Moving between the starlight of Hollywood’s golden age and the stardust that made Studio 54 sparkle in the 1970s, director Matt Tyrnauer’s recent documentaries “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood” and "Studio 54" capture sexual utopias before the dawn of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Moving between the two films in a wide ranging conversation, host Eric Newman and Tyrnauer riff on post-closet culture, the social absorption of economic and political changes, and the glimpses of freedom to be caught in these moments for the archive of American experience.
Also, Ben Marcus drops in to recommend Catherine Lacey's most recent collection of stories Certain American States.
Is there something fundamentally different about contemporary capitalism than the system that Adam Smith identified, Karl Marx critiqued, and John Maynard Keynes sought to reform? If so, is there a unique underlying logic to what is frequently called Neo-Liberalism (aka post-Reagan/Thatcher capitalism)? Co-hosts Eric Newman and LARB Economics and Finance editor Michelle Chihara speak with Political Economist Martijn Konings about his ambitious new book, Capital and Time: For a New Critique of Neo-Liberal Reason, which posits that, yes, the current global order is distinct in ways that impacts every aspect of our lives. This raises two essential issues: one, on the economic and political front, how can we hope to reform (let alone challenge) Neo-Liberalism if we don't have a solid theoretical understanding of how it operates in our daily lives; two, on the philosophical front, given how all-encompoassing this system is in our materialist society, what does it say about how we experience "reality," in particular time. As Martin takes us through the changes that led to the rise of Neo-Liberal logic, he reveals the web we are entangled in - and, to paraphrase one of Martijn's predecessors, an accurate interpretation of the world is a necessary first step to changing it.
Also, Brian Phillips, author of Impossible Owls, drops by to recommend Rebecca West's beautiful, heart-wrenching 1956 novel The Fountain Overflows.
As one of today's featured authors is a celebrated sports blogger, it seems appropriate to begin by quoting legendary Chicago Cub Ernie Banks, "Let's Play Two!" Indeed, it's a Doubleheader today. First off, co-hosts Medea Ocher and Kate Wolf talk with Ben Marcus about his new collection, Notes from the Fog. Medea posits what she sees as a recurring theme in the stories, "Can we really know the people closest to us?" What follows is fascinating series of reflections on child raring, the banality of death, surreal realism, what makes a narrative compelling, and how Trump is undermining contemporary fiction. Then guest host Evan Kindley talks with Brian Phillips, one of our most celebrated non-fiction writers, about his new collection, Impossible Owls. While Brian initially gained notoriety and a huge fan base on the beloved-but-now-defunct Grantland website, which featured quality writing on sports; and he delighted millions with his puckish Tweets during the men's World Cup; he has now established himself as a master of long form reporting that is indistinguishable from the literary essay, through which he bares witness to our contemporary moment. In conversation with Evan, Brian opens up about his unorthodox career and inspired approach to his often-quirky subjects.
It's the LARB Radio Reunion Show, as the original triumvirate of hosts - Seth Greenland, Laurie Winer, and Tom Lutz - reconvene on the occasion of the publication of Seth's new novel, The Hazards of Good Fortune. The witty repartee flows forth as if they never skipped a beat. Seth speaks of the motivations and inspirations behind his sweeping story of contemporary American society that echoes classics from the previous gilded age. Tom and Laurie praise while they ponder the pressures of producing a narrative that captures the spirit of the times. The result is a thoroughly entertaining extended reflection on how we write today.
Also, Fran Lebowitz returns to recommend Deborah Eisenberg's masterful new collection of short stories, Your Duck is My Duck.