The Virtual Memories Show (general)

Poet/muse/amanuensis Kathy Bidus joins the show to talk about her contribution to the new collection SisterWriterEaters (Griffith Moon). Along the way, we get into her "quit college and move to New York" decision in the late '70s, the formation of an art salon in the early 80s, her Jean Valjean moment, meeting her husband (artist and past pod-guest Drew Friedman), Mad cartoonist Al Jaffee's impact on her sense of humor, the Old Jewish Comedian she's had a crush on all these years, what she learned from raising champion beagles, and the worst "please read my poetry" moment she ever had. Plus: I talk a LOT, mainly about dogs. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_234_-_Kathy_Bidus.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:57pm EST

Legendary (as in mega-award-winning) horror, science fiction and fantasy editor Ellen Datlow joins the show to talk about her career. We get into defining horror (and its subset, the conte cruel), how the business has changed and hasn't, the proper care and feeding of writers, dealing with diversity and representation in the anthologies she edits, finding good stories in translation, the pros and cons of blurring genre boundaries, keeping up with new voices, her preference for editing short fiction over novels, the writers she wishes she solicited stories from, running the monthly Fantastic Fiction reading series at the KGB Bar, the editing lesson she got from Ben Bova, and why it's never good when an author says, "This is the best thing I've ever written"! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_233_-_Ellen_Datlow.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:16pm EST

Editor/publisher Gordon Van Gelder joins the show to talk about his career in the science fiction and fantasy fields. We get into publishing F&SF Magazine, coping with burnout, balancing the demands of art and business, exploring the differences between editing for magazines vs. anthologies, trying to avoid disruption, handling diversity issues without implementing a quota, figuring out the dystopian theme of his current run of anthologies, dealing with the cultural, um, norms of stories of past decades, avoiding the perils of chasing "name" authors and rejecting a story by Ray Bradbury, making the shift from print to online, watching new writers develop a strong voice, working with the necessary egotism of writers, explaining how the internet has wrecked SF/F criticism, and more! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_232_-_Gordon_Van_Gelder.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00pm EST

In the '90s, Sven Birkerts cautioned us about the impact of technology on reading with The Gutenberg Elegies. In 2017, we mute our iPhones to talk about his new book, Changing the Subject: Art and Attention in the Internet Age (Graywolf Press). We dive into the impact of digital technology on perception and identity, but also get into the way life becomes a thematic puzzle in middle age, why he stepped down from his role directing the low-residency MFA program at Bennington, the joy of bringing his favorite writers in as instructors (and the ones he regrets not getting), the challenge of interviewing fiction writers, his big literary 0-fer and what I'm missing about Virginia Woolf, how he's adapting to a year-long sabbatical and how he understands his writing life, what he's learned editing the literary magazine AGNI, and why the prerequisite for anything he's reading is that it has to be more interesting to me than whatever it is he's vaguely brooding about. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_231_-_Sven_Birkerts.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:04pm EST

How did Patty Farmer go from businesswoman to historian of the Playboy empire? "I don't do well when I'm bored," she tells me, as we talk about her new book/oral history, Playboy Laughs: The Comedy, Comedians, and Cartoons of Playboy. We get into the cultural impact of Playboy (the clubs, resorts and jazz festivals, not just the magazine), my own history with same, the process of becoming friends with one's interviewees, gaining access to Hugh Hefner's immense archives, combining comedians and cartoonists into a single volume, the amazing work Hef did as a cartoon editor, how she swung from business deals to entertainment history, and more! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_230_-_Patty_Farmer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:02pm EST

Novelist Matt Ruff joins the show to talk about how his fantastic novel Lovecraft Country began as a TV pitch 10 years ago, and is now on its way to becoming an HBO series. We get into cultural appropriation issues (Matt's white and LC's about a black family dealing with racism and the supernatural in 1950s Chicago), the pros and cons of genre-hopping, the differences between mid-century racism in the North and the South, growing up over the course of his first three novels and learning to be happy with his voice, becoming friends with one of his favorite authors (past and future pod-guest John Crowley), his ambivalence toward HP Lovecraft and Philip K. Dick and his affinity for their imitators, why he loved the descriptions of late Heinlein novels but was disappointed by the books themselves (when he was 12!), bucking his family's religious traditions, missing his opportunity to babysit Thomas Pynchon's kid, and more! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_229_-_Matt_Ruff.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:19pm EST

The great Seattle cartoonist Ellen Forney joins the show to talk about comics, art, being bipolar, and the challenges of maintaining! We talk about her 2012 graphic memoir, Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me, finding a graphic representation of her depressive states, the evolution in her drawing style, the letter she stole from Michael Dougan, the process of going from comics panels to enormous murals for a light-rail station in Seattle, the influence of the Moosewood Cookbook, the importance of a psychology stats class she took in college, how she learned to teach comics, the moment when she felt she was using all her artistic tools, and more! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_228_-_Ellen_Forney.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:26pm EST

Comedy writer, journalist and screenwriter Ben Schwartz joins the show to talk serious laughs. We discuss his work on American humor between the wars, writing for Billy Crystal on the Oscars and his contributions to David Letterman's monologues, the profundity of Jack Benny and the importance of Bob Hope, his amazing (but unproduced) screenplay about Bob Hope and Larry Gelbart in Korea, how Jaime Hernandez' comics prepared him to move to LA, his take on Charlie Hebdo, and what it's like having the same name as the actor who played Jean-Ralphio on Parks & Rec! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_227_-_Ben_Schwartz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:29pm EST

"I'm not interested in doing something if it isn't groundbreaking." Joyce Farmer joins the show to talk about her transition from housewife to underground cartoonist legend, the adventure of disposing of 40,000 copies of her comic when the state of California was trying to pinch her and her partner, traveling the world and landing in Greece, making Special Exits, the heartbreaking comic memoir about the death of her folks after a decade or two away from cartooning, and why she could swear and curse just as much as her male underground peers. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_226_-_Joyce_Farmer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:38pm EST

Comics legend Howard Chaykin joins the show to talk about his career, the early assignment he'll never live down, getting clean and being boringly sober, how Gil Kane taught him how to behave as a cartoonist, why he's never gone to a strip club, what it's like to be a brand but not a fan-favorite, his love of television and his hatred of writing for television, the reason he brought Jewish leads (and reformed shitheels) to mainstream comics, the narrative values that led to his innovative page designs, discovering his bastardy in his 40s, the role of music and musicality in his work, why Jersey Boys makes him cry, and the influence of American Flagg! on multiple generations of cartoonists (for better and worse). • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_225_-_Howard_Chaykin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:17pm EST