The Virtual Memories Show

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

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