The Virtual Memories Show

Can there be economic justice without environmental justice? With his new novel, FAILED STATE (Harper Voyager), Christopher Brown returns to the alternate America of Tropic of Kansas (2017) and Rule of Capture (2019) to explore the possibility of utopia and the catastrophe of man's disconnect from the land. We talk about how he reprised his great character Donny Kimoe (causing Amazon to categorize this book as "Dystopian Lawyer"), the roots of the world he built in these novels and his drive to publish 3 books in 4 years, and how the pandemic is influencing the choice of his next project, and how he's been coping since our COVID Check-In a few months ago. We also get into the culture of undocumented people in his area of Texas, the documentary TV episode about his home in east Austin, his current binge of Latin American horror by women writers, the role of resistance when the law is being subverted by politics, the future of his wonderful Field Notes weekly e-mail, and more! Follow Chris on Twitter and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_391_-_Christopher_Brown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:54pm EDT

With his fantastic new book, Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America (Random House), Kurt Andersen explores how rich conservatives responded to the 1960s by pushing America on a pro-business trajectory that has led to record income inequality and a nation unequipped to handle a pandemic. We get into the one-two punch of this book and Kurt's previous history of America, Fantasyland, the over-exaggeration of individualism and how puts us on the precipice of disaster, post-'80s cultural stasis and nostalgia, the way "if it feels good, do it" led to "profits over all", the long-term impact of the Occupy movement, and how his kids give him optimism that this can all be fixed. We also get into his first New York City moment, the lessons learned from his 20-year tenure hosting Studio 360 on PRI, pandemic life and his re-integration into NYC, how we both treat our interviews like first dates, why he wants to get back to writing novels, and plenty more. Follow Kurt on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_390_-_Kurt_Andersen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:56am EDT

Who's driving whom? With Crash Course (Street Noise Books), British cartoonist, artist and designer Woodrow Phoenix examines what cars do to us: physically, mentally, and environmentally. We talk about the evolution of Crash Course, the stint in LA that inspired it, the visual and design choices that make it a haunting piece of art, and how he reconciles driving his Mini Cooper One. We also get into growing up in South London, what being Black means in the UK and US, his compulsion to experiment with styles, why he sticks with pencils and inks, and his typography and design background and how they inform the semiotics of Crash Course. Plus, he nerds out HARD for Carmine Infantino, we nerd out together for Al Hischfeld, and we try to figure out why his recurring themes are duplication, language, perception and the shifting nature of reality. Oh, and I try to get him to spend a lot of money on bookshelves. Follow Woodrow on Twitter • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_389_-_Woodrow_Phoenix.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:21pm EDT

With her new book, Looking for Miss America: A Pageant's 100-Year Quest to Define Womanhood (Counterpoint), Margot Mifflin has written a compelling, thoughtful history and exploration of a uniquely American phenomenon. We got together to talk about the story of the Miss America Pageant — sorry, Competition — and its cultural significance (including its racist restrictions), how the pageant has evolved over a century, sometimes reflecting women's roles in America, sometimes reflecting men's perspectives of women, the pageant's heyday of the 1950s and '60s and its struggles since then, and the 2018 decision to get rid of the swimsuit portion. Along the way, we talk about feminist protests of the pageant, the great life-story of 1951 winner Yolande Betbeze, the history of Atlantic City and its decline, the common elements of most Miss America memoirs, the one winner she wishes she'd interviewed, Philip Roth's thread throughout her book, and how she'd change Miss America for this era. Follow Margot on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_388_-_Margot_Mifflin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:14am EDT

Author, editor & memoirist Benjamin Taylor joins the show to talk about his wonderful new memoir, Here We Are: My Friendship with Philip Roth (Penguin). We get into how his relationship with Roth evolved over 20 years, how it affected his own writing, and his notion that everything that happened is still happening. We talk about the nature of friendship and how it may differ from literary friendship, Benjamin's fixation on older friends, why The Human Stain is his favorite of Roth's novels, the notion of "literary lions" like Roth, Bellow, Oates, Updike, and Ozick, and why this era seems bereft of them. He also fills us in on how long walks with Vivian Gornick have helped him handle Pandemic World, why fiction isn't the only worthwhile game in town, what it means to be an American and a heartbroken patriot, and plenty more. Follow Benjamin on Twitter and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_387_-_Benjamin_Taylor.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EDT

Comedian, actress and Emmy-winning TV writer Judy Gold joins the show to celebrate her brand new book, Yes, I CAN Say That: When They Come for the Comedians, We Are All in Trouble (Dey St.). We get into the role of comedy in society, the perils of censorship (from the left and the right), and what living through the AIDS crisis taught her about the need to laugh. We get into her history in standup, how audiences have become more offendable, how she got into her IDGAF mode in her 40s, who can take a joke and who can't (and who can tell a joke and who can't), the crucible of hanging out with comedians after shows, how she's dealing with pandemic life and how COVID-19 forced the longest break in her career, what she's learned from hosting Kill Me Now for 5+ years and who some of her Mount Rushmore guests have been, and plenty more. Follow Judy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_386_-_Judy_Gold.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:37am EDT

Batter up! Let's celebrate Major League Baseball's 2020 Opening Day by talking with cartoonist, illustrator and baseball fan Ellen Lindner. We get into Ellen's great 'zine about the role of women in the history of baseball, Cranklet's Chronicle (1 & 2), her own history with baseball, why she's a Mets fan, her theories about Aaron Judge's mystery-injury, and what it's like being in the narrow Venn overlap of comics-makers and sports fans. We also explore her comics upbringing, the education she got by volunteering at the Words and Pictures Museum of Sequential Art, the comics festivals she misses the most in Pandemic World, the time she impressed David B. with her French, how to tell family stories without alienating one's family, her side-project of sewing masks and biking around NYC to deliver them, the cut-out figure she submitted to the Mets, and more. Follow Ellen on Twitter and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_385_-_Ellen_Lindner.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:36am EDT

Cartoonist and illustrator Adrian Tomine is in it for the long haul. With his new graphic memoir, The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist (Drawn & Quarterly), he explores his lifelong connection to comics and the embarrassments & humiliations they've caused him. We get into the new book and talk about whether it was worth it, what brought him to the sketchbook style he adopted for this one, the differences between his comics and illustration work, being accepted by his cartooning heroes, and the importance of mindless time. We also talk about his ideal reader, the anxiety of influence and vice versa, what he misses about floppy comics (as opposed to bookstore graphic novels), the redactions he made in Loneliness to protect the douche-y, Adrian's remembrances of Richard Sala, and much more. • Follow Adrian on Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_384_-_Adrian_Tomine.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:08am EDT

Artist, cartoonist, and clotheshorse Everett Glenn joins the show from Berlin to talk about how narrating his life as a story helped him make (some) sense of his fragmented, chaotic upbringing (he talks more about that upbringing in this great conversation with Noah Van Sciver). We get into his evolution and influences as a cartoonist through his Unsmooth graphic novel and his recent amazing achievement of the 20-page story The Gigs (which you HAVE to read), how he skipped the idol-worship phase of literature, how Cool World and Ralph Bakshi blew his mind at an impressionable age, and how he deals with the self-eating snake of racial identity from the perspective of a Black American living in Germany. We also talk about the importance of design, the origins of his ligne claire, where his fantastic clothing sense comes from, how he learned tailoring in an attempt to get a visa, how the confidence it takes to push the fashion envelope can feed into confidence in other parts of life, and more! Follow Everett's Instagram feeds for his comics and his fashion, and support his Patreon • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_383_-_Everett_Glenn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:36am EDT

With Three Fifths (Agora), debut author John Vercher explores race and representation in a taut crime novel. We get into Black identity and the notion of 'passing' in America, the origins of Three Fifths and its evolution over a two-decade span, and how John's literary idols led him to the spare prose that carries the book's tension. We also get into his roundabout writing career, how an MFA program doesn't necessarily prepare one for the job-aspects of writing, the decision to place Three Fifths in 1995 (think Rodney King, OJ, and no cell phones or internet), John's martial arts background and how it informs his writing, how he integrated his characters' love of superhero comics into their psychologies, the need to pay it forward, and more. • Follow John on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_382_-_John_Vercher.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:02am EDT

Author & St. John's College tutor Zena Hitz joins the show to talk about her wonderful new book, Lost in Thought: The Hidden Pleasures of an Intellectual Life (Princeton University Press). We get into the nature of learning for its own sake, the corruption of academia and its potential reform, how St. John's prepared us for the world by not preparing us, and why the Newton's Principia is the toughest thing on the SJC curriculum. We also talk about the joy of autodidacts and our shared love of The Peregrine, why she disagrees with the notion that learning-for-its-own-sake is a privilege of the elite, the challenges of leading seminars by Zoom, and how bureaucracy creeps into every system. We also tackle my lightning round of questions for SJC tutors, what she'd add to the curriculum and what she'd subtract, and answer the long-standing question: What is virtue and can it be taught? Follow Zena on Twitter • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_381_-_Zena_Hitz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:45am EDT

Author & publisher Bill Campbell joins the show to talk about what he's learned from running Rosarium Publishing (and how he accidentally became a publisher). We get into how having a diverse roster of authors and cartoonists is easy if you're willing to look, how independent bookstores generally don't support independent presses, and how work-life balance is something he doesn't even consider. We also talk about the impact of Rosarium's first book, Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond, the continued significance of their 2015 anthology, APB: Artists against Police Brutality, the cognitive dissonance of living in Washington, DC, his upcoming graphic novel about a Klan rally in Pittsburgh and why history equals horror, the challenges of continuing to publish during the pandemic, how lockdown taught him that he's not as antisocial as he thought, and more. • Follow Bill on Twitter and Instagram and follow Rosarium Publishing on Twitter • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_380_-_Bill_Campbell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:36am EDT

The beyond-legendary designer Milton Glaser died on June 26, 2020, on his 91st birthday. To celebrate his life and world-changing career, I've re-posted our 2019 podcast, along with a new introduction. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Milton_Glaser_Tribute_Episode.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:25am EDT

I nerd out with author, English professor, and hardcore comics reader Jonathan W. Gray. We talk about how Blackness is represented in American comics (the subject of his next book), how Alan Moore's Swamp Thing changed his life, and how he was teaching comics when there weren't a lot of college courses on comics. We get into the perils and perks of academia, what it's like teaching at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and protesting against police violence, the influence of Kyle Baker's Nat Turner & John Lewis' March on his work, the horrifying question of whether we're actually in the best timeline right now, and plenty more. Follow Jonathan on Twitter • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_379_-_Jonathan_W_Gray.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:36am EDT

Herblock Award-winning cartoonist Ruben Bolling joins the show to celebrate 30 years of his comic, Tom The Dancing Bug! We talk about his two new collections, Into the Trumpverse and The Super-Fun-Pak Comix Reader, and how pandemic-uncertainty means you'll need to pre-order those books NOW in order to get 'em. We also get into how Tom The Dancing Bug has evolved over the decades, why he's never drawn himself in a strip (which I think is tied into his regret at using a pseudonym all these years), the benefits of using an open format without recurring characters (for the most part), how Bill Griffith's Zippy the Pinhead blew his mind when he was young, his embarrassment of riches when the blurbs for Into the Trumpverse started coming in, secretly being glad his kids are around so much during the pandemic, why he'd love to get back to making more of his EMU Club series of kids books, and plenty more! Pre-order Into the Trumpverse and The Super-Fun-Pak Comix Reader by June 30, 2020 • Follow Ruben on Twitter and Instagram, and support his work via The Inner Hive • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_378_-_Ruben_Bolling.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:13am EDT

Designer, artist and writer Keith Henry Brown joins the show to talk about his new kids book, Birth of The Cool: How Miles Davis Found His Sound. We get into the twists and turns of his illustration career, exploring the balancing act of art & commerce in his main role as an art director, the role of jazz in his work, how he started off by achieving his childhood goal of drawing for Marvel Comics, but rapidly realized it wasn't for him, the ongoing evolution of his style, how he discovered his place at the Society of Illustrators, the longform graphic novel he's hoping to create, the issues of race in his career, and more. • Follow Keith on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram• More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_377_-_Keith_Henry_Brown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:01am EDT

Through his work at Publishers Weekly, editor Calvin Reid has been an important advocate for comics and graphic novel publishing for decades. We get into his history with comics and making art, how he began writing about the book publishing world, and the weirdness of having to update the annual retailer survey to reflect the effect of the pandemic on booksellers. Calvin talks about the transformative nature of Black Lives Matter, the lack of diversity in publishing (which he wrote about 25 years ago), and how Black artists are represented in mainstream comics, as well as how wearing a mask helps protects him from COVID, satisfies his superhero fantasies, AND gets him likes on social media. Follow Calvin on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram• More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_376_-_Calvin_Reid.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:54am EDT

Author Arthur Hoyle joins the show to talk about his new book, Mavericks, Mystics, and Misfits: Americans Against the Grain (Sunbury Press), in which profiles of American figures help illustrate the paradoxes and aspirations of a nation. We get into how the book grew out of the concept of the exemplar put forth by Henry Miller (the subject of Arthur's first book), his vision of America and how the florid language of the founding fathers is like PR for a damaging product, and how his selection of biographical subjects in MM&M represents the diversity of America in its ethnicity and geographic spread. We also get into climate change and rampant capitalism, his practice of "first draft, best draft", the fascist seed of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, how the pandemic scrambled his trip to Patagonia and led to an odyssey to get back to Southern California, his next book about the tension artists face between the muse & the mundane, our various ideas of how to treat Henry Miller in film & fiction, and more! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_375_-_Arthur_Hoyle.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:24am EDT

Translator and director Philip Boehm joins the show fresh off winning his second Helen & Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize. We talk about his prize-winning translation of Christine Wunnicke's The Fox & Dr. Shimamura (New Directions), and the research and challenges that went into bringing the eerie historical novel to life in English, then get into his time in Poland in the '80s, how it shaped his ideas on the role of the arts in society, and how he had to smuggle his work out of the country, the differences between translating for the page vs. the stage, his role as Artistic Director of Upstream Theater, the time he pranked a publisher with a fake letter from Kafka to Milena, the pressure of translating canonical works and the joy of meeting & befriending authors he works on, the parallels between Iron Curtain countries in the '80s & America today, how every theatrical staging is an act of translation, regardless of the source language, why German is like Lego while Polish is like autumnal rustling, how he's dealing with Pandemic Life in Texas, and more! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_374_-_Philip_Boehm.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:11pm EDT

Cartoonist Dylan Horrocks checks in from Wellington, NZ. We celebrate his country's success at overcoming the pandemic, but get into the darker lessons he learned during lockdown, and his shame at having to shrink his circle of concern during the depths of it. We get into making & reading comics during This Whole Situation, the grace of NZ's prime minister and the dry wit of its director-general of health, the joy of getting back to the pub, the way scientist Siouxsie Wiles & cartoonist Toby Morris collaborated to educate NZ about COVID-19, how the BLM protests have translated to his country, the comics projects he's working on, and plenty more. Follow Dylan on Twitter and Instagram, and read his all-time great graphic novel, Hicksville • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Dylan_Horrocks.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:57am EDT

Photographer Steve Prue checks in from Brooklyn. We talk about how he got started in (largely NSFW) photography and the origin of Teamrockstar Images, how he's dealing with pandemic life (his roommate is yesterday's guest, Stoya), figuring out how to coordinate remote shoots with models, his love of burlesque and people who have an aversion to clothes, how he melted down when he met Britney Spears, our mutual love of the work of Richard Kadrey, his obsessive, studio-level lighting for routine Zoom calls, and more. Follow Steve on Twitter, and Instagram, OnlyFans, Vimeo and Patreon, and check out Teamrockstar Images • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Steve_Prue.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:07am EDT

Writer, actress, publisher and adult performer Stoya checks in from Brooklyn. We talk about social change and protests against police violence, why now isn't the time for self-promotion and why it is the time to promote Black voices, what the next world may look like, and why the AVN Awards committee's decision to eliminate the category of "interracial" is long overdue. We also get into her pandemic life, the ethical debate over being on OnlyFans, wanting to get back to her AEW Wednesdays, the value of friendship, the toothpaste she hoards when she's in Serbia, and her relief at discovering that she & her roommate can handle the lockdown. Follow Stoya on Twitter, Instagram, and OnlyFans, and check out her magazine, ZeroSpaces • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Stoya.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:39am EDT

Cartoonist, activist and live-drawing pioneer Liza Donnelly checks in from Rhinebeck, NY. We talk about the rhythm of her daily live-drawing video sessions and how they've improved her drawing & maybe her mental health, the Zoom event she held for Society of Illustrations with Roz Chast & Liana Finck, the longform graphic novel she's pondering, what she misses about NYC, her upcoming exhibition at the Norman Rockwell Museum, how she's getting reacquainted with drawing on paper, the challenge of coming up with cartoons for The New Yorker nowadays, and more. Follow Liza on Twitter, Periscope and Instagram • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Liza_Donnelly.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:19am EDT

Author & photographer Kipp Friedman checks in from Milwaukee, hours after the death of his father, the great writer Bruce Jay Friedman. We trade stories about BJF, but first we talk about how Kipp has been coping with pandemic life, and how, with his bar/bat mitzvah photography business on hiatus, Kipp has returned to a novel he began a few yeas ago about his time as a newspaper reporter in FL in the '80s. He also gets into how teaching tennis manages to keep him occupied while letting him keep appropriate social distance, the advantages of having a live-in chef (his son moved back in and loves to cook), the joy of bingeing on Eric Ambler novels and the Criterion Channel streaming service, and more. Read Kipp's memoir, Barracuda In The Attic • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Kipp_Friedman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:53am EDT

The first great author I ever recorded with, Bruce Jay Friedman, died on June 3, 2020, at the age of 90. His work means the world to me, so to celebrate his life, I've re-posted that 2014 podcast, along with a new introduction. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Bruce_Jay_Friedman_Bonus_Episode.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:52am EDT

Design scholar, teacher, and author Steven Heller checks in from New York City. We talk about the anxiety & stress of pandemic life, and why he's thinking of designing a watch that just tells you the day of the week. We also get into his upcoming 70th birthday, and why that number is a big rubicon for him, his reread & revised opinion of Philip Roth's The Plot Against America, the relaunch of Print magazine (he and partners bought the title a few months ago) and the how he sustains his Daily Heller blog there, the weird comfort of walking through a protest this week, his recent binge of Shtisel on Netflix, and more. Follow Steven on Twitter and Instagram and check out his blog at Print Magazine, The Daily Heller • Listen to our most recent full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Steven_Heller.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:33am EDT

Caldecott Medal-winning author & illustrator David Small checks in from SW Michigan. We talk about the "what am I going to do next?" moment he's fallen into, the bad timing of selling his papers to a university library last fall and how it means he has to recreate the opening of his next graphic novel from memory, whether his background as a kids book author & illustrator would help him explain This Whole Situation to kids, the upcoming sequel to one of her best-known books, Imogene's Antlers (and how he gave this one a more evil ending than the one his publisher suggested), living with CLL and other aspects of being 75, how he learned to use the dilation of pandemic-time to his advantage, and more. Listen to our full-length podcast and check out David's graphic novels, Stitches and Home After Dark • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_David_Small.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:36am EDT

Cartoonist & illustrator Robert Sikoryak checks in from NYC. We talk about his just-completed new book, Constitution Illustrated (Drawn & Quarterly), what he learned about the US Constitution & America in the process of making that book, and how that deadline insulated him a little from the effects of sheltering in place. We get into remote teaching of his art classes at Parsons, finding his best Zoom angle, trying to adapt his Carousel live cartooning performances to the social distancing world, and the sequel to Masterpiece Comics he hopes to work on next. Follow Bob on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_R_Sikoryak.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:30am EDT

Cartoonist & comics-historian Eddie Campbell checks in from Chicago. We talk Pandemic Hair, surviving with a pair of 2-month-old kittens (acquired by yesterday's guest, Eddie's wife Audrey Niffenegger), finishing his book on the great cartoonist and interviewer Kate Carew, the difference between imagining books and making them (I have no idea what he's talking about), how the scribbly charm or half-assed-ness of his comics takes a lot of work, catching up on Gasoline Alley reprints, his appreciation of the interchangeable anonymity of Picasso & Braque's unsigned cubist works, his belief that your bucket list should be enjoyment of the magic of the everyday, and more. Follow Eddie on Twitter and read his work • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Eddie_Campbell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:39am EDT

Author & artist Audrey Niffenegger checks in from Chicago. We talk about her decision to add a pair of 2-month-old kittens to her pandemic household, the progress she's making on the sequel to The Time Traveler's Wife, how she fortuitously incorporated 9/11 into that book and has found a place for the pandemic in this one, and why she continues to wear lipstick every day. We also get into writers' tendency to keep fiddling with their books (especially and expensively in the case of Joyce with Ulysses), the bookstores she wants to visit after This Whole Situation, the question of positing a better world in fiction, Chicago's inequality and how it's exacerbating the health crisis, the nonprofit Artists Book House she helped launch, and why she's enjoying the silence even as her house succumbs to entropy. Follow Audrey on Twitter and support Artists Book House • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Audrey_Niffenegger.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:29am EDT

Publisher Annie Koyama checks in from Toronto. We talk about whether the pandemic has affected her plans to close down Koyama Press in 2021, and the big farewell she had planned for this year's Toronto Comic Arts Festival. We get into her guerrilla charity/grant-program to help cartoonists and other creative people, her concerns for her 92-year-old mom, the increasing racism toward people of Asian descent, how "being good in emergencies" gets tested when the emergency never ends, why she delayed her dive into Animal Crossing, and the ongoing lesson of appreciating the mundane. Follow Annie & Koyama Press on Twitter and Instagram, and pick up some of their books • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Annie_Koyama.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:25am EDT

Writer, performer, director and producer Kathe Koja rejoins the show to talk about her new story collection, VELOCITIES (Meerkat Press). We talk how she's coping with the pandemic, the importance of having a good working relationship with chaos, and why Russell Hoban's Riddley Walker is more apropos than ever. She gets into her work in immersive theater and how it needs to be reimagined in this era of social distancing, while teasing out details of her new project, Dark Factory. We also get into the upcoming reissue of her cult novel The Cipher this September, why she's bingeing on Babylon Berlin, the one thing she hoarded when things went sideways, why it's important to be open to the messages the world sends us, and what to do when you find a pill lying on the floor in a hospital cafeteria. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_373_-_Kathe_Koja.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:13am EDT

Documentary photographer Jonathan Hyman checks in from Bethel, NY. We talk about his travels from Maine to Maryland to photograph towns and "open the economy" rallies during the pandemic, the near-emptiness of New York City on St. Patrick's Day, the parallels and divergences with post-9/11 America and his photography projects from that era, people coming at him during rallies because of their hostility toward media, how pointing a camera at someone is different than pointing a phone at them, and more. Follow Jonathan on Facebook and Instagram • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Jonathan_Hyman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:53am EDT

Author and professor Peter Trachtenberg checks in from the Catskills. We talk about his surprise at how well he's dealing with This Whole Situation, the essay he's working on about Katherine Anne Porter's Pale Horse, Pale Rider, the realization that Americans are more afraid of going broke than contracting COVID-19, and how this pandemic echoes and differs from the 1918 flu and the AIDS crisis. We get into the book he's working on about living and dying in New York's Westbeth artists' apartments, the value of art in society, his meditative practice of reading Levi's Periodic Table in Italian, what it was like to preside over graduation-by-video at Pitt, and more. Follow Peter on Twitter and Instagram • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Peter_Trachtenberg.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:27am EDT

Author, archivist and curator David Leopold checks in from Bucks County, PA. We talk about curating art in a quarantine and organizing the Socially Distant Theater virtual exhibition of Al Hirschfeld's drawings of solo shows, how museum audiences are changing over the years and his concerns that we'll continue to drive away from in-person experience, missing JazzFest in New Orleans, making a social-distancing garden, bingeing on The Leftovers and Saki's short stories, researching minstrel shows for an exhibition on race & identity in George Herriman's work, and contextualizing them as commedia dell'arte (while being sensitive about the potential for offense inherent in the subject matter), working on a Frontera music virtual exhibition for Arhoolie, going 6 weeks without leaving the farm he lives on, and more. Follow David on Twitter and check out the Ben Solowey Studio and the Al Hirschfeld Foundation • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_David_Leopold.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:27am EDT

Cartoonist, illustrator, archeologist, and teacher Glynnis Fawkes checks in from Burlington, VT. We get into how her knowledge with Ancient Greece & archeology informs her perspective on the current pandemic, and talk about how how she's making a diary comic about her family, but setting it in 1347 during the Black Death semisorta so she can avoid drawing her kids using their iPads all the time. We get into how making Charlotte Bronte Before Jane Eyre led her to realize how much we think we're excused from a lot of hazards, the Angouleme residency she's missing out on, the inspiration of Natalia Ginzburg's Family Lexicon, how she's staying in touch with her comics-festival table-mates, Jennifer Hayden, Summer Pierre, and Ellen Lindner (who I really need to record with), how in-person contact has become a luxury, the joys of online yoga, and more. Follow Glynnis on Twitter and Instagram • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Glynnis_Fawkes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:49am EDT

Musician, producer, and just-about-Broadway songwriter Gary Clark checks in from Scotland to talk about the musical of Sing Street (he wrote the songs, based on the movie) and how its Broadway debut has been postponed by the pandemic. We get into the recent charity livestream of Sing Street, what he's learned from the process of working on a musical and how that's feeding into his next project, the Emma Thompson-led staging of Nanny McPhee, the dire prospects for clubs and theaters hurt by the quarantine, the importance of having routines and rhythms for work and life, the pros and cons of streaming music, practicing Transcendental Meditation, having to rewrite the Nanny McPhee song "Plague, Rickets, Scurvy & Spleen" in light of This Whole Situation, and (of course I had to ask) the (non-)prospects of a virtual Danny Wilson reunion. Follow Gary on Twitter and Instagram and keep up with news about the musical of Sing Street • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Gary_Clark.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:38am EDT

Architecture writer Witold Rybczynski checks in from Philadelphia. We talk about how his present circumstances — retired from teaching, helping his wife recover from a broken arm, and editing his next book — have enabled him to transition into shelter-in-place mode pretty smoothly. We also get into that upcoming book, The Story of Architecture, how working on it enables him to transport himself into the Renaissance and elsewhere/when, how it's modeled after Gombrich's The Story of Art, why he doesn't want to theorize about the impact of the pandemic on architecture, the Mantel & Greene books he's immersed in and the French TV series he's bingeing on via Netflix, and his acceptance that there are wonderful historic buildings he'll never visit. Follow Witold on Twitter • Listen to our two our full-length podcasts: 2015 and 2019 • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Witold_Rybczynski.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:55am EDT

Author & activist Nathaniel Popkin checks in from Philadelphia. We talk about the potential for creative moments in the midst of self-isolation, the inspiration of Elsa Morante's novel History on his recent LitHub essay on the abuse of war imagery during the pandemic, the unique social aspects of Philadelphia, the dilation of time during self-isolation and how glad he was to take a social-distance walk with friends, the eternal search for justice and the battle against corporatization, the history of how the Lenape natives were defrauded of their land in the 1700s and how the language of destroying indigenous people hasn't changed over the centuries, how literature helps him travel in time and space, and more. Follow Nathaniel on Twitter and Instagram • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Nathaniel_Popkin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:21am EDT

Cartoonist and educator Tom Hart joins the show to talk about how the Sequential Artists Workshop (SAW) is adapting to the pandemic era. We get into Tom's comics upbringing and his formative years in the Seattle scene, how he managed to avoid superhero comics during his formative years, my discovery of his debut, Hutch Owen's Working Hard, in 1994, the value of pretension and his drive to bring literary notions to his comics, the experience that led him to create SAW, the challenges of teaching students half his age (& younger), how teaching his helped him as a cartoonist, the new form he's seeking for his next book, and why he's hoping to get out of Florida. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_372_-_Tom_Hart.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:55am EDT

Author, teacher & activist Kate Maruyama checks in from LA. We talk about whether writers have a responsibility to write a positive future and how she helped organize the Writing Better Futures in Times of Crisis virtual event (happening 5/14/20!). We also get into how she self-shamed into finishing a novella but is averse to the myth of WFH productivity, teaching writing online, whether her F&SF & horror background prepared her for this scenario, the fragmentation of LA and the challenges that creates for keeping community, reading for the Shirley Jackson Awards, the theory that panicked brains focus on details rather than broad & deep thinking, and more. Follow Kate on Twitter and Instagram • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Kate_Maruyama.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:57am EDT

Writer and editor Ron Hogan checks in from Queens (near Elmhurst Hospital). We talk about why you don't need to write King Lear while in quarantine (or finish War & Peace, although he's hoping to do that), how to handle bad writing days regardless of whether there's a pandemic on, keeping up with his writing-development e-mail, Destroy Your Safe and Happy Lives, and a key lesson from Thomas Merton to find the core of one's writing. We also get into how he officially joined a Quaker meeting via Zoom, his binge of season 3 of Castlevania, his deep-dive into the Psalms, having Korean baseball games as occasional TV-wallpaper, enjoying The Anarchist's Tool Chest (as part of his goal of minimizing his engagement with capital), and more! Follow Ron on Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to his e-mail • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Ron_Hogan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:09am EDT

Supernatural horror author & game writer Cassandra Khaw checks in from Montreal. We talk about her life in transit and her dread at seeing borders close, how horror writers are scaredy-cats and why she's trying to write something bright & happy, how it's driving her batty to not be able to go to the gym), the therapeutic aspects of playing Animal Crossing and how it deviates from a key rule of gaming by enforcing the need to slow down, her lament at missing Montreal's mural festival, helping amplify other writers through Twitch-streamed readings, her undying love for Stephen Graham Jones' Mongrels, her upcoming novella, and more. Follow Cassandra on Twitter and Instagram • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Cassandra_Khaw.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:35am EDT

Flutist and author Sato Moughalian was the last person with whom I recorded an in-person podcast, and the first guest of the show to turn up positive with COVID-19. She checks in from New York City to talk about her recovery and the time-warping delirium of going 35 days without leaving her apartment. We get into how she's been able to return to the flute, how she knows her lungs well enough to rebuild their strength, her concerns about the future of live music, the communal nature of musicians and their way of being in the world, the joy of the very vibrations in the air that come from performing in close quarters with other players, losing herself in Call the Midwife and more. Follow Sato on Twitter and Instagram, watch one of her performances, and read Feast of Ashes: The Life and Art of David Ohannessian • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Sato_Moughalian.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:47am EDT

James Beard Award-winning writer Brett Martin checks in from New Orleans. We talk about his brand-new Best New Restaurants In America feature in GQ, how the world's changed since he finished this annual tour and how this edition helps celebrate restaurants both for what they are and what they do. We get into his last great meal, the communal & celebratory spirit of New Orleans, the way he misses all the things he used to gripe about (travel, hotel rooms, etc.), the uncertain future of our alma mater (Hampshire College), my envy at what a fantastic writer he is, why he's not bingeing prestige TV despite writing a book about it, his regular Meal of Bretts at Crescent City Steakhouse, and more! Follow Brett on Twitter and read this year's Best New Restaurants In America and his book, Difficult Men • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Brett_Martin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:02am EDT

Cartoonist Karl Stevens checks in from Boston, to talk about how his life hasn't changed all that much during the pandemic (outside of one COVID case in his co-op). We get into how he's trying to find unique humor for gag comics, and playing mix-and-match with The New Yorker's unofficial list of humor topics, his deep dive into Jack Kirby's 1970s comics, having his new book postponed until next spring, the festivals and conventions he misses most, his reflexive morning click on comicsreporter.com almost 6 months after Tom Spurgeon's death, and more. Follow Karl on Twitter and Instagram and check out his work at The New Yorker • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Karl_Stevens.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:25am EDT

Professor and author Shachar Pinsker checks in from Ann Arbor after a month-long walloping by COVID-19. We get into how his recent book, A Rich Brew: How Cafés Created Modern Jewish Culture (NYU Press), informed his understanding of the pandemic's effect on people, how social isolation may affect the exchange of ideas, the post-COVID energy and inspiration he's feeling for new writing projects like pieces on the nature & future of conviviality and the history of the feuilleton, how his family in Israel is coping, and whether he can taste coffee again. We also talk about how he had to learn online teaching on the fly, what it takes to develop a good asynchronous course, and why teaching during this experience helped him as much as it did his students. Follow Shachar on Twitter and Instagram • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Shachar_Pinsker.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:52am EDT

Professor and author Shachar Pinsker checks in from Ann Arbor after a month-long walloping by COVID-19. We get into how his recent book, A Rich Brew: How Cafés Created Modern Jewish Culture (NYU Press), informed his understanding of the pandemic's effect on people, how social isolation may affect the exchange of ideas, the post-COVID energy and inspiration he's feeling for new writing projects like pieces on the nature & future of conviviality and the history of the feuilleton, how his family in Israel is coping, and whether he can taste coffee again. We also talk about how he had to learn online teaching on the fly, what it takes to develop a good asynchronous course, and why teaching during this experience helped him as much as it did his students. Follow Shachar on Twitter and Instagram • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Shachar_Pinsker.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:52am EDT

Musician, songwriter, producer, inventor and now novelist David Baerwald checks in from Kingston, NY. We talk about America conforming to the apocalyptic vision of his 1992 album, Triage, and his friends realizing he wasn't as crazy as they thought. We get into the novel he's writing about his family and its connections to 20th century history and the roots of the CIA, how working on the book lets him travel the world from his desk, why we should all Google Emily Hahn & Israel Epstein, why this is the most dangerous moment in human history, what it was like moving house in the middle of the pandemic, the fun of teaching guitar online, how he adapted a full-face snorkeling mask into PPE in lieu of an N95 mask, how his son and the college-age cohort views the future, how a bag of mushrooms is helping him get by, and more. Follow David on Twitter and Instagram • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_David_Baerwald.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:17am EDT

Nov Shmoz Ka Pop? Writer & artist Paul C. Tumey joins the show to talk about his fantastic new book, Screwball: The Cartoonists Who Made The Funnies Funny (IDW Publishing). We get into where screwball cartooning began, how he selected the 15 cartoonists profiled in the book (like Herriman, Segar, Rube Goldberg, and Frederick Opper), the ways in which the book is an attempt at explaining the parentage of Mad Magazine, the nuances of biography and his work at humanizing his subjects, and how screwball cartooning intersected with with vaudeville & film (and how the Marx Bros. got their names) and why it's the subject of his next book. We also talk about how we're coping with pandemic-panic and his latest binge-reads & -shows. • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_371_-_Paul_C_Tumey.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:13am EDT

Cartoonist Keiler Roberts checks in from Chicago. Even though she was one of the people I was most worried about during the pandemic, it turns out she's doing better than anyone else I've talked to. We talk about what it's like to see the rest of the world conform to her everyday life, her MS and how the lack of day-to-day errands has reduced its toll on her, the progress she's making on her next book, why she chose to bail on comics festivals last year, shifting her coffee-dates with friends to Zoom, how she stays grateful for little things, and more. Follow Keiler on Twitter and Instagram • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Keiler_Roberts.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:44am EDT

Biblical scholar David M. Carr checks in from Putnam Valley, NY. We get into how his book, Holy Resilience: The Bible's Traumatic Origins, resonates with our current moment, how he was trapped in Mallorca when the European semisorta travel ban was announced, the ways Tiger King reflects our own cagedness, the work he's doing on the book of Genesis and the nature of the myth of the Flood, the power of Jewish traditions (especially talking back to God), and how our relationship with our pets may disturbingly mirror the patterns and language people used to use about slaves. • Follow David on Twitter and Facebook, although he's not active on either • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_David_M_Carr.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:33am EDT

Michael Gerber, editor/publisher of The American Bystander, a.k.a., the last great humor magazine, checks in from Santa Monica, where he's busier than ever. We talk about finding humor and sharing laughs during the pandemic, the Bystander's viability and how its distribution model is built to survive this sort of situation, his background in history and how it helps and hurts right now (including the lesson of the Rome's Gracchi brothers), his upcoming binge of I, Claudius and the novel of ancient Rome he's threatening to write, Dan Savage's (non-sexual) advice about keeping perspective during the pandemic, and his realization that making The American Bystander may just be his calling (as opposed to CIA analyst, which he considered once upon a time). • Support The American Bystander by subscribing to the Last Great Humor Magazine, and check out samples at their site • Follow Michael on Twitter, follow The American Bystander on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to their free daily e-mail, Quarantine Cavalcade • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Michael_Gerber.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:48am EDT

Author Scott Edelman checks in from West Virginia. We talk about how the pandemic has derailed his podcast, Eating the Fantastic, after 120 episodes, all the conventions that have been cancelled and how much he misses them (and why Readercon is his fave), the solace he takes from Middlemarch, the books he's hoping to get to now that he's not reading for pod-guests, whether his zombie fiction has prepared him for the current situation, the joys of light opera, and more. Follow Scott on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and listen to his podcast, Eating the Fantastic • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Scott_Edelman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:11am EDT

Illustrator and cartoonist Ken Krimstein checks in from Chicago. We talk about how the process of finishing his next book helped him muscle through the early stages of social distancing and isolation, and how the content of the book — adaptations of anonymous autobiographies of Jewish teens in pre-war Lithuania — helped him with perspective on the trials people have gone through in the past. We also get into some utopian thinking, his Charles Portis binge, his amazement at Frank Santoro's graphic memoir Pittsburgh, how he'll never escape Hannah Arendt, years after finishing his graphic biography of her, and more. Follow Ken on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Ken_Krimstein.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:24am EDT

Yiddish historian Eddy Portnoy checks in from Harlem. We get into how he's managing the work/home setup now that his sofa has molded itself to his body, how the Yiddish papers covered the 1918 flu and the analogs that has for our present situation, the Displaced Persons exhibition he's working on for 2021 at the UN (fingers crossed), his long-gestating project on a pair of Yiddish puppeteers, a 1970s novel he's reading about the Black Death hitting NYC, why his Jewish tendency to comedy outweighs any tendency to utopian thinking, the soul food restaurant he'd love to visit again, and more. Follow Eddy on Twitter, and read his book, Bad Rabbi • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Eddy_Portnoy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:44am EDT

Author Maria Alexander checks in from Los Angeles, where we talk about finishing her Bloodlines of Yule trilogy with the upcoming Snowblind (and reworking the ending to be a little less downbeat, given the current moment). We also get into her pandemic-binges, like Bewitched and the Preston/Child Agent Pendergast novels, her social-media distancing, her experience with an emotional vampire (prompted by our mutual love for What We Do In The Shadows), and more. Follow Maria on Twitter and Instagram, and buy her some Agent Pendergast paperbacks • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Maria_Alexander.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:17am EDT

Artist, teacher and graphic medicine practitioner Kriota Willberg checks in from Manhattan. We talk about the importance of building routines during home confinement (inspired by Ellen Forney), reaching domestic equilibrium in a 2-cartoonist, 1-bedroom apartment (they're both working on new books), holding Netflix Sync parties with friends in lieu of having people over, volunteering at a food bank, missing comics festivals, and how her experience in the AIDS era as part of the Chicago arts community prepares her and compares to our pandemic moment. Follow Kriota on Twitter and Instagram, and read Draw Stronger: Self-Care For Cartoonists and Other Visual Artists • Listen to our most recent full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Kriota_Willberg.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:34am EDT

Doug Wright Award-nominated cartoonist Sylvia Nickerson checks in from Hamilton, ON. We talk about her artist residency and how its postponement has led her to rethink her artistic direction, the fate of the invisible people she documented in her debut book, CREATION (Drawn & Quarterly), why it can be a good time for people to think about creating other worlds, the dual inspirations of Lynda Barry and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and more. Follow Sylvia on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Vimeo • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Sylvia_Nickerson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:52pm EDT

Cartoonist, illustrator & writer Summer Pierre checks in from Highland Falls, NY. We talk about the importance of work & parenting routines, keeping sane with freelance work, making diary comics, diving into National Poetry Month, the joy of sending & receiving letters (and getting a recent letter from Seth), crying at the supermarket, having the impulse to drive down to New York City just to cruise around the empty streets, and more. Follow Summer on Twitter and Instagram • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Summer_Pierre.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:43am EDT

New Yorker cartoonist Emily Flake checks in from Brooklyn. We talk about the challenges of making gag comics in the COVID era (and finding jokes outside of Zoom conferences and toilet-paper hoarding), adapting her Shitshow and Nightmares live events to an online audience, stocking up on art supplies but worrying about the pharma supply chain from India, conning her kid into a reading contest as a way to get some quiet time, missing even the awkward-est of hugs, and more. Follow Emily on Twitter and Instagram, and look for upcoming livestreams of Shitshow and Nightmares • Also, go read her new essay about enchantment and middle age, Molly and the Unicorn • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Emily_Flake.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:26am EDT

Photojournalist Kyle Cassidy checks in from Philadelphia. We talk about his new photo series, Between Us and Catastrophe (recently excerpted at Hidden City), where he's photographing and interviewing (at a distance) the healthcare workers, essential personnel and volunteers who are keeping the world going during the pandemic. We talk about the awful choices that nurses have to make, the technical challenges of the series, his aggravation at neighbors holding porch parties, the book on Icelandic sweaters that he'd love to get back to, his decades-old flash that's been waiting for this moment, his fundamental belief in the goodness of humanity, and more. Follow Kyle on Twitter and Smugmug • Listen to our most recent full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Kyle_Cassidy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:29am EDT

Translator Alta L. Price joins the show to talk about co-curating the 2020 (now 2021) edition of Festival Neue Literatur with Tess Lewis. We talk about the bureaucratic snafu that led her into a life of translation, how she fights the urge to revise translations between editions, the differences between translating a classic vs. a contemporary work, her work for gender parity among translators and translated authors, and how editors serve as gatekeepers that inadvertently perpetuate disparities. We also get into how studying printmaking brought her an understanding of what a work of art is and does as it shifts media, her literary ambassadorship of Chicago, how she overcame perfection-paralysis, and plenty more. This episode was intended to promote the Festival Neue Literatur, which was to be held April 23-26, 2020 in NYC but has been postponed to 2021; I decided to retain the portions about that to remind us of The Before Times. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_370_-_Alta_L_Price.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:03am EDT

Last time Eva Hagberg checked in, she'd just gotten her positive COVID-19 test. Three weeks later, she fills us in on the most harrowing medical experience of a life filled with harrowing medical experiences (seriously, read her memoir). We talk about her attempts to cope with the virus without going to the hospital, the system-wide assault the virus conducts on body and mind, how the experience may change the pandemic novel she'd started writing in The Before Times, and more. Follow Eva on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and her own podcast, Recoup • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Eva_Hagberg_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:14am EDT

Essayist and journalist (and one of my very first pod-guests!) Jane Borden checks in from LA. We talk about memoir-metamorphosis, her recent Vanity Fair piece on the art of making art during a plague, the solace of deep time, working for Tom Wolfe, the Ishion Hutchinson essay that recently blew her mind, the intertwining of arts criticism and memoir, whether it's healthy to try to interpret the pandemic through metaphor, rereading her Joseph Campbell books and reflecting on her marginalia from her 20s, and more. Follow Jane on Twitter • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Jane_Borden.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:01am EDT

Writer and critic Whitney Matheson checks in from Brooklyn, after a multi-week bout with COVID-19 (her doctor thinks she's past it, but still dealing with after-effects). We talk about the irony of her being debilitated just when the world needs pop culture recommendations most, her best Zoom angles, the amount of good, bad and ugly art that will come out of this period, the restaurant she misses most, the TV show she's meaning to catch up on, home-schooling a 7-year-old kid while trying not to pass out, and how happy she is to have a birthday coming up next week. Follow Whitney on Twitter and Instagram, subscribe to her weekly pop-culture e-mail and get exclusive content like her comics, short stories and more at her Patreon. Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Whitney_Matheson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:59am EDT

Cartoonist and playwright Dean Haspiel checks in from Brooklyn (home of his superhero, The Red Hook!). We talk about making art (good, bad or ugly) during the plague, finding yourself while putting your life on hold, how our social norms may change after the pandemic subsides, the virtue of online comics, bingeing on 1970s comics by Steve Gerber, feeling sad (but not self-pity) when his play, The War of Woo, had to be postponed last month, and more. • Nominate season 3 of The Red Hook, STARCROSS, for Best Webcomic at the Ringo Awards • Follow Dean on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to his e-newsletter • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Dean_Haspiel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:33am EDT

Author Christopher Brown checks in from the edgelands of East Austin, TX. We talk about the final edits of his upcoming novel, Failed State (which is part of the universe of his previous novels, Tropic of Kansas and Rule of Capture), and how the border between dystopia and utopia are kinda permeable. We also get into his amazing weekly e-mail, Field Notes, nature's reclamation projects, the potential inflection point of the current moment, why he's trying to translate German and has taken up the lute, the midwest road trip he's planning, and more. Follow Chris on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to Field Notes • Listen to our most recent full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Christopher_Brown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:06am EDT

Author Matt Ruff checks in from Seattle and we talk about his brand-new novel, 88 Names. We get into what gaming and the internet reveal about human character(s), how he handles VR nausea and whether VR measures up to what Neuromancer semisorta promised us, the pros and cons of a virtual book tour (including an upcoming one on Altspace VR on 4/17/20), the fluidity of identity in the virtual landscape, the bookstores he can't wait to get back to, post-pandemic, the origins of empathy, and more. • More info at our site • Check out our 2017 podcast and the rest of The COVID-19 Sessions • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_369_-_Matt_Ruff.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:59am EDT

Translator Tess Lewis joins the show to talk about co-curating the 2020 (now postponed to 2021) edition of Festival Neue Literatur, why editing a bad translation is much tougher than just translating it yourself, the book she's proudest of translating (Maja Haderlap's Angel of Oblivion), and the project that is the most difficult (Ludwig Hohl's Notizen), how the business and culture has changed, her dream project of translating Montaigne (swoon!), and how literature — especially in translation — can disrupt the familiar and familiarize what seems strange. This episode was intended to promote the Festival Neue Literatur, which was to be held April 23-26, 2020 but has been postponed along with everything else; I decided to keep it all to remind us of The Before Times. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_368_-_Tess_Lewis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:41am EDT

Fantasy author Ilana Myer checks in from eastern PA. We talk about cancelled travel plans, the virtual tour for her new book, The Poet King, what she learned in the course of finishing her Harp and Ring trilogy, the difference between reading about the pandemic and living it, making the plunge into Wodehouse (and avoiding dystopian fiction), and more. Follow Ilana on Twitter and Instagram, and read her new book, The Poet King • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Ilana_Myer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:09am EDT

Cartoonist Jennifer Hayden checks in from central NJ. We talk about the need to micro-vent during self-isolation with her family, the graphic memoir she finds herself immersed in (and which keeps growing in scale), her changing understanding of aspects of the Goddess, and how this situation is bringing her to terms with herself. Follow Jennifer on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and read her great graphic memoir, The Story of My Tits • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Jennifer_Hayden.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:27am EDT

Silent-film accompanist Ben Model checks in from the Upper West Side of NYC. We talk about how the pandemic and self-isolation led him and his partner Steve Massa to launch the Silent Comedy Watch Party, a livestream on YouTube that airs every Sunday at 3pm EDT. We also get into the ups and downs of Zoom teaching, the challenges of playing piano for a telepresent audience, how he can't wait for New Yorkers to get pushy again, and more. Watch the Silent Comedy Watch Party and follow Ben on Twitter and Instagram • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Ben_Model.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:57am EDT

Author Michael Tisserand checks in from New Orleans. We talk about how his wife (a pediatrician) got through her recent bout with COVID-19, how the city has had to change its traditions and practices even when jazz funerals beckon, the Krazy Kat strips that are giving him solace, the comparisons with Katrina, and more. Read KRAZY, Michael's biography of George Herriman, and follow Michael on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook • Listen to our full-length podcast from 2017 • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Michael_Tisserand.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:27am EDT

Writer, editor and rare book dealer Henry Wessells checks in from Montclair, NJ. We talk about the books & authors he's bingeing on, the big project of selling Ricky Jay's collection, the joy of a walk in the woods, the one cooking ingredient he wishes he'd stocked up on before battening down the hatches, and more. Follow Henry on Twitter and go check out his book, A Conversation Larger Than The Universe: Readings in Science Fiction and the Fantastic 1762-2017 • Listen to our full-length podcast from 2018 • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Henry_Wessells.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:45am EDT

Cartoonist James Sturm checks in from Hartland, VT. We talk about how COVID-19 has affected learning at the Center for Cartoon Studies (he's the founder and director of that institution), his weekly digital Sabbath, recording video-dispatches with cartoonists about this experience, missing Tom Spurgeon and how he would have helped us cope with this, and more. • Follow James Instagram and follow CCS on Twitter and Instagram • Listen to our full-length podcast from 2019 • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_James_Sturm.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:43am EDT

Urban fantasy horror writer Richard Kadrey checks in from San Francisco. We talk about how self-isolation impacts his writing, the history of urban plagues, his stab at passing the time by learning to use Windows, Clive Barker as "comfort food" reading, why he doesn't binge on TV series, risking his life for his favorite bourbon, the difference between folk horror and rural horror, and more. • Follow Richard on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram • Listen to our most recent full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Richard_Kadrey.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:31am EDT

Artist & writer Dmitry Samarov checks in from Chicago to talk about self-isolating in a packed-up apartment (he's supposed to move in a month). We talk about his paintings, the lack of social distancing in some neighborhoods he's seen, his current reading (Tropic of Cancer and Ben Katchor's The Dairy Restaurant), and more. • Follow Dmitry through his weekly e-mail • Listen to our most recent full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Dmitry_Samarov.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:35am EDT

From St. Louis, my brother Boaz Roth checks in to talk about how his role as a teacher has changed in the COVID-19 era. We get into how this whole experience measures up with the time his house burned down and his family had to live in a rental for 9 months while they rebuilt, the books he's reading, and the optimal size for an online seminar. • Listen to our full-length podcast • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Covid_Check-In_with_Boaz_Roth.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:44am EDT

From Arlington, MA, essayist and AGNI co-editor Sven Birkerts checks in to let us know what books and poems provide him some degree of solace during the pandemic. We talk about what normal might look like in future and the way the recent past seems unreal, his daily challenge of taking an interesting photo for Instagram, the theme of ongoingness in literature, caring for his 92-year-old mom, and more. Follow Sven on Instagram and Twitter • Listen to our full-length podcast from 2017 • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Sven_Birkerts.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:08am EDT

It's legendary science fiction author Samuel R. Delany's birthday! Chip checks in from Philadelphia, where he's found himself working on a new piece of fiction. We talk about comparisons with his AIDS-era experiences, his partner Dennis's willingness to share him with Rachel Maddow, his recent binge of Tiger King on Netflix and his disappointment in Da Vinci's Demons, his new website, samueldelany.com, the advantages of turning into his grandmother, his virtual birthday plans, and more. • Follow Chip on Facebook and on his new site • More info at our site • Listen to our full-length podcast from 2017 • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Samuel_R._Delany.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:17pm EDT

Horror fiction editor Ellen Datlow checks in from the West Village of NYC. She talks about the low-grade anxiety of day-to-day life, getting by when USPS services drops to 1-2x/week, turning down an assignment to recommend pandemic-novels for quarantined readers, how her Fantastic Fiction reading series is going virtual, and more. • Follow Ellen on Twitter and sign up for the livestream of her next Fantastic Fiction session • Listen to our full-length podcast from • More info at our site • Find all our COVID Check-In episodes • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Ellen_Datlow.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:12am EDT

On March 30, Eva Hagberg got the news that she tested positive for COVID-19. We talked that evening about her condition, her previous life-threatening health issues (chronicled in her memoir How To Be Loved) and how they shape her response to this, the impact of self-isolation on sobriety (she's doing fine with that, but worries about others), and more. • Follow Eva on Twitter and Instagram • Listen to our full-length podcast from 2019 • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Eva_Hagberg.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:09am EDT

On Sunday, March 29, cartoonist Tom Tomorrow (a.k.a. Dan Perkins) checked in to let us know how he's getting by in New York City during the pandemic. We talk about schlocky movies, the current challenge of being political satirist but the benefit of being a science fiction fan, the further collapse of alt-weeklies (and the need to support This Modern World via subscription!), and the last thing he left his apartment for. • More info at our site • Follow Tom Tomorrow on Twitter and Instagram • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Tom_Tomorrow.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:58pm EDT

A few days ago, cartoonist Peter Kuper returned from Oaxaca, Mexico to the Upper West Side of New York City. He joins the show to talk about why he & his wife made the decision to come back at a time that New York's COVID-19 cases are blowing through the roof. We talk about the communal nature of life in Mexico, whether the situation here matches up with his decades of dystopian visions in World War III Illustrated, the good omen of raising monarch butterflies in his Oaxaca garden, the bad omen of giant scorpions in said garden, his unfortunate choice of reading material just before the pandemic started to spread, and more. (Our most recent podcast was at the end of 2019) • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Peter_Kuper.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:38pm EDT

Jim Ottaviani, award-winning & best-selling author of graphic novels about scientists (think Hawking, Feynman, Fossey, Turing), checks in from Ann Arbor, MI. We talk about how he's balancing his day job and comics writing with the compulsion to read the news and graph out infection rates. We also get into whether his science background has helped his perspective on the pandemic, how the university model might change when we're past this, and what new books he has coming (fingers crossed). You also get a story from me about the limits of risk mitigation plans. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Jim_Ottaviani.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:02pm EDT

In our first Covid-Check-In podcast, artist Kate Lacour (Vivisectionary, Fantagraphics) calls in from New Orleans while her kids are asleep. We talk about how she's coping — taking care of her kids & her garden, reading Cixin Liu, making diary comics, helping neighbors — and how she's planning to celebrate her birthday tonight. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: COVID_Check-In_with_Kate_Lacour.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:37pm EDT

It's the end of the world as we know it, and we feel fine! A few weeks before the COVID-19 lockdowns began, pop culture writer and REM maniac Whitney Matheson joined the show to talk about how she managed to blaze her own journalistic trail by writing about the music, movies, TV and books that she loved. We get into how pop culture writing and blogging have changed since she launched Pop Candy at USA Today in 1999, why she left NYC and why she had to come back, the importance of having great content on her Patreon, what it's like being defined by work in her early 20s, how a post about a KFC sandwich remains her most-read piece, and how she has to do triage to figure out what to keep up with. We also get into her upcoming kid's book about the Loch Ness monster, her most recent celebrity freakout, how she taught interviewing skills to students who are unused to talking on the phone, the importance of having a career plan (and trying to stick to it), and how parenthood introduced her to a different world of pop. Oh, and because she's all about lists, we find out her top three American rock bands (including REM, of course). • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_367_-_Whitney_Matheson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:25pm EDT

The phenomenal new book, Feast of Ashes: The Life and Art of David Ohannessian (SUP/Redwood Press), traces the history of an Armenian family from the mountainous woods of Anatolia to suburban NJ. Author Sato Moughalian joins the show to talk about her inspiration to write the life of her grandfather, ceramic tile artist David Ohannessian, the chronicle her family's exodus through the Armenian Genocide, and how she had to prepare herself to visit Turkey as part of her research. We get into the multi-generational process of coping with trauma, the horrors of the Armenian Genocide and its ongoing denial, how her grandfather wound up helping retile the Dome of the Rock (while bringing Ottoman tile art to Jerusalem), and the way oral storytelling can capture styles that differ from family to family. We also talk through he music background (Sato's an accomplished flutist), the creative community of NYC, her seven-year period of introspection and grief-work, and whether she's considering another book, now that she's got her first volume under her belt. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_366_-_Sato_Moughalian.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:34pm EDT

Your host Gil Roth talks about how COVID-19 is impacting his work, his life, and this podcast, in a special bonus episode of The Virtual Memories Show.

Direct download: Covid-19_Bonus_Mini-Episode.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:35pm EDT

The great cartoonist Ben Katchor rejoins the show to talk about his brand-new book, The Dairy Restaurant (Schocken), a 500-page illustrated history of, um, dairy restaurants! We get into what drew him to the milekhdike personality, the remnants of Eastern European Jewish culture that call to him, why this book had to be prose-with-pictures rather than comics, the decades of research and interviews he conducted, and why these restaurants came to represent the history of how Jews moved away from their parents' professions. We also discuss just what went wrong with the world, why his favorite books are old Chicago Yellow Pages directories, why just studying Jewish history can constitute a sort of Judaism, his fascination with interwar Warsaw, his plea for a controlled economy, and why The Dairy Restaurant had to begin in the Garden of Eden. • More info at our site (And check out our past conversations from 2013 and 2016!) • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_365_-_Ben_Katchor.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:11pm EDT

Writer, actress and adult performer & producer Stoya joins the show to talk about her upcoming NYC theater appearance in Dean Haspiel's new play, The War of Woo. We get into how she's grown as an actress, why porn is like sketch comedy, her joy in the surprises of live theater, publishing her first book, and the mental benefit of moving the decimal. We discuss her vision for her online erotic magazine, ZeroSpaces, the history of labor exploitation in adult entertainment, running a monthly Sex Lit book club, what she's learned as the sex & relationship advice columnist at Slate, her interest in higher education and the next stage of her career, the learning curve of identifying and interacting with different segments of her audience, the unexpected obstacles to intimacy with people outside the adult industry, and why reading a novel is her favorite escape. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_364_-_Stoya.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:11pm EDT

In a murder hotel in Jersey City, author Cassandra Khaw joins the show to talk about her bad luck with AirBNBs, the root of her fixation on body horror, and how she settled on a cannibal chef for one of her main characters so she could (imaginatively) explore the concept of turning 180 or so pounds of human being into a fine meal. We get into her Food of the Gods series and her other supernatural horror books, her fascination with the aftereffects of violence, the influence of Lovecraft on her work, and the time she embarrassed herself in front of Frances Hardinge. We also talk about her work in the video-game industry and how she entered it by following the convention circuit, what writing games has taught her about storytelling, diversity in the gaming community, and the unique way that games can bring people into other lives and other modes of seeing. Oh, and we get into how she settled on her mythological name! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_363_-_Cassandra_Khaw.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:51am EDT

With his new novel, The Grand Dark (Harper Voyager), Richard Kadrey takes an artistic leap from his renowned Sandman Slim supernatural noir books. We sit down in a murder hotel to talk about mixing robots and genetic engineering with Weimar Germany, getting inspired by Mel Gordon’s Voluptuous Panic, David Bowie’s Low, and the Brothers Quay’s Street of Crocodiles, the impact of the 2016 election on his writing, and how he's getting ready to end the Sandman Slim series. We also get into the gentrification of the east Village and the Bowery, the thin line between preservation and nostalgia, the moment his brain got warped by Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase, our shared love of What We Do In The Shadows, the time he attended a screening of Cronenberg’s Crash with Kathy Acker, his LitReactor course on writing dark urban fantasy, the wonder of being edited by Ellen Datlow, the accretionary model of novel-writing, and why it's okay to build your fantastic world by just looking out the window. (Check out our 2018 conversation!) • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_362_-_Richard_Kadrey.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:39pm EDT

With his new memoir, Soviet Stamps, artist & writer Dmitry Samarov explores his experience of emigrating from the USSR as a child, finding his way through late-'70s and '80s America, and becoming an artist. We talk about the book's winding path to self-publication, how his story does and doesn't fit in to the history of Soviet Jewry, how he overcame the embarrassment of including his adolescent art in the book, his 4th grade autobiography and how it managed to predict much of his career, and the possible Dmitry-lives that could have resulted from decisions that were out of his hands. We also get into his notion that art requires disengagement, his gauge for the life and death of artworks, the value of the apprentice system over art school, why he's writing fiction for his next book, and which self-promotional event he hates more: the book reading or the gallery opening. (Oh, and check out our previous conversations: 2014, 2015, and 2018) • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_361_-_Dmitry_Samarov.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:18am EDT

The great publisher, editor, anthologizer, retailer and collector of crime fiction, Otto Penzler, joins the show to talk about his wonderful new book, Mysterious Obsession: Memoirs of a Compulsive Collector (Mysterious Bookshop), and his decision to auction off the world's greatest collection of crime fiction (think ~60,000 first editions). We get into his instant regret about that decision, how it inspired this memoir, and how he's getting by without all those books (especially because he designed his house to accommodate an even larger collection). We discuss the changes in his Mysterious Bookshop and his other Mysterious pursuits as the internet has warped book and retail culture, the camaraderie and friendships that he built over a lifetime of collecting, the mania that can strike during auctions, and the difference between collecting and reading. And we talk about how he learned to edit major writers for his anthologies (including a near-disaster with Joyce Carol Oates), the farthest he’s traveled to acquire a single book, the moment he realized he had a writing style and how that unlocked him as a writer, how he had to choose between Sherlock Holmes and the rest of crime fiction, the vagaries of fame and literary reputation as reflected in book collecting, and why he characterizes himself as a parasite in the mystery world (having done everything but writing a mystery novel of his own). • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_360_-_Otto_Penzler.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:05pm EDT

In a time where immigration is under attack, Joan Marans Dim and Antonio Masi demonstrate the history and importance of immigration in America with Lady Liberty: An Illustrated of America's Most Storied Woman (Fordham University Press). We get into what drew the writer and watercolor painter to the Statue of Liberty, how they came to their previous collaboration on the bridges of New York City, the need to put landmarks into their social, political and economic context, how Emma Lazarus’ New Colossus poem invested the statue with purpose, and how the meaning of liberty has changed in America over the centuries. We also talk about the engineering marvel of the Statue of Liberty, how it was transported from France and assembled in America, the secrets of the hard-hat tour of Ellis Island, and the ways the meaning of liberty has changed in America. But there's also room to talk about Joan and Antonio's differences of approach to a topic, how differently writers and painters approach a topic, how the large scale of Masi’s watercolors helps him engage with the work, the E.L. Doctorow piece that Joan turns to before starting any writing project, and more! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_359_-_Joan_Marans_Dim__Antonio_Masi.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:15pm EDT

His wondrous new collection, Ecstasy and Terror: From the Greeks to Game of Thrones (NYRB), brings a dizzying array of Daniel Mendelsohn's critical-essayistic-memoir pieces together. We sat down to talk about the work of the critic and the drama that makes for a great critical piece, as well as the temptation to make a name by going after easy targets, his need to criscross genres and categories with personal writing and criticism, and why his negative review of Mad Men got him more pushback than anything else he's written. We get into his amazing 2017 memoir, An Odyssey: A Father, A Son, and an Epic, its gorgeous structure and its insight into Homer and our present day, while we try to suss out why the great Greek translators have either produced a great Iliad or a great Odyssey, but not both (he's working on a new translation of The Odyssey). We also discuss the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the nature of contemporary mythmaking, my pet theory about the tragedy of Achilles in the Iliad, Emily Wilson's question about Odysseus' true homophrosyne, the role of erudition in criticism, how institutions like The New Yorker, New York Review of Books, Paris Review etc. handle succession, our love of the finale of The Americans, his one conversation with Philip Roth, and SO much more. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_358_-_Daniel_Mendelsohn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:51pm EDT

Legendary designer Walter Bernard joins the show to talk about Mag Men: Fifty Years of Making Magazines (Columbia University Press), the new book he co-authored with Milton Glaser. We get into the art and necessity of collaboration, the relationship he and Milton developed over half a century of work, the pros and cons of doing redesigns for globally established institutions, and the decline of print in the digital age. We get into his stellar run of redesigns for Time, Fortune, The Washington Post, and The Atlantic, the one magazine Walter would have loved to redesign, his design pet peeves, how he learned to learn the culture of newsrooms, how he came into his own and could feel like a true partner to Milton, and plenty more! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_357_-_Walter_Bernard.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:27pm EDT

With her new book That Was Awkward (Viking), cartoonist and humorist Emily Flake explores the world of awkward hugs. We get into how that book landed in her lap, why she hates drawing other people's jokes, and how she learned (and pushes the boundaries of) the New Yorker cartoonist's voice. We talk about the massive influence of Shary Flenniken’s Trots & Bonnie comics on her work, the question of “age-appropriate” reading and her 7-year-old kid, performing stand-up cartooning and hosting the Nightmares and Shitshow series (and getting Robyn Hitchcock to guest on that evening’s Nightmares!), how making 4-beat comic strips taught her to write humor, the guilt she felt the first time she saw someone with a tattoo of one of her gags, building up immunity to editorial rejection, and more! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_356_-_Emily_Flake.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:49pm EDT

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