The Virtual Memories Show

In Part 2 of our Readercon 2013 special, we talk with authors Theodora Goss, Valya Lupescu and Nancy Hightower about their new books, their writing careers, their literary influences, what Readercon means to them, and more!

Direct download: Season_3_Episode_16_-_Readercon_-_Monsters_Memories_and_Mythmaking.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

It's time for a 2-part podcast! I went up to Readercon 24 in Burlington, MA in July and came back with a passel of conversations!

First, John Crowley, author of Little, Big, Aegypt, Engine Summer and other great novels and short stories, joined us talk about his work, his influences, the shifting nature of the literary marketplace, the allure of imaginary books, and more!

Then, fiction-writer, editor, wrestling biographer (?) and ukelele enthusiast Scott Edelman joins us to talk about zombies, literary genre ghettoes, his history at conventions, his time working at Marvel Comics in the '70s, and the virtues of workshopping fiction!

Next episode: Readercon conversations with Theodora Goss, Valya Dudycz Lupescu and Nancy Hightower!

Direct download: Season_3_Episode_15_-_Readercon_-_Fairies_and_Zombies.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:36pm EDT

David Gates, author of JerniganPreston Falls, and The Wonders of the Invisible World, talks about his writing career, owning his niche (once accurately described as “smart but self-destructive white American middle-class men in crisis”), teaching fiction, leaving the east coast for Montana, building a country/rock band of writers and critics, how he feels about the end of Newsweek, and the anxiety that drove him into writing his first novel. It’s a fun, rambling conversation with one of my favorite living writers. Then, repeat guest Ann Rivera joins us to talk about her recent reads and how she escaped the postmodern condition!

Direct download: Season_3_Episode_14_-_The_Wonders_of_the_Audible_World.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:58pm EDT

Season 3, Episode 13 - Mike and Ivan's Cartoon Cabaret

This time around on the Virtual Memories Show, we talk to a couple of great cartoonists! First up, Michael Kupperman, the cartoonist behind Tales Designed to Thrizzle, Snake & Bacon's Cartoon Cabaret, and Mark Twain's Autobiography: 1910-2010, talks about absurdism, cartooning as stress relief, how the UCB taught him to stop worrying and start performing his comics on stage, how he got the idea to mash up Quincy and Inception, and where the whole Mark Twain thing comes from. Conan O'Brien says he has "one of the best comedy brains on the planet."

"A lot of artists dismiss what they're working on because it's not what they want to be working on, or because it could be better. Whatever you've been doing, THAT'S your work. It's not the stuff you've been thinking about doing, or wanting to do, it's what you actually produced." -- Ivan Brunetti

Then Ivan Brunetti joins us to talk about his new book, Aesthetics: A Memoir, as well as how he began teaching cartooning, what he learned from trying to win the art job on Nancy, how he wound up becoming a cover artist for the New Yorker, and how he managed to drag himself out of the self-loathing misanthropy captured in his early Schizo comics!

Direct download: Season_3_Episode_13_-_Mike_and_Ivans_Comics_Cabaret.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:59pm EDT

Eva Brann of St. John's College tells us about how the school and its Great Books program has (and hasn't) changed over the FIFTY-SEVEN YEARS she's been a tutor there. Then alum Ian Kelley talks about his experiences in the program and how they informed his decision to join the U.S. Navy.

Direct download: Season_3_Episode_12_-_Highest_Learning.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:36pm EDT

Lori Carson joins us to talk about her debut novel, The Original 1982 (published by William Morrow, an imprint of Harper Collins), as well as her time with the Golden Palominos and her solo singer-songwriter career.

Direct download: Season_3_Episode_11_-_Little_Suicides_Little_Fish.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:54pm EDT

Poet, novelist, memoirist and all-around wonderful writer Wallis Wilde-Menozzi joins us on this episode of The Virtual Memories Show to talk about her two new books, The Other Side of the Tiber: Reflections on Time in Italy and Toscanelli's Ray: A Novel. It's a great conversation about the American experience in Italy over 40 years. Ms. Wilde-Menozzi possesses both a poet's sensibility for beautiful, lyrical language and a keen eye that carefully observes the character of Italy, its populace, and its art. I highly recommend The Other Side of the Tiber; it's a gorgeous, haunting book (I haven't read Toscanelli yet, so I can't vouch for it).

Direct download: Season_3_Episode_10_-_Eternity_is_Music_that_Plays.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:06pm EDT

Lexicographer Jesse Sheidlower joins us to talk about his work at the Oxford English Dictionary, the process of pitching The F-Word, how what we find offensive has changed over time, the ways words get into the language, the OED's transition to digital, the roots of "dropping an F-bomb", the value of kids' texting habits, and the importance of hosting dinner parties and wearing fine suits. Plus, you get to listen to me obsess over word choices and still embarrass myself!

Direct download: Season_3_Episode_9_-_Putting_the_Pro_in_Profanity.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EDT

Cartoonist and MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Fellowship winner Ben Katchor joins us for the first live episode of The Virtual Memories Show (in conjunction with the New York Comics & Picture-stories Symposium)! Ben & host Gil Roth talk in front of 50 or so people about Ben's new collection, Hand-Drying in America and Other Stories (Pantheon), as well as what he learned from his work in other art forms (like musical theater), the malling of New York, how publishing lost its identity, how he teaches cartooning, the move to drawing by computer tablet, his one critical audience demographic, the joy of imperfections, how to pronounce "Knipl," whether he has an ideal era for New York, what happened to his History of the Dairy Restaurant book, how fear of shame keeps him productive, how Google can help when you need to draw a Russian prostitute, the Yiddish humor strips he read as a child, and the one book the Library of America should withdraw. (And more!)

Direct download: Season_3_Episode_8_-_Visible_Cities.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00pm EDT

Craig Gidney discusses his YA novella, Bereft, and Ed Hermance tells us about the history and significance of Giovanni's Room, the oldest operating queer bookstore in America.

Direct download: Season_3_Episode_7_-_The_Importance_of_Being_Out.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:53pm EDT

Season 3, Episode 6 -Cartoon Character

Virtual Memories - season 3 episode 6 - Cartoon Character

"Political cartoonists have it easy: we turn on the TV or computer and Sarah Palin has said some inane thing . . . and the cartoons can write themselves. In the world of cartooning, we're the lazy bastards."

Matt Wuerker, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning, joins The Virtual Memories Showto talk about his career (including his fascinating non-comics work and his prescient move to the online world with POLITICO), the experience of winning "the Academy Award for cartoonists", his artistic and political influences, what it takes to get on the NRA's Enemies List, the opportunities for editorial cartoonists in a post-print world, how his parents felt about his decision to become a cartoonist, whether he had it easier during the Bush/Cheney era or the Tea Party era, and why he thinks the golden age of cartooning is still ahead of us!

"One of the great cosmic quandaries for cartoonists is that what's bad for the world is great for cartooning."

Enjoy the conversation! Then check out our archives for more great talks!

Matt Wuerker on The Virtual Memories Show

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About our Guest

Matt Wuerker has been POLITICO's editorial cartoonist and illustrator since its launch in 2007. In 2012, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning, POLITICO's first Pulitzer win. In 2009, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in editorial cartooning. Over the past 25 years, his work has appeared in publications ranging from The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times to Smithsonian and the Nation, among many others. Along the way, he's also pursued other artistic tangents that have included claymation, outdoor murals, teaching cartooning in prison (as a visitor, not as an inmate), book illustration and animating music videos. Matt thinks Saul Steinberg is a cartoon god and the Peter Principle explains pretty much everything, and he also thinks the maxim "If you're not confused, you're just not thinking clearly" is one of the wisest things ever said. Matt lives in Washington, D.C., in close proximity to the National Zoo and the Swiss Embassy. Depending how bad things get, he hopes to find asylum in one or the other.

Credits: This episode’s music is Nobody's Home by Ulrich Schnauss. The conversation was recorded at the Hay-Adams Hotel in Washington, D.C., on a pair of AT2020 mics, feeding into a Zoom H4n recorder. I recorded the other material on a Samson Meteor Mic USB Studio Microphone into Audacity. All editing and processing was done in Garage Band.

Direct download: Season_3_Episode_6_-_Cartoon_Character.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:44pm EDT

Writer/critic Greg Gerke joins us to talk about his recent interview with William Gass, the literary legend behind Omensetter's Luck, The Tunnel, a wide range of essays, and the new novel Middle C.

Direct download: Season_3_Episode_5_-_Sound_Before_Story.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30pm EDT

Guest Fred Kaplan talks about the history of counterinsurgency and his new book, The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War, as well as how we managed to get out of Iraq, how Afghanistan's failure may have been preordained, how PowerPoint makes people dumb, and how he made a career out of war writing.

Direct download: Season_3_Episode_4_-_Gods_Way_of_Teaching_Americans_Geography.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:03pm EDT

I talked with Miss Scorpio, party planner extraordinaire and mistress of Gemini and Scorpio, about 10 years of throwing fabulous themed costume parties, curating one of New York City's largest underground mailing lists of offbeat cultural events, how to build your own social network, and why you never want to do dinner and a movie for your internet first date.

Check it out at The Virtual Memories Show podcast!

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Direct download: Season_3_Episode_3_-_All_Tomorrows_Parties.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:44pm EDT

Willard Spiegelman talks about his wonderful book, Seven Pleasures: Essays on Ordinary Happiness, his addiction to ballroom dancing, how to find joy in the day-to-day world, why he hates book clubs, what Dallas, TX is like for a secular Philadelphia Jew, how he turned me on to one of my favorite novels, who his Desert Island Poets are, how he writes about the visual arts, why the world's great novels are lost on the young, what it was like to attend his 50th high school reunion, and more!

Direct download: Season_3_Episode_2_-_The_Magnificent_Seven.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:54am EDT

We kick off the new year by talking about the end of the world! Guest Ron Rosenbaum discusses his new book on nuclear war, the paradox of deterrence, the evolution of literary journalism, Nixon's final lie, and more!

Direct download: Season_3_Episode_1_-_Disarm.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:46pm EDT

Photographer Kyle Cassidy, author of Armed America (2007) and War Paint (2012), joins The Virtual Memories Show to talk about the myths of gun culture, discovering America(s), chronicling subcultures from roller-derby to soldiers with tattoos, the oddest thing he's seen on a science-fiction writer's desk, his most hated digital photo tricks, and more!

Direct download: Season_2_Episode_16_-_Not_the_camera_but_the_eye.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:52pm EDT

Guest Scott Hoffman of Folio Literary Management talks about the changing economics of publishing, the explosion of the YA market, the diminishing relevance of gatekeepers, and more!

Direct download: Season_2_Episode_15_-_Hassling_the_Hoff.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:06am EDT

Guest Bob Sikoryak talks about Masterpiece Comics, mashing up high and low culture, the '80's art scene in NYC, the mainstream acceptance of comics, cartoonists and performance art, and why he can't stand the term "Graphic Novels".

Direct download: Season_2_Episode_14_-_Classic_Pop.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:42pm EDT

Pulitzer-winning book critic Michael Dirda joins us to talk about the role of negative reviews, the value of book reviews in the internet age, breaking out of the genre ghetto, his path into Book World, and more! [This one is a re-mastered edition of the Oct. 2012 episode.]

Direct download: Season_2_Episode_13_-_The_Correction_of_Taste.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:08pm EDT

Guest Tom Spurgeon of comicsreporter.com talks about losing half his body weight, gaining perspective, and how junk culture eats itself. This episode is sponsored by Out Of Print Clothing!

Direct download: Season_2_Episode_12_-_Comic_Sans.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:47pm EDT

Guest Boaz Roth talks about rebuilding his library after a house fire, the joys of Bleak House, the influence of Orwell's essay, Inside the Whale, superhero movies, the merits of Lost, and what he's learned over 18 years of teaching literature.

Direct download: Season_2_Episode_11_-_Fire_and_Bleak_House.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:33pm EDT

Guest Lyn Ballard talks about her gateway books, the metaphysical poets, reading Huck Finn at the age of 5, an embarrassing Stanley Elkin anecdote, the importance of making literary pilgrimages, and more.

Direct download: Season_2_Episode_10_-_Four_Quartets_and_Other_Pilgrimages.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:53am EDT

Guest Jane Borden talks about how debutante training did not prepare her for life in New York, how a night at UCB changed her life, how she built her writing career, and her 2011 memoir, I Totally Meant To Do That.

Direct download: Season_2_Episode_9_-_New_York_and_Old_South.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:41pm EDT

Gil Roth talks with Diana Renn about her new YA novel, Tokyo Heist, then has a long conversation with science fiction writer/critic Paul Di Filippo about what it's like to be a Steampunk icon, how to make it as a writer, and Before Watchmen.

Direct download: Season_2_Episode_8_-_Manga-loids_and_Steampunks.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:38pm EDT

Gil talks with Tom May, a tutor at St. John's College, about his path to the school, how the place has changed over the years, and how he had to get a note from his priest to read books from the Vatican's Index Librorum Prohibitorum.

Direct download: Season_2_Episode_7_-_Here_at_the_Western_World.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:26pm EDT

Gil gets back from "vacation" and chats with St. John's College tutor David Townsend about the transcendence of good conversation, and the possibility of adding comic books to the Great Books curriculum.

Direct download: Season_2_Episode_6_-_My_Old_School.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:17pm EDT

Guest John B. talks about his 10-minute death last year and how he's looked at his life since then, and Gil talks about Robert Caro and the publicity-industrial complex. Trust me; it's good!

Direct download: Season_2_Episode_5_-_Look_in_Your_Heart.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:51pm EDT

Guest Ann Rivera talks about Housekeeping in the first Secondhand Books conversation.

Direct download: Season_2_Episode_3_-_Good_Housekeeping.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Host Gil Roth talks about burning libraries, Geoff Dyer, and Norah Jones

Direct download: Season_2_Episode_2_-_Burning_libraries.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Host Gil Roth talks about Bach, Piers Anthony and the escapism of being a geek.

Direct download: Season_2_Episode_1_-_Pale_horses_at_the_burger_joint.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EDT