It's a LARB Holiday Season tradition! Kate, Daya, and Eric review all that they read, watched, attended, and gossiped about to select their favorites from the past year. The result is a broad, eclectic array. Indeed, the first work chosen is by an author who died in 1996. Many more surprises ensue. A few of our picks are by authors or directors that we interviewed over the past year. Most, however, were not previously discussed on the show. No matter, every selection sparks a spirited discussion. As Eric warns in the introduction, "no one chose only one thing in any category." So, get out your notepads and prepare for an avalanche of excellence.
Check out all of our recommendations here.
Few would argue with the assertion that we are in the throes of a political crisis in American society; and, no doubt, many would acknowledge that the Trump presidency is more symptom than cause - that something with deep roots has taken hold of the American collective unconscious. How can this spell be broken? Is there a roll for progressive spirituality in healing our polity? What variant of mytho-poetic literature can truly speak to our times? Kate and Medaya talk with Amanda Garcia Yates, aka The Oracle of Los Angeles, author of Initiated: Memoir of a Witch about her spiritual practice, its deep historical roots, organic ties to nature, and the myriad ways it is misunderstood. What unfolds is a vibrant, inspiring exchange animated by literary theory, ecological awareness, and a tangible sense that ancient feminist wisdom can yet illuminate our dark zeitgeist. If you're looking for the perfect podcast for the winter solstice season, this is it.
Also, Molly Lambert, who wrote the introduction to I Used To Be Charming: The Rest of Eve Babitz, returns to recommend Dorothy B Hughes' 1963 noir classic The Expendable Man, re-released by New York Review of Books Classics.
This is the fifth episode in our series on LA and Southern California writers, artists and filmmakers. This episode of the LARB Radio Hour is supported in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency. Learn more at www.arts.ca.gov. Any findings, opinions, or conclusions contained herein are not necessarily those of the California Arts Council.
Author Darryl Pinckney joins Kate and Medaya to discuss his new collection, Busted in New York and Other Essays, which includes twenty-five pieces from the past two and a half decades, which reflect and report on politics, culture, and African-American lived experience. The conversation begins with Pinckney's thoughts on Barack Obama's election and presidency, and it's unexpected tragic denouement with the victory of Donald Trump. Pinckney reflects on what remains of the great advance that Obama represented. How much was lost? Should the next act have been so surprising? Looking back further, he wonders have we lost the America we thought we knew; or is our current nightmare merely the return of the repressed?
Also, Matt Wolf, director of Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project, returns to recommend Peter McGough's memoir of the 1980's New York art scene, I've Seen the Future and I'm Not Going.
Filmmaker Matt Wolf joins co-hosts Kate and Medaya to discuss his new documentary Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project. Marion Stokes was a former librarian, political activist, and early Apple investor who began recording the 24/7 news cycle in 1979 and continued into the early years of this decade, producing the largest archive of recorded television material. Matt discusses the potential of this archive, Marion’s vision, portraying problematic characters, and how the news reconfigures history.
Also, Yogita Goyal, author of Runaway Genres: The Global Afterlives of Slavery, returns to recommend German Author Jenny Erpenbeck's 2015 novel Go, Went, Gone about a retired professor and his relationship with African Refugees staging a protest in Berlin.