The Virtual Memories Show

Author Richard Butner joins the show to celebrate his marvelous first book, The Adventurists and Other Stories (Small Beer Press). We get into the F&SF story that started him on the writing path, his love of the Fantastic in fiction, his background in engineering & how he has to throw it out the window when it comes to writing, and the theme of return that runs through his stories and the unfinished business it implies. We also talk about his history with Sycamore Hill Writers Workshop & how he ended up running it, how critiquing others' stories can teach you more than having your own work critiqued, and his love of the short story as a form. Plus we discuss writing & performing theater and how he balances that collaborative art with the solo process of writing, his experience in immersive theater, the impact of Kurt Cobain's suicide on him & his friends, my observation that changed the way he sees his stories, and a lot more. Follow Richard on Twitter and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_505_-_Richard_Butner.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:51pm EDT

Author & architecture critic Eva Hagberg rejoins the show to celebrate her new book, WHEN EERO MET HIS MATCH: Aline Louchheim Saarinen and the Making of an Architect (Princeton University Press). We get into how Aline built the narrative around Eero Saarinen’s greatest buildings, her pivotal role in shaping the way we — media, laypeople, and critics — talk about architecture, and how publicity has been intertwined to architecture ever since. We also talk about how Eva’s own career in architecture PR is woven through the book, why her original title was What Would Aline Do?, the moment she realized Aline & Eero’s correspondence was Ph.D. thesis-worthy, and the notion of legacy and the ego of architects. Plus, Eva being Eva, we get into oversharing, divorce, IVF, the VERY impending birth of her first child, and more! Follow Eva on Twitter and Instagram, and listen to our 2019 conversation • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_504_-_Eva_Hagberg.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:36am EDT

Author & showrunner Jonathan Ames returns to the show to celebrate his new novel, The Wheel Of Doll (Mulholland Books)! We get into how Lee Child inadvertently led him into writing about a down-on-his-luck PI named Happy Doll, how this new book builds on 2021's A Man Called Doll, his love of crime/mystery fiction and what he's learned about the form from re-re-re-reading masters like Richard Stark/Donald Westlake. We also talk about the Buddhist influences in The Wheel Of Doll (& in Jonathan's life), whether people can change, why he tweaked Happy's LA setting to mess with reality a little, and what it means to set a character along a new path (if not the Eightfold Noble Path). Plus, we discuss his recent binge-watch of Vikings, the principle of Engagementism, his writing advice (set reasonable goals), and plenty more! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_503_-_Jonathan_Ames.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:58am EDT

Author, critic and film scholar Jerome Charyn rejoins the show to celebrate his new book, BIG RED: A Novel Starring Rita Hayworth & Orson Welles (Liveright Books). We get into how Hollywood created Jerome's childhood & youth, his fascination with the tragic life of Rita Hayworth and her triumph of Gilda, his love of Orson Welles and Citizen Kane, and why he couldn't write this novel in either of their voices. We talk about genius in many guises, from Welles to Melville to Dickinson to Shakespeare to Robert Caro to LeBron, and what it means when genius dissipates. We also discuss Jerome's years teaching film criticism and why it was his favorite job (hint: it's about learning to look deeply), what the mirror scene in The Lady from Shanghai is really telling us, why Hank Quinlan in Touch of Evil may be Welles' greatest role, how Hemingway was the best writer in the world when he was in Paris and the worst writer in the world when he left Paris, whether his book editor (past guest Robert Weil) was touchy about how a film editor is one of Big Red's antagonists, why Kane was really about Welles himself & not William Randolph Hearst, why LeBron should have left Hollywood this offseason, the revelation of interviewing Paul Newman, and more! Follow Jerome on Twitter • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_502_-_Jerome_Charyn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:19pm EDT

Author & critic William Deresiewicz joins the show to celebrate his new book, THE END OF SOLITUDE: Selected Essays on Culture and Society (Holt). We get into the selection process for more than 30 years' worth of his pieces, what he noticed about the changes in his writing and viewpoints over that span, what real leadership is and why most institutions are terrified of it, and the house of cards of higher (especially elite) education. We also get into the progression of political correctness and identity politics at the expense of class solidarity, how one can (and should) criticize the illiberal left without becoming a right-wing fellow traveler, why his ideal Presidential candidate is Bernie Sanders, the way things that "can't get any worse" somehow keep getting worse, the failures of academia, and why he sees teaching as a pastoral vocation. Plus, we discuss his most controversial position — or least the position that garnered the most vituperative response from readers — that food is not art. Follow William Deresiewicz on Twitter • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_501_-_William_Deresiewicz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:33am EDT

FIVE-HUNDRED EPISODES of The Virtual Memories Show?! Let's celebrate this milestone episode with tributes, remembrances, jokes, congrats, non-sequiturs, and a couple of songs (!) from nearly 100 of my past guests, including Maria Alexander, Jonathan Ames, Glen Baxter, Jonathan Baylis, Zoe Beloff, Walter Bernard, Sven Birkerts, Charles Blackstone, RO Blechman, Phlip Boehm, MK Brown, Dan Cafaro, David Carr, Kyle Cassidy, Howard Chaykin, Joe Ciardiello, Gary Clark, John Crowley, Ellen Datlow, Paul Di Filippo, Joan Marans Dim, Liza Donnelly, Bob Eckstein, Scott Edelman, Barbara Epler, Glynnis Fawkes, Aaron Finkelstein, Mary Fleener, Shary Flenniken, Josh Alan Friedman, Kipp Friedman, Michael Gerber, Mort Gerberg, ES Glenn, Sophia Glock, Paul Gravett, Tom Hart, Dean Haspiel, Jennifer Hayden, Glenn Head, Ron Hogan, Kevin Huizenga, Jonathan Hyman, Andrew Jamieson, Ian Kelley, Jonah Kinigstein, Kathe Koja, Ken Krimstein, Anita Kunz, Peter Kuper, Glenn Kurtz, Kate Lacour, Roger Langridge, Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn, John Leland, David Leopold, Sara Lippmann, David Lloyd, Whitney Matheson, Patrick McDonnell, Dave McKean, Scott Meslow, Barbara Nessim, Jeff Nunokawa, Jim Ottaviani, Celia Paul, Woodrow Phoenix, Darryl Pinckney, Weng Pixin, Eddy Portnoy, Virginia Postrel, Bram Presser, AL Price, Dawn Raffel, Boaz Roth, Hugh Ryan, Dmitry Samarov, Frank Santoro, JJ Sedelmaier, Nadine Sergejeff, Michael Shaw, R Sikoryak, Jen Silverman, Posy Simmonds, Vanessa Sinclair, David Small, Sebastian Smee, Ed Sorel, James Sturm, Mike Tisserand, Tom Tomorrow, Wallis Wilde-Menozzi, Kriota Willberg, Warren Woodfin, Jim Woodring, and Claudia Young. Plus, we look at back with segments from the guests we've lost over the years: Anthea Bell, Harold Bloom, Bruce Jay Friedman, Milton Glaser, Clive James, JD McClatchy, DG Myers, Tom Spurgeon, and Ed Ward. Here's to the next 500 shows! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_500_-_ALL_The_Guests.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:28pm EDT

Author, broadcaster, and journalist Hayley Campbell returns to the show to celebrate her fantastic new book, ALL THE LIVING AND THE DEAD: From Embalmers to Executioners, an Exploration of the People Who Have Made Death Their Life's Work (St. Martin's Press). We talk about Hayley's lifelong fascination with death, how it led her into this book, and how the book changed her relation to life and death. We get into the importance of bringing attention to the people who handle the dead, the reticence of some of her subjects to speak to her, the relationship between art & death and whether Warhol would have been different if he'd been willing to see his father's body, the difference between being desensitized and being detached about death, how she weaved her own story into the book without falling into me-me-me-ism or the dreaded Millennial Memoir, how she realized she was in too deep and how she got permission to step back, and plenty more. Follow Hayley Campbell on Twitter and Instagram and listen to our 2016 conversation • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_499_-_Hayley_Campbell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:24am EDT

At 99 years old, unrepentant artist Jonah Kinigstein rejoins the show to celebrate his new book, Unrepentant Artist (Fantagraphics Underground)! We talk about how it felt to bring decades' worth of his paintings together for the book, how it captures his lifetime battle in the name of representational art, and how his paintings have changed since our 2015 conversation. We get into the inspiration of living near Coney Island, the fun of using Catholic imagery and making a circus out of religion in general, his love of the grotesque, the rage that fuels his political cartooning, the ways the Holocaust echoes in his work and whether he feels he has to be "careful" in his paintings of Jews, how he & his wife hope to celebrate his 100th birthday, and more! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_498_-_Jonah_Kinigstein.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:13am EDT

What is art? Who (or what) is an artist? What is creativity, and can it be captured in a machine? Dave McKean's amazing new book, PROMPT: Conversations With Artificial Intelligence (Hourglass/ASFA), tries to tackle these questions, so Dave rejoins the show for a conversation about the challenges that Midjourney and other AI image-engines pose to the definitions of art and creativity, the nature of artistic intent, what it means for a machine to capture the look of drawing without an understanding of drawing, and what this all might mean for commercial art and illustration. We also talk about the nature of AI, how his Midjourney experience moved from Stalker to Solaris, why he introduced Gilgamesh, the world's oldest known story into the AI prompt, and whether the use of computers in art is a slippery slope to "hand-free" art. We also get into his lockdown life, his other new book, RAPTOR (Dark Horse), the importance of edgelands and the lost language of different places, and a lot more. Follow Dave on Twitter and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_497_-_Dave_McKean.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:41am EDT

Cartoonist Noah Van Sciver joins the show to celebrate the release of two fantastic new books, Joseph Smith And The Mormons (Abrams ComicArts) and As A Cartoonist (Fantagraphics). We get into his history with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the challenges he had in making a graphic biography of the church's founder (incl. the realization he'd need 200 more pages than he was planning to use), the visual modes he used to separate fact from myth and the influence of Chester Brown's Louis Riel biography, and how the book affected Noah's relationship to the church and faith. We also talk about the cartoonist life and the strips he chose for his new collection, his comics-origin story, the influence of Tom Spurgeon on his art & life, becoming a father in the past year, the advice Dan Clowes gave him about balancing parenthood and comics, and what it means to be present for his son's life. Plus, we discuss his own comics-podcast, the stories he started making during the pandemic, his stance on paper vs. digital drawing, and what it's like to live on the other side of his dreams. Follow Noah on Instagram and YouTube, and contribute to his Patreon • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_496_-_Noah_Van_Sciver.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:35am EDT

With her wonderful new biography, Napoleon: A Life Told In Gardens And Shadows (Liveright Books), Ruth Scurr offers up a new approach to Napoleon and our shifting understanding of the natural world. We get into the image of Napoleon as gardener and how she marked his history through gardens, how her conception of him changed over the course of writing the book, the need to avoid "taking sides" with her book, her focus on how Napoleon affected the people around him, why we need to let go of the Great Man approach to history, and why the notion of a 'Definitive Biography' is a lie. We also talk about how she became a biographer without developing a 'Scurr-doctrine,' how she fell into her amazing auto/biography of John Aubrey, the similarities between how Aubrey & I collect lives, the constraints of contemporary/authorized biographies, what it meant to finish her Napoleon biography in the early pandemic days (which meant missing trips to Elba & Waterloo), whether she'll ever visit St. Helena, what sort of garden she prefers, and more. Follow Ruth on Twitter • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_495_-_Ruth_Scurr.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:36am EDT

Author Brian Doherty joins the show to celebrate his fantastic & important new book, Dirty Pictures: How an Underground Network of Nerds, Feminists, Misfits, Geniuses, Bikers, Potheads, Printers, Intellectuals, and Art School Rebels Revolutionized Art and Invented Comix (Abrams). We get into the history of underground comix, the twin poles of R. Crumb & Art Spiegelman, the long-lasting influence of the undergrounds on American (and global) culture, and the importance of seeing the undergrounds in their historical context. We also talk about comics and libertarianism, the controversy over Crumb's work today, how the pandemic curtailed his research for the book, who came up with that book title (& subtitle), the artist who he most enjoyed interviewing, and the one person he wishes hadn't given up cartooning. Follow Brian on Twitter and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_494_-_Brian_Doherty.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:29pm EDT

It's our first live episode since The Before Time! The great illustrator Joe Ciardiello rejoins the show for a conversation at ArtYard in Frenchtown, NJ! We talk about ArtYard's exhibition of his art from A Fistful of Drawings (Fantagraphics), the conversation with his grandfather that led to that book, the new directions his art is taking beyond illustration, what westerns say about the times in which they're made, why he still draws with a Rapidograph, and the joy of scarabocchio and exploring lines! Plus, the audience gets in on the fun, asking him about how he looks at faces, where he starts with his drawings, how the improv/jazz-like nature of his drawings evolved, and more. Follow Joe on Instagram and Twitter • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_493_-_Joe_Ciardiello.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:41am EDT

Legendary comics creator Howard Chaykin rejoins the show to celebrate the conclusion of his Time2 opus, soon to be released in The Time2 Omnibus (Image Comics)! We talk about revisiting Time2 after a three-decade hiatus, his original intention for that world, the thrill & sleaze of NYC in his youth, and what he's learned about comics storytelling over the years. We get into the influence of musical theater, jazz, and Cinemascope tableaux on his work, the enlightening experience of Gil Kane's commentary/annotation of the movie Cover Girl, the parallels between fight scenes in superhero comics and people breaking into song in musicals, and how he's carved out a half-century career in mainstream comics while pushing back against the toxicity and fan-expectations of that genre (while also fighting purity culture). We discuss the Bartlett Sher staging of Fiddler on the Roof that left him in tears (& made him cry again when he described it to me), whether he can afford to be happy, the ways he's become more formalist as he came to understand the language & syntax of comics (as he teaches here), the musical he'd love to see, the joy of being an Outmander, why his neighbors still consider him "New Yorker on permanent leave" even though he's been in CA more than half his life, and MUCH more! Follow Howard on Twitter and Instagram (he's not really active on either of them, but does keep a pretty entertaining Substack going) • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_492_-_Howard_Chaykin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:42am EDT

Psychotherapist Andrew Jamieson joins the show to talk about his new book, MIDLIFE: Humanity's Secret Weapon (Notting Hill Editions/NYRB). We get into the history of midlife crises and the flowering that can result from that experience (while delving into our own respective midlife crises, as well as mankind's), Jung's theory of individuation & how it provides a path out of self-destructive behavior, the notion of therapy as applied philosophy, the gravitational field of authentic need, the importance of the Chinese Farmer story, his secret identity as a classical music concert promoter, why he chose to become a psychotherapist in his 50s and why he thinks I should become one. We also talk about why it's important for therapists be married to someone who has no interest in therapy, how writing a book is like serial plagiarism, the concept of love (or devotion) between therapist and client, whether neuroses can be cured or only soothed, the Ancient Greek notion of Kairos, or 'the right moment', what it was like conducting therapy sessions in a cemetery during lockdown, and plenty more. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_491_-_Andrew_Jamieson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:31pm EDT

With her fantastic new book, Meet Me by the Fountain: An Inside History of The Mall (Bloomsbury USA), architecture critic Alexandra Lange explores a subject near and dear to my NJ-native heart: The Mall! We talk about the evolving role of malls in modern America, the various snobberies that look down on malls and how she sidestepped them for her book, the social forces (suburbanization, car-centricity, racism & more) that led to the proliferation of malls, and what our relationships with malls say about us. We also get into the Mallwave phenomenon, the die-off of malls and what may come after, where kids congregate nowadays, her pandemic-cancelled trip to the Mall of America, and the jarring wrongness of the American Dream Mall. Plus we discuss her history as an architecture critic, what she'd love to see in a mall (& outside of one), my occasional dreams of malls that don't exist, her favorite '80s-era store, and more! Follow Alexandra on Twitter and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_490_-_Alexandra_Lange.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:06pm EDT

Professor & biographer Ira Nadel joins the show to talk about PHILIP ROTH: A Counterlife (Oxford University Press). We get into Ira's approach to literary biography, his history with Roth's books, and what it was like publishing the other major Roth bio of 2021 (and whether the materials & records that Roth authorized for Blake Bailey's biography will remain accessible, against Roth's wishes). We also talk about how his understanding of Roth changed over the course of the project, Roth's . . . disrespect for women, the major trends that emerged in Roth's life through the books, letters and other documents Ira explored, Roth's need to self-mythologize and his conflation of fact, fiction and metafiction in his work, Kafka's influence on Roth's involvement with Eastern Europe writers during the Cold War, the question of whether Roth was deluding himself when he insisted his writerly identity was his Americanness (as opposed to his Jewishness), his bad relationships with editors and publishers, the health woes that governed so much of his life, my key questions — "What's your favorite Roth novel?" and "Does Roth's work survive another 10-20 years?" — and plenty more! More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_489_-_Ira_Nadel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:24am EDT

To celebrate the publication of the groundbreaking book, FRANZ KAFKA: THE DRAWINGS (Yale University Press), contributors Andreas Kilcher & Judith Butler join the show for a wide-ranging conversation about Kafka's art & how it intersects — and diverges from — his writing. We get into their essays in the book (and Andreas' role as co-editor), the humor & grotesqueness — and craft! — of K's drawings, the legal battle over their ownership, and the ways in which the drawings help us approach Kafka in a new light. We talk about Kafka's use of comic tension & comic relief, the ways in which the drawings liberated him from the horizontality of writing, his objections to using illustrations in his books, and Kafka's 'positive nihilism' & the reason why neither Judith nor Andreas believe he really wanted Max Brod to destroy all his papers. Plus, we explore their own histories with Kafka, their personal favorites among the drawings, and how their students' responses to Kafka have changed over the years. More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_488_-_Andreas_Kilcher_and_Judith_Butler.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:25pm EDT

Playwright, performer and acoustic punk raconteur Alvin Eng joins the show to celebrate his new memoir, Our Laundry, Our Town: My Chinese American Life from Flushing to the Downtown Stage and Beyond (Fordham University Press). We get into his Chinese-American upbringing in the 1960s/70s, his evolution into musical theater and the education of '70s rock shows, the heyday of NYC performance art, his exploration of his Chinese heritage and the sensation of being Other in America & China, writing for the page vs. the stage, his Portrait Plays and how they interrogate other art forms and artists, the solitude of creation & collaboration of performance, how writing this memoir was sort of like making album, and more. Follow Alvin on Twitter and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_487_-_Alvin_Eng.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:03pm EDT

Fashion critic, journalist and author Charlie Porter joins the show to celebrate the US publication of WHAT ARTISTS WEAR (WW Norton). We talk about the Agnes Martin photo that inspired the book, the ways we look at artists' clothes and what they say about our notions of art, culture, gender & society, Charlie's history with fashion and with art, the liberating nature of writing fashion criticism, the notion of art as infiltration, his fashion-epiphany in Mexico City, the reason he gave Picasso only one line in the book, and more! Follow Charlie on Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_486_-_Charlie_Porter.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:51pm EDT

Kathe Koja rejoins the show to celebrate the launch of her new project, Dark Factory (Meerkat Press)! We talk about how Dark Factory combines a novel with immersive fiction elements to create a new world, and how — no matter what the innovation — it all begins with character. We get into her history of building immersive events and watching what the attendees do with the environment, how the process of writing this book differed from her past ones, the way readers bring their own resonances, what it means to have an immersive experience in the pandemic era, the resonance of Alexander McQueen's Inferno show, and more! Follow Kathe on Twitter and Instagram and follow Dark Factory on Twitter and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_485_-_Kathe_Koja.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:39pm EDT

Author & biographer Julie Phillips joins the show to celebrate her amazing new book, The Baby on the Fire Escape: Creativity, Motherhood, and the Mind-Baby Problem (WW Norton). We get into the tensions of being a mother & having a life in the arts, the definitions of motherhood and how women's roles changed in the 20th century (and what's different (and not) in the 21st century), how she chose the mother/artists she focused on in the book, like Alice Neel, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Angela Carter, the challenges of writing about African-American subjects like Audre Lorde and Alice Walker, what it means to consider motherhood as interrupted consciousness, and more. Follow Julie on Twitter and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_484_-_Julie_Phillips.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:38am EDT

Painter Celia Paul rejoins the show for the US debut of her new book, Letters To Gwen John (NYRB). We talk about how Celia found herself through corresponding with the late artist (d. 1938), the parallels between her life and Gwen's, especially their respective relationships with Lucian Freud and Rodin, the notion of aesthetic solitude and artistic sacrifices and the loneliness of pandemic life, why men aren't great at sitting for artists, her new exhibition, Memory & Desire (Victoria Miro Gallery), how Hilton Als got her to finally come to America and how much she enjoyed Santa Monica, the ambiguity of her previous memoir, Self-Portrait, what letters and paintings have in common, and more. More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_483_-_Celia_Paul.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:51am EDT

Legendary author John Crowley rejoins the show to celebrate his new novel, Flint And Mirror (Tor Books), as well as his just-before-the-pandemic collections, And Go Like This and Reading Backwards. We get into the career-long gestation of this novel, the role of Hugh O'Neill in the English-Irish wars, the alchemy of melding history and the fantastic, the impact of John's mild cognitive impairment (MCI) diagnosis, why writing really is the ability to create minds at work, and more. Follow John on Facebook • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_482_-_John_Crowley.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:05am EDT

Swedish cartoonist (okay: serietecknare) Anneli Furmark joins the show to celebrate the publication of her wonderful graphic novel Walk Me To The Corner (Drawn & Quarterly, tr. Hanna Strömberg). We get into her evolution as a cartoonist, how she copes with winter in northern Sweden and why drawing in summer isn't as fun, the flow from life into story (and the impact of the pandemic on that flow), and more. Follow Anneli on Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_481_-_Anneli_Furmark.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:40am EDT

Author & MFA teacher Nicholas Delbanco rejoins the show to celebrate Why Writing Matters (Yale University Press). We get into the notion of literary greatness, the immense craft and revision involved in good writing, the pride of seeing his students achieve lofty heights, and the ways imitation and influence can give way to originality. More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_480_-_Nicholas_Delbanco.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:48pm EDT

Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic Sebastian Smee joins the show to talk about his career and the notions of artistic rivalry, influence and love, and how they came together in his 2017 book, The Art of Rivalry: Four Friendships, Betrayals and Breakthroughs in Modern Art. We get into how he got his start in art criticism in Australia, his love for Matisse and Manet, his friendship with Lucian Freud, why American has the best museums, the joy of writing for The Washington Post and why his wonderful Great Works, In Focus series needs a better name, his new project about Berthe Morisot, and more! Follow Sebastian on Twitter and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_479_-_Sebastian_Smee.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:59pm EDT

Rebecca Mead joins the show to celebrate her amazing new memoir, Home/Land (Knopf)! We talk about the adventure of making a midlife leap — her departure from NYC after 30 years & her return to England —, the ways this memoir differs from My Life In Middlemarch, the moment she truly felt like she was a writer at The New Yorker, and more! Follow Rebecca on Twitter • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_478_-_Rebecca_Mead.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:30am EDT

With her fantastic new book, Accidental Gods: On Men Unwittingly Turned Divine (Metropolitan Books), Anna Della Subin explores how deification has been used for liberation and oppression. We talk religion, rationalism, colonialism, oppression, and mythmaking, and the strange ways in which cultures have collided in the past five centuries, as well as what it means to topple the statues of 'white gods'. Follow Anna on Twitter, and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_477_-_Anna_Della_Subin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:01am EDT

New Yorker staff cartoonist David Sipress joins the show to celebrate his new book, What's So Funny?: A Cartoonist's Memoir (Mariner Books)! We get into the instant gratification of cartooning vs. the joy of writing a great piece of prose, the family dynamics that he's been puzzling through for 7+ decades, what it's like to process much of one's life through cartoons, the challenges of doing comics about the pandemic, and more! Follow David on TwitterInstagram, and The New Yorker • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_476_-_David_Sipress.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:29am EDT

Author Mark Prins joins the show to celebrate his debut novel, The Latinist (WW Norton), a fantastic, Highsmith-ian novel of Oxford intrigue. We talk classics, poetry (Latin & otherwise), metamorphoses (Ovidian & otherwise), writing across gender, the Blake poem that transformed him, why it's important to Be Kind To Your Reader, & more. Follow Mark on Twitter and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_475_-_Mark_Prins.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:27am EDT

Author, critic and editor Nicole Rudick joins the show to celebrate the publication of her amazing book, What Is Now Known Was Once Only Imagined: An (Auto)Biography of Niki de Saint Phalle (Siglio Press). We get into Niki de Saint Phalle's word-paintings & what they tell us about the arts of revelation and concealment, Nicole's shifting concept of biography & the tyranny of the archives, the role of the audience/reader in art, and why Nicole's first big post-pandemic trip will be to Niki's Tarot Garden in Tuscany. Follow Nicole on Twitter and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_474_-_Nicole_Rudick.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:12am EDT

Cartoonist Darryl Cunningham rejoins the show to talk about his brand-new graphic biography, Putin's Russia: The Rise of a Dictator (Drawn & Quarterly). We get into Putin's postwar upbringing in Leningrad, his KGB career, the fall of the USSR, and how those key elements play into his strategy and tactics for Russia on the world stage. (We also discuss some less fate-of-the-world topics.) Follow Darryl on Twitter and Instagram and support him on Patreon• More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_473_-_Darryl_Cunningham.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:21am EDT

Let's pre-celebrate Valentine's Day with a conversation with Scott Meslow, author of the brand-new book, From Hollywood With Love: The Rise and Fall (and Rise Again) of the Romantic Comedy! We get into how Scott defines RomComs, what inspired him to chronicle their history, what these movies say about audiences & audience expectations, the entertainment industry, criticism, gender, and diversity trends, and plenty more. Follow Scott on Twitter • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_472_-_Scott_Meslow.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:49am EDT

With Bianca Stigter's documentary, Three Minutes: A Lengthening, on the festival circuit, author and inadvertent historian Glenn Kurtz joins the show to talk about his 2014 book Three Minutes in Poland: Discovering a Lost World in a 1938 Family Film (FSG), the vibrant Jewish life in prewar Polish Nasielsk, and all that was lost and all that he found • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_471_-_Glenn_Kurtz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:48pm EDT

With his new book Disaster Mon Amour (Yale University Press), legendary film critic & writer David Thomson explores the intersection of disaster-as-entertainment and disaster-as-real-life. We get into how the imminent destruction from catastrophes like the pandemic, climate change, and authoritarianism have made us more cynical, why we thrill to CGI'd destruction, how his book evolved from his 2019 pitch, and how it pairs with his previous one, Murder And The Movies. We also talk about what we lose when we stop seeing movies in theaters, why romantic/screwball comedies of the '40s and not noir are the best American films, his Pauline Kael story, the decade he most adores, and whether after 45 years in the US he's ever felt quite American. Plus, we discuss whether he'll do another revision to The Biographical Dictionary of Film, his upcoming essay about The Godfather and whether he'll pretend the third one didn't happen, his literary upbringing and the radio adaptations that set him on his literary path, my lightning-round questions of Dostoevsky vs. Tolstoy and Bleak House vs. Middlemarch, and much more! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_470_-_David_Thomson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:50am EDT

With his new book, The Floundering Founder: 24 Lessons To Refocus Your Business and Better Yourself, marketing entrepreneur (& longtime pal) Raman Sehgal explores what it really means to learn from your mistakes. We talk about the failures and missteps that helped him build a successful marketing & design agency in ramarketing, what he learned from good (and bad) business books, the process of writing his first book, and whether he has anxiety over running a company with ~60 employees. We get into how easy it is to get lost in the day-to-day and not step back to see the big picture, the importance of having some big (and shareable) goals, what it's like when there's an external valuation put on your business, the value of schmoozing, and the realities of imposter syndrome. Plus, we discuss what he's learned from hosting the Molecule to Market podcast, the importance of being/having a nemesis, his dream of taking his company & their families to see the northern lights, and more! Follow Raman on Twitter and LinkedIn • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_469_-_Raman_Sehgal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:48am EDT

Author, poet and translator Wallis Wilde-Menozzi returns to the show to explore her new memoir/meditation, Silence & Silences (FSG). We talk about the uses and abuses of silence, the magic of herons, what it takes for the voiceless to find a voice, the nature of censorship (both external and self-driven), whether "home" is where you live or where you're buried, and how she developed the mosaic mode of her new book. We also get into feminine writing vs. masculine writing, her distrust of the authority of words, the differences between American and Italian culture when she started exploring family history, her accidental career, and the experience of editing the "final" draft just as the pandemic began, and finding there was more to write. She also explains why she doesn't keep out-takes of her writing, why some experiences are too personal for social media, and what it meant to be a woman writer when she was coming up. • Listen to our 2013 and 2017 conversations • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_468_-_Wallis_Wilde-Menozzi.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:38pm EDT

With his new book, When I Grow Up: The Lost Autobiographies of Six Yiddish Teens (Bloomsbury), cartoonist Ken Krimstein recreates a lost world, bringing to life the true stories of Jewish youth in 1930s Lithuania, preserved in anonymous submissions for a contest. We talk about the circuitous, perilous history of the stories he adapted, the role of the YIVO Institute in preserving Jewish & Yiddish culture, and how he tried to be faithful to the hopes & dreams of the anonymous writers while knowing that they & their world would perish in the Holocaust. We get into how he developed a visual storytelling language for this book, the new influences on his cartooning, the joy & spiciness of Yiddish language & culture, the research to recreate Vilnius and how uncomfortable he got when visiting Lithuania for the project. We also discuss the counterhistory that the Yiddish teens represent, the stories that didn't make the cut, the out-of-body experience of getting interviewed by CBS' Morning Show for the book, Hannah Arendt's notion of contingency and what the pandemic experience means to artists, and plenty more! Follow Ken on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and listen to our previous podcast • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_467_-_Ken_Krimstein.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:55am EDT

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