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.
Sound, food, performance, Japan, and the world city: multi-disciplinary artist Alan Nakagawa

Colin Marshall talks to Alan Nakagawa; sound artist; visual artist; installation artist; founding member of Los Angeles' long-running, multi-disciplinary, multi-ethnic, soon-to-be-dissolved arts collective Collage Ensemble; director of the experimental music Ear Meal webcast; L.A. Metro public art executive; member of Otonomiyaki, the Southern California Soundscape Ensemble and Ear Diorama Ear; and very serious eater indeed.

Direct download: MOI_Alan_Nakagawa.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:24pm UTC

In Mexico City with David Lida

Recorded on location in Mexico City, Colin Marshall talks to David Lida, author of First Stop in the New World, Las llaves de la ciudad, Travel Advisory: Stories of Mexico, and the blog Mostly Mexico City. A native New Yorker, Lida moved to Mexico City in 1990 — a year considered by many to have been the megalopolis' absolute nadir in terms of crime, crowding, and pollution — and hasn't looked back, becoming the best-known English-language chronicler of el Distrito Federal in the 21st century.

Direct download: MOI_David_Lida.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:07am UTC

To come to terms in L.A.: Slake founding editors Laurie Ochoa and Joe Donnelly

Colin Marshall talks to Laurie Ochoa and Joe Donnelly, founding editors of the new Los Angeles literary journal Slake. The magazine, which has just released its third issue, combines fiction, poetry, essays, reportage, photography, and several different kinds of visual art into a regular exploration of Los Angeles from every angle — and an exploration of the rest of the world from a Los Angeles angle.

Direct download: MOI_Slake.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:23am UTC

When Cold War cinema began: film critic J. Hoberman

Colin Marshall talks to J. Hoberman, senior film critic at The Village Voice and author of books on such cinematic subjects as 8mm and Super 8 pictures, Dennis Hopper, the 1960s, midnight movies, and Yiddish tradition. In his latest title, An Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War, he examines the American decade from 1946 to 1956, a time of "cavalry Westerns, apocalyptic sci-fi flicks, and biblical spectaculars, atomic tests on live TV, God talks on the radio, and Joe McCarthy bracketed with Marilyn Monroe."

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

Who is César Aira?: translators Chris Andrews, Katherine Silver, and Rosalie Knecht

Colin Marshall talks to Chris Andrews, Katherine Silver, and Rosalie Knecht, English translators of the Argentine novelist César Aira, whom some readers in the Anglosphere are now finding as exciting as Borges. Despite having published over fifty books since 1975, Aira has only recently broken into English with novels such as An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter, How I Became a Nun, Ghosts, The Literary Conference, and the new The Seamstress and the Wind that showcase his ability to balance the fine-grained observational detail of with outlandish fantasy and the methodical work habits and genre sensibilities of a mainstream author with the experimentalism and caprice of the avant-garde.

Direct download: MOI_Csar_Aira.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:40pm UTC

Black dog, disgust, or watery house: Peter Toohey, scholar of boredom

Colin Marshall talks to Peter Toohey, professor of Greek and Roman studies at the University of Calgary and author of Boredom: a Lively History. You don't need to keep your finger on the pulse of the contemporary scene to realize how important a subject boredom has become. We've all felt the emotion often — or at least we all think we feel it often. But we've also long felt the absence of a serious exploration of boredom, one that drills down to its true nature. Could Toohey have explained what we're experiencing when we experience boredom and why?

Direct download: MOI_Peter_Toohey.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:03am UTC

To Japan by cow: Nick "Momus" Currie, musician, writer, and artist

Colin Marshall talks to musician, writer, and artist Nick Currie, also known as Momus. Having recently relocated from Berlin to Osaka, he returns to the program to discuss his brand new book Solution 214-238: The Book of Japans. The novel follows up his previous book Solution 11-167: The Book of Scotlands with a similarly humorous exercise in social geography but one within a richer narrative framework — a narrative framework that pits twelve Japan "experts" against twelve Japan "idiots" — dealing with issues of imagination versus experience, monoculture versus diversity, and foreign versus future.

Direct download: MOI_Nick_Currie_2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:01am UTC

The world dreamed but not judged: traveler and writer Pico Iyer

Colin Marshall talks to essayist, novelist, traveler, and "global soul" Pico Iyer. Since Video Night in Kathmandu, his journey through the rapidly changing Asia of the mid-1980s, Iyer has told us all about what it feels like and what it means to exist in and pass through places from Atlanta to Kyoto to Asunción to Pyongyang. Having been born to an Indian family and grown up equally between England and Santa Barbara, California, he both embodies and tirelessly describes the hybridized, cross-pollinated, geographically conversational world culture in which we all find ourselves.

Direct download: MOI_Pico_Iyer.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:08pm UTC

The surreal life of Mexico City: bilingual bicultural binational journalist Daniel Hernandez

Colin Marshall talks to Daniel Hernandez, bilingual bicultural binational journalist, blogger at Intersections, and author of Down and Delirious in Mexico City: The Aztec Metropolis in the 21st Century. In 2007, the Mexican-American Hernandez moved to Mexico City to explore its spirit of adventure, its multitude of youthful subcultures, its undercurrent of chaos, and its sheer day-to-day surrealism. His first book collects pieces on Mexico City subjects as far-ranging as fashion parties, kidnappings, original punk rock, death, cellphone-thieving transsexuals, a particularly intense native sauna, and the "emo riots" of 2008.

Direct download: MOI_Daniel_Hernandez.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:18am UTC

We have ham radios: Merlin Mann on media, fear, and caring about what you make

Colin Marshall talks to Merlin Mann, thinker, writer, and speaker on time, attention, and creative work. Following up on his June 2009 visit, he's back on the show to talk about a great many things, not least his new podcast Back to Work with Dan Benjamin, a program about productivity, communication, barriers, constraints, tools — and, nearly always, fear. The conversation also ventures into other, unusually personal topics, including dealing with entrepreneurs, trying not to hate the internet, and having one hundred dollars in the bank.

Direct download: MOI_Merlin_Mann_2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:20am UTC