The Virtual Memories Show (general)

Artist (& SO much more) Timothy Goodman joins the show to talk about his gorgeous new graphic memoir: I ALWAYS THINK IT'S FOREVER: A Love Story Set in Paris As Told By An Unreliable But Earnest Narrator (Simon Element). We get into how his murals and online posts coalesced into a memoir, the nature of attachment disorder and heartbreak, Timothy's penchant for social experiment, what drove him to spend a year in Paris in 2019, and why he used a variety of mediums to tell a single story (& in the process tell a much bigger story). We also talk about his artistic history & influences, the drive to fill every inch of the canvas, using art for social good, the musicality of his art & art-making process, how he graduated from house painting to design to art, and his Excalibur moment of discovering the Sharpie. Plus we discuss toxic masculinity & therapy, the difference between traveling the world and depaysement, our favorite NBA teams, and more. Follow Timothy on Twitter and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal and via our Substack

Direct download: Episode_531_-_Timothy_Goodman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:41am EDT

Author, journalist and interviewer Christopher Bollen returns to the show to celebrate his thrilling new crime novel, The Lost Americans (Harper). We talk about his childhood obsession with ancient Egypt and how it led him to set the novel in Cairo, what's gotten easier & tougher after 5 novels, what it was like to write this one while under lockdown, and why he dived into politics and the global arms trade this time around. We also get into our respective (and multiplying) midlife crises, the tarot reader who told him he'd only write 9 books (!), the reading education he got from judging the PEN Faulkner awards, the debts he owes past writers (& the time he bought a plant for Robert Stone), and why he'd like to learn to paint. Oh, and we discuss our share postcard fetish, the horror novel he's writing, his rediscovery of Philip Roth, the loss of artistic reputation, and a LOT more. Follow Christopher on Twitter and Instagram and listen to our 2015 talk • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal and via our Substack

Direct download: Episode_530_-_Christopher_Bollen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:20pm EDT

Artist, writer, cartoonist, playwright, director etc. Dean Haspiel rejoins the show to talk why he's launched his first Kickstarter (open through 3/30/23) to support a new comic, COVID Cop (think "unholy but hilarious combo of Judge Dredd, The Toxic Avenger, Sin City, and Marshal Law")! We get into how his approach to storytelling has changed in recent years, how he felt about the COVID-delayed debut of his play The War Of Woo, the thrill of making his short movie There Is No Try, and what it's like to work in hyper-collaborative mediums like theater & film. We also talk about the experience of drawing Superman at Yaddo, why he needed to revisit his pitch for COVID Cop now that we're semisorta past the worst of the pandemic, returning to his fave character, Billy Dogma, and wrapping up one phase of his The Red Hook series, the influence of Kyle Baker's Why I Hate Saturn on his upcoming work, the experience of mentoring comics artists at Atlantic Center for the Arts last month, his take on AI art for comics, and a lot more. Follow Dean on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Substack, and support his Patreon • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal and via our Substack

Direct download: Episode_529_-_Dean_Haspiel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:17am EDT

Author, critic, professor and now biographer Willard Spiegelman rejoins the show to talk about his amazing new book, NOTHING STAYS PUT: The Life and Poetry of Amy Clampitt (Knopf). We get into his winding history with Amy Clampitt, why he thought a biography of her would be impossible and why he decided to write it anyway, what made her poems so special, and what it was like to have such a late-blooming career (she first published at 58). We talk about the learning curve of writing his first (and only) biography, why he thinks Clampitt stubbornly stuck with prose instead of poetry for decades (and why she stuck with a terrible play about the Wordsworth circle in her last few years), how coastal Maine helped her write about her home prairies of Iowa, and why Willard choose to use the poems to expand on phases of her life from decades earlier. Plus we discuss Clampitt's resonances with Emily Dickinson, the epiphany she had at the Cloisters that started her on the path to poetry, her spiritual and political engagement and how she felt about being a "female poet", and her enthusiasm for enthusiasm. Plus, Willard looks back at the 10 years since we first recorded! • Listen to my conversations with Willard from 2013, 2016, and 2018 • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal and via our Substack

Direct download: Episode_528_-_Willard_Spiegelman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:41pm EDT

Matt Ruff rejoins the show to celebrate his fantastic new book, THE DESTROYER OF WORLDS: A Return To Lovecraft Country (Harper). We talk about his reason for doing a sequel to his best-known novel, Lovecraft Country, why he'd love to continue the story for a few more books, and what it means to carry on his characters' stories. We also get into the experience of seeing Lovecraft Country adapted into an HBO series and how its departure from his book thrilled him, the importance of not letting the present influence his writing of the past (and whether the George Floyd protests influenced his writing of his African-American protagonists this time around), and the many ways he could have died while visiting the Great Dismal Swamp to research for this book. Plus, we discuss screenwriting, the different structure this novel has from its previous one, why the quiet moments of conversation are the most important in the book, whether it's unfair that it takes him 3-4 years to write a book that takes me 3-4 hours to read/devour, and more. Follow Matt on Twitter • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal and via our Substack

Direct download: Episode_527_-_Matt_Ruff.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:09am EDT

Legendary artist and illustrator James McMullan joins the show to celebrate his new book, HELLO WORLD: The Body Speaks in the Drawings of Men (Pointed Lead Press). We talk about James' three-plus decades of posters for Lincoln Center Theater, the importance of the human figure in his art, how drawing with color opened a more expressive channel for him, and why Hello World is his most personal project (even more than his memoir). We get into the intersection of illustration & fine art and whether he resented being overlooked by the museum set, the experience of making more than 90 (!) posters for Lincoln Center Theater over the decades and helping define NYC theater (despite being neither "a New York guy" nor a hardcore theater-goer), how he makes his art in a perpetual state of risk and being willing to let that risk show, the ways his literary reading feeds his art and vice versa, and how he invested $11,000 in a supply of his favorite paper a dozen years ago and how it feels to reach the last of it. Plus, we discuss his High Focus Drawing approach, the gestalt between model and artist, how it felt to be a 'sissy kid' who found power in art, why he shows feet when everyone else is focused on the intimacy of close-up faces, and a lot more. More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal and via our Substack

Direct download: Episode_526_-_James_McMullan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:39am EDT

With his fantastic new graphic novel, Why Don't You Love Me? (Drawn & Quarterly), cartoonist Paul B. Rainey has crafted a deeply human story out of a deeply weird premise, taking the reader from bleak, black humor to the most heartfelt moment of connection. We get into the challenges of serializing this story over 6-plus years, the ways in which science fiction can help us reframe our day-to-day lives, the midlife meltdown that led to the creation of My Imaginary Band, and the ways Why Don't You Love Me? explores what it's like to look at one's life and ask, "How did I get here?" We also talk about the perils of writing a story with such a great twist that it's difficult to talk about (spoiler alert!), the amazing experience of being published by D&Q after years of self-publishing his comics, the amazing experience of getting a blurb from Neil Gaiman, why he's never watched Groundhog Day, how Planet of the Apes either ruined or fulfilled his life, how he finally came around on Krazy Kat, and a lot more. Follow Paul on Twitter and Instagram and check out his shop • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal and via our Substack

Direct download: Episode_525_-_Paul_B_Rainey.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:35am EDT

Artist and illustrator Thomas Woodruff joins the show to celebrate his amazing new graphic opera, Francis Rothbart! The Tale of a Fastidious Feral (Fantagraphics). We get into how Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan floored him and inspired him to make this 300-page extravaganza, what it was like to finally make a comic after decades of critiquing them in his role at the School of Visual Arts, and how living through the AIDS crisis forced an emotionalism into his art. We talk about the terrible glamour of his art, his predilection for making series of works (like his 365 paintings of apples and his ongoing series of apocalyptic, graceful dinosaur paintings), the virtues of carbon pencil and his hunt for the last supply of his favorite paper, and why he treats teaching drawing is like a religious rite. We also discuss his legacy vis-a-vis the students he taught and the programs he built, his philosophy of using the same model for a full year of drawing classes, the story of his first tattoo and the apotropaic act, the difference between having a sensibility vs. a style, why he retired from SVA after 20 years of chairing the Illustration and Cartooning departments, how students changed over that span, the mind-melting experience of watching Diver Dan as a child, The Next Project, and more! Follow Thomas on Instagram and at Vito Schnabel Gallery • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal and via our Substack

Direct download: Episode_524_-_Thomas_Woodruff.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:05am EDT

Author Dawn Raffel rejoins the show to celebrate her wonderful new book, Boundless As The Sky (Sagging Meniscus Press), a gorgeous series of stories & a novella that take us from Invisible Cities to the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. We talk about how Dawn's previous nonfiction book, The Strange Case of Dr. Couney, led into this new book, how she became obsessed with the Century of Progress World's Fair (and how she wishes she could have asked her parents about visiting it in their youth), why Chicago was always her Emerald City, and how NYC has transformed over the decades she's lived here. We also get into the strong influence of Invisible Cities on her book and how she felt about writing a feminine/feminist response to Calvino, how the two parts of Boundless As The Sky — stories, novella — talk to each other, the twin writing-joys of unexpected resonances and sentence-building, and how incorporating Yoga Nidra offers new approaches to writing workshops. We also get into her recent trip to Kenya for International Literary Seminars, her pandemic Zoom writing-accountability partners, how she finally got around to reading Moby-Dick (and what she made of it), and a lot more. Follow Dawn on Twitter and Instagram and go listen to our 2019 conversation • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal and via our Substack

Direct download: Episode_523_-_Dawn_Raffel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:08pm EDT

Acclaimed translator Ross Benjamin returns to the show to celebrate the publication of The Diaries of Franz Kafka (Schocken Books). We get into the twisted history of the diaries, Ross' monumental achievement of bringing them into English, the how ambiguity and circularity pervade Kafka's very language, and the question of whether one can be qualified for this sort of task before actually doing it. We also talk about how this edition restores the bodily, sensual, sexual, and public-facing Kafka (& speculate on why K's literary executor, Max Brod, bowdlerized the diaries in their initial incarnation), what it was like to translate the private writings of someone who was the personification of ambivalence, what the process taught Ross about his own life and how it revealed new aspects of Kafka to him, and what it's like to catch Kafka in the act of writing. Plus, we discuss the feeling of accomplishing a dream project like this by the age of 40 and having the sense that he's served the purpose he was meant for (which leads to the question of What Comes Next), the blurbs that made him plotz and the post-pub tribute from his daughter that brought him to tears, and a lot more. Follow Ross on Twitter and Instagram and go listen to our 2016 conversation • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal and subscribe to our Substack

Direct download: Episode_522_-_Ross_Benjamin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:04am EDT

Author Sara Lippmann returns to The Virtual Memories Show after almost a decade to celebrate her debut novel, LECH (Tortoise Books). We talk about how she had to move out of her comfort zone of short fiction (see her collections Doll Palace and Jerks) to write a novel, whether she felt guilty teaching a course on novel-writing before she'd finished her first one, the research that went into writing a book about the Catskills in decline, and what it means to find the right container for a story. We also get into the book's title, and how it plays off of the Biblical notion of Lech Lecha ("go forth") and the tradition of novels named after their protagonists' last names (Herzog, Stern, Jernigan), and how LECH looks at those books through a feminist lens. On top of that, we discuss the silliness of "literary immortality" and what it means that almost no one reads Saul Bellow anymore, my absolutely ingenious idea for changing the nature of my podcast, how she took up running at 40 to combat depression, the moment she learned to stop caring about external validation, and the new novel she's working on. Oh, and I stupidly ask her for a writing prompt. Follow Sara on Twitter and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_521_-_Sara_Lippmann.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:58pm EDT

Let's kick off 2023 with . . . me! I My long-time pal Aaron Finkelstein returns to interview me for what we've decided to make an annual Virtual Memories tradition. Listen to Two Gentlemen With The 'Rona (okay, he's recovering, but I tested positive a few days earlier) check in on the changes a year has wrought. We get into how a Yom Kippur fast sent me on some strange paths, how our cultural touchstones mark us, what it means to be fair to our college-aged selves, and the one Watchmen character I never identified with. Along the way, we work through some of my personal failings and my ego-vanity complex, the analog/digital tightrope, whether bookishness is something we need to get over, and a LOT more, including an intro about my end-of-year COVID experience. • Follow Aaron on Instagram and follow me on Substack, Mastodon, Instagram and Twitter • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_520_-_Gil_Roth_and_Aaron_Finkelstein.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:03pm EDT

Twenty-two of this year's Virtual Memories Show guests tell us about the favorite books they read in 2022 and the books they hope to get to in 2023! Guests include Jonathan Ames, Richard Butner, Howard Chaykin, Joe Ciardiello, Darryl Cunningham, Eva Hagberg, Kathe Koja, Ken Krimstein, Glenn Kurtz, W. David Marx, Dave McKean, Wallis Wilde-Menozzi, Jim Ottaviani, Celia Paul, Nicole Rudick, Jerry Saltz, Dmitry Samarov, David Sax, Ruth Scurr, Sebastian Smee, Peter Stothard, and Marina Warner (+ me)! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_519_-_The_Guest_List_2022.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:49pm EDT

Artist & author Dmitry Samarov rejoins the show to talk about his new book, PAINT BY NUMBERS, the disastrous experience he had trying to profile a pair of renowned artists, and why he chose to chronicle (& fictionalize) it years later in this book. We get into the conflict of art & commerce, fame & failure in America, and the relationship of artist, artwork, and audience. We also talk about the Lynda Barry class that opened his eyes to his own art-making process, what he's learned from making a podcast of his own, the surprise bliss of holding a book-event with no audience, how he's changed through the newsletter he's been keeping up regularly for a dozen-plus years, what his ongoing collage-art has unlocked for him, whether there's such a thing as an artistic dead-end, and more. Follow Dmitry at his newsletter, and on his podcast • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_518_-_Dmitry_Samarov.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:05am EDT

Author, design guru, blogger, instructor, graphic designer and treasure Steven Heller rejoins the show to celebrate his wonderful new book, Growing Up Underground: A Memoir of Counterculture New York (Princeton Architectural Press). We get into why he was ready to dive into memoir after 200 (!) books on design, how he found his voice for this book, what it was like revisiting his life from the mid-'60s to '70s, and how he wed his personal development with his growth as a graphic designer & art director. We also talk about his literary influence (go, Team Orwell!), the question of legacy, the artist he wishes he could have worked with in his storied career, and how he reassessed his past design work via captions in the book. Plus, we discuss AI images & the future of art direction, fascist symbology & whatever's going on with Ye, the joy of an empty New York City, his ongoing battle between hubris & neurosis, and a lot more. Follow Steven on Twitter and at The Daily Heller and listen to our earlier conversations: 2018, 2019, & 2020 • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_517_-_Steven_Heller.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:16am EDT

Artist Drew Friedman rejoins the show to celebrate his wonderful new book, Maverix and Lunatix: Icons of Underground Comix (Fantagraphics). We talk about his mind-blowing portraits of the legends of the Underground era, how he pared his list of subjects to 100 (from ~3000), why he decided to paint everyone in their prime years rather than present-day old (and the good stuff his subjects have said about their portraits), the research that went into writing biographical sketches of his subjects (and the challenges in getting photo reference for some of them), this book's departure from his Heroes of the Comics and Old Jewish Comedians paintings, and why he's not planning to do another book about Alt-comics artists of the '80s & '90s. We get into how Robert Crumb convinced him to draw people he doesn't like, the griping Marc Maron made about writing the foreword, how he came around on certain artists while working on the book, and his complaints about having to paint so many men with '70s era long hair and shaggy beards (and why he wants his next book to be all bald men). We also discuss how painting changed him as an artist, how he wound up recreating his early stippling effect with the brush, his realization that he was over a lot of his youthful grudges and resentments, his bucket list of people he hasn't gotten around to drawing, why Harvey Kurtzman is his most controversial subject in the book, and a LOT more. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_516_-_Drew_Friedman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:16am EDT

Writer, journalist and speaker David Sax joins the show to celebrate his new book, THE FUTURE IS ANALOG: How to Create a More Human World (Public Affairs Books). We get into how we all got dragged at once into the digital future in spring 2020 and what it taught us, how surprised he was at response to his 2016 book, The Revenge of Analog, and why this book is its perfect companion, and why analog, real world experience has grown more important even as digital activity reaches its peak. We also talk about how he structured the book's main topics and days of the week — Work, School, Commerce, The City, Culture, Conversation, and Soul, corresponding with Monday to Sunday —, the ways in which we're growing disenchanted with Silicon Valley's vision of the future, why he will cite 1993 movie Demolition Man at the drop of a hat, and why a periodic digital sabbath is a good thing. Plus, we discuss the fundamental misunderstanding of what productivity is, why capital's extractive model can only lead to burnout & ruin, whether it was a good or bad thing that the pandemic curtailed his improv lessons, the Philip Roth book that he had to beg his book club's forgiveness for selecting, his belated dive into John Le Carré, and a lot more. Follow David on Twitter • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_515_-_David_Sax.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:50am EDT

Writer Jim Ottaviani rejoins the show to celebrate his new graphic biography, EINSTEIN (First Second)! We get into his collaboration with artist Jerel Dye & colorist Alison Acton on telling Einstein's story, the chutzpah involved in tackling the bio of the man whose name is a synonym for genius, and how he kept from falling into the rabbit hole of Too Much Research. We talk about how Jim used Einstein's major theories as a way of exploring the man and his times (and why this book is more of a story than a biography), the way 20th century popular culture latched on to Einstein, how he contrasts with some of the other biographical subjects Jim has tackled, and the mystery of what happened to Einstein's first child. We also discuss the process of working with a new artist, the writing hints that come from the subconscious, the physics teacher who helped him explain the trickier theories in the book, whether the pandemic-era anti-science movement has made Jim doubt his work or has him doubling down on it, and (of course) our running stories. Follow Jim on Twitter and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_514_-_Jim_Ottaviani.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:18pm EDT

Classicist, editor, and writer Peter Stothard joins the show to celebrate the publication of his amazing new book, CRASSUS: The First Tycoon, the first in Yale University Press' Ancient Lives series. We get into what drew him to Crassus, how Crassus' understanding of finance and money revealed new ways to exert power beyond military strength in ancient Rome, how he tried to balance the strengths of Pompey & Julius Caesar as part of the "three-headed monster" that ruled Rome, whether Crassus deserves to be lost to history because of his brutal actions putting down the Spartacus slave revolution, and why writing about the ancients is like walking along a wall and looking down to see the familiar and the alien. We talk about Peter's journey from council estate to studying classics at Oxford to editing the Times of London and then the Times Literary Supplement, the lessons antiquity has for modernity, what he learned in writing a book about Tony Blair and the buildup to the Iraq War, and his upcoming work on the development of the bureaucratic class. We also discuss how he survived a catastrophic form of cancer, rediscovered himself as a classicist-memoirist, and learned how much one gains in life by overcoming a fear of death, and a lot more. Follow Peter on Twitter • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_513_-_Peter_Stothard.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:23am EDT

Photographic historian & writer Michael Lesy joins the show to celebrate his amazing new book, WALKER EVANS: LAST PHOTOGRAPHS & LIFE STORIES (Blast Books). We get into his friendship with Evans & their shared interest in Lyrical Documentary, why Evans' last photos were dismissed by academics (even though they are, in fact, amazing), what he learned from writing a mini-biography of Evans for the book, how Evans returned to one of his first cameras — the Polaroid SX-70 — in his last year, and what Michael felt seeing his late wife among the final portraits Evans shot. We also get into Michael's ~50-year career from Wisconsin Death Trip to now, how reading the Russians — especially Turgenev — turned him into a writer, how he feels about everyone taking pictures on their phones, and the importance of understanding photo history. Plus, we discuss how he taught Literary Journalism at my alma mater, Hampshire College, for ~30 years, the audition test he gave his students so they could write their way into his class, why students became much more frail over the decades, and a LOT more. More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_512_-_Michael_Lesy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:15pm EDT

This week, writer, professor & critic Marina Warner joins the show to talk about her new book about her parents, Esmond and Ilia: An Unreliable Memoir (New York Review Books). She gets into the memory of her father's Cairo bookshop getting burned down in a riot, the huge cache of letters and documents her mother left behind and what it taught her about her mother's life & deep sadness, how this book transitioned from novel to memoir and what novelistic aspects it retained, and why she disagrees with the standard memoir's notion of an integral self. We also talk about transformations from Ovid to COVID, her upcoming work on the concept of sanctuary and her interest in refugees, what it means to be at home in the world and how to give refugees a sense of attachment through imagination, why fairy tales and myth need to be reinterpretable and not fixed in meaning, how it felt to have one of her books cribbed by WG Sebald, how the myrrh bush captured her imagination, and why I think she should watch Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. Plus, we discuss the loss of Carmen Callil and the need to champion women writers, her role as the first woman president of the Royal Society of Literature from 2017 to 2021 and the RSL's recent unwillingness to hold an event in support of Salman Rushdie, and a lot more. Follow Marina on Twitter • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_511_-_Marina_Warner.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:31am EDT

Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic Jerry Saltz joins the show to celebrate his new collection, ART IS LIFE: Icons and Iconoclasts, Visionaries and Vigilantes, and Flashes of Hope in the Night (Riverhead Books). We get into the ways his book chronicles tumultuous transformations in the art world in the 21st century, his late start (almost 40) as an art critic and how his lack of art history training affects his writing, the works of art that inspired his writing, and the transcendent joy of Jeff Koons' 43-foot-tall topiary puppy. We also talk about how a critic can try to avoid the sclerosis they're all liable to suffer, why he's the least reliable critic of Matthew Barney, why he thinks some critics are holding back on negative reviews, what it's like to attend 25-30 gallery shows a week (with his wife, the great NYT art critic Roberta Smith) and what it meant when pandemic lockdown hit. And we discuss his 35-year friendship with the late Peter Schjeldahl, his attempt at getting up to speed on classic books, his disdain for cynics and 'knowers', the artists he missed the boat on, and how art saved his life. Follow Jerry on Twitter and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_510_-_Jerry_Saltz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

Literary & cultural critic Darryl Pinckney rejoins the show to celebrate his new memoir/memorial, Come Back In September: A Literary Education on West Sixty-Seventh Street, Manhattan (FSG). We get into Darryl's friendship with/apprenticeship to Elizabeth Hardwick, and the relationships he built with Susan Sontag, Barbara Epstein, and the New York Review of Books in the '70s & beyond. We also talk about recognizing a golden age when you're in it, our current professionalization of culture and why it leads to meh art, the value of his literary/writing education from Hardwick (& others), the NYC New Wave scene he was a part of alongside Howard Brookner, Lucy Sante, Felice Rosser, and others, and why the one place he felt a sense of belonging was on the red sofa in Elizabeth Hardwick's home. Plus, we talk about his massive project on the history of black literature in the 20th century, why there are so few examples of failure in black autobiographical tradition and why (and whether) he considers himself a failure, why someone once told him, 'You're very disciplined at beating yourself up,' why we bonded over the same character in Middlemarch, and more. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_509_-_Darryl_Pinckney.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:22am EDT

Cartoonist and illustrator Tom Gauld rejoins the show to celebrate the publication of his new book, Revenge of the Librarians (Drawn & Quarterly), a collection of his weekly literary humor comics for The Guardian. We get into his comics' three lives — in the paper, online, and in books — and the difference between seeing his work in print vs. onscreen, the decision to include lockdown-era strips in his new book, and how he manages to keep his comics fresh despite having two weekly deadlines (he also draws a comic for New Scientist). We also talk about his stylistic & structural experiments, how he grew more comfortable using color, the longform comics he'd love to make (if he could just find them halfway done before he got to work), and why Beckett & Austen are always great authors to fall back on for a gag. And we discuss what it's like going on a book tour again (and meeting at least one librarian at every event), being more fearless about his work when he was younger and having higher standards now, why it was important to him to make a children's book before his kids went to college, and more! Follow Tom on Twitter, Instagram, and . . . Tumblr?! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_508_-_Tom_Gauld.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:45am EDT

With his new book, STATUS AND CULTURE: How Our Desire for Social Rank Creates Taste, Identity, Art, Fashion, and Constant Change (Viking), W. David Marx explores the narrative structure of culture and fashion (not just clothing) and how status is the driver of cultural change. We get into his thesis and why he wasn't satisfied with the "random walk" or vitality models for how fashions and taste spread, how status is conveyed to people, and why status is a third rail in most conversations. We also talk about cultural progression and/or stagnation, the role of the internet in cultural change, how great art gets made and why the omnivore mindset may stymie that, and how understanding the relationship between status and culture may help us build a more equitable world. Follow David on Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to his e-mail • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_507_-_W_David_Marx.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:27pm EDT

George Prochnik rejoins the show to celebrate his new book, I Dream With Open Eyes: A Memoir About Reimagining Home (Counterpoint Press). We get into his family's decision after the 2016 election to leave America, how his book complements his wife Rebecca Mead's memoir about their move to the UK, the performative & symbolic aspects of their decision, the work of culture, and how it felt to write about the present moment for the first time. We talk about American exceptionalism, the nature of exile & self-exile, the centrality of Freud to different branches of his family, and why he decided to write about the nature of working as a writer and trying to get by as an artist in NYC. We also discuss the apocalyptic nature of our era, how the power of ignorance is stronger than power of knowledge, how we can recuperate the unknown as a space of possibility, and the warnings of two of his past literary subjects, Stefan Zweig and Gershom Scholem. Follow George on Twitter and Instagram, although he doesn't actually post at either very much • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_506_-_George_Prochnik.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:25am EDT

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

Our final guest of the year is . . . me! I invited my long-time pal Aaron Finkelstein to interview me as we close out 2021. We talk about my newfound sense of mortality and the invention of new distractions, what I've learned from doing remote podcasts during the pandemic, the ways repeat guests & I have changed over the years, why I avoid trying to do podcasts with "personalities" (as opposed to people), and the one person Aaron really wants me to record with. We get into making art, how I learned to love destruction (by which I mean drawing on paper and not a computer), what it means to commit to a line, and how drawing may actually be my way of undermining other artistic pursuits. I also tell a bunch of anecdotes about guests and a set of stories about the Society of Illustrators, and we discuss the culture of Like, my desire to slow things down, the advice I tried to give Graydon Carter, and my suspicion that you're all bots, among a bazillion other topics. Follow Aaron on Instagram and listen to his music on BandCamp, and follow me on Twitter and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_466_-_Gil_Roth_and_Aaron_Finkelstein.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:32am EDT

Thirty of this year's Virtual Memories Show guests tell us about the favorite books they read in 2021 and the books they hope to get to in 2022! Guests include Jonathan Baylis, Zoe Beloff, Jacques Berlinerblau, Anne Cattaneo, Michael DeForge, Shary Flenniken, Sophia Glock, Heywood Gould, Glenn Head, Ron Hogan, Kate Lacour, Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn, Matt Madden, Kate Maruyama, Robert McCrum, Robert Meagher, Anahid Nersessian, Scott Newstok, Weng Pixin, Alta Price, Keiler Roberts, Dmitry Samarov, Nadine Sergejeff, Dash Shaw, Jen Silverman, Edward Sorel, Rosemary Steinbaum, Karl Stevens, Andi Watson, and Heather Cass White (+ me)! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_465_-_The_Guest_List_2021.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:19am EDT

Artist, illustrator & author Nora Krug rejoins the show to talk about her work on the new Graphic Edition of Timothy Snyder's ON TYRANNY: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (Ten Speed Press). We get into how the project originated and how illustrating On Tyranny compelled her to live up to its lessons, her approach to illustrating the book and how a visual experience can create a new reading of it, her use of personal photographs from the Third Reich, and how this project serves as a companion to her award-winning graphic memoir BELONGING. We talk about her concerns about misread propaganda imagery, the assumptions she had to make about readers' visual literacy and what illustrations and design could constitute "hijacking" Snyder's text, the ways photographs can make people accountable, what it means when governments censor photos, and the contrasting perspectives she and Snyder brought to the book: an American facing Europe and a European facing America. We also discuss how the text was updated post-January 6 and which of its lessons are "nice" vs. "critical", the optimism that lies in the midst of the book's dire message, what she & Snyder have learned from each other during their virtual book tour, Nora's realization that she has an artistic mission for the rest of her life, and more! Follow Nora on Twitter and Instagram, and listen to Nora's 2018 episode • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_464_-_Nora_Krug.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:37pm EDT

With her wonderful new YA graphic memoir PASSPORT (Little, Brown Young Readers), Sophia Glock recounts a key moment from her teenage years: the discovery that her parents were intelligence officers for the CIA. We talk about the need to tell her story and that of the lives that touched her in the city of [REDACTED], the choice of writing for a YA audience, and what she learned to show vs. tell. We get into the challenge of maintaining the voice of adolescent Sophia without letting contemporary Sophia intrude, what embarrassed her most about revisiting those years, what it's like to have created the only comic to be reviewed by the federal government for classified material, how her parents' secret lives affected her, and how she managed to make the longest book of her career (and the most deeply personal one). We also discuss her love of the X-Men in the mid-90s and how it launched her into comics (and my own history with those Children of the Atom), how she's balanced art, work, a newborn, & family mid-pandemic, some tradecraft her parents taught her & the other traits they instilled in her, our respective control issues, what it's like talking to me without a festival table between us, and more! Follow Sophia on Twitter and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_463_-_Sophia_Glock.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:16pm EDT

Legendary artist, illustrator, cartoonist, & author Ed Sorel joins the show to celebrate the publication of his memoir, Profusely Illustrated (Knopf). We get into his remarkable career (and "unremarkable life"), the rage that drove his political cartooning for more than a half-century, the illustrations that made him realize he had come into his own as an artist, the origins of Push Pin Studios & his stories of working with Seymour Chwast and Milton Glaser, the terrible lessons in abstractionism that beat figurative drawing out of him for years, and his need to look at his past work to remind himself that he does know how to draw. We talk about whether political cartooning is intended to change minds or provide comfort, how writing is like a pastel drawing, how he balanced art, commentary, and commerce over his career, why he refused to sell his drawings to certain hated people, how he learned to harness the nervous energy of his line to create a unique style (and why he hates tracing), why this (secular) patron saint of late starters got around to a memoir at 92, and more! Follow Ed on Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_462_-_Edward_Sorel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:33am EDT

With his new book, Ex Libris (Uncivilized Books), cartoonist Matt Madden takes readers on a post-modern, formalist dive into comics. We talk about the challenge of tinkering with story structure while still delivering an entertaining story, the work involved in jumping from style to style throughout Ex Libris (and in his past comics), the joy & terror of a notional library of potential books, and the inspiration of Italo Calvino's If On A Winter's Night A Traveler, & all his literary, cinematic & comics influences. We get into his comics upbringing, his work teaching comics and developing comics textbooks, being in a two-cartoonist household — he's married to Jessica Abel – and his kids' attempts at keeping him (somewhat) culturally up to date, the perils & rewards of canonical thinking, and his use of Alison Bechdel's comics-writing process. We also discuss the world that Factsheet Five opened up to him, his "welcome to comics" moment (courtesy of Bob Burden), Lewis Trondheim's challenge to him to make a comic without formal commentary, the supply chain hiccup that postponed Ex Libris, and plenty more! Follow Matt on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_461_-_Matt_Madden.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:26pm EDT

With TUNNELS (Drawn & Quarterly, tr. Ishai Mishory), Israeli cartoonist Rutu Modan has created a fantastic, thoughtful, wonderful, hilarious, complex, cinematic thrill-ride of a story about a search for the Ark of the Covenant in modern-day Israel and the West Bank. We get into the true-life origin of the story, the otherwise boring results of Israeli archeology, the research that went into TUNNELS, and what it taught Rutu about her own upbringing and how the Bible is taught to Israeli children. We talk about her cartooning and storytelling influences, her less obvious tributes to Herge, her use of actors in costume for drawing reference and how they influence the characters in her books, TUNNELS' use of location as protagonist, and what it was like to draw a book with so many outdoor scenes, instead of the urban settings of her previous books, Exit Wounds and The Property. We also get into the growth of the Israeli comics scene over the course of her ~30 years in comics, her time with the Actus Tragicus comics collective and her secret origin as a cartoonist (she comes from a family of doctors, so being an artist was not an easy path), whether she considers herself an Israeli cartoonist or a cartoonist who happens to be from Israel, why she tries not to think of her audience beyond one trusted reader, her first pandemic trip to . . .Siberia (!?), our flashback to when I interviewed her in 1998, and more! Follow Rutu on Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_460_-_Rutu_Modan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:27am EDT

They were among the last people I recorded with before lockdown, and now translators Tess Lewis and Alta L. Price are back to talk about co-curating the Festival Neue Literatur 2021 (which runs from November 11 to 14, 2021), and how the theme they developed for the postponed 2020 edition, TURN AND FACE THE STRANGE, became even more appropriate for the pandemic era. We get into the cliffhanger of rescheduling FNL and the offsetting challenges of virtual vs. in-person author attendance, the rise of nationalism and closed borders, how literature from other languages can become the fallback to let us understand the world from another person's perspective, and the act of translating when people refer to the pandemic in the past tense. We get into the German-language authors (and two American ones) who are participating in this year's FNL — Anna Baar, Joshua Cohen, Isabel Fargo Cole, Judith Keller, Helen Phillips, Benjamin Quaderer, Sasha Marianna Salzmann, and Ivna Žic — and how their works approach questions of identity and belonging through strange means. We also get into what Tess and Alta have learned about the world and themselves over the past 20 months in Pandemia, why the seclusion of a translator's life prepped them for some of the worst of it, what themes they'd love to curate for future FNLs, and whether Hölderlin would have used DoorDash. (Listen to my 2020 episodes with Tess and Alta) • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_459_-_Tess_Lewis_and_Alta_Price.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:50am EDT

With Albert Camus and the Human Crisis (Pegasus Books), professor Robert Emmet Meagher distills a half-century of reading and teaching Camus' work to show us how the writer and thinker continues to resonate 60+ years after his untimely death. We get into his accidental origins with Camus and how Camus speaks to us today, the Human Crisis speech Camus gave in 1946 and how it remains relevant, why no one paid attention to Camus' protests that he wasn't an existentialist, Camus' uneasy pacifism and Bob's own antiwar activism (and how it affected his career). We also talk about why I was a dummy not to take Bob's class on Camus when I was an undergrad at Hampshire (I did take his Sense & Spirit class in 1992), the Camus novel Bob had to grow into, his speculation on how Camus & his writing would have developed had he not died so young, and mortality, deathfulness, & how, as Camus put it, philosophy used to teach us how to die, but now teaches us how to think. In addition to Camus, we discuss Bob's work with veterans and healing moral injury, why exactly Achilles in the Iliad is "swift-footed" and the moment my mythic/tragic view of him gets dashed on the rocks of Bob's experience with soldiers, his draft-dodging conundrum and the deus ex machina that kept him out of Vietnam, his decision to teach & write about the subjects that interest him, rather than following academic trends, his status as a professor-in-waiting (but not retired!), how he's been coping with the pandemic, and how this book was his melodramatic Final Class. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_458_-_Robert_Emmet_Meagher.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:58am EDT

Cartoonist and animator Dash Shaw joins the show to celebrate his new book, Discipline (New York Review Comics), a Civil War-era story about a Quaker who joins the Union army. We get into how Dash's upbringing as a Quaker in Virginia led him to this book, the New York Public Library fellowship that exposed him to letters and diaries from the time, the artwork of the era and how it influenced the "floating" visual style of Discipline, and his urge to depict the moments that are left unchronicled. We also discuss the Quaker debate over paying a military tax during the Civil War, the sense of growing up in an area haunted by that period of history, the multi-year layering process of making this book and how it converged and diverged with the making of his amazing new animated movie, Cryptozoo (Magnolia Pictures), and how story dictates form & style. We also reminisce about a bookstore panel he did with Frank Santoro once upon a time, and how their tooth-and-nail arguments over the nature of comics gave him hope that there's plenty of room for comics to grow. Follow Dash on Instagram and Twitter • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_457_-_Dash_Shaw.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:20am EDT

With Parade Of The Old New, artist Zoe Beloff has created a panoramic history painting documenting the depths of the Trump years. We get into the impetus for that project, its enormous scale (140 feet long), its Brechtian roots, and its reproduction as a 19-foot accordion book (available only from Booklyn). We talk about notions of rights and responsibilities for artists, the debate over displaying Philip Guston's work, the angry e-mail Zoe received from a white male Marxist that critiqued her for "her own benefit", and why Parade Of The Old New is getting exhibited in Europe & Russia but not America. We also dive into her fascination with artists and thinkers of the interwar era, like Bertolt Brecht & Walter Benjamin, her family's refugee history and why it left her feeling like a Rootless Cosmpolitan, the ways she interweaves painting, film, installation, picture-storytelling (or cartooning) and other forms, the vision of NYC that brought her to the city in her 20s from Scotland, and why being a story-scavenger rather than an inventor means she gets to live in the worlds of her art. Also, we talk about her new multimedia project to celebrate essential workers, my no-fly list for pod-guests, why telling her mother and grandmother's refugee story is the closest she'll come to autobiography, and a LOT more. Follow Zoe on Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_456_-_Zoe_Beloff.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:27pm EDT

Writer, poet, professor & editor Charles Bivona returns to the show for a wide-ranging conversation about art, depression, anxiety, midlife health crises (his diabetes, my CLL), Buddhism, Vietnam & contagious trauma, writing his autobiography on Patreon, and more. Our 20+ years of friendship yield an intriguing conversation about how our lives have changed in response to and/or defiance of the world around us. We get into the heavy stuff this time, but don't fret: there's room for humor with my old pal, too. Follow Charles on Twitter and Instagram, support his Patreon, and read his memoir • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_455_-_Charles_Bivona.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:04am EDT

Lincoln Center Theater's dramaturg Anne Cattaneo joins the show to celebrate her new book, The Art of Dramaturgy (Yale University Press). We answer the pivotal question, "What does a dramaturg DO, exactly?" and explore the tradition of dramaturgy in Europe and America, while diving into the phenomenon of good theater, and the existence of Theatrons, those mysterious particles that circulate from stage to audience and back when Good Theater Happens. We get into how a dramaturg can supplement the work of the actors and director, how plays change during rehearsal and over the course of production, the importance of intuition and collaboration (as well as a thick skin) for a dramaturg, the joy of discovering new plays (and lost plays, and out-of-fashion plays) and finding new ways to stage classics, and the treasures that can be found in archives. We also talk about the economics of regional theater and how it constrains what plays get produced, the deep research she did to help a pair of actors in Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia understand why their characters had an affair, the triumph of staging Mule Bone, a lost play by Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, the impact of the pandemic on theater, the need to support older playwrights, and a LOT more. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_454_-_Anne_Cattaneo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:18pm EDT

It's part 2 of a 2-part show about the new Philip Roth Personal Library at the Newark Public Library! This week, Supervising Librarian Nadine Sergejeff joins the show to talk about the process of going through 300+ boxes of Philip Roth's books to figure out what should go on display in the PRPL. We talk about the challenges of documenting and organizing Roth's notes and other ephemera, the discovery of his mother's scrapbooks of his career in a box marked "PRINTER", the edits and commentary Roth made in his own novels, and how she managed to organize the library without marking up any of the volumes. We also get into what it was like to assemble and open the PRPL during the pandemic, how Roth's tweed jacket made it into the collection, Nadine's path to becoming a librarian and how she wound up taking on this project, how archive researchers have changed over the years (and the problem with not being able to read cursive), what makes a good library, what NJ means to her and what Newark meant to Roth, and more! (Go check out part 1, feat. library trustee and Roth pal Rosemary Steinbaum!) Follow the Philip Roth Personal Library on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_453_-_Nadine_Sergejeff.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:11pm EDT

It's part 1 of a 2-part show about the new Philip Roth Personal Library at the Newark Public Library! This week, NPL trustee Rosemary Steinbaum talks about working with Philip Roth over the years and helping convince him to donate his books and belongings to the PRPL. We get into her friendship with Roth, her visits to his Connecticut home to figure out what would be in the personal library, her favorite discoveries in the collection, and the joy of reading his notes and marginalia. We also talk about her favorite literary pilgrimages, her love of The Counterlife, Roth's funeral, the themes of Roth's work that could become future exhibitions at the library, her Newark and how she helped Liz Del Tufo develop a Roth-tour of the city (which Roth once tagged along on), the donation of Roth's letters from his teen sweetheart (including a reading list for her), and more! Follow the Philip Roth Personal Library on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_452_-_Rosemary_Steinbaum.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:09am EDT

Professor Jacques Berlinerblau joins the show to celebrate his new book, The Philip Roth We Don't Know: Sex, Race, and Autobiography (UVA Press)! We get into a deep dive on All Things Roth: #metoo, reverse-biography, metafiction, rage merchants, Rothian Path Dependency, literary legacy & reputation, the changing expectations and tolerances of readers, and the writer Roth cites more than any other in his books. We also talk about the scandal around Roth's biographer and why I think it's greatest metafictional novel Roth never wrote, the role of race & racism in Roth's work (and in Jacques' broader areas of study), why Jacques never wanted to meet Roth, his love of The Anatomy Lesson, the disillusionment he had upon reading Roth's letters in the Library of Congress, why we should all read My Dark Vanessa, whether not winning the Nobel really burned Roth's ass, and so much more! Follow Jacques on Twitter • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_451_-_Jacques_Berlinerblau.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:55am EDT

With his new book, Shakespearean: On Life and Language in Times of Disruption (Pegasus Books), author & literary editor Robert McCrum uses Shakespeare's plays, poems, life and history to examine how Shakespeare is a mirror of human experience, and why his lines continue to resonate 400+ years after his death. We talk about Robert's history with the plays (beginning with his role as First Fairy in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the age of 13) and the 2017 performance of Julius Caesar in Central Park that inspired the book, the ways in which the Plays and the Sonnets complement each other, and how those works influence our understanding of the self and self-consciousness. We also get into the vicissitudes of literary reputation, the way Shakespearean fits as the capstone of Robert's Disruption Trilogy, along with My Year Off and Every Third Thought, the first play Robert's Shakespeare Club plans to see post-pandemic, the snobbery that drives Shakespeare denialism, how America became Shakespearean, and the urban myth that Shakespeare wrote King Lear during lockdown, as well as the ways plague influenced Shakespeare's entire career. Plus: where I should begin with Wodehouse, what prompted Robert to finally finish Proust (and then re-read him), and the nightmare of interviewing Philip Roth! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_450_-_Robert_McCrum.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:35am EDT

With How To Think Like Shakespeare: Lessons from a Renaissance Education (Princeton University Press), Scott Newstok explores the Bard's schooling, how it contrasts with the No Child Left Behind model of today, and how we're failing both students and teachers. We get into Scott's love of Shakespeare and the history of education, why the drive for "assessment" is inimical to real learning, the false oppositions about education today, the value of play & conversation, and how the pandemic may have put the nail in the coffin for distance learning. We also get into his new project on Montaigne, the importance of having a couple of key teachers in one's youth, the importance of student evaluations, why he'll opt for Marlowe over Shakespeare if he needs to turn students on to Elizabethan theater, his thoughts on translating Shakespeare into "modern English, the scaleability of a Renaissance education, and more! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_449_-_Scott_Newstok.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:15am EDT

With Ars Vitae: The Fate of Inwardness and the Return of the Ancient Arts of Living (Notre Dame Press), Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn explores how different philosophies of the ancient Greeks and Romans continue to play out in our modern era. We talk about the interplay between antiquity & modernity, how we can learn to move beyond therapeutic culture, and why she's a born Platonist (the book also gets into Gnosticism, Stoicism, Epicureanism, and Cynicism). We also get into why instrumentalizing people is one of the worst developments of our time, what it means to have an authentic outward-facing inwardness, rather than the inward-facing outwardness of our age, whether philosophy prepares us for death (and whether it should). Plus we discuss how students have & haven't changed over her 30 years as a professor, the vale of WikiHow, the moment she was entranced by a philosophy seminar titled "Love", and what virtue is & whether it can be taught. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_448_-_Elisabeth_Lasch-Quinn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:08am EDT

I traveled up to the Catskills this weekend for a round of Rip Van Winkle-themed putt-putt golf, lunch, and some conversation with New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl. We get into Peter's 2019 diagnosis of stage 4 lung cancer and how he gained & then lost the persona of The Dying Man during his one piece of memoiristic writing about it. We also talk about his accidental transition from poet to art writer in the '60s, why his two criteria for writing about art are quality & significance, his bias for authenticity over authority and sophistication over education, how HOWL changed his life, why he hates reproductions of paintings, why it took him years to come around on Rembrandt, his experience of revisiting Velazquez' Las Meninas over the years, the piece of art he'd like to revisit when we can travel again, his love of (& aesthete's approach to) fireworks, and plenty more on the art of living! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_447_-_Peter_Schjeldahl.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:06pm EDT

With his compulsively entertaining new book, Drafted: A Memoir of the '60s (Tolmitch Press), author, screenwriter, and director Heywood Gould takes his reader on a rollicking tour of New York City in America's most turbulent decade as he explores his draft-dodging days in the buildup of the Vietnam war. We get into how Drafted evolved from a screenplay into a novel into a memoir, what it was like being a reporter for the New York Post at 22 (when it was a pinko rag, rather than a right-wing rag) and working alongside Nora Ephron and Pete Hamill, his family's tension between communist leanings & patriotism, and how his race to get out of the draft led him to Paris, civil rights protests, almost to the wedding altar, and Fort Dix. We also talk about Heywood's career writing and directing movies and TV (like Cocktail, Fort Apache, The Bronx, One Good Cop, The Boys From Brazil and The Equalizer), his one Gabriel Byrne story, why he'll take NYC over LA, and all the ways Hollywood has changed over the decades, especially in the streaming era. Plus we discuss why he reads the Torah daily (for the storytelling!), his stab at adapting Isaac Babel for the movies, how the Great American Novel has eluded him so far, how he learned Hemingway's trick of writing fiction like a news story, why being a mortician's assistant was his favorite non-writing job, and why his next book will be How Not To Be A Cancer Patient, a memoir of his 20 years (and counting) of experience with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_446_-_Heywood_Gould.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:39am EDT

Author & professor Heather Cass White joins the show to celebrate her wonderful new book. Books Promiscuously Read: Reading as a Way of Life (FSG). We get into what reading does & doesn't do for us, how we can lose ourselves & find ourselves in books, how this book gestated for decades while she was working on her scholarship of Marianne Moore, how she snagged the title from a line by Milton, and how promiscuously we should read the word "promiscuously". We also talk about her read-to-bits childhood copy of Anne of Green Gables, the possibility of getting too much out of Henry James, the lessons she took from studying with Harold Bloom, why you shouldn't read as if you're going to die (prompted by my recent health issues), the importance of keeping a patient attitude toward poetry, why she decided not to do more reading about reading once she started to write a book about reading, and more! More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_445_-_Heather_Cass_White.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

Writer Jonathan Baylis joins the show (in person!) to celebrate the latest issue of his autobio comics series, So Buttons (Tinto Press/Alchemy Comix). We talk about how he found a home in the Pekar mode, writing scripts for cartoonists to draw, and how he went all-Harvey for a strip with Noah Van Sciver. We get into his comics upbringing and his work experiences at a variety of comic companies, how his time at NYU film school informed his storytelling style, the artists he's hoping to work with, and how his body of work has revealed meta-themes about his stories. We also discuss being a subject in his wife's monologues (she's comedian Ophira Eisenberg), our reminiscences of Tom Spurgeon, working with his cartooning idols, our weirdest Tarantino-moments, and more! Follow Jonathan on Twitter and Instagram, as well as his professional site • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_444_-_Jonathan_Baylis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:10am EDT

With her new book, Another History of Art (Fantagraphics), legendary illustrator & artist Anita Kunz beautifully reimagines classic paintings from a female perspective, offering up homages to the works of Leona Da Vinci, Paola Picasso, Gertrude Klimt, and many more. We get into the origins of this project, what it meant when she flipped the gender pronouns and feminized the names of artists & critics across the centuries, and how important it is for her to make art with a purpose, whether it's cultural, social or political. We get into how her career as an illustrator has evolved over 4+ decades, how she straddles the line between illustration & fine art, the importance of working with great art directors, and the old days when she had to race to an airport to make changes to a piece of art. We also get into how primatology explains politics, the joy of discovering that she has multiple books ahead (like this fall's Original Sisters), why she's been making a painting a day during the pandemic, why she volunteered at a monkey sanctuary & how she wound up collaborating with a Capuchin monkey named Pockets Warhol, and much more! (Plus, you get some news about my recent health issues.) Follow Anita on Facebook and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_443_-_Anita_Kunz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:32am EDT

With her gorgeous new graphic memoir, Let's Not Talk Anymore (Drawn & Quarterly), artist Weng Pixin (a.k.a. Pix) explores 5 generations of women in her family, from each one's perspective at the age of 15. We got together to talk about how Pix built a multigenerational history of her family through silences, how she reverse-engineered her way into making comics, the challenges of growing up in an emotionally repressed environment and figuring out how to make art out of it, and how Singapore's money-driven culture makes it difficult to build art communities. We get her history in the arts, the female cartoonists in Buenos Aires who changed her life, what she's learned from teaching art to kids, whether it's good to post in-progress art online, how cleaning up her Dropbox folder made her realize she had built a body of work in comics (leading to her first collection, Sweet Time), whether her mother is going to read her new book, and more! Follow Pix on Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_442_-_Weng_Pixin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:06am EDT

With The Book Tour (Top Shelf Productions), cartoonist Andi Watson makes his triumphant return to 'grown-up' comics, spinning a tale more Waugh than Kafka about a midlist British author on a book tour from hell. We get into the book's path to publication, the new drawing style he developed for this one, why he's shifted genres & styles over the course of his career, and how this book's visual setting was inspired by Atget's early-morning photos of Paris. We talk about the YA and middle-reader comics he's made in recent years, the quirks of writing for different age-tiers, how comics publishing has changed since he got into the field in the '90s, how Love & Rockets bent his brain at 18 & sent him on this wayward path, and why he's looking forward to going on a real book tour for The Book Tour someday! Follow Andi on Twitter and Instagram, subscribe to his e-mail and support his work via Patreon • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_441_-_Andi_Watson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:04am EDT

Practice makes person! With his new book, Our Endless and Proper Work: Starting (and Sticking to) Your Writing Practice (Belt Publishing), Ron Hogan explores how writing can be the process of becoming who you are, the importance of attention & focus and a regular writing practice, and why process is more important than product. We get into his sensation of receiving a Calling a few years ago and how he's carried that experience in his day-to-day life, the challenge of making your day job feed your inner life, the ways we can try to carve out time for that writing practice (and the ways to keep from beating yourself up when you don't stick to it), and why letting go of competitive goals can be a boon for a writer. We also talk about what he learned during the pandemic, how the realness of our virtual selves has evolved along with the internet, what he gets from returning to Robert Anton Wilson's memoir over the years, the misuses of Stoicism, and why he didn't use the title of his writing e-mail, Destroy Your Safe & Happy Lives, for the book. Follow Ron on Twitter and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_440_-_Ron_Hogan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:38am EDT

With his new graphic memoir, Chartwell Manor (Fantagraphics), cartoonist Glenn Head returns to the scene of the crime: the boarding school where he and his fellow students were sexually and emotionally abused in the 1970s. We talk about why the toughest challenges of the book were artistic and not emotional, why he was just as unsparing in depicting himself as an adult, why the trauma of his time at Chartwell doesn't provide him a get-out-of-jail-free card, and why it wasn't exactly cathartic but was definitely empowering to draw and tell this story. We also get into why memoir is like striptease, the influence of the Patrick Melrose novels on this book, Glenn's lifelong debt to the great Underground Comix artists, his drive for personal exposure, why his wife is his best editor (and only reader), the next book he's working on, and more. Follow Glenn on Twitter and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_439_-_Glenn_Head.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:50am EDT

Cartoonist and illustrator Will McPhail joins the show to celebrate his debut graphic novel, IN. We talk about weaponized self-awareness, the genesis of his poignant and hilarious tale of anhedonia, the value of real conversation, and how he stretched from single-panel cartoons to a long-form book. We also get into how finishing the book during the pandemic informed its earlier parts, what we'll talk about when we can talk in person again, and how IN took him away from submitting gags to The New Yorker at an opportune moment. Plus we get into the problem with "mindfulness" apps and the real definition of meditation (which we happen to find in the same place), why I should pay more attention to Bill Watterson's trees, and otters, stoats, and Will's other favorite animals to draw. Follow Will on Twitter and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_438_-_Will_McPhail.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:23am EDT

Artist and cartoonist Keiler Roberts returns to the show to celebrate her new book, My Begging Chart (Drawn & Quarterly), and explain how she found a new mode for her wry comics about being a mother, daughter, wife, and artist. We get into how her multiple sclerosis diagnosis left her in lockdown mode a year before the rest of the world joined her, why she withdrew from comics for a while and why she returned to them, and how she short-circuits her anxiety about reader expectations. We discuss why she shredded some of her sketchbooks and journals to clear physical and mental clutter, her daughter's role as her editor, why she'd keep making comics regarded of the business circumstances, her fixation on the smell of Cabbage Patch Kids, the impact of MS on her life & art, the joy of making a new discovery at the Art Institute Museum in Chicago, the weirdness of being the subject of a profile in the Chicago Tribune, and more! Follow Keiler on Twitter and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_437_-_Keiler_Roberts.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:38pm EDT

With his new book OLD STYLE, artist & author Dmitry Samarov moves from memoir into a (mostly) fictional mode, chronicling the lives and deaths of a pair of Chicago bars. We get into the liberations & responsibilities of fiction, the challenges of writing about bars while avoiding nostalgia, and how he put in the time to understand the bar patrons and their archetypes. We also talk about making art through the pandemic, turning his old art & writing into collage books, the need to change his palette, and what it was like for him to teach drawing for the first time (at 50!) and the curriculum he'd design if he had the opportunity. Plus, we get into his is recent NYC trip to see the Alice Neel retrospective, the next book he's hoping to write, and his semi sorta envy at my taking up drawing at 50. • Check out Dmitry's newsletter • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_436_-_Dmitry_Samarov.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:42am EDT

For my first in-person podcast since March 2020 (!), I talked with writer, memoirist & biographer Dorothy Gallagher about her beautiful new collection, Stories I Forgot To Tell You (NYRB). We get into the 2010 death of her husband, literary editor & raconteur Ben Sonnenberg, and how it took her five years before she could begin to write about him, the need to balance elegy and humor in her writing, and the importance of her early days working at Magazine Management (alongside the likes of Mario Puzo & Bruce Jay Friedman). We also discuss whether things are "only things" or evidence of a life, why it's not good for a biographer to actively dislike her subject, the one biography she'd love to write, her atheist's notion of an afterlife (less eternal punishment/reward, more eternal cocktail hour), her favorite time & place in NYC, why she misses flea markets, the impact/scars of her Communist upbringing, how she's handled the pandemic, and why the isolation would have driven her late husband nuts. • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_435_-_Dorothy_Gallagher.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:56pm EDT

Cartoonist & illustrator Karl Stevens rejoins the show to celebrate his new book, Penny: A Graphic Memoir (Chronicle Books), in which Karl explores the inner life of his eponymous cat Penny. We get into the challenges of realistically drawing a tortoiseshell cat (and writing her existentialist thoughts), the book's origins in his Village Voice strip, and how he avoided plenty of cartoon cat cliches while crafting a book that can appeal to non-comics readers. We also get into his new work adapting another writer's script for a comic, the experiments he's doing with different drawing styles, his productive pandemic, and how he's trying to create book about his father's Vietnam experience. And we talk about our respective running habits, the virtues of Transcendental Meditation, his learning curve with New Yorker comic submissions, and his deep-dive into back issues of Heavy Metal. Follow Karl on Twitter and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_434_-_Karl_Stevens.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:50am EDT

On May 4, 2021, news came out that rock & roll journalist and historian Ed Ward was found dead in his home in Austin, TX. In honor of Ed's work, I've collected our podcast conversations from 2016 and 2019. We were ostensibly there to discuss the first and second volumes of his History of Rock & Roll, but Ed can TALK, and we managed to go both wide & deep on a variety of subjects. I was hoping against hope for Vol. 3, so we could continue our conversation. • More info at our site

Direct download: Ed_Ward_Tribute_Episode.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:40pm EDT

With the new edition of Billionaires: The Lives of the Rich an Powerful (Drawn & Quarterly), cartoonist Darryl Cunningham explores the lives and businesses of Rupert Murdoch, the Koch Brothers, and Jeff Bezos to understand how they built their wealth and warped the lives of the rest of us in the process. Darryl talks about the genesis of Billionaires and its roots in his earlier work on the 2008 financial crisis, and why this book won't (necessarily) turn you into a communist. We get into his roots as a cartoonist, how a failed branch of his career made him a better writer and researcher, why getting technically better creates its own set of problems, and the comics that first inspired him. We also discuss his upcoming book on Putin & Russia, and whether the trolls and bots that might come after him online will be tougher than the homeopaths and chiropractors who got mad at his book on science denial. Plus, we talk about his new work with the NHS and why he's trying to avoid doing books on Brexit or Trump. Follow Darryl on Twitter, and Instagram and support his work through Patreon • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_433_-_Darryl_Cunningham.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:04am EDT