Notebook on Cities and Culture
(Formerly The Marketplace of Ideas.) Colin Marshall sits down for in-depth conversations with cultural creators, internationalists, and observers of the urban scene all around Los Angeles and beyond.
The aesthetic lens: design philosopher Leonard Koren

Colin Marshall talks to design philosopher, bookmaker, and man of aesthetics Leonard Koren. In addition to publishing WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing in the 1970s and providing consultancy on certain aesthetic matters, he’s created books like Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers, How to Rake Leaves, and Undesigning the Bath. He takes on the very meaning of the term “aesthetics” in his latest title, Which “Aesthetics” Do You Mean?: Ten Definitions.

Direct download: MOI_Leonard_Koren.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:34am UTC

Getting between language, technology, art, and philosophy: artist/philosopher Jonathon Keats

Colin Marshall talks to conceptual artist and experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats. In addition to his well-known projects like selling his thoughts, creating pornography for plants, and genetically engineering god, Keats writes about language for Wired magazine. His new book, Virtual Words: Language from the Edge of Science and Technology, collects his examinations of neologisms both failed and successful from our age, including qubit, crowdsourcing and bacn.

Direct download: MOI_Jonathon_Keats.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:38am UTC

Failures, fiascos, and secret successes: A.V. Club critic Nathan Rabin

Colin Marshall talks to Nathan Rabin, head writer at The A.V. Club, the cultural magazine published by The Onion. There, he began a regular feature called My Year of Flops, in which he spent a year writing up movies that performed poorly at the box office and with critics, categorizing each as a “Failure”, “Fiasco”, or “Secret Success”. He continued the feature after a year, and has now collected pieces on Last Action HeroIshtarBattlefield Earth, and more into My Year of Flops: One Man’s Journey Deep into the Heart of Cinematic Failure.

Direct download: MOI_Nathan_Rabin.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:20pm UTC

Trailing the honorable "Chinese" detective: Charlie Chan scholar Yunte Huang

Colin Marshall talks to Yunte Huang, poet, professor of English at UC Santa Barbara, and author of Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous with American History. In the book, Huang combines a personal narrative of his research into American literature’s most beloved (and loathed) Chinese detective with the stories of E.D. Biggers, the writer who invented Charlie Chan, and Chang Apana, the real-life Chinese detective on the Honolulu Police whose exploits inspired him.

Direct download: MOI_Yunte_Huang.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:01pm UTC

Our symbiosis with technology: Wired co-founder Kevin Kelly

Colin Marshall talks to Kevin Kelly, co-founder of and “Senior Maverick” at Wired magazine. In addition to his copious online writing on technology and culture, he’s published such books as New Rules for the New Economy and Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, the Economic World. His latest book, What Technology Wants, explores the nature of what he calls the “technium”, that is, technology itself, considered as one big organism which grows, changes, and definitely wants something.

Direct download: MOI_Kevin_Kelly.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:28am UTC

Against (wrongheaded) reading: literature professor and psychotherapist Mikita Brottman

Colin Marshall talks to literature professor, psychotherapist, and cultural critic Mikita Brottman, author of The Solitary Vice: Against Reading. In the book, Brottman challenges a host of conventional wisdom and received ideas about the value of reading, especially the reading of "high" literature. This mission takes her through examinations of both her own history with reading and the nature of such species of the printed word as the gothic novel, the true-crime paperback, and the celebrity confessional.

Direct download: MOI_Mikita_Brottman.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:30pm UTC

Capturing the image of capturing the sound: documentarian Nicholas Sherman on field recordist Gordon Hempton

Colin Marshall talks to documentary filmmaker Nicholas Sherman, director of Soundtracker: A Portrait of Gordon Hempton. Hempton, one of the world’s best-known field recordists, has dedicated his life to traveling the United States and the world to create “sound portraits” of distinctive places. In Soundtracker, Sherman follows Hempton’s road trip in his 1964 VW bus which becomes a quest to capture the sounds of a train and a songbird together.

Direct download: MOI_Nicholas_Sherman.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:18pm UTC

For adventurous cinema, whether making or watching: film critic David Sterritt

Colin Marshall talks to film critic David Sterritt, chairman of the National Society of Film Critics and former longtime critic at the Christian Science Monitor. Sterritt’s books, from titles on Jean-Luc Godard and Alfred Hitchcock to more recent ones on B-movies and even the television sitcom The Honeymooners, reveal cinematic interests that stretch from the avant-garde to the long and widely beloved to the ostensibly (but perhaps not actually) disposable.

Direct download: MOI_David_Sterritt.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:55pm UTC

Southern California's radio pointillist: Off-Ramp host John Rabe

Colin Marshall talks to John Rabe, longtime public radio personality and host of KPCC’s Off-Ramp, a weekly examination of Southern California and especially Los Angeles. The show’s interviews and field pieces provide, as Rabe puts it, a “pointillist” aural portrait of the city and its surrounding half-state, highlighting some of the most interesting people, places, and things there without attempting the futile task of precisely representing the massive amount and constantly changing composition of Southern California culture.

Direct download: MOI_John_Rabe.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:51pm UTC

Changing yourself by doing it yourself: Boing Boing co-founder Mark Frauenfelder

Colin Marshall talks to Mark Frauenfelder, editor of Make magazine and co-founder the zine which has become the massively popular blog Boing Boing. His latest book, Made By Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World, is the story of his quest to fully customize his life by building, maintaining, and operating as much as possible with his own hands: hacking his espresso machine, making his own sauerkraut, building cigar-box guitars, brewing his own kombucha, and carving his own spoons, to name only a few of his eclectic set of pursuits.

Direct download: MOI_Mark_Frauenfelder.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:05am UTC