The Virtual Memories Show

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