At its worst, public radio seems like a coterie of entirely heterosexual white reporters who assume their audience is also straight and white, and any content that features people who are queer, or people who are not white, is framed as a translation of a tragedy or an oddity for the anonymous vanilla mass of listeners. Peter Bresnan, a gay audio producer who I met at the Third Coast International Audio Festival in Chicago this month, says he’s tired of the media’s two typical gay narratives: “Either being gay is the tragedy in a story that ends in death or heartbreak, or the story’s about a gay person, and ‘gay’ is sort of their one and only characteristic. A gay person rather than a person who’s gay.” Continue reading
Love and Radio is a podcast with episodes that, like good art films, you can return to again and again and always find details you missed. It’s the opposite of the radio documentary that assumes listeners are only half there; every bit of the story structure and every bit of the sound design is meticulously crafted, so you don’t want to miss a single detail. The show covers a broad range of people: a “humiliatrix”; a former bicycle racer and reformed bank robber; a black pianist who befriended and convinced KKK members to give up their robes; a writer with poetic voyeurism. Continue reading
By Sean McCoy
When I found Doug McGray after the Pop-Up Magazine show in Los Angeles on November 3, he was surrounded by a queue of eager attendees. They approached and he shook hands in bunches, chatting and fielding questions. His voice was hoarse by the time I pulled him aside, but what he lacked in his vocal cords he made up for with enthusiasm, seeming to channel the energy around us — the throng pressing close, vibrating with cheer, while people threaded the lobby in search of friends, performers, another drink from the bar.
Public radio, as a field of employment, attracts a certain personality. It calls to a person who wants to be heard, but not recognized; who is interested in other people but still might be happier communicating with strangers from the isolation of a studio or behind the buffer of a microphone than meeting them at an actual social event. This makes radio networking events awkward at first; a room filled with shy, but deeply earnest, people can take a while to warm up. Continue reading
We climbed onto pillows, pushed up against the back of the driver’s and passenger’s seats, as the doors to the van closed. Hamlet lay on the floor, drinking a beer and wearing sock garters that I don’t think were holding anything up. He didn’t speak. Was he sizing us up, maybe waiting to see if we would say something first? Or was he just catching his breath? He was halfway through a three-hour marathon of performing the same 15-minute show on repeat; perhaps all his psychic energy had been drained by our 9:30 slot. Continue reading
Join LARB and Skylight tonight, November 14, at 7:30 PM at Skylight books.
All of us at LARB and Skylight are reeling. We’re furious. We’re saddened. And we’re more determined than ever to fight the good fight to protect voices, to defend the power of art, and to disseminate the widest possible array of what can be thought and written, mobilized and empowered, in reaction to this moment.
By Alina Cohen
A few days before the Problems and Provocations book launch, Stacy Switzer mused that the promotional materials somewhat misrepresented the nature of the event. “They’ve been saying panel discussion, but it’s not really a panel discussion,” she told me by phone. “It’s framed as more of a variety show.” Switzer is the former artistic director of Kansas City-based Grand Arts, a contemporary art project space that closed in 2015. Problems and Provocations, which she and collaborator Annie Fischer edited, celebrates the organization’s mission and projects throughout its 20 years of operation in pages both commemorative and absurd. Given the unconventional, expansive nature of Grand Arts’ work and the new book, a simple panel discussion just wouldn’t be fitting. Continue reading
October 17th was National Boss’s Day — appropriate timing for Grace Bonney’s tour promoting her new book In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs. Bonney, of Design*Sponge fame, moderated a discussion panel that evening at UCLA’s Freud Playhouse, which was hosted by Book Soup and featured eight of the women she interviews in her book: author Roxane Gay, Native fashion designer icon Bethany Yellowtail, comedy writer Shadi Petosky, founder of TransTech Social Enterprises Angelica Ross, artist Tanya Aguiñiga of Aguiñiga Design, founder of Oh Joy graphic design studio Joy Cho, and co-founders of Block Shop Lily and Hopie Stockman. Continue reading