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Author Sigrid Nunez, who won the National Book Award for 2018's The Friend, joins Kate and Eric to talk about her new novel, What Are You Going Through, which focuses on the narrator's close relationship to a friend with a terminal illness. The work revolves around witnessing the lives and needs of others; intertwines with themes of friendship, mor…
 
Yaa Gyasi’s latest novel, Transcendent Kingdom, takes on family and the gulfs of diaspora experience through an intimate narrative of a neuroscientist trying to come to grips with her brother’s drug overdose and her mother’s crippling depression. Gyasi joins us to reflect on the different ways in which faith and science attempt to answer the unfath…
 
Hosts Kate and Medaya talk to Kelli Jo Ford, author of the new novel, Crooked Hallelujah, a multi-generational story about Justine — a mixed-blood Cherokee woman — and her daughter Reney. Kelli Jo Ford, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, discusses her love of landscape, her childhood, and how she has come to consider about faith, even in…
 
Hosts Kate, Eric, and Medaya are joined by renowned Chinese writer Yan Lianke, whose latest book is the memoir Three Brothers, about his childhood growing up during the Cultural Revolution. Calling in from Beijing, Yan discusses his life as a writer, being banned and censored in his own country and how he thinks literature can influence politics. N…
 
Co-hosts Kate and Medaya are joined by writer Joni Murphy, whose new novel, Talking Animals, takes place in a fictional New York City, populated entirely by animals. Joni discusses why she chose an alpaca and a llama as her protagonists, and how animals might allow us to talk about climate change, politics, and culture differently. Plus, Akwaeke Em…
 
Hosts Eric and Medaya are joined by the writer Awkaeke Emezi, whose new novel The Death of Vivek Oji, explores the life and death of a young transgender person, Vivek, who is discovering and navigating his identity in contemporary Nigeria. We talk with Akwaeke about what inspired this story, their own life and childhood in Nigeria, and how they thi…
 
Eric and Melissa Faliveno, author of Tomboyland, parse the history of the tomboy, its queer geographic and temporal character, as part of a broader discussion about how gender remains a wonderfully incoherent experience for so many of us, yet one that social and cultural norms is forever trying to fit into neat, rigid boxes. As she reflects on her …
 
Authors Aminatou Sow and Ann Friendman join co-hosts Kate and Medaya to discuss their exploration of their friend, and close adult friendships in general, Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close. The discussion opens up with Aminatou and Ann telling the story of their friendship, how they met, bonded, grew inseparable, and have remained emotio…
 
Mieko Kawakami, whose poignant and pointed debut novel Breasts and Eggs is this season’s LARB’s Book Club selection, joins Medaya Ocher and Boris Dralyuk to discuss her career as a musician, poet, blogger, and author, the challenges facing women around the world, the state of Japanese literature, and the wonders of translation. Also, Eric Cervani, …
 
This week, co-hosts Eric and Medaya talk to professor, writer, and revolutionary, Frank B. Wilderson III, whose latest book, Afropessimism, is a work of memoir and theory. Wilderson defines Afropessism, the ways it has been misrepresented and how it can shape our understanding of contemporary justice. Wilderson also recounts his childhood and how h…
 
This week, Medaya speaks with acclaimed filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda about his new film, The Truth (La Vérité), starring French film screen legends Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche. Kore-eda discusses complicated family dynamics, the relationship between art and truth-telling and what brought him to France. In our second interview, Kate and Me…
 
Author Eric Cervini Cervini explains Frank Kameny's legacy as a complex figure in the history of the LGBTQ struggle, as he discusses his new book The Deviant's War with Daya, Kate , and Eric. Kameny was a trailblazer for civil rights yet also a person deeply committed to an assimilationist vision of queer equality, one that often sidelined people o…
 
The new documentary Disclosure captures the history of trans representation in Hollywood and mainstream media, with particular attention to the ways in which racism and misogyny influence the portrayal of those who transgress society’s gender norms in order to live their truth. In a wide-ranging discussion, Director Sam Feder and Laverne Cox, star …
 
Ottessa Moshfegh, one of America's most celebrated young writers, joins Kate and Daya to discuss her third novel, Death in Her Hands. Ottessa completed the book before the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has an uncanny resonance with this unique historic moment as it grapples throughout with issues of isolation. When, in the interview, O…
 
In light of the nation-wide public uprising that followed the murder of George Floyd, we return to Patrisse Cullors, author of When They Call You a Terrorist: a Black Lives Matter Memoir. At the 2018 Lambda LitFest, Patrisse spoke with host Eric Newman about her activism, the philosophy that undergirds #BlackLivesMatter and how queer writers and ac…
 
Juli Delgado Lopero, author of Fiebre Tropical, joins Eric and Daya. Juli shares how their debut novel draws on their experiences growing up in a strong, matriarchal family, moving from Colombia to the U.S. as a teen, and grappling with the unevenness of coming to queer consciousness beyond the cliche coming out narrative. As we close out the show,…
 
Kate and Medaya talk to the critic and writer Olivia Laing about her new collection of essays Funny Weather: Art in an Emergency. The three discuss the role of art in dark times, Olivia’s environmental activist youth and what she turns to during a crisis. Then, Lucy Ives joins the hosts to discuss the legacy of the artist, architect and writer Made…
 
One surefire way to lift yourself out of the shelter-in-place doldrums is to engage with someone whose enthusiasm for life and literature is more infectious than any coronavirus. Wayne Koestenbaum joins Kate, Eric, and Daya to discuss his new collection of essays Figure it Out; what ensues is a conversation with exuberant inspirations at every turn…
 
Writer, editor, and poet Cathy Park Hong joins Medaya Ocher for a dialogue about her new book Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning, which is a blend of memoir, history, and cultural criticism that investigates what it means to live as an Asian American women and artist in America. Cathy and Daya learn that they shared some quirky experiences…
 
This week we bring you two tales of lore from the olden days of Queer LA. First, Kate, Daya, and Eric are joined by Sharp and Durk Dehner from the Tom of Finland Foundation to tell the story of the legendary gay artist Touko Valio Laaksonen, who immigrated to Los Angeles, on the occasion of Tom's 100th birthday. Then, Rachel Mason drops by to talk …
 
This week, writer Rufi Thorpe joins Eric and Medaya to discuss her latest novel, The Knockout Queen. Rufi, Eric, and Medaya talk about love and violence in American culture, as well as our failed systems of justice. They also discuss RuPaul’s Drag Race, and the beauty of friendships, which brings one of our hosts to tears. Also, Felicia Angeja Viat…
 
This week, we're joined by Felicia Angeja Viator, author of To Live and Defy in LA: How Gangsta Rap Changed America. Eric, Kate and Medaya talk with Felicia about the rise of gangsta rap in Los Angeles, the sounds and culture that defined the era, the artists and performers who rose to stardom, and how we still see the effects of that sound in musi…
 
What better way to break out of the stay-in-place doldrums, and reflect on this transformational moment, than to consider the role of the random in the creation of the new with one of our most brilliant shape-shifters, artist Harry Dodge. Kate, Medaya, and Eric speak with Harry from four different locations across Southern California on the occasio…
 
From their disclosed locations, Kate, Eric, and Daya report on the new normal: cooking, enclosure, and a changed perspective on doing nothing. One thing they all agree on, it's a good time to give Jenny Odell another listen, so... Jenny Odell, author of How To Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, joins co-hosts Medaya Ocher and Kate Wolf to…
 
"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 parado…
 
Kate and Medaya talk to longtime journalist Joshua Hammer about his most recent book, The Falcon Thief: A True Tale of Adventure, Treachery, and the Hunt for the Perfect Bird. Joshua discusses the strange story of notorious egg smuggler, Jeffery Lendrum, and the wildlife detective who pursued him, as well as the larger repercussions of wildlife poa…
 
Tom Lutz sits down with legendary Los Angeles author Walter Mosley, recipient of LARB/UC Riverside Lifetime Achievement Award. Mosley, a master of contemporary noir, has written over 50 books, most famously Devil in a Blue Dress. In late 2019, Mosely published Elements of Fiction; and his most recent novel, Trouble Is What I Do, hit the bookstores …
 
Janet Fitch, author of the classic White Oleander, joins Kate and Medaya to discuss the life and work of Kate Braverman, a Los Angeles literary legend who passed in late 2019. Braverman was Janet's teacher, mentor, and later friend; and Janet reflects on the person she knew, tells tales of her in the classroom, and, of course, on the power of her w…
 
This week the legendary actress, model and filmmaker Isabella Rossellini joins co-hosts Kate and Medaya to discuss her new theatrical production, Link Link Circus, her studies into animal behavior, and her long career in film and TV. Isabella also discusses her most recent book, My Chickens and I; as well as her previous one, Green Porno, a hugely …
 
Kate and Medaya talk with award-winning screenwriter and novelist Charles Yu about his new book, Interior Chinatown; an experimental, yet eminently enjoyable, novel-in-the-form-of-a-screenplay. Charles discusses how he came to write such a formally challenging book, in which the central character's world is defined by, and limited to, the horizons …
 
LARB Editor-in-Chief Tom Lutz is joined by author and USC Professor Viet Thanh Nguyen, winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his novel The Sympathizer, at a recent LARB Luminary Dinner. Viet begins by talking about about his family's experience as refugees, and how that informs his writing; as well as his understanding of globalization,…
 
Celine Sciamma joins hosts Eric Newman and Medaya Ocher to discuss her film Portrait of a Woman on Fire, which was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globes and won this year's Queer Palm at Cannes. Set in the 18th Century, the film is about the growing desire between a woman painter and her subject, a young woman about to marry a noblem…
 
Critic, photographer and artist, Hilton Als joins Kate and Medaya to discuss his debut play, Lives of the Performers, which tells the story of actress Sheryl Sutton, one of the lead actors in Robert Wilson's ground-shattering troupe in the 1970s. Als, the former theater critic at the New Yorker, also discusses his fascination with twins, writing a …
 
Legendary film critic J Hoberman joins Kate and Daya to discuss Make My Day: Movie Culture in the Age of Reagan, which is the the final installment of his film history trilogy Found Illusions. Hoberman describes how he set out to tell the story of how cinema operated as the social and political unconscious of American society throughout the Cold Wa…
 
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 tha…
 
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 spiri…
 
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…
 
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 televis…
 
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 …
 
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 Tr…
 
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 caree…
 
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 …
 
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…
 
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…
 
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 counterintuit…
 
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