250 episodes

Interviews, readings, music, and more from the Los Angeles Review of Books.

LA Review of Books Los Angeles Review of Books

    • Books

Interviews, readings, music, and more from the Los Angeles Review of Books.

    Portrait of a Feminist Filmmaker

    Portrait of a Feminist Filmmaker

    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 nobleman. The central action takes place on an island in which the men all-but-disappear. Claire discusses how she rejects the established ways that women, women's bodies, their desire, and their sexuality are traditionally represented in cinema; and how she seeks to develop a new feminist approach to such representation, one which lends itself to new forms of dramatic tension and groundbreaking cinematography. Celine also addresses the struggles of women directors in France and their even greater marginalization in America; and what can be done to remedy this injustice.
    Also, Amanda Yates Garcia, author of Initiated: Memior of a Witch, returns to recommend Ariana Reines' transcendent poetry in A Sand Book.

    • 40 min
    Hilton Als on His Playwrighting Debut: Robert Wilson, Race, and the Avant Garde

    Hilton Als on His Playwrighting Debut: Robert Wilson, Race, and the Avant Garde

    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 play, and the role race has played in the history of the avant-garde.
    The show also includes a spirited debate among the hosts about this year's soporific Golden Globes: are woke actors enough to keep you awake?
    Also, legendary film critic J Hoberman returns to explain why his favorite film of 2019, Mary Harron's Charlie Says, was a superior take on the Manson Family saga than Quintin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

    • 41 min
    J Hoberman: Ronald Reagan, Donald Trump and the American Political Imaginary

    J Hoberman: Ronald Reagan, Donald Trump and the American Political Imaginary

    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 War and discovered along the way that Ronald Reagan was the "protagonist" of this story. The conversation traces Reagan's career in Hollywood and politics; and how the development of feel good blockbusters in the 1970s harmonized with Reagan's message as a candidate. Of course, no encounter with J Hoberman goes without delicious close readings of movies we love or loathe. You'll never see Ghostbusters the same way again! Equally poignant are J's thoughts on how our current entertainer President reflects the much coarser media environment of the 21st Century.
    Also, Darryl Pinckney, author of Busted in New York, returns to recommend Jonathan Crary's eloquent study of our exhausting, over-extended lives 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep - as well as James Fenton's collection of poems Yellow Tulips.

    • 46 min
    The Best of 2019: Books, TV, Movies, and More

    The Best of 2019: Books, TV, Movies, and More

    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 that we interviewed over the past year. Most, however, were not previously discussed on the show. No matter, every selection sparks a spirited discussion. As Eric warns in the introduction, "no one chose only one thing in any category." So, get out your notepads and prepare for an avalanche of excellence.

    • 1 hr
    Literary LA: Witches, Wisdom, and an Oracle for Our Troubled Times

    Literary LA: Witches, Wisdom, and an Oracle for Our Troubled Times

    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 spirituality in healing our polity? What variant of mytho-poetic literature can truly speak to our times? Kate and Medaya talk with Amanda Garcia Yates, aka The Oracle of Los Angeles, author of Initiated: Memoir of a Witch about her spiritual practice, its deep historical roots, organic ties to nature, and the myriad ways it is misunderstood. What unfolds is a vibrant, inspiring exchange animated by literary theory, ecological awareness, and a tangible sense that ancient feminist wisdom can yet illuminate our dark zeitgeist. If you're looking for the perfect podcast for the winter solstice season, this is it.
    Also, Molly Lambert, who wrote the introduction to I Used To Be Charming: The Rest of Eve Babitz, returns to recommend Dorothy B Hughes' 1963 noir classic The Expendable Man, re-released by New York Review of Books Classics.
    This is the fifth 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.

    • 46 min
    Darryl Pinckney: Reflections on the Present through the Prism of Our History

    Darryl Pinckney: Reflections on the Present through the Prism of Our History

    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 presidency, and it's unexpected tragic denouement with the victory of Donald Trump. Pinckney reflects on what remains of the great advance that Obama represented. How much was lost? Should the next act have been so surprising? Looking back further, he wonders have we lost the America we thought we knew; or is our current nightmare merely the return of the repressed?
    Also, Matt Wolf, director of Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project, returns to recommend Peter McGough's memoir of the 1980's New York art scene, I've Seen the Future and I'm Not Going.

    • 44 min

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