The Virtual Memories Show

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