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LA Review of Books

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The Los Angeles Review of Books is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and disseminating rigorous, incisive, and engaging writing on every aspect of literature, culture, and the arts.The Los Angeles Review of Books magazine was created in part as a response to the disappearance of the traditional newspaper book review supplement, and, with it, the art of lively, intelligent long-form writing on recent publications in every genre, ranging from fiction to politics. The Los Angeles Review of Books seeks to revive and reinvent the book review for the internet age, and remains committed to covering and representing today’s diverse literary and cultural landscape.

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The Los Angeles Review of Books is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and disseminating rigorous, incisive, and engaging writing on every aspect of literature, culture, and the arts.The Los Angeles Review of Books magazine was created in part as a response to the disappearance of the traditional newspaper book review supplement, and, with it, the art of lively, intelligent long-form writing on recent publications in every genre, ranging from fiction to politics. The Los Angeles Review of Books seeks to revive and reinvent the book review for the internet age, and remains committed to covering and representing today’s diverse literary and cultural landscape.

iTunes Ratings

26 Ratings
Average Ratings
23
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0
2
1

Best LIT podcast around

By MoreenQ - Oct 27 2015
Read more
Believe it!

Tough to read on an iPhone

By Egomet Bonmot - Apr 21 2013
Read more
On episode titles could you write names first, LARB second?

iTunes Ratings

26 Ratings
Average Ratings
23
0
0
2
1

Best LIT podcast around

By MoreenQ - Oct 27 2015
Read more
Believe it!

Tough to read on an iPhone

By Egomet Bonmot - Apr 21 2013
Read more
On episode titles could you write names first, LARB second?

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Cover image of LA Review of Books

LA Review of Books

Updated 1 day ago

Read more

The Los Angeles Review of Books is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and disseminating rigorous, incisive, and engaging writing on every aspect of literature, culture, and the arts.The Los Angeles Review of Books magazine was created in part as a response to the disappearance of the traditional newspaper book review supplement, and, with it, the art of lively, intelligent long-form writing on recent publications in every genre, ranging from fiction to politics. The Los Angeles Review of Books seeks to revive and reinvent the book review for the internet age, and remains committed to covering and representing today’s diverse literary and cultural landscape.

Radio Hour: Lesley MM Blume on Ernest Hemingway, Laura Albert recommends, and Janet Fitch reads

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This week Tom and Laurie talk with Lesley MM Blume about her new book 'Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Hemingway’s Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises.' Laura Albert is back on the show after last week's brilliant interview to recommend Annie Proulx’s 'Barkskins.' Plus, Janet Fitch’s reading from her novel 'Paint it Black.'

Sep 15 2016

34mins

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Best Foreign Films of 2016; Awards Season; Tom Lutz on TC Boyle & DH Lawrence

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LARB's resident film critic Anna Shechtman joins fellow cinephiles Medaya Ocher & Kate Wolf to talk about their favorite foreign films of 2016; focusing on Pedro Almodovar's change of pace, Julieta; Paul Veerhoeven's Elle starring fiercely sublime Isabelle Huppert; and The Handmaiden, a genre-bending and visually stunning tale of Victorian Korea by Park Chan-Wook. Also, Tom Lutz recommends TC Boyle's The Terranauts (with its surprising Trump Administration tie-in); and praises DH Lawrence's Terra Incognita.

Jan 27 2017

37mins

Play

Natasha Stagg's Fashionworld Phantasmagoria

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Kate Wolf talks with "It Girl" Natasha Stagg about her new essay collection from Semiotexte: Sleeveless: Fashion, Image, Media 2011-19. Natasha explains overcoming her reluctance to move to NYC, how she landed in the fashion world - simultaneously at its center and on the periphery - and what she discovered there. This most-priveleged sphere in the capital of the world is just part of the scenery: where the old is new again until the moment of re-interpretation passes; the thrill of creativity is tangible, yet nothing to get excited about; and it's most definitely post-Post-Modern yet pastiche, nostalgia, and appropriation remain the order of day. Telling tales of Late Capitalism in its interminable phase. The conversation also inspires Medaya Ocher, LARB's Managing Editor, to reveal details of her previous life as a Parisian fashion photographer.
Also, Ariana Reines, author of the A Sand Book, returns to recommend two exceptional works of poetry, one old, one new: James Merrill's National Book Award winning epic from the late 70s, The Changing Light at Sandover; and Edgar Garcia's Skins of Columbus: A Dream Ethnography.

Nov 02 2019

48mins

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Sally Rooney: Great Expectations

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Co-hosts Medaya Ocher and Kate Wolf speak with Sally Rooney about her two novels Conversations with Friends and Normal People. Dubbed the "Jane Austin of the Precariat" and called "the first great millennial novelist" Sally addresses the acclaim she’s received; and how she’s grown into the person and writer she is today.
Also, William E. Jones returns to recommend The Imposter byJavier Cercas, which tells the story of Spaniard Enric Marco, who was a national hero until he was exposed as a fraud in 2005.

May 03 2019

39mins

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The Delightful Rage of Fran Lebowitz

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Eric Newman, Medaya Ocher and Kate Wolf speak with legendary public speaker Fran Lebowitz. In a wide-ranging conversation, the gang flits from the Kavanaugh hearings to how the uber-rich have blighted the landscape of New York, from the escapism of literature (Lebowitz maintains that books are always better than real life) to the changes that have rocked the media environment in which Lebowitz has been a central figure for decades. In her iconic unvarnished style, Fran proves — as if there were ever any need for such a thing — that she’s still one of the most fascinating people to chat with about the lofty and mundane.
Also, Eric recommends classicist Madeline Miller's novel, The Song of Achilles, that brings to life the love affair between Patroclus and Homeric Greece's greatest warrior.

Sep 28 2018

46mins

Play

Leo Braudy Haunted in Trump's America; plus Michael Morpurgo, and Dorothy Parker's Love Song

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Leo Braudy talks with host Laurie Winer about his new book Haunted: On Ghosts, Witches, Vampires, Zombies, and Other Monsters of the Natural and Supernatural Worlds; and its relevance for understanding our terrifying new post-election world. Impresario Paul Crewes drops by to recommend Michael Morpurgo's WWII yarn The Amazing Story of Adopho Tips; and we listen to Dorothy Parker's Love Song.

Dec 01 2016

33mins

Play

LARB Radio: Simon Reynolds' Glam Rock History Shock and Awe + Denise Levertov & Hortense Powdermaker

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Host Evan Kindley talks with Simon Reynolds about his new book "Shock and Awe: Glam Rock and Its Legacy, from the Seventies to the Twenty-first Century." David Bowie may be Glam's greatest superstar, but figures as diverse as Roxy Music, Alice Cooper, and LA's own Sparks are also central to this most colorful and still-influential 1970's pop movement. The LA Times Jill Leovy drops by to recommend anthropologist Hortense Powdermaker's After Freedom, a study of 1920'as Mississippi; and which remains a stunning reminder of the severe oppression suffered by Black Americans under Jim Crow. This week's poetry reading is of Denise Levertov's Psalm Concerning the Castle.

Nov 10 2016

35mins

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Laura Albert on the Documentary "Author: The JT Leroy Story"

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Hosts Laurie Winer and Tom Lutz talk with Laura Albert on the eve of the cinematic debut of the documentary film about her, "Author: The JT Leroy Story." The conversation covers the story of the Albert's bestselling books, which she wrote under the pseudonym - or rather, through her avatar - "JT Leroy." It's one of the most fascinating, and controversial, tales in recent American letters.

Sep 08 2016

50mins

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Director Bong Joon Ho Talks Parasite

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Co-hosts Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher are joined by filmmaker, Bong Joon Ho, whose latest film is Parasite. Parasite has already gathered a wide range of acclaim, winning the Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and breaking specialty box office records. Bong joins us to discuss how he grew up, how he came up with the idea for the movie, and how he understands the relationship between the rich and the poor. Bong’s previous films include Mother (2009), Snowpiercer (2013) and Okja (2017).
Also, Sarah M Broom, author of The Yellow House, returns to recommend The Emigrants by W.G. Sebald.

Oct 18 2019

33mins

Play

Taschen's Dian Hanson on Bob Mizer; plus The Seventh Fire Documents Gangland on the Reservation

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Director Jack Pettibone and Producer Shane Slattery-Quintanilla join LARB's Gustavo Turner to discuss their exceptional new documentary The Seventh Fire. Six years in the making, the film takes an unflinching look at the lives of gang members on an Ojibwe Reservation in Minnesota; and discovers men of profound intelligence, acutely aware of the tragic history of their people. Then Dian Hanson, legendary editor of Taschen's sexy books series, drops by to tell the story of trail-blazing gay pornographer, Bob Mizer; and celebrate the publication of The Bob Mizer AMG 1000 Model Directory.

Jan 06 2017

46mins

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Among the Believers: Ammon Bundy and America's Armed Libertarian Right-Wing

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One of the most pressing issues facing American society is the rise of a radical anti-government right wing movement over the past few decades; and now, in particular, its relationship to President Trump. Author Anthony McCann goes right to heart of this movement in his new book Shadowlands: Fear and Freedom at the Oregon Standoff, the product of his first hand experience covering the Ammon Bundy-led occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in early 2016. In this illuminating conversation with co-hosts Kate Wolf, Eric Newman, and Medaya Ocher, McCann's observations about the array of characters at the heart of this dramatic stand off in isolated rural America both confirm and dramatically deny expectations. What is clear is that this movement, for worse not for better, now has deep roots in our country. Yet McCann's unflinching reporting points a way forward: nothing is to be gained by further isolation and vilification versus direct engagement with people, including with this troubled-but-fascinating lot.
Also, Lyra Kilston returns to recommend Laila Lalami's heralded 2014 novel, The Moor's Account.

Aug 16 2019

41mins

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Leslie Jamison on Everything

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Tom Lutz opens the show with a spirited introduction of co-hosts Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher and author Leslie Jamison, who has a new collection of essays: Make It Scream, Make it Burn. Jamison describes her empathic approach to her eclectic subjects, her relationship to the body and how she thinks about writing and authorship.
Also, Jenny Odell returns to recommend Robin Wall Kimmerer's Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses.

Oct 25 2019

50mins

Play

Lovers and Liars

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Authors Ivy Pochoda and Galt Niederhoffer join co-hosts Eric Newman and Medaya Ocher to talk about their new noir novels. Pochoda’s heralded Wonder Valley weaves a tale of striving, wayward Los Angelenos, from Skid Row through gentrifying neighborhoods and out to a New Age Desert commune; a 21st Century update of the gloom beneath LA’s glamour. Niederhoffer’s intimate Poison, a harrowing portrait of betrayal, is drawn from the author’s own experience (she accused her ex-partner of trying to murder her); which inspires a discussion about “gaslighting,” MeToo, and the need to challenge the underlying logic of patriarchy that informs these treacherous times. Also, author and avid reader Dan Lopez returns to recommend Sadness is a White Bird by Moriel Rothman-Zecher.

Jan 26 2018

37mins

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Carmen Maria Machado and Jenny Zhang

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This week’s podcast is another Doubleheader, featuring interviews with Carmen Maria Machado and Jenny Zhang recorded at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. First up, co-hosts Eric Newman, Kate Wolf, and Medaya Ocher speak with Carmen Maria Machado about her heralded collection, Her Body and Other Parties, an eclectic set of fictions that both revels in, and challenges, the standard tropes of a wide variety of genres. Carmen also drops hints about what to expect from her upcoming memoir. Then poet, essayist, and storyteller Jenny Zhang stops by to talk about her approach to writing Sour Heart, a collection of coming-of-age stories about the children of recent Chinese immigrants, which also won numerous prestigious awards this past year.

Jun 08 2018

45mins

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La Resistance Holiday Gift Show with the ACLU, EFF, and Earth Justice

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Hosts Medaya Ocher and Kate Wolf decide that in a year unlike any other, it's time for a different approach to holiday gift giving. How can we give the gift of resistance against the anti-democratic forces empowered on November 8th? Medaya and Kate raise this question with guests Adrienna Wong from the ACLU of Southern California, Adrian Martinez from Earthjustice, and Shahid Buttar of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Dec 22 2016

47mins

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Our Homes, Ourselves: Reading Interiors with Lydia Millet

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Co-hosts Eric Newman, Medaya Ocher and Kate Wolf talk with Lydia Millet about her new short story collection, Fight No More, which covers the wide swathe of LA life through intimate, quiet stories in homes magnificent and modest. In a wide-ranging conversation, Millet talks about the simultaneously private and public nature of homes, delighting in the moments that blur the distinction between what a host wants you to see and what they want to hide from view. Millet and the co-hosts also lament the pornified nature of contemporary culture, one in which abjection and nakedness are not only daily fare but also the center of performed social identities.
Also, author Jervey Tervalon pays tribute to his friend, legendary food critic and Los Angeleno Jonathan Gold, with some epic verse: Adventures in Life and Food with J Gold.

Aug 03 2018

52mins

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At the Movies with Geoff Dyer

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Geoff Dyer joins co-hosts Eric Newman, Medaya Ocher, and Kate Wolf to discuss his new book Broadsword Calling Danny Boy about the 1968 Richard Burton/Clint Eastwood war movie, Where Eagles Dare. In talking about a film that has held his attention since childhood, Dyer expounds on the continuities and discontinuities between the movie-going child and the adult critic as a resource for good film writing. It's not the plots that fascinate Dyer so much as a writer as the moments caught on camera that grab our critical attention: the signature expressions, the technicolorization of reality, the cacophony of sounds that transport us from our seats into the somewhere else of the film.
Also, Deborah Eisenberg, author of Your Duck is My Duck, returns to recommend a classic of Chinese Literature from the 18th Century: Cao Xueqin's five volume The Story of the Stone.

Mar 22 2019

39mins

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Chiara Barzini's Los Angeles Before the Earthquake; plus, Play Dead by Francine Harris

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Award-winning Italian screenwriter and English Language Novelist Chiara Barzini joins co-hosts Medaya Ocher and Eric Newman to talk about Things that Happened Before the Earthquake, which tells the story of an adolescent girl who moves with her family from Rome to LA in the early '90s. The conversation centers on the experience of moving to a massive, mythical city without a center; the turmoil of the Rodney King era; and the nuances of a coming-of-age immigrant tale. Also, Natalie Graham returns to recommend Play Dead, a collection of poems by Francine Harris.

Sep 28 2017

29mins

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John Waters: Holding Court with the King of Filth

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Co-hosts Eric Newman, Medaya Ocher and Kate Wolf are granted an audience with his Holiness the King of Filth, John Waters. Speaking about his new memoir, Waters opens up about the importance of understanding the business of show business, remaining committed to your vision and believing, against all odds, that you’ll be a success. Along the way, Waters talks about sex, politics and Eric's memory of meeting him at a urinal during a Hairspray! intermission.

Jun 14 2019

38mins

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Trump’s “Empire of Disorientation”: Philosopher Hans Sluga on Donald Trump

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Who is Donald Trump, and what does he stand for? Do we know? Does he himself know? Or is he caught in that precarious state of disorientation that characterizes our current political predicament.

The public discourse is heated, the language inflammatory. Philosopher Hans Sluga of the University of California, Berkeley, brings a cool head and rational thinking to his interview about our 45th president, Donald Trump, with Entitled Opinions host Robert Harrison.

Trump has been a real estate developer, a reality TV star, a prolific tweeter, a politician, and has changed his party affiliation seven or eight times. Is he a fascist? Sluga, author of Wittgenstein and Heidegger’s Crisis, warns against easy tags: “We’ve drained this word of much of its specific meaning.” Fascism, he says, “is a form of statism quite different from what we have in America today.”
Is he a populist? That’s not clear, either.

“Plutocrat,” the term Aristotle used to describe the rule of the rich, might be a more precise characterization. Sluga says we might turn to the world of real estate to understand Trump’s worldview.

Sep 08 2017

1hr 6mins

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Archive Fever: Marion Stokes' 24-Hour News Cycle

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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.

Dec 06 2019

32mins

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Generosity: Frederic Tuten's Life of Art, Literature, and Solidarity

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Author Fred Tuten joins co-hosts Medaya Ocher, Kate Wolf and Eric Newman to talk about his new book, My Young Life: A Memoir. The conversation begins with Fred explaining why after five celebrated novels, he chose to write a memoir; what follows is a series of beautiful reflections on his life. Indeed! Medaya says this is perhaps her very favorite LARB Radio Hour to date. Indeed, Fred's deep compassion for the people in his life, his novel-like descriptions of time and place, and his trenchant political observations makes this a show that cannot be missed - there's a true generosity of Spirit here.
Also, the irrepressible John Waters returns to recommend a book and offers four: Moby's new memoir, Then It Fell Apart; Kevin Killian's Fascination - as well as the works of Clarice Lispector and Dodie Bellamy.

Nov 29 2019

39mins

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Literary LA: Yogita Goyal on the Slave Narrative, Past and Present

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Yogita Goyal, author of Runaway Genres: The Global Afterlives of Slavery, joins Eric, Medaya, and Kate to discuss the shape of traditional slave narrative and the ways it has been transformed over the past 70 years across the world and in different genres. Goyal talks about what drew her to this subject, and about teaching the slave story in the Trump and Kanye era. She contrasts abolitionist era slave narratives with those from the past five decades, following their return to prominence in African-American literature in the 1970s, bringing together work by Paul Beatty, Colson Whitehead, and Toni Morrison.
Also, Monique Truong, author of The Sweetest Fruits, returns to recommend Chia-Chia Lin's beautiful debut novel, an immigrant narrative set in Alaska, The Unpassing.

Nov 22 2019

42mins

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Literary LA: Eve Babitz Back in Print

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Eve Babitz, our LA Woman, was one of the heavyweights of the 1970s New Journalism. Now, thanks to the New York Review of Books Classics series, Babitz's vibrant prose is collected in I Used To Be Charming: The Rest of Eve Babitz. Molly Lambert, who wrote the introduction to the edition, joins co-hosts Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher to discuss the career of this Southern California legend and why her writing remains as captivating as ever. Indeed, the show opens with Kate revealing the tremendous importance of Eve Babitz in her own life; and why she has long felt it necessary that this author, who conveys the cultural fabric of our hometown as well as any in recent decades, be readily available to new readers.
Also, Natasha Stagg, author of Sleeveless: Fashion, Image, Media New York 2011-2019, returns to recommend one of Denis Johnson's lesser known novels, The Name of the World.
This is the third 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.

Nov 15 2019

44mins

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Monique Truong's 19th Century Triptych Portraiture

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Co-hosts Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher speak with author Monique Truong about her new multi-voiced novel The Sweetest Fruits; aptly titled given its sensuality, and special attention to cuisine. Monique explains her decision to write in the voices of three women - one Greek, one African-American, and one Japanese - all of whom were central figures in the life of globetrotting 19th century author, Lafcadio Hearn, who was born in Greece and is best known for his books about Japan. Giving voice to amazing souls that history and patriarchal culture have put under erasure.
Also, Stephen Van Dyck, author of People I've Met From the Internet, returns to recommend Joe Brainard's groundbreaking I Remember from the 1970s.

Nov 09 2019

38mins

Play

Natasha Stagg's Fashionworld Phantasmagoria

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Kate Wolf talks with "It Girl" Natasha Stagg about her new essay collection from Semiotexte: Sleeveless: Fashion, Image, Media 2011-19. Natasha explains overcoming her reluctance to move to NYC, how she landed in the fashion world - simultaneously at its center and on the periphery - and what she discovered there. This most-priveleged sphere in the capital of the world is just part of the scenery: where the old is new again until the moment of re-interpretation passes; the thrill of creativity is tangible, yet nothing to get excited about; and it's most definitely post-Post-Modern yet pastiche, nostalgia, and appropriation remain the order of day. Telling tales of Late Capitalism in its interminable phase. The conversation also inspires Medaya Ocher, LARB's Managing Editor, to reveal details of her previous life as a Parisian fashion photographer.
Also, Ariana Reines, author of the A Sand Book, returns to recommend two exceptional works of poetry, one old, one new: James Merrill's National Book Award winning epic from the late 70s, The Changing Light at Sandover; and Edgar Garcia's Skins of Columbus: A Dream Ethnography.

Nov 02 2019

48mins

Play

Tori Reid Talks to the Iconic Nikki Giovanni

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Tori Reid, Hollywood insider and producer, visits with poet Nikki Giovanni to discuss her life and thoughts on the future, humanity, politics, and the highs and lows of it all. Giovanni is arguably the greatest living American poet, as well as a beloved activist and educator. On this special show, Giovanni shares her thoughts on our current political climate, the Global International African Arts Movement, and her report card to God about humankind.

Oct 31 2019

20mins

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Leslie Jamison on Everything

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Tom Lutz opens the show with a spirited introduction of co-hosts Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher and author Leslie Jamison, who has a new collection of essays: Make It Scream, Make it Burn. Jamison describes her empathic approach to her eclectic subjects, her relationship to the body and how she thinks about writing and authorship.
Also, Jenny Odell returns to recommend Robin Wall Kimmerer's Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses.

Oct 25 2019

50mins

Play

Director Bong Joon Ho Talks Parasite

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Co-hosts Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher are joined by filmmaker, Bong Joon Ho, whose latest film is Parasite. Parasite has already gathered a wide range of acclaim, winning the Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and breaking specialty box office records. Bong joins us to discuss how he grew up, how he came up with the idea for the movie, and how he understands the relationship between the rich and the poor. Bong’s previous films include Mother (2009), Snowpiercer (2013) and Okja (2017).
Also, Sarah M Broom, author of The Yellow House, returns to recommend The Emigrants by W.G. Sebald.

Oct 18 2019

33mins

Play

Literary LA: Stephen Van Dyck Meets People from the Internet

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Host Eric Newman is joined by Stephen Van Dyck, author of People I Met on the Internet, a series of narrative vignettes derived from the list Van Dyck kept for over a decade of all the men he first met online. Van Dyck talks about how internet chat rooms and blogs offered him a new safe world of contact as a shy queer teen; the unique counterintuitive intimacy of online encounters, and how sex often operates as a backdrop for more interesting experiences.
Also, Shelly Oria, editor of Indelible in the Hippocampus: Writings from the Me Too Movement, returns to recommend the books authored by the contributors to the collection including Blueprints for Building Better Girls by Elissa Shappell; The Bed Moved: Stories by Rebecca Schiff; See Through: Stories by Nelly Reifler; The Dark Dark by Samantha Hunt; Blue Talk and Love by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan; and Our Revolution: A Mother and Daughter at Midcentury by Honor Moore.

This is the second 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.

Oct 11 2019

32mins

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The Formation of the #MeToo Canon

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Co-Hosts Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher are joined by Shelly Oria to talk about her new anthology Indelible in the Hippocampus: Writings from the #MeToo Movement. The collection includes essays, poetry, and fiction around harassment, abuse and the underlying power dynamics in our everyday lives. Oria explains how the collection came together and the need for diverse voices and styles in our fraught political moment.
Also, Tea Obreht, author of Inland, returns again to recommend Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah's short story collection Friday Black.

Oct 04 2019

41mins

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Sarah M Broom's Autobiography of a House

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Co-hosts Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher speak with Sarah M Broom about her latest work The Yellow House; a moving and beautiful book rooted in one place, which combines memoir, archival history of her family, and a story of her growing up in New Orleans East. Sarah explains how the culture of this forgotten part of the city - isolated by the industrial canal, accessible only by the High Rise bridge - came alive in and around her family's home. Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans East and destroyed The Yellow House; but through days of interviews and years of research Sarah conjures them back to life, reviving her large extended family, re-animating a lost world rife with character, tragedy, wisdom, and love.
Also, Tea Obreht, author of The Tiger's Wife and Inland, returns to recommend Salvatore Scibona's stunning second novel, The Volunteer.

Sep 28 2019

38mins

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A Podcast About Nothing with Jenny Odell

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Jenny Odell, author of How To Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, joins co-hosts Medaya Ocher and Kate Wolf to asses the state of the human soul in the age of social media reproduction. The verdict is clear: we need strategies of resistance. Constantly tracked and hunted by the digital panopticon, we have no time for reverie, reflection, letting go, or just being. We desperately need Nothing, which is everything. Jenny shares details of her own liberation.
Also, Susan Straight, author of In The Country of Women, returns to honor Toni Morrison by sharing how she has read her favorite book every single year since she was twelve, Morrison's luminous second novel, Sula.

Sep 20 2019

43mins

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Recasting American Mythology: Tea Obreht's Western for the 21st Century

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What if that most celebrated of American genres, the Western, was stripped of its traditional tropes? Gone are the heroic lonesome gunslingers, the helpless women on the homesteads, the rampant outlaws, and cliched representations of inidigenous people. Is it possible that a such novel, rooted in greater historical accuracy, could prove equally (if not more) engaging? Tea Obreht's Inland accepts this challenge; and she joins co-hosts Medaya Ocher and Eric Newman to explain how she came to tell the story of two women, 40 years apart, on the western frontier. There's heartbreak, bravery, ghosts and camels because, when it comes to the western, reality is stranger than mythology.
Also, writer and translator Magdalena Edwards, whose article for LARB "Benjamin Moser and the Smallest Woman in the World" became a viral sensation, returns to direct folks to an astonishing filmed interview of Clarice Lispector, the only one available online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1zwGLBpULs

Sep 12 2019

34mins

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Literary LA: Susan Straight In the Country of Women

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The redemptive power of oral history is at the heart of Susan Straight's new memoir, In The Country Of Women; and also in this installment of the LARB Radio Hour, the first in a special series featuring Los Angeles authors. As Susan relates the amazing stories of the women in her family from across many generations to host Kate Wolf, the spirit and character of these women is conjured back to life. Our troubled times are presaged in the tragedies and violence encountered by Susan's ancestors; but the promise, not yet extinguished, of this blood-stained land shines through from these women of the past to their sisters in the present.
Also, filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar, whose latest film is American Factory, return to recommend four books: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead; The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson; and The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander.
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.

Sep 06 2019

39mins

Play

Race and Reparative Writing; plus, the Cutthroat World of Translation

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We have two great interviews this week. First up, Magdalena Edwards joins co-hosts Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher to discuss her article for LARB "Benjamin Moser and the Smallest Woman in the World," which has gone viral. This dialogue is no less gripping, as Magdalena outlines her experience working with a publishing industry icon as the hired translator for Clarice Lispector's The Chandelier; and what that harrowing experience led her to reveal about the sordid underbelly of intellectual accreditation. Suffice to say, the powerful readily exploit the vulnerable; but, in this case, the pen and the podcast are gaining the upper hand. Then, Kate and Medaya are joined by Jess Row to discuss his new groundbreaking work White Flights: Race, Fiction, and the American imagination. Row brilliantly critiques a broad range of white American authors as he advocates for reparative writing, in which writers use fiction "to approach each other again" in full awareness of America's long racist history. It's nothing short of a clarion call for authors to ply their trade in the fight against Trump and the on-going racist/enthno-nationalist revival that he leads.
(p.s. The amount of great literature referenced and discussed in both halves of this podcast would satisfy anyone's late summer reading list.)

Aug 29 2019

1hr

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21st Century Globalized Capitalism in Microcosm: American Factory

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LARB's Medaya Ocher talks with Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert about their new film which documents the recent history of an American factory in Dayton, OH that was closed last decade and re-opened this decade under Chinese ownership and management. The tale is rife with paradoxes: the communists are the capitalists; and the workers from the land of Reagan and Trump channel socialist solidarity as they move to form a union against the wishes of the folks from the People's Republic. The conversation fills in the backstory; and, along the way, reveals what makes this highly political documentary so compelling - the filmmakers' drive to capture the humanity of all the players in the drama.
Also, author Anthony McCann returns to recommend No One Knows My History, Fawn Brodie's beautifully written biography of Joseph Smith, the founding prophet of the Mormon religion.

Aug 23 2019

42mins

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Among the Believers: Ammon Bundy and America's Armed Libertarian Right-Wing

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One of the most pressing issues facing American society is the rise of a radical anti-government right wing movement over the past few decades; and now, in particular, its relationship to President Trump. Author Anthony McCann goes right to heart of this movement in his new book Shadowlands: Fear and Freedom at the Oregon Standoff, the product of his first hand experience covering the Ammon Bundy-led occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in early 2016. In this illuminating conversation with co-hosts Kate Wolf, Eric Newman, and Medaya Ocher, McCann's observations about the array of characters at the heart of this dramatic stand off in isolated rural America both confirm and dramatically deny expectations. What is clear is that this movement, for worse not for better, now has deep roots in our country. Yet McCann's unflinching reporting points a way forward: nothing is to be gained by further isolation and vilification versus direct engagement with people, including with this troubled-but-fascinating lot.
Also, Lyra Kilston returns to recommend Laila Lalami's heralded 2014 novel, The Moor's Account.

Aug 16 2019

41mins

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The Roots of California's Modernist Utopia: Tuberculosis and Teutonic Nudism

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"There's so much there, and it's so fascinating" observes co-host Kate Wolf after Lyra Kilston opens this week's podcast with a summary of her new book Sun Seekers: The Cure of California. Kate might as well be talking about the entire history, brief yet spectacular, of Southern California. This week's show unveils another of the spectacular paradoxes that define the rise of the Golden State Paradise/Dystopia - the relationship between California Modernism to European Sanatorium culture. If you've ever marveled at the modern architectural jewels that dot the LA landscape; and fantasized about a refined European ex-pat community that built them - prepare to have your dreams recast (in the best SoCal tradition!). Lyra spins fascinating tales that will challenge your understanding of LA history, in dialogue with Kate and Eric Newman,
Also, Hanif Abdurraqib returns to recommend Harmony Holiday's new book of poetry, A Jazz Funeral for Uncle Tom.

Aug 09 2019

34mins

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James Ellroy and Tom Lutz: The Storm in 1942 Los Angeles

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What could possibly be more of an LA literary event: James Ellroy reading from his new novel, This storm, then talking with Tom Lutz, founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Los Angles Review of Books - and even taking questions from the audience (you simply need to hear his answer to a question about Trump). It's the greatest contemporary practitioner of the great LA genre, live in LA!

Aug 02 2019

54mins

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