beverly Hills, joins host Laurie Winer to discuss the tremendous possibilities for theater in Southern California. Also, author Dinah Lenney stops by to recommend two books: Marisa Silver's Little Nothing; and Nancy Reisman's Trompe L'Oeil. The show closes with a reading of Anne Sexton's poem "To a Friend Whose Work has Come to Triumph."
Screenwriter John Romano joins Laurie Winer and co-host Dinah Lenney to talk about his adaptation of Philip Roth's 1997 classic novel American Pastoral about a family torn apart amidst the turmoil of the late 1960s. The film directed by Ewan McGregor, who co-stars alongside Dakota Fanning and Jennifer Connelly, was released this past month. A wide-ranging discussion ensues, addressing Roth's relationship to the "meaning" of the 60s, family suffering, Job's suffering, and ours in the age of Trump. Also, author Simon Reynolds drops by to recommend a biography of Occultist Colin Wilson by renaissance man Gary Lachman; and Linda Balgord reads Mark Strand's Eating Poetry.
Host Evan Kindley talks with Simon Reynolds about his new book "Shock and Awe: Glam Rock and Its Legacy, from the Seventies to the Twenty-first Century." David Bowie may be Glam's greatest superstar, but figures as diverse as Roxy Music, Alice Cooper, and LA's own Sparks are also central to this most colorful and still-influential 1970's pop movement. The LA Times Jill Leovy drops by to recommend anthropologist Hortence Powdermaker's After Freedom, a study of 1920'as Mississippi; and which remains a stunning reminder of the severe oppression suffered by Black Americans under Jim Crow. This week's poetry reading is of Denise Levertov's Psalm Concerning the Castle.
Laurie Winer and co-host Medaya Ocher, managing editor of the LA Review, are joined by Jessica Koslow, chef extraordinaire and creator of Sqirl, one of LA's most popular new restaurants - on the occasion of the publication of Jessica's first cookbook, Everything I Want To Eat. It's the Comfort Radio edition of the podcast, as Laurie and Medaya build up an appetite learning about the secrets behind Jessica's scrumptious creations. Also, Leslie MM Blume drops by to recommend Anita Loos brilliant comic novel from the 1920s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes; and Judy Kaye reads ee cummings' Poem I thank God for most this amazing.
Legendary publisher and editor Robert Gottlieb talks with Laurie about his new memoir Avid Reader; reflects on his glory days at Knopf and The New Yorker; and expresses confidence about the state of writing today. Tracy Tynan offers PG Wodehouse as comfort reading for these treacherous times. Tom and Laurie launch a new poetry feature with a reading of WB Yeats The Second Coming.
Laurie is joined by LARB legal editor Don Franzen for a discussion on the two competing California Ballot Initiatives related to the Death Penalty: Proposition 62 that calls for an end to the Death Penalty in the state; and Proposition 66, a confusing pro-Death Penalty measure, that calls for speeding up executions. To provide clarity, Laurie and Don are joined by Stephen Rohde, from Death Penalty Focus, and the legendary former District Attorney of Los Angeles County, Gil Garcetti.
Despina Stratigakos, author of Hitler at Home, joins Laurie and co-host Boris Drayluk for a wide-ranging discussion about how tasteful interior design operated as propaganda in the Third Reich; the powerful woman who was at the heart of that effort, Gerdy Troost; and the lessons we should draw from this tale for our own celebrity-saturated politics. Also, Nicholson Baker returns to explain his mysterious relationship to Vladimir Nabokov's Speak, Memory.
Costume designer and author Tracy Tynan joins Tom and Laurie to talk about her new memoir Wear and Tear: The Threads of My Life. The daughter of a legendary couple from Swinging London in the 60s - theater critic Kenneth Tynan and actress-turned-author Elaine Dundy - Tynan spins tales of a daringly dysfunctional, but beautifully dressed, nuclear family. Also, LARB editor Evan Kindley drops by to recommend a book by (appropriately) the British developmental psychoanalyst DW Winnicott.
Author Nicholson Baker joins Tom, Laurie, and Evan Kindley to discuss his new book Substitute: Going to School with a Thousand Kids which tells the story of Baker's time as a substitute teacher in a Maine public school system. This opens up into a fascinating discussion of pedagogy in light of the everyday realities of contemporary American public schooling.
Ron Arias, author of the acclaimed novel The Road to Tamazunchale, joins Tom and Laurie to discuss his new collection The Wetback and Other Stories; as well as his career in journalism and his encounters with Jorge Luis Borges and Ernest Hemingway. Also, Jannice Littlejohn returns to recommend Monica Coleman's Bipolar Faith: A Black Woman's Journey with Depression and Faith.
This week Tom and Laurie talk with Lesley MM Blume about her new book Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Hemingway’s Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises. Laura Albert is back on the show after last week's brilliant interview to recommend everyone read Annie Proulx’s Barkskins. Plus, Janet Fitch reads from her novel Paint it Black.
Hosts Laurie Winer and Tom Lutz talk with Laura Albert on the eve of the cinematic debut of the documentary film about her, "Author: The JT Leroy Story." The conversation covers the story of the Albert's bestselling books, which she wrote under the pseudonym - or rather, through her avatar - "JT Leroy." It's one of the most fascinating, and controversial, tales in recent American letters.
LARB's Senior Editors Janice Littlejohn and Evan Kindley join Tom and Laurie for a pair of wide ranging conversations. First, Janice discusses the documentary film she is producing on women horn players; and then two recent articles she wrote: one about representation of people of color in Hollywood films (with a focus on a project in development about the Persian poet Rumi with Leonardo DiCaprio slated to play the muslim scholar); the second about the relationship of people of mixed race to Black American political and cultural discourse. Then, Evan Kindley discusses his book, Questionairre, a delightful study of the history of the form from its origins to its most popular contemporary incarnation - as irresistible click bait.
Political Journalist Walter Shapiro joins Seth and Tom to discuss his new book Hustling Hitler: The Jewish Vaudvillian Who Fooled thew Fuhrer; it's about Walter's Great Uncle Freeman Bernstein - one of the legendary grifters of his time. Then David Ulin discusses the satirical novel he co-authored with Paul Kolsby in the 1990s, Ear to the Ground. Recently published in book form for the first time; Ear to the Ground originally appeared in weekly serial installments in the LA Reader.
Author and Slate Editor Jessica Winter joins Seth and Laurie to discuss her novel Brake In Case Of Emergency; and all the delicious subjects that arise from writing a scathing, yet loving, satire of an all women's workplace. Plus, Jessica's reflections on Election 2016.
Laurie, Seth, and Tom talk with LA Times reporter Jill leovy about her fascinating and best-selling book on a murder case in South Los Angeles, Ghettocide. The conversation goes in-depth into some of the hottest political issues of 2016: race, policing, and our society's unequal distribution of resources. Also, Seth and Laurie address another source of political trauma, Donald Trump, in the wake of both major party conventions
The gang talks, DNC 2016, Bernie Bros, and Maureen Dowd of the New York Times with fellow Times columnist Meghan Daum in the studio.
This week's episode features Margaret Wappler who joins the show to talk about her new novel 'Neon Green.' Plus, your hosts discuss the Hulk Hogan lawsuit against Gawker and Peter Thiel's role in it.
This week, Seth, Laurie and Tom talk about one of Seth’s favorite topics: bullshit. The conversation ranges across a few recent newsmakers, including Jared Kushner, son-in-law of Donald Trump and owner of the New York Observer; Gay Talese, acclaimed journalist and author of the debatably non-fiction book 'The Voyeur’s Motel'; and Jonah Lehrer, former writer for The New Yorker at the center of several plagiarism scandals.