Eric Newman, Medaya Ocher and Kate Wolf speak with legendary public speaker Fran Lebowitz. In a wide-ranging conversation, the gang flits from the Kavanaugh hearings to how the uber-rich have blighted the landscape of New York, from the escapism of literature (Lebowitz maintains that books are always better than real life) to the changes that have rocked the media environment in which Lebowitz has been a central figure for decades. In her iconic unvarnished style, Fran proves — as if there were ever any need for such a thing — that she’s still one of the most fascinating people to chat with about the lofty and mundane.
Also, Eric recommends classicist Madeline Miller's The Song of Achilles that brings to life the love affair between Patroclus and Homeric Greece's greatest warrior.
Documentary filmmaker Bing Liu joins host Eric Newman to discuss his award winning and critically acclaimed documentary Minding the Gap. A portrait of Bing's friends from his skate community in his hometown of Rockford Illinois, Minding the Gap is a hard film to pin down. In his conversation with Eric, Bing reflects upon the allure of skate culture for struggling teens, the cycles of domestic violence and abuse that move across generations from parents to children, and the emotional and cultural density of life in Middle America.
Also, Michael Arceneaux, author of the collection I Can't Date Jesus, returns to recommend Darnell Moore's No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America, a tale of a young, queer, black activist that's full of social observations, trenchant critique, and beautiful prose.
Michael Arceneaux joins co-hosts Eric Newman and Medaya Ocher to discuss the first collection of his writing, the critically heralded I Can't Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race and Other Reasons I've Put My Faith in Beyonce. If ever a LARB podcast captured the texture of an author's writing, this may be it. After Michael opens the show, fittingly, by reading a passage from his book, he and Eric begin with reflections on their shared experience of growing up Queer and Catholic in the South - the conversation then moves seamlessly through matters of faith, family, race, writing and gay dating culture - all of it infused with Michael's wit. Along the way, amidst the laughter, much is revealed about our deepest shared desires.
Author Porochista Khakpour joins co-hosts Medaya Ocher and Kate Wolf to talk about her new book Sick: A Memoir, which chronicles her struggle with Lyme disease. Porochista discusses how she identified the illness, how it has affected her career and day to day life and how she navigates the experience of being a young sick woman in contemporary society.
Also, LARB's Medaya Ocher recommends Ali Smith's novel Autumn.