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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: July, 2023
Jul 28, 2023

Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher are joined by author Heidi Julavits, whose new book is called "Directions to Myself: A Memoir of Four Years." Heidi Julavits is also the author of The Folded Clock: A Diary as well as four novels. She is an associate professor at Columbia University. In Directions to Myself, Heidi returns to her own life, specifically her relationship to her pre-adolescent son, whose childhood is nearly at an end. After a student at her university accuses another of rape, she begins to wonder about how a mother should steer her son as he grows into a man. How can a parent guide and form who their child becomes? How much of our personhood is nature, nurture, or culture? She looks back at her own childhood, growing up in Maine, and the lessons and stories she heard from her own parents. The book works through Julavits’s own private thoughts and heartaches, but always leads back to bigger questions about the time we live in, the way we think about justice and punishment, and how we form ourselves as people.
Also, John Yau, author of Please Wait By the Coatroom: Reconsidering Race and Identity in American Art, returns to recommend Ghost Music by An Yu.

Jul 21, 2023

Kate Wolf is joined by filmmaker Wes Anderson and film programmer and distributor Jake Perlin to discuss Do Not Detonate Without Presidential Approval, an anthology inspired by Anderson's latest, Asteroid City, which is out in theaters now. The book, edited by Perlin, interprets different aspects of Asteroid City, including its setting, which is the American West (in a small town in the 1950s hosting a Junior Stargazers award ceremony) as well as it’s parallel existence as a televised stage play—another theme is the Broadway stage—and of course the movies themselves with the theme of mid-century cinema. Like Anderson’s film, the collection reveals an interwoven lattice of allusion, reference, and history; a deep and sometimes startling connection between American life, politics, and entertainment; the day to day realities of of being part of an ensemble and working on a theatrical production; as well some incredibly incisive film criticism with excellent essays on movies such as Vincente Minnelli's Some Came Running, Billy Wilder's Ace in the Hole, and Lewis Allen's Desert Fury

Jul 14, 2023

The poet and longtime art critic John Yau joins Kate Wolf and Eric Newman to speak about his latest collection of criticism, Please Wait By the Coatroom: Reconsidering Race and Identity in American Art. The book's title comes from an essay Yau wrote in 1988 on reductive readings of the Cuban artist Wifredo Lam and the unwillingness of art historians and curators to consider Lam’s biracial identity as relevant to his work. In his collection, Yau makes a case for the role identity and cultural background can play in the formation of an artist’s aesthetic choices, and he interrogates standard art historical hierarchies and the supposed objective viewpoint of the avant-garde. While he acknowledges a number of strides in recent decades toward a more inclusive, open version of art history, he also shows how far there is to come, a gap he helps to close through thoughtful pieces on artists such as Ruth Asawa, Kerry James Marshall, Richard Hunt, Jiha Moon, Ed Clark, and many more.
Also, Juana María Rodríguez, author of Puta Life: Seeing Latinas, Working Sex, returns to recommend A Lover's Discourse: Fragments by Roland Barthes.

Jul 7, 2023

Eric Newman is joined by scholar and critic Juana María Rodríguez to discuss her latest book, Puta Life: Seeing Latinas, Working Sex. Moving between stories gleaned from archives, interviews, and Rodríguez's personal experience, Puta Life explores the proliferating and often incongruous meanings of the term "puta" as it circulates in Latinx identity and culture as a signifier of power and powerlessness, rebellion and revulsion, exaltation and degradation. In accounting for how the figure of the puta is socially produced through the regimes of race, gender, class, and the state, Rodríguez's moving stories of those living, struggling, and thriving on the margins ask us to reckon with the past, present, and future of sex work. 
Also, Claire Dederer, author of Monsters: A Fan's Dilemma, returns to recommend Alison Bechdel's collection The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For.

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