558 episodes

A weekly conversation about books and life, not necessarily in that order.

The Virtual Memories Show Gil Roth

    • Arts
    • 4.9 • 74 Ratings

A weekly conversation about books and life, not necessarily in that order.

    Episode 492 - Howard Chaykin

    Episode 492 - Howard Chaykin

    Legendary comics creator Howard Chaykin rejoins the show to celebrate the conclusion of his Time2 opus, soon to be released in The Time2 Omnibus (Image Comics)! We talk about revisiting Time2 after a three-decade hiatus, his original intention for that world, the thrill & sleaze of NYC in his youth, and what he's learned about comics storytelling over the years. We get into the influence of musical theater, jazz, and Cinemascope tableaux on his work, the enlightening experience of Gil Kane's commentary/annotation of the movie Cover Girl, the parallels between fight scenes in superhero comics and people breaking into song in musicals, and how he's carved out a half-century career in mainstream comics while pushing back against the toxicity and fan-expectations of that genre (while also fighting purity culture). We discuss the Bartlett Sher staging of Fiddler on the Roof that left him in tears (& made him cry again when he described it to me), whether he can afford to be happy, the ways he's become more formalist as he came to understand the language & syntax of comics (as he teaches here), the musical he'd love to see, the joy of being an Outmander, why his neighbors still consider him "New Yorker on permanent leave" even though he's been in CA more than half his life, and MUCH more! Follow Howard on Twitter and Instagram (he's not really active on either of them, but does keep a pretty entertaining Substack going) • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

    • 2 hr 15 min
    Episode 491 - Andrew Jamieson

    Episode 491 - Andrew Jamieson

    Psychotherapist Andrew Jamieson joins the show to talk about his new book, MIDLIFE: Humanity's Secret Weapon (Notting Hill Editions/NYRB). We get into the history of midlife crises and the flowering that can result from that experience (while delving into our own respective midlife crises, as well as mankind's), Jung's theory of individuation & how it provides a path out of self-destructive behavior, the notion of therapy as applied philosophy, the gravitational field of authentic need, the importance of the Chinese Farmer story, his secret identity as a classical music concert promoter, why he chose to become a psychotherapist in his 50s and why he thinks I should become one. We also talk about why it's important for therapists be married to someone who has no interest in therapy, how writing a book is like serial plagiarism, the concept of love (or devotion) between therapist and client, whether neuroses can be cured or only soothed, the Ancient Greek notion of Kairos, or 'the right moment', what it was like conducting therapy sessions in a cemetery during lockdown, and plenty more. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

    • 2 hr 1 min
    Episode 490 - Alexandra Lange

    Episode 490 - Alexandra Lange

    With her fantastic new book, Meet Me by the Fountain: An Inside History of The Mall (Bloomsbury USA), architecture critic Alexandra Lange explores a subject near and dear to my NJ-native heart: The Mall! We talk about the evolving role of malls in modern America, the various snobberies that look down on malls and how she sidestepped them for her book, the social forces (suburbanization, car-centricity, racism & more) that led to the proliferation of malls, and what our relationships with malls say about us. We also get into the Mallwave phenomenon, the die-off of malls and what may come after, where kids congregate nowadays, her pandemic-cancelled trip to the Mall of America, and the jarring wrongness of the American Dream Mall. Plus we discuss her history as an architecture critic, what she'd love to see in a mall (& outside of one), my occasional dreams of malls that don't exist, her favorite '80s-era store, and more! Follow Alexandra on Twitter and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Episode 489 - Ira Nadel

    Episode 489 - Ira Nadel

    Professor & biographer Ira Nadel joins the show to talk about PHILIP ROTH: A Counterlife (Oxford University Press). We get into Ira's approach to literary biography, his history with Roth's books, and what it was like publishing the other major Roth bio of 2021 (and whether the materials & records that Roth authorized for Blake Bailey's biography will remain accessible, against Roth's wishes). We also talk about how his understanding of Roth changed over the course of the project, Roth's . . . disrespect for women, the major trends that emerged in Roth's life through the books, letters and other documents Ira explored, Roth's need to self-mythologize and his conflation of fact, fiction and metafiction in his work, Kafka's influence on Roth's involvement with Eastern Europe writers during the Cold War, the question of whether Roth was deluding himself when he insisted his writerly identity was his Americanness (as opposed to his Jewishness), his bad relationships with editors and publishers, the health woes that governed so much of his life, my key questions — "What's your favorite Roth novel?" and "Does Roth's work survive another 10-20 years?" — and plenty more! More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

    • 1 hr 48 min
    Episode 488 - Andreas Kilcher and Judith Butler

    Episode 488 - Andreas Kilcher and Judith Butler

    To celebrate the publication of the groundbreaking book, FRANZ KAFKA: THE DRAWINGS (Yale University Press), contributors Andreas Kilcher & Judith Butler join the show for a wide-ranging conversation about Kafka's art & how it intersects — and diverges from — his writing. We get into their essays in the book (and Andreas' role as co-editor), the humor & grotesqueness — and craft! — of K's drawings, the legal battle over their ownership, and the ways in which the drawings help us approach Kafka in a new light. We talk about Kafka's use of comic tension & comic relief, the ways in which the drawings liberated him from the horizontality of writing, his objections to using illustrations in his books, and Kafka's 'positive nihilism' & the reason why neither Judith nor Andreas believe he really wanted Max Brod to destroy all his papers. Plus, we explore their own histories with Kafka, their personal favorites among the drawings, and how their students' responses to Kafka have changed over the years. More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

    • 1 hr 20 min
    Episode 487 - Alvin Eng

    Episode 487 - Alvin Eng

    Playwright, performer and acoustic punk raconteur Alvin Eng joins the show to celebrate his new memoir, Our Laundry, Our Town: My Chinese American Life from Flushing to the Downtown Stage and Beyond (Fordham University Press). We get into his Chinese-American upbringing in the 1960s/70s, his evolution into musical theater and the education of '70s rock shows, the heyday of NYC performance art, his exploration of his Chinese heritage and the sensation of being Other in America & China, writing for the page vs. the stage, his Portrait Plays and how they interrogate other art forms and artists, the solitude of creation & collaboration of performance, how writing this memoir was sort of like making album, and more. Follow Alvin on Twitter and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

    • 1 hr 18 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
74 Ratings

74 Ratings

Julien_Sorel ,

A Must Listen

To all those who appreciate the literary arts, this show is essential.

Rose of Lucy ,

Step aside, Guy Raz

Step aside, Guy Raz. Gil Roth is my podcast crush now.

NJwclawyer ,

Great interviews with authors.

There are so many interesting books that never make it to the top of The New York Times bestseller list. This podcast consists of interviews with established authors who may not be household names but who have written some very interesting books and lead very interesting lives.
Gil Roth does a great job interviewing them. I guarantee you’ll not only enjoy the interviews but get some great ideas for your next read.

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