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LARB Radio Hour

The Los Angeles Review of Books Radio Hour is a weekly show featuring interviews, readings and discussions about all things literary. Hosted by LARB Editors-at-Large Kate Wolf, Medaya Ocher, and Eric Newman.
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Now displaying: October, 2021
Oct 29, 2021

In a special LARB Book Club installment of the Radio Hour, Boris Dralyuk and Callie Siskel speak with poet Natalie Diaz about her collection Postcolonial Love Poem, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2021. Diaz is also the author of the collection When My Brother Was an Aztec, which was a 2012 Lannan Literary Selection and won an American Book Award the following year. Throughout her work she explores the beauty and heartbreak of her own experience as a Latina and Mojave American as well as the broader tragedies and contractions of life in the US and in its global shadow.
Also, Dodie Bellamy, author of Bee Reaved, returns to recommend Marlen Haushofer's 1963 novel The Wall.

Oct 22, 2021

Kate, Daya, and Eric speak with director Todd Haynes about his latest movie, and first documentary, The Velvet Underground, which shows just how the legendary rock group became a cultural touchstone representing a range of contradictions. The band is both of their time, yet timeless; rooted in high art and underground culture. The film features in-depth interviews with key artistic players of the 1960s combined with a treasure trove of never- before-seen performances and a rich collection of recordings, Warhol films, and other experimental art. The result is an immersive experience into what founding member John Cale describes as the band's creative ethos: “how to be elegant and how to be brutal."
Also, Kelefa Sanneh, author of Major Labels: A History of Popular Music in Seven Genres, returns to recommend I'm with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie by Pamela Des Barres.

Oct 14, 2021

Writer Dodie Bellamy joins Kate Wolf to speak about her latest collection, Bee Reaved. The book gathers nearly 20 essays Bellamy has written over the last few years, with a focus on the state of bereavement, examining not only the loss of her husband Kevin Killian, but the loss of other artists, physical objects, her own past lives, and radical social movements. As with all of Bellamy’s work, the pieces in Bee Reaved foreground the viscera of the body and other aspects of the physical world, while also engaging with ghosts, fairy tales, the internet, spirituality and a deep sense of community.
Then, in this week's second interview, Kate is joined by fillmaker Mia Hansen-Love to discuss her latest, and first English-language movie, Bergman Island, which follows a filmmaking couple during their residency on Fårö, the island in Sweden where Ingmar Bergman lived and shot many of his films. As the couple, Chris and Tony, work on their screenplays and tour the sites that inspired the great filmmaker, the line between real life and fiction becomes ever more ambiguous. Bergman Island opens in theaters October 15th and available for digital rental October 22nd.

Oct 7, 2021

Kate Wolf speaks with writer Kelefa Sanneh about his debut book, Major Labels: A History of Popular Music in Seven Genres. An exhaustive, enthralling breakdown of the last 50 years in music, Major Labels diagrams the American sonic landscape, Alfred Barr-style, in the discrete yet overlapping categories of rock, R&B, country, punk, hip hop, dance, and pop; it also pays close attention to the proliferation of genres within genres, covering everything from thrash metal to glitter rock, quiet storm to hip hop soul, and many more. The book reveals what these divisions mean not only for the way music gets made, but how it’s listened to, and by whom. In conversation, we learn what inspired, and continues to inspire, one of our leading music writers.
Also, Cynthia Cruz, author of The Melancholia of Class, returns to recommend a collection of writings by the late Mark Fisher "Ghosts of My Life: Writings on Depression, Hauntology, and Lost Futures."

Oct 2, 2021

Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher are joined by author Cynthia Cruz to discuss The Melancholia of Class: A Manifesto for the Working Class. A mix of memoir, cultural theory, and polemic, Cruz’s latest work addresses the personal and social consequences of the marginalization of America’s majority population, its working class. Cruz speaks about what inspired her to write the book and how she came to focus on the lives of certain famous working-class people, like musicians Amy Winehouse and Ian Curtis (who both died tragically in their 20s), and Jason Molina (who made it to 39), actress Barbara Loden, and others. How did they and Cynthia contend with the hegemonic “middle-class” culture’s shaming of working-class characteristics? Denial and repression of working-class consciousness is encouraged in our society. This repression is seen as a precondition for success, but it mangles the soul and shreds the bonds of social solidarity that are the foundation of community and provide a sense of belonging. 173 years after Marx and Engels recast the working class as the protagonist of history in their Manifesto, Cruz does the same in hers.

Also, Amia Srinivasan, author of The Right to Sex: Feminism in the 21st Century, returns to recommend Revolting Prostitutes: The Fight for Sex Workers’ Rights by Molly Smith and Juno Mac, who are both British sex workers.

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