The Virtual Memories Show

Dave McKean, artist, writer, illustrator, cartoonist, designer, director, composer, and all-around creative force, joins the show to talk about how the story dictates the medium, why comics-making shouldn't be taught, the balancing act of collaborative and solo work, the missed opportunity of Tundra Publishing, his forays into theater and film with the WildWorks team and how they taught him to give up his control-freak nature, the influence of his jazz background, why it's okay sometimes to judge a book by its cover, the problem-solving nature of a long walk, how the early loss of his father plays out in his work, his tendency to start every project with a complete failure of confidence, and the confluence of forces that led to his amazing new book, Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_250_-_Dave_McKean.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:19pm EST

A bonus podcast? It's a Christmas miracle! No interview this time, but I talk about 2017, lament the loss of a past guest, and talk about what we're doing here. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: 2017_Year-End_Bonus_Mini-Episode.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:22pm EST

Three dozen of the year's Virtual Memories Show guests tell us about the favorite books they read in 2017 and the books they hope to get to in 2018! Guests include Pete Bagge, Kathy Bidus, Sven Birkerts, RO Blechman, Kyle Cassidy, Graham Chaffee, Howard Chaykin, Joe Ciardiello, John Clute, John Crowley, John Cuneo, Ellen Datlow, Samuel R. Delany, Nicholas Delbanco, Barbara Epler, Joyce Farmer, Sarah Williams Goldhagen, Paul Gravett, Liz Hand, Vanda Krefft, Michael Meyer, Cullen Murphy, Jeff Nunokawa, Mimi Pond, Eddy Portnoy, Keiler Roberts, Martin Rowson, Matt Ruff, Ben Schwartz, Vanessa Sinclair, Ann Telnaes, Michael Tisserand, Gordon Van Gelder, Shannon Wheeler, Wallis Wilde-Menozzi, Matt Wuerker . . . and me! Check out their selections at our site! Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_249_-_The_Guest_List_2017.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:27pm EST

This podcast has been to Hicksville and Coconino, so why not Fairfield County, CT? Cullen Murphy's new book, Cartoon County: My Father and His Friends in the Golden Age of Make-Believe (FSG), tells the story of Prince Valiant cartoonist John Cullen Murphy and the community of cartoonists, illustrators and comic-book artists who settled the southeastern corner of Connecticut in the '50s and '60s. Cullen & I talk about the confluence of factors that led to that community and his goal of preserving that golden age in this book, his realization that "cartoonist" was not a normal job for one's dad, his own cartooning aspirations, what writing Prince Valiant with his father taught him about storytelling, how his upbringing around cartoonists affected how he worked with illustrators as a magazine editor, why his father stuck with realism and never worked in bigfoot style, and what Cartoon County taught him about himself & his family. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_248_-_Cullen_Murphy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:46pm EST

Quick: Who is the "Fox" in 20th Century Fox? You'd know if you read Vanda Krefft's fantastic new book, The Man Who Made The Movies: The Meteoric Rise and Tragic Fall of William Fox (Harper)! Vanda joins the show to talk about William Fox's contributions to the movies, why he's virtually unknown today, and how she discovered his story. We also get into her decade-plus experience of researching and writing the book, Vanda's transition from journalist to biographer, the limits of historical records, the damage Fox wrought on his extended family by supporting them, the biographer's need to correct for hindsight, the influence of Nancy Drew on her writing career, the contrasts of her early life in Canada and her adult life in the US, and more! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_247_-_Vanda_Krefft.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:53pm EST

Yiddish scholar and raconteur Eddy Portnoy joins the show to talk about his new book, Bad Rabbi: And Other Strange but True Stories from the Yiddish Press. We get into the tabloid craziness of bigamist rabbis, fights over a Jewish beauty queen, 600-lb. wrestlers, and the déclassé Jews of Poland and New York from the heyday of Yiddish newspapers. We also talk about how Eddy taught himself to read & write Yiddish as a teen and then turned a really fun hobby into a low-paying career, the slip of the microfilm dial that led to this book, his embarrassing story about meeting (and lecturing) Ben Katchor, his resemblance to Geddy Lee, the good fortune that led to preservation of Yiddish newspapers in eastern Europe, and more. But what will his poor mother think? • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_246_-_Eddy_Portnoy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:02pm EST

Israeli author Eshkol Nevo joins the show to talk about his new novel Three Floors Up (Other Press) and how he explained it to passport control on his visit to the US. We talk about how his fiction-writing career both integrates and rejects his past lives in advertising and psychology, explore the Robin Hood model of the creative writing school, and get into the background PTSD of daily life in Israel. Then comics scholar Paul Gravett rejoins the show to talk about his new exhibition, Mangasia: Wonderlands of Asian Comics, and the book that accompanies it. We get into the impact of manga across Asian culture (and beyond), his dream project of a Mexican comics retrospective, and how North Korea's comics visually portray their glorious leader. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Epsiode_245_-_Eshkol_Nevo__Paul_Gravett.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:53pm EST

He's been blackening the blank page for more than 50 years, and now Nicholas Delbanco joins The Virtual Memories Show to talk about writing, teaching, and sleepwalking through life! We get into his new essay collection, Curiouser and Curiouser, the importance of establishing a writing routine or habit, the process of revising a decades-old trilogy in light of his growth as a writer, the art of faking spontaneity on the page, the value of a good MFA program, his refutation of his friends' belief that language is a finite resource and not a renewable one, his assessment that he's a minor writer (or, even worse, "a writer's writer"), and the place the deracinated consider home. Plus: I fall back into the trap of Acquisitive Alchemy! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_244_-_Nicholas_Delbanco.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:06pm EST

"It can always get worse," says Martin Rowson, who's made a career out of highlighting the idiocy of politicians in his editorial cartoons. We talk about the purpose of satire, his preference for subversion over respectability, the benefits of considering himself a journalist rather than an artist, the advantages of being self-taught, the rationale for selling his original art to UKIP, his literary background and the adaptions he's done (The Waste Land, Tristram Shandy, Gulliver's Travels), the ones he hasn't done (Dorian Gray, Frankenstein), and the one he's working on now. Plus, we get into the change in his outlook when he began working in color (and when he turned 50), how to draw Trump, his disdain for modern fiction and why he killed off Martin Amis a half-dozen times in his old literary strip, and what it's like "committing assassination without the blood". • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_243_-_Martin_Rowson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:39am EST

Legendary ad-man George Lois joins the show to talk about 50+ years of shaping American culture and to give us some Damn Good Advice. We start out with the day he quit his life as the Greek florist's son, began art school, and met the love of his life (all in the same day), before getting to the most prolific period in his monumental career, his experience as one of the first "ethnics" in the ad business, what goes into having The Big Idea, how he and Muhammad Ali busted each other's chops, how he created the ad that created Tommy Hilfiger, making those Esquire covers, getting fired off the Xerox account three times before making Xerox a household word, what he wants to do next (at 86), and more! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_242_-_George_Lois.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:32pm EST

Why is award-winning illustrator Barry Blitt so uncomfortable with the flap copy praise of his new decades-spanning compendium, Blitt (just out from Riverhead Books)? We spend an hour trying to get to the bottom of that, starting with his horror at looking back at his work (both from seeing rookie mistakes and from deciding he was better back then). We talk about how his New Yorker covers shifted from observational to topical illustrations, how he's become the de facto voice of that magazine, his Canadian roots (and how its attendant hockey fetish got him started as an illustrator), his first Mad magazine, his fear of overexposure, the difference between punching down and going for cheap laughs, and how he's made smartassery as career asset. Also, I bust his balls about his uncanny resemblance to Bob Balaban. (Photo by Angie Silverstein) • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_241_-_Barry_Blitt.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:08pm EST

One of my favorite authors, John Crowley, returns to the show to talk about his "final dress novel," the wonderful Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr (Saga Press). We talk about the sense of his various endings, writing a talking animal book that's actually about an old man dying, the challenges of reaching a broader audience and why he returned to fantastika, his retirement from teaching at Yale and his thoughts on how students have changed, his Catholic upbringing and how it informed his writing, the pressure of new rules and norms on writers, the radical challenge of sympathy, and more. But first, I call Michael Meyer to talk about his new book, The Road To Sleeping Dragon: Learning China from the Ground Up. We get into what Americans really need to know about China, how the country has changed in the 20+ years that he's been working and living there (on and off), and why Pittsburgh is the Beijing of the US. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_240_-_John_Crowley_and_Michael_Meyer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:01pm EST

First Pete Bagge rejoins the show for a live Spotlight session at CXC - Cartoon Crossroads Columbus. We talk about FIRE!!, his new cartoon biography of Zora Neale Hurston, his shift from fiction to nonfiction comics, his interest in feminist icons who didn't ask for permission, dealing with cultural/gender appropriation issues in writing about women of color, expressing serious moments in his funnybones cartooning style, going through male menopause, making a living, and why he hasn't made any Buddy Bradley stories in a long time. Then, we get a few segments from my CXC spotlight session with Mimi Pond, where we talk about her creative process, sexism in comics, and what she misses about the '70s. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_239_-_Pete_Bagge_and_Mimi_Pond.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:30pm EST

It's late-night podcast-action with cartoonist Shannon Wheeler! We get into the history of his Too Much Coffee Man comics and his new book, Sh*t My President Says: The Illustrated Tweets of Donald J. Trump (Top Shelf), learning the language of cartooning at The New Yorker (and learning to work with a new editor there), the ways his architecture training informs his storytelling, his discovery of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers at WAY too young an age, the cartooning trick that made him want to draw, his dream project on the history of northern California, and the redemption of the guy who used to dress up as TMCM at conventions! It's coffee-fueled! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_238_-_Shannon_Wheeler.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:11pm EST

It's a double-Pulitzer-winner episode! First, the great editorial cartoonist, animator and essayist Ann Telnaes joins the show to talk about the role of satire against the abuse of power, her political awakening, her present sense of urgency and her upcoming Trump's ABC (Fantagraphics), the reaction to the Charlie Hebdo murders, the images editors won't print, and the sanctuary of the Alexander Calder room at the National Gallery. Then past guest and editorial cartoonist Matt Wuerker returns to the show (here's our first ep.) to talk about The Swamp, the loss of comity and the growth of tribalism in contemporary DC (characterized by that weekend's dueling rallies between Trump supporters and Juggalos), the problem with having easy targets, bringing conservative cartoons into his weekly roundup for Politico, taking up fly-fishing in his dotage, and more! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or PaypalCartoon by Ann Telnaes for The Washington Post

Direct download: Episode_237_-_Ann_Telnaes_and_Matt_Wuerker.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:41pm EST

Cartoonist and humorist Mimi Pond makes her third appearance on the show, this time to celebrate publication of The Customer is Always Wrong (Drawn & Quarterly). We talk about the joys of coming back to NYC (and her favorite diner in the city), the East Village becoming kitsch, the process of translating her book from prose to comics, the differences between working in print and making web-comics for The New Yorker, publishing the conclusion of her unreliable memoir and lamenting a story that didn't make it didn't make it into the book, navigating celebrity-adjacent moments in LA, her fascination with the Mitford sisters, her realization that San Diego Comic-Con is "cosplay concentration camp", having a very creative plan for dental coverage, why she considers Beverly Clearly the Hemingway of children's writers, her pet peeve of being shelved in bookstores beside superhero comics, and her great lesson for being an artist: "make friends with discomfort"! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_236_-_Mimi_Pond.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:38pm EST

It's another Readercon episode! First, Liz Hand rejoins the show for a little conversation about what she's been reading lately (it's some creepy stuff, of course), the regenerative aspects of Readercon, why the novella is ideal for dark/spooky fiction, and whether the attendee wearing an ASIA t-shirt is doing so ironically. Then John Clute talks about the ruins of futurity and the launch of the Clute Science Fiction Library at Telluride Institute. We get into the need for visual presentation and accessibility of original books in their context (including dust jackets), his transition from book accumulator to collector, the externalization of one's mind into one's library, why he doesn't write fiction, the Easter eggs he sneaks into the Science Fiction Encyclopedia, why Galaxy Quest is the best Star Trek movie (except for Wrath of Khan), reaching a uniform degree of incompletion, generational shifts in SF/F, and the sneaky adoption of Fantastika. (Goofy photo by Scott Edelman.) • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_235_-_Liz_Hand_and_John_Clute.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:19pm EST

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

Master tattooist and comics artist Graham Chaffee joins the show to talk about his new graphic noir, To Have & To Hold (Fantagraphics)! We get into the culture(s) of LA and why it's the quintessential 20th century American city, the way the internet has changed the tattoo business, Graham's history with comics, the difference between the story and the plot, his lengthy hiatus from making comics and what brought him back to it, the joys of drawing a good dog, the accidental portrayal of race in his comics, and the time he did a full-back tattoo portraying the dark night of Lisa Simpson's soul! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_224_-_Graham_Chaffee.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:38pm EST

Award-winning illustrator Joe Ciardiello reflects on 43 years as a freelancer, the jazz portraits that turned his career around, his drumming and how it influences his artwork, having more illustrator-friends than non-illustrator-friends, why he'd rather not be called a caricaturist, the time he was accused of ripping off the style of one of his idols, the search for perfect pen and paper (and how he keeps his Rapidographs working), and his amazing Spaghetti Journal project! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_223_-_Joe_Ciardiello.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:21am EST

Cartooning, illustration and animation legend Arnie Levin joins the show to recount his epic career and life. We talk about Beatnik-era New York, his mother's decades-long plot to turn him into a New Yorker cartoonist, the value of a good art director, telling the Marines he wanted to be a photographer, his two-minute education in directing animation, what it was like to see his style copied by an artist who was previously copying another artist's style, the time Allen Ginsberg tried to give him an iguana, and more! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_222_-_Arnie_Levin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:46pm EST

Photojournalist (or "artist who sometimes uses a camera") Kyle Cassidy returns to talk about his new book, This Is What A Librarian Looks Like! Along the way, we also talk photography, the difference between knowledge and information, the heroism of NASA scientists, the example of Mr. Rogers, his continued use of LiveJournal, the joy of running, and how he convinced his wife that they should take vacations to visit libraries. Also, his cat Roswell gets his two cents in! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_221_-_Kyle_Cassidy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:01pm EST

Seth returns to the show to talk about Palookaville, making a living, his changing relationship to comics and cartoonists, his retrospection on the '90s cohort he came up with, the creative sanctity of the studio and the creation of art no one will see, finishing his Clyde Fans serial after 20 years (and what he wants to work on next, being the subject of a documentary, seeing his work animated, doing collaborative work, taking up photography, a key lesson he learned about marriage, the disadvantages of being a people pleaser, why Kickstarter may be like an IQ test, and more! Plus, he asks me some questions! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

 

Direct download: Episode_220_-_Seth.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:39pm EST

Cartoonist Keiler Roberts joins the show to talk about her new book, Sunburning (Koyama Press). Oh, and parenthood, bipolar disorder, the avoidance of style, learning art while teaching art, making snap judgements about parents, having the world's worst wedding photos, trimming a 150-page memoir down to 12 pages, and why she cried when she got a blurb from Roz Chast! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_219_-_Keiler_Roberts.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:02pm EST

Legendary cartoonist, illustrator, animator, ad-man, artist RO Blechman joins the show to talk about his work and life. We get into the importance of play, the development of his trademark squiggly line (and how he feels when he sees it in other people's work), his literary upbringing, why he counsels against going to art school, the fateful career decision that he rues 60+ years later, his Mad Men experience and what he learned about management from running his own animation studio, the mistake of turning down a Curious George movie, creating a fore-runner of the graphic novel, and being a 2-D character in a 3-D world. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_218_-_RO_Blechman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:45pm EST

Make psychoanalysis subversive again! Vanessa Sinclair joins the show to talk about her new book, Switching Mirrors. We get into psychoanalysis, art and the occult, magical thinking (good and bad), Vanessa's use of cut-up theory and practice, finding The Third Mind with her collaborator, Katelan Foisy, how she went from ghost-hunter to psychoanalyst, the problem with the lack of rites of passage in western culture, where psychology went wrong, having a book problem, and co-founding an underground anarchist psychoanalyst gang! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

 

Direct download: Episode_217_-_Vanessa_Sinclair.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:30pm EST

"Scholem teaches us that the Jewish tradition is so capacious it could embrace its own subversion." George Prochnik returns to The Virtual Memories Show to talk about his new book, Stranger in a Strange Land: Searching for Gershom Scholem and Jerusalem (Other Press). We get into the life of Jewish mysticism's greatest scholar, how the theories of Zionism butted up against the reality of Palestine and Israel, the alchemical friendship of Scholem and Walter Benjamin, the other Walt in Scholem's life, the way Kabbalah serves as the hidden, subterranean layer of Judaism, Scholem's example of a life lived in resistance, the great contrast of Scholem with Prochnik's previous biographical subject, Stefan Zweig, and our author's addiction to Jerusalem and the books he hasn't escaped in 30 years! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_216_-_George_Prochnik.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:43pm EST

Charif Majdalani has been called the Lebanese Proust, thanks to his series of novels chronicling the modern history of his home country. He joins the show this week to celebrate the first American publication of his wonderful novel, Moving the Palace (New Vessel Press). We talk about the the dynamic of French and Arabic languages, Lebanon's fixation on the eternal present and its sense of living under the volcano, his process of escaping his literary influences, why he needed to get away to France to gain perspective on home, and what he wants to do on his first trip to America. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_215_-_Charif_Majdalani.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:18pm EST

Poet, novelist and essayist Wallis Wilde-Menozzi returns to the show to talk about her novel, Toscanelli's Ray, the ways Italy has changed in her four decades there, her recent work in narrative medicine, survival tips from living through the Berlusconi era, writing a polyphonic novel of Florence in the '90s and hearing how those voices have changed, differences between her Italian and American students, balancing poetry and prose, her favorite book of the Divine Comedy (we also get into why I like a different one), accidentally winning a DAR award when she was a schoolgirl, what foods she misses when she's in the US, thinking in Italian, and more! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_214_-_Wallis_Wilde-Menozzi.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:29pm EST

Why are our buildings crushing our quality of life? Sarah Williams Goldhagen joins the show to talk about her new book, Welcome To Your World (Harper), and how we can live in a better built environment. We get into cognitive neuroscience and the theory of mind-body-environment consciousness, the perils of lowest-common-denominator construction and design, the perils of the "starchitect" phenomenon, the limits of Jane Jacobs' urban proscriptions, the experience of going on urban planning vacations as a kid with her dad, how she and her family wound up living in a converted church in East Harlem, the challenges of architecture criticism, how her book was predicted by one of my favorite 1980s comics, the planning process a year-long around-the-world trip, and more! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_213_-_Sarah_Williams_Goldhagen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:32pm EST

Legendary author (and longtime pal) Samuel R. Delany joins the show to talk about the sex lives of older gay men, how he's taken to Facebook, how losing his library is akin to lobotomization, the writers he misses, Star Wars, his attraction to homeless men, retiring from teaching, the one thing he wanted to teach students but was never allowed to, the split between good writing and award-winning writing, and his passive-aggressive technique for getting me to organize a breakfast brunch for him. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_212_-_Samuel_R._Delany.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:01pm EST

Award-winning illustrator John Cuneo joins the show to talk about his new work, Not Waving But Drawing (Fantagraphics Underground), the arc of 40 years of work and art and artwork, the process of moving from a collection of mannerisms to a style, his insecurity about his working-class upbringing and lack of artistic education, the cliff-diving aspect of the blank sheet of paper and why good drawing is courage, keeping his son out of the family business, the dynamic of New Yorker illustrators vs. cartoonists, what brought him to Woodstock, what keeps him there, and the bizarrely storied history of his home, why so many dirty pictures, and more! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_211_-_John_Cuneo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:35pm EST

I get over my insecurity about younger authors and talk with Tony Tulathmiutte about his debut novel, Private Citizens! We discuss his critique of the idea of voice-of-a-generation novels, the heavy and weird expectations of being an Asian-American writer, the impossibility of satire, what he got out of his years working in Silicon Valley, writing good bad sex, and his discovery that Jonathan Franzen thinks he uses "overly interesting verbs". • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_210_-_Tony_Tulathimutte.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EST

For more than a decade, Princeton literature professor Jeff Nunokawa has posted beautiful daily essays using Facebook Notes. We talk about how he discovered that form, the audience that grew around his work, writing without links, the experience of producing a print edition of the notes, and his ambivalence over the final product. We get into the negative review that affirmed all of his self-doubts and pushed him toward his goal of becoming transparent, the benefits of consolatory drivel, dreaming of the next day's note and making writing a source of pleasure, his mixed-race heritage (his dad's Japanese, his mom's caucasian-American) and his childhood in the 60s, his 30 years at Princeton, his joy at living in the same world as Torres and Ronaldo, and why you have to feel homesick before you feel home. Oh, and there's a heartbreaking story of how he came out to his parents, plus I do a lot more talking than usual. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_209_-_Jeff_Nunokawa.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:26pm EST

New Directions publisher Barbara Epler joins the show to talk about her accidental career, the pros and cons of New Directions' size, the Moneyball aspect of publishing works in translation, surviving a Nobel crush, the importance of secondary rights, the language she most wishes she could read, the novel she promises never to write, the book whose success surprised her the most, where WG Sebald's work might have gone, and more! This is part of our Festival Neue Literatur series; Barbara is the 2017 recipient of the FNL's Friedrich Ulfers Prize! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_208_-_Barbara_Epler.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:15pm EST

Garth Greenwell joins the show to talk about the poetics of cruising (and cruising's great leveling potential) in his life and in his debut novel What Belongs to You, the hyper-masculine culture and homophobia of Bulgaria, his concern that contemporary English-language writers don't read in other languages (or read in translation), his role chairing the 2017 Festival Neue Literatur, the dangers of LGBTQ mainstreaming, the fragility of cosmopolitanism, the state of queer fiction, and our mutual admiration of Samuel R. Delany! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_207_-_Garth_Greenwell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:09pm EST

Bookslut founder Jessa Crispin rejoins the show (here's her 2014 episode) to talk about her new book, Why I Am Not A Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto (Melville House), while I gripe over the fact that it's the third book she's published since we recorded in 2014. We also get into learning to stop reading reviews, the aftereffects of carrying her belongings on her back for 18 months, the black magic revival and her experience as a tarot card reader, her detachment from NYC publishing culture, her fascination for Catholicism and female saints, falling in love with opera, never quite getting over the core guilt of her Protestant upbringing, and why she won't leave the US for good and won't write about expat Paris! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_206_-_Jessa_Crispin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:14pm EST

Mutts creator Patrick McDonnell joins the show to talk about getting a late start on his career as a daily strip cartoonist, how Mutts has changed in its 23 years, the evolution of his interest in animal advocacy, the overlap of comic strips and poetry, finding his Coconino County in the New Jersey suburbs, learning from Jules Feiffer's paste-ups, the greatest blurb he'll ever get, taking up painting, finding joy in collaborating (occasionally), and how the gospel of Peanuts taught him that the essence of life is love. (We also talk about what to do after you've lost a long-loved dog.) • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

 

Direct download: Episode_205_-_Patrick_McDonnell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:16pm EST

Is wisdom possible? One of my favorite writers, Phillip Lopate, returns to The Virtual Memories Show to talk about his new book, A Mother's Tale, where he revisits a series of taped conversations he had with his mother in the mid-'80s (and didn't listen to for 30+ years). We talk about listening to his mother's voice years after her death, whether I should record with my parents, the way people try to be honest but back away in the face of their own mythologies, the one venue he's always wanted to write for, the border traffic between fiction and nonfiction, the impact of the 2016 presidential election on his psyche, his prediction for the New York Mets, what it's like for him to write a blog and the mistrust between mother and son that never goes away. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_204_-_Phillip_Lopate.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:39pm EST

Author Ben Yagoda joins the show to talk about teaching journalism, his 40 years (!) of writing language columns, the influence of Harry Potter own his students, the history of the memoir, the mystery of why the "Great American Songbook" withered after WWII, his hatred of the term "creative nonfiction", the invasion of Britishisms into American English, the challenges of watching sporting events on tape delay, and more! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_203_-_Ben_Yagoda.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:04pm EST

Karen Green, Curator of the Comics and Cartoons collection at Columbia University, joins the show to talk about her secret origin! How did she go from bartender to medieval scholar to comics librarian? We get into the evolution of the library and comics scholarship, her proudest acquisitions, her love of NYC and being a bartender there in the '80s, reading Playboy for the cartoons, the experience of having a portrait done by Drew Friedman, her Venn diagram with Mimi Pond, and the one cartoonist she's speechless around. More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_202_-_Karen_Green.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:08pm EST

Brad Gooch returns to the show to talk about his new book, Rumi's Secret: The Life of the Sufi Poet of Love (Harper). We dive right into Brad's Orientalist fantasy of researching Rumi and the realpolitik that intruded on it (including getting detained at gunpoint), how he recreated the polyglot, multi-religious culture of 13th century Turkey (hint: it involved having to learn Farsi), the temptation to psychologize Rumi's life, why the poet's work has survived all these centuries (and what makes it so tweetable), what his own new fatherhood taught him about Rumi's later years, and more! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_201_-_Brad_Gooch.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:16pm EST

My guest for this special anniversary show is musician, tech entrepreneur, professor and now memoirist Thomas Dolby! We talk about his new book, The Speed of Sound: Breaking the Barriers Between Music and Technology: A Memoir (Flatiron Books), the upsides and downsides of his major careers, the gestalt of artist-artwork-audience, his curious mixture of shyness and arrogance, our respective imposter syndromes, teaching music for films, moving beyond the keyboard as a computer interface, having students who don't know about his music career, looking back at his life and starting to figure out the big picture, and the one rock band that doesn't find Spinal Tap funny! More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_200_-_Thomas_Dolby.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:59pm EST

Michael Tisserand joins the show to talk about his fantastic new book, Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White (Harper). We discuss Krazy Kat, race in America, newsroom culture, doing research on microfilm in the age of Google, the allure of New Orleans, what it was like to write the biography of an enigma, and a lot more. So don't be a bald-faced gazooni! Give it a listen! More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_199_-_Michael_Tisserand.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:02pm EST

Lifelong rock & roll journalist Ed Ward joins the show to talk about his new book, The History of Rock & Roll, Volume 1: 1920-1963 (Flatiron Books). We get into how he discovered his calling, how he memorized Billboard charts the way other kids memorized baseball cards, the joy of being a "rootless cosmopolitan", the music world's shift from A&R to audience-driven songwriting (and why they were tired of guys named Bobby from Philadelphia), why Tutti Frutti is the "first" rock & roll record, how he wound up in Texas, the experience of meeting 50-somethings who don't know Chuck Berry's Maybelline, how he got hired at and fired from Rolling Stone, and more! More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_198_-_Ed_Ward.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:12pm EST

More than 30 of the year's Virtual Memories Show guests tell us about the favorite books they read in 2016 and the books they hope to get to in 2017! Guests include Glen Baxter, Ross Benjamin, Harold Bloom, MK Brown, Nina Bunjevac, Hayley Campbell, David M. Carr, Myke Cole, Liza Donnelly, Bob Eckstein, Glynnis Fawkes, Rachel Hadas, Liz Hand, Glenn Head, Virginia Heffernan, Harry Katz, Ed Koren, David Leopold, Arthur Lubow, Michael Maslin, David Mikics, Ben Model, Christopher Nelson, Jim Ottaviani, Ann Patty, Burton Pike, Frank Sorce, Willard Spiegelman, Leslie Stein, Tom Tomorrow (a.k.a. Dan Perkins), Andrea Tsurumi, Carol Tyler, Jim Woodring, and me, Gil Roth! Check out their selections at our site! Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_197_-_The_Guest_List_2016.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:33pm EST

Myke Cole joins the show to talk about military fantasy, his fantasies about the military, his journey from IT to CIA to merc to Coast Guard to fantasy writer, his biggest nerd-out moment, how he came up with his "Black Hawk Down Meets The X-Men" Shadow Ops series, understanding PTSD, the importance of having a plan for crisis management, reconciling his art, politics, job, and readership, and more! More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_196_-_Myke_Cole.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:13pm EST

For Thanksgiving 2016, more than two dozen past Virtual Memories Show guests chime in on what they're thankful for, including Glen Baxter, Roz Chast, Liz Hand, Hayley Campbell and Tom Spurgeon! (Think of this as a time capsule for what life was like among writers and artists immediately after the 2016 U.S. presidential election.) And there are more contributions, including photos by Jonathan Hyman and cartoons from Bob Eckstein, at chimeraobscura.com/vm/thanksgiving-2016 • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal, and have a happy Thanksgiving!

Direct download: Episode_195_-_Thanksgiving_2016_special.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:16pm EST

Artist, writer, humorist and cartoonist Bob Eckstein joins the show to talk about his wonderful new book, Footnotes from the World's Greatest Bookstores: True Tales and Lost Moments from Book Buyers, Booksellers, and Book Lovers. We get into the origins of the project, how he survived the sheer volume of bookstore-cat stories, how he once got dirty in the back shelves of the Strand Bookstore, getting introduced to art by Sports Illustrated, a great lesson in comic timing, getting a late start in cartooning but making up for lost time, marrying his biggest enemy from art school (and eloping to Iceland), becoming a champion of bookstore culture, and more! More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show at Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_194_-_Bob_Eckstein.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:23am EST

Ed Koren's cartoons and covers have graced The New Yorker for more than 50 years, so it was honor to record with him during CXC about his career, his perspective on generations of cartoonists, the development of his unique style (he has a good answer to my question, "Why so hairy?"), the persistence of his middle-class work ethic, his first encounter with the Undergrounds, his lithography "uptown" art, the advantages of having small ambitions, and more! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_193_-_Ed_Koren.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:51pm EST

The great Jim Woodring rejoins the show to talk art, comics and the Unifactor! During a break at SPX 2016, we sat down to discuss the importance of Fantagraphics on its 40th anniversary, Jim's move to Seattle in the 70s and his move away from there last year, camaraderie with the artists of his generation, what he'd do if he was just starting out as a cartoonist today, the experience of seeing Frank in 3-D, the joys of drawing with a six-foot pen, just what Art is there for, and more! More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_192_-_Jim_Woodring.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:04pm EST

Ben Katchor rejoins the show to talk about the 25th anniversary edition of Cheap Novelties: The Pleasures of Urban Decay (Drawn & Quarterly)! We talk about those aforementioned pleasures, the boredom of the modern flaneur, his evolution from genre fandom to "literary comics" (my awful term, not his), the danger in comics becoming over-academic, and the challenges of writing a world history. More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_191_-_Ben_Katchor.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:08pm EST

New Yorker cartoonist and women's rights activist Liza Donnelly joins the show to talk about becoming a live-drawing legend (among other things). We get into the weird overlap of respectability, responsibility and cartooning, as well as her work for Cartooning for Peace, the joys of drawing on the subway, how she benefited from Tina Brown's love of snarky women, why she's considering (but is daunted by) a long-form comic, the evolution of her feminist consciousness, and her trouble drawing George Clooney. More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_190_-_Liza_Donnelly.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:56pm EST

Artist Glen Baxter joins the show for a conversation about his new collection, Almost Completely Baxter: New and Selected Blurtings (New York Review Comics). We get into the roots of his absurdism, his first visit to New York City in the '70s and how it changed his life, where his cowboy-thing started, why he doesn't define himself as either an artist or a cartoonist (but maybe as a visual poet?), the challenge of doing long-form narrative when so much of his work is single-panel, our mutual dislike of the contemporary art scene, and more! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_189_-_Glen_Baxter.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:10pm EST

Writer and Twitter provocateur Hayley Campbell joins the show for a conversation about her inability to describe her job (don't call her a "content provider"). We talk about her obsession with obsessives, growing up in comics royalty (her dad is the great cartoonist Eddie Campbell), Alan Moore's magic tricks, her book on Neil Gaiman, nearly losing a comic-shop job because of her lack of a college degree, the celebrity retweet she's proudest of, and having an accidental career path, no fixed home, and a traumatic brain injury that gooses with her memory (and whether those are somehow connected). Also, we get into how she embarrassed Jonathan Safran Foer, how she nerded out over John Carpenter, why she took up boxing, and more! More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_188_-_Hayley_Campbell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:19am EST

Cartoonist & illustrator Tom Gauld joins the show to talk about his new book, Mooncop (Drawn & Quarterly), and the post-optimistic view of the future. We get into his drawing and storytelling influences, how he got a weekly gig doing literary gags at The Guardian, why he likes doing illustration work, the time he melted down when he met his comics-idols, how he got his first New Yorker cover, the two key elements of productivity for all artists and writers (coffee & walking) and more! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

 

Direct download: Episode_187_-_Tom_Gauld.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:47pm EST

Michael Maslin joins the show to talk about his new book, Peter Arno: The Mad, Mad World of The New Yorker's Greatest Cartoonist (Regan Arts). We talk about his own career at The New Yorker, marrying a fellow cartoonist, becoming a cartoon detective, the allure of Arno and the days when cartoonists were cited in gossip mags, why it took him 15 years to write this biography, and more! (Drawing of me & Michael by Liza Donnelly) • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_186_-_Michael_Maslin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:38pm EST

Willard Spiegelman returns to the show to talk about his new book, Senior Moments: Looking Back, Looking Ahead (FSG). We get into the process of deaccessioning, Mark Strand's advice on paring down to 100 books, Willard's take on 45 years living in Dallas (and what he'll miss about it now that he's retired), the joy of getting lost in Italy, the best way to pick someone up in NYC, the contrast of his 50th high school and college reunions, and more! More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_185_-_Willard_Spiegelman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:02pm EST

Biblical scholar David M. Carr joins the show to talk about his book, Holy Resilience: The Bible's Traumatic Origin. We get into how the Hebrew and Christian scriptures were shaped, the parallels between trauma and religion, the personal trauma that led to his thesis, the perils of applying modern psychology to antiquity, how he balances his faith with his scholarship, the problems with seeing yourself as "chosen", the personal and communal trauma of 9/11, and more! • More info about this episode at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_184_-_David_M._Carr.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:33am EST

Transmedia producer Jeff Gomez (also @Jeff_Gomez) joins the show to talk about the evolution of storytelling. We get into how the internet is driving communal narrative, the role of fandom in our culture, the way every new media is touted as the Destroyer of Worlds, the outgrowth of "canonical" storytelling and his one-time role as Keeper of the Canon at a comic company, the parallels between sports-nerds and fantasy-nerds, the old entertainment properties he really wishes he could work on, and just what it was in his childhood that led him into this role. More info about this episode at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_183_-_Jeff_Gomez.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:09pm EST

"It's very, very weird to do something along with three billion other people." Cultural critic Virginia Heffernan joins the show to talk about her new book, Magic and Loss: The Internet as Art (Simon & Schuster)! We talk about what's behind the screen, why the internet is bigger than the Industrial Revolution, her first experience online in 1979, what it's like to be in a piece of performance art with half the world's population, her crushing defeat at meeting Joan Didion, why she's nostalgic for landline phones, the motive motive of Pokemon Go, asking The New York Times to host a shred-guitar competition, and why there's value in Reading The Comments! More info about this episode at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_182_-_Virginia_Heffernan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:25pm EST

Chris Rose wrote the definitive book of life in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, 1 Dead in Attic. I caught up with him for his Magical Musical Mystery History walking tour of the French Quarter, and after we sat down in Harry's Corner bar and talked about his life, his art, his three literary feuds, how he went from winning a Pulitzer Prize to waiting tables, going from celebrity-stalker to the Bard of the Crescent City, the myths and truths of the French Quarter, and a whole lot more. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show on Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_181_-_Chris_Rose.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:37pm EST

Cartoonist Leslie Stein joins the show to talk about her new book, Time Clock (Fantagraphics)! We get into her diary comics (recently collected in Bright-Eyed At Midnight), why she picked a really weird name for her ongoing comics project (Eye of the Majestic Creature), the artistic benefits of boredom, finding her style(s), drawing for online vs. print, her strategy for surviving comic cons and festival, and how she strikes a balance of cartooning, being in a band, and tending bar. Recorded at SVA in NYC. More info about this episode at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_180_-_Leslie_Stein.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:41pm EST

Rising comics star -- don't blame me, that's what Publishers Weekly just called her -- Andrea Tsurumi joins the show to talk about her new collection, Why Would You Do That? (Hic & Hoc Publications). We get into her off-kilter sense of humor and why I love it, why she chose that title, the most sadistic children's book ever written and why she adapted it, the comics industry's saving grace (it's too small to fail), staged photos during the Civil War, the challenge of teaching comics, her attempt at a work/art/life balance, the comics, cartoons and picture books that influenced/warped her, why she left New York, the truth about cakes vs. pies, and more! More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show on Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_179_-_Andrea_Tsurumi.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:01pm EST

Arthur Lubow's fantastic new book, Diane Arbus: Portrait of a Photographer (Ecco), explores the life and death of a key figure in the history of photography-as-art. We talk about the evolution of photography from documentation to expression, the role Diane Arbus played in that transformation, her sensibility and intellect and how she expressed them both in her photography and her writing, Arbus' collaborative method of portraiture, her fascination with and sympathy for "freaks", why it's counterproductive to look to Arbus' photos for clues to her suicide, and more! More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_178_-_Arthur_Lubow.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:35pm EST

Legendary cartoonist MK Brown joins the show to talk about her lifetime in comics and art, her years with B. Kliban, the ups and downs of The National Lampoon the balancing act of motherhood and art, the trepidation at organizing a multi-decade collection of her work, her love of westerns, her secret stash of unprintable comics and gags, and why she goes by "MK". Sponsored by The American Bystander! • More info about this episode at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_177_-_MK_Brown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:15pm EST

After a remarkable 40-year career, publisher Malcolm Margolin is retiring from Heyday Books in Berkeley. He joins the show to talk about the liberation of being unimportant, why you build a roundhouse to fall apart, the "dress code" necessary to make things palatable to a mainstream audience, the craziest golf foursome ever, the two-week-plus run of LSD that may have changed his life, his efforts to chronicle California Indian culture, his next act(s), and more! More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

 

Direct download: Episode_176_-_Malcolm_Margolin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:29pm EST

Legendary artist and cartoonist Paul Mavrides joins the show to talk about Underground Comix, the Church of the SubGenius, the Zapruder film, black mold, Idiots Abroad, Richard Nixon's threat on his life, and the time he traded an issue of Zap Comix for a copy of Awake! More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

 

Direct download: Episode_175_-_Paul_Mavrides.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:48pm EST

Why did former publisher and book editor Ann Patty start studying Latin at age 58? Find out in our conversation about her book, Living with a Dead Language: My Romance with Latin (Viking). We talk about her deep dive into a dead language, the "Living Latinist" revival, her unceremonious exit from the NY publishing world, the terror of the blank page, the perils of groupthink, how her pursuit of Latin reconciled her to the memory of her mother, and more! More info about this episode at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_174_-_Ann_Patty.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:30am EST

My two-year term at St. John's College's Graduate Institute was the most important part of my life. During my recent trip back to Annapolis, I sat down with SJC's outgoing president Christopher Nelson to talk about lessons learned during his 26-year tenure, the books that guided him to the college, the ones he returns to, and the ones that gave him the most trouble as an undergrad, what he'll miss and what he hopes to do next, his key advice for his successor, and more! More info about this episode at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_173_-_Christopher_Nelson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:31pm EST

Glynnis Fawkes joins the show to talk about archeology, comics, dig romances, Homer and more! We celebrate her award-winning new comic, Alle Ego, figure out how to make art while raising a family (hint: mine your family to make the art), explore the correlation of Greek vases to comics, and lament the savage history of Troy and Gallipoli, while embracing the comics-centric world of Angouleme! More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show at Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_172_-_Glynnis_Fawkes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:05pm EST

Jim Ottaviani joins the show to talk about his new graphic biography, The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded, drawn by Leland Purvis (Abrams ComicArts). We get into how Jim went from nuclear engineering to writing comics about scientists, what drew him to the life of Alan Turing, why emotional truth plus factual truth must be greater than 100%, the challenge of conveying hard concepts and theories to lay-readers, the difference between ordinary geniuses and extraordinary geniuses, how his engineering background feeds his storytelling mode, and more! More info available at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_171_-_Jim_Ottaviani.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:44am EST

In the inaugural episode of #NJPoet's Corner, Chuck Bivona (aka #NJPoet) talks about his evolution on Twitter with Virtual Memories Show host Gil Roth

Direct download: Episode_1_-_My_Twitter_Life.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:35am EST

The Paying For It Players return! Chester Brown and Nina Bunjevac rejoin the show to perform a chapter from Chester's amazing new book, Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus! Then we talk with Chester about his understanding of God, the role of prostitution in the Bible, and the girlfriend who got him started reading Biblical scholarship. Then Nina Bunjevac talks about her response to the European book tour for Fatherland, and her lament for small bookstores in North America. Plus, Charles Bivona's monthly #NJPoet's Corner segment focuses on his life on Twitter! More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show on Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_170_-_Chester_Brown__Nina_Bunjevac_w_NJPoets_Corner.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30pm EST

David Mikics joins the show to talk about his new book, Bellow's People: How Saul Bellow Made Life Into Art (Norton). We talk about Bellow's legacy, his transmutations of life into art, David's humorously accidental introduction to his work, whether Philip Roth was right when he told Bruce Jay Friedman, "Saul Bellow am de daddy of us all," and more. More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_169_-_David_Mikics.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:55pm EST

Harry Katz, former head curator of prints and photographs for the Library of Congress, joins the show to talk about his new project on David Levine, his love for Herblock, how his work on the Civil War and baseball differs from Ken Burns' work on same, what it was like to assemble the LoC's archive of 9/11 photography and pictures, the process of learning how to see images critically, the tragic story of Arthur Szyk, and more! More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_168_-_Harry_Katz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:26pm EST

John Holl joins the show to talk about his new book, Dishing Up New Jersey: 150 Recipes from the Garden State (with photos by my wife)! We also get into his work as editor of All About Beer, becoming a journalist at 16, traveling to Cuba, all the weird ingredients that craft beers incorporate, why he thinks NJ is the best dining state in the country, and more! Recorded at Carton Brewing Co.

Direct download: Episode_167_-_John_Holl.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:06pm EST

BenModel joins the show to talk about his career as a silent-filmaccompanist. It's a fascinating conversation about music, audience,cinema, mentorship, technology, crowdsourcing, the permission to laugh, thefleetingness of reputation, the reasons we make art, and why littlekids lose their minds over the Stan Laurel short Oranges andLemons. More info at our site • Support The VirtualMemories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_166_-_Ben_Model.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:40pm EST

Fred Kaplan rejoins the show to talk about his new book, Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War (Simon & Schuster). (We last talked in 2013). We get into the tangled, wild-west story of how cyber warfare is waged, where it might go in future, and why it's the ultimate asymmetric warfare. Then Charles Bivona joins us for a monthly installment of #NJPoet's Corner, where we focus on his dream course: Batman Studies. More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_165_-_Fred_Kaplan_w_NJPoets_Corner.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:08pm EST

Kliph Nesteroff joins the show to talk about his new book, The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels, and the History of American Comedy (Grove Press). We discuss the evolution of comedy over the century (from vaudeville to comedy podcasters), the twin themes of struggle and influence, the connect-the-dots game of comedic lineage, the stories that didn't make it into the book, comedy's role in the civil rights struggle, Kliph's autodidactic background and how it shapes his pursuit of history, the story of how he got kicked out of high school, and more! Plus, Liz Hand calls in to talk about the publication of her new Cass Neary novel, Hard Light! More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show on Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_164_-_Kliph_Nesteroff__Liz_Hand.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:06pm EST

David Leopold, author of The Hirschfeld Century: Portrait of an Artist and His Age (Knopf), joins the show to talk about his work with the great artist Al Hirschfeld, running the Ben Solowey Studio, curating museum exhibitions, following The Grateful Dead, and more! More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_163_-_David_Leopold.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:41pm EST

Phoebe Gloeckner, the author of The Diary of a Teenage Girl: An Account in Words and Pictures joins the podcast on way too little sleep to talk about transgressing borders: national borders, panel borders, and familial borders. We talk about Diary's hybrid structure and why it would have been unpitchable to a publisher (luckily, she had a two-book contract), the tightrope of portraying a 15-year-old girl's affair with her mother's 30-something boyfriend without making her strictly a victim or "asking for it", and some audiences' obsession with "the facts" of the book. We also get into her ongoing, decade-long multi-media project to recreate the life of a murder victim in Juarez, Mexico, her place in the comics scene (too young for the undergrounds, too old for the alternatives), her unrepeatable approach to making art, her crazy evening with Matt Groening, and more! More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_162_-_Phoebe_Gloeckner.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:32pm EST

Dan Perkins (aka Tom Tomorrow) celebrates the publication of 25 Years of Tomorrow with The Virtual Memories Show at his book launch party at Mark Twain House! We follow up our July 2015 conversation with a fun on-stage interview, plus Q&A with Dan's fans. Then we launch #NJPoet's Corner, a monthly feature with philosopher-historian-zen-monk-poet Charles Bivona! More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_161_-_Dan_Perkins_Tom_Tomorrow__NJPoets_Corner.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:01pm EST

Digital media visionary Bob Stein joins the show to talk about the future of media creation and consumption, the synthesis of Marx & McLuhan, his hopes for VR, and more! Then Ashton Applewhite discusses the publication of her new book, This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism! We talk about the pervasiveness of ageism, delusional expectations, what she learned from dyeing her hair gray, and more! More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_160_-_Bob_Stein__Ashton_Applewhite.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:23pm EST

"When you translate, you are digging into not so much the psyche of the author but the psyche of the author's use of language." Translator and emeritus literature professor Burton Pike joins the show to talk about the musicality and rhythm of language, the experience of translating early Proust, whether national literature departments are an outdated concept, the peculiarities of various Swiss ethnicities, how his dream project -- Musil's The Man Without Qualities -- fell into his lap, and more! More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_159_-_Burton_Pike.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:23am EST

In his new comix memoir, Chicago (Fantagraphics), Glenn Head follows Orwell's maxim, "Autobiography is only to be trusted when it reveals something disgraceful." We talk about how he approached his first long-form comic after decades in the field, what prompted him to chronicle his mid-'70s self, the allure of the Undergrounds, how his next work may mirror another bit of Orwelliana, and why it's always good to delate your heroes. More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_158_-_Glenn_Head.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:55pm EST

Dan Cafaro, publisher of Atticus Books and the Atticus Review Online, joins the show to talk about indy publishing, building a writers' community, the diversity challenge, and more! Recorded at Short Stories Community Book Hub. More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show at Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_157_-_Dan_Cafaro.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:43pm EST

Translator Ross Benjamin joins the show to talk about curating Festival Neue Literatur 2016, which is being held Feb. 25-28, 2016! Along the way, we talk about German humor, translating Kafka's diaries, why he'd love to learn Yiddish, and more! More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show at Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_156_-_Ross_Benjamin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:36pm EST

Christopher Kloeble joins the show to talk about his first US publication, Almost Everything Very Fast (Graywolf Press)! We discuss the perils of translation, German sense of humor, becoming a Person of Indian Origin, the peculiarities of Bavarian pride, and transcending the limits of empathy in prose! More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show at Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_155_-_Christopher_Kloeble.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:45pm EST

Kriota Willberg joins the show to talk about her work teaching anatomy, pathology, drawing, and massage, and how she keeps cartoonists from suffering work-related injuries (or art-related injuries, I suppose) through her minicomics and exercise programs. We also talk about the challenges of delivering pathology gags, making needlepoint of medical images, becoming a dancer and becoming an ex-dancer, learning not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good, growing up nerd in central Washington, and why it's not good to tell jokes when you're in the middle of surgery. BONUS: Paul Di Filippo chimes in on his new Kickstarter project, The Black Mill! More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show at Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_154_-_Kriota_Willberg.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:03pm EST

Poet Rachel Hadas returns to the show to talk about her new books, Talking To The Dead, and Questions in the Vestibule. It's been two years since we talked, so I had loads of questions for her. How did she rediscover love after losing her husband to early onset dementia? Why is translation like her Sudoku? How did she wind up pals with James Merrill (and what's her take on his Ouija poems)? What do we lose and gain in the act of translation? And how did she become a love poet after spending her career writing elegies? Listen in for a great conversation! More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show at Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_153_-_Rachel_Hadas.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:54pm EST