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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: August, 2023
Aug 25, 2023

Writer, editor, and art historian Prudence Peiffer joins Kate Wolf to speak about her first book, The Slip: The New York City Street That Changed American Art Forever. The book is a group biography of a collection of luminous American artists including Agnes Martin, Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Indiana, James Rosenquist and Jack Youngerman, as well as his wife, the French actress and filmmaker, Delphine Seyrig. From the late 1950s to the middle of the 1960s, all of them happened to live in the same place: a collection of former sail-making warehouses on Coenties Slip, a dead end street in one of the oldest sections of Manhattan, right next to the river. Rather than jostle their work into well-established art historical movements and categories, Peiffer’s book asserts place as the generative frame from which to understand these artists and the connections and influence between them. Though the community was short-lived, their support of one another, the collective solitude they found, even their rivalry, takes shape as integral to their development, and at least one of the reasons that their work survives today.
Also, Andrew Leland, author of The Country of the Blind, returns to recommend Darryl by Jackie Ess.

Aug 18, 2023

Andrew Leland joins Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher to talk about his first book, The Country of the Blind: A Memoir at the End of Sight. The book recounts Leland’s experience of gradually losing his vision due to a condition called retinitis pigmentosa, which eventually results in blindness. The knowledge that it’s not a question of if, but when he will become blind, leads him to a deeper investigation of blindness itself: how it is represented in literature, language, and media; what its political and racial dimensions are; the connection it has to technology and innovation; how it can both shape identity and also feel incidental to it. Most importantly, Leland relates the ways blindness is actually experienced by the many people he meets and writes about in his book. Their testimonies help him reckon with the two worlds he finds himself in—the blind and the sighted—and close the gap between them.
Also, Heidi Julavits, author of Directions To Myself, returns to recommend David Wojnarowicz's Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration.

Aug 11, 2023

In this special edition LARB Book Club episode of the Radio Hour, Editor-in-Chief Michelle Chihara talks with Koritha Mitchell, editor of Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, and Michelle Lanier, professor and public historian in North Carolina. The two recount Lanier’s invitation to Mitchell to visit Edenton, North Carolina, the hometown of Harriet Jacobs. By visiting the historic site at the culmination of her project, out now by Broadview Press, Mitchell embraced the practice of embodied knowledge—connecting her physical experience in Edenton to the legacy of Jacobs’s escape from enslavement and creativity in survival. By combining their intellectual knowledge with Jacobs and physical embodiment of her hometown, Mitchell and Lanier connect their own work as descending from the legacy of Harriet Jacobs as an activist, scholar, mother, and writer.

Aug 4, 2023

A LARB Radio Hour double feature. In the first half of the show Eric Newman speaks to D. Smith about her new documentary—and directorial debut—Kokomo City. The film turns an intimate lens onto the lives of four Black transgender sex workers in Atlanta and New York, revealing their everyday experience alongside probing conversations about the intersections of gender, sexuality, and race as they struggle to survive and find acceptance within the Black community and a world at large that too often confronts them with derision, shame, and violence. Then, in the second half of the show, Kate Wolf is joined by filmmaker Claire Simon to discuss her new documentary, Our Body, which is shot entirely in the gynecology unit of a public hospital in Paris. Simon shows the many patients within at every stage of life: they manage unexpected pregnancies, transitioning genders, endometriosis, infertility, breast and reproductive cancer, birth, and death. The film lends itself to looking at individual bodies as part of a bigger organism—both within the hospital and society at large—and it gently questions the limits of autonomy, the power differential between doctors and patients, the hopes we have for our futures, and the fears and comfort we find when facing the end.

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