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.
On the Middle Ages with Chris Wickham Colin Marshall talks to Chris Wickham, Chichele Professor of Medieval History at Oxford University, Fellow of All Souls College and author of The Inheritance of Rome: A History of Europe from 400 to 1000, the latest in Penguin’s sprawling History of Europe series. Wickham integrates textual and architectual evidence to craft a new, fascinatingly detailed historical experience of the era beginning at the decline of the Roman Empire and ending at the rise of European nations as we know them today. Eschewing both teleology and grand narratives, Wickham presents the Middle Ages not as a mere stepping stone to modernity but as a fascinating period in and of itself.
Direct download: MOI_Chris_Wickham.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:45pm UTC

Mayan Cycle composer Jeremy Haladyna Colin Marshall talks to Jeremy Haladyna, director of UCSB’s Ensemble for Contemporary Music and composer of the sprawling 28-piece-and-counting Mayan Cycle. Drawing upon over twenty years of research and exploration, Haladyna has translated countless concepts from Mayan thought, art and architecture into music that counts strings, flutes, scratch turntables and even sampled paper towel dispensers among its sonic components. An album of selections from the Mayan Cycle is now available from Innova Recordings.
Direct download: MOI_Jeremy_Haladyna.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:39am UTC

Documentarian of documentarians Pepita Ferrari Colin Marshall talks to Pepita Ferrari, director of Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary. The first documentary film to concentrate specifically on documentary filmmaking, Capturing Reality features conversations with the likes of Errol Morris, Werner Herzog, Nick Broomfield, Albert Maysles, Scott Hicks and Molly Dineen about such important issues in the genre as interviewing, editing, the line between fact and fiction, the evolutionary possibilities of individual projects and the effect of a filmmaker's presence.
Direct download: MOI_Pepita_Ferrari.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:14pm UTC

On the badness of the legal profession with The Philadelphia Lawyer Colin Marshall talks to The Philadelphia Lawyer, author of both the web site of the same name and the book The Happy Hour is For Amateurs: A Lost Decade in the World’s Worst Profession, which is now out in paperback. Combining Kafka-like tales of the gamesmanship and pedantry of the legal profession with vivid accounts of the intense debauchery required to counterbalance all that wasted time in the office, The Philadelphia Lawyer’s web presence has attracted a large, devoted audience of disaffected litigators, suspicious law students and dedicated bacchanalists alike. His book brings the distinctive sensibility of his much-e-mailed stories into long-form narrative.
Direct download: MOI_Philadelphia_Lawyer.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:15pm UTC

Laurie Brown and Andy Sheppard of CBC Radio 2's The Signal Colin Marshall talks to Laurie Brown and Andy Sheppard, host and producer, respectively, of The Signal on CBC Radio 2. Since debuting in March of 2007, the program has evolved to provide a highly distinctive listening experience that offers two skillfully-curated hours of late-night contemporary music to listeners across Canada — and, via the internet, the world — that’s neither predictable nor easily genrefiable. Brown accompanies Sheppard’s unusual sonic selections with commentary that’s long impressed fans with its friendliness, intimacy and wealth of odd stories.
Direct download: MOI_The_Signal.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:12am UTC

Comic artist and comic journalist Peter Bagge Colin Marshall talks to Peter Bagge, the comic artist behind the beloved series Hate as well as Apocalypse Nerd, Neat Stuff and Sweatshop. His new book, Everybody is Stupid Except for Me and Other Astute Observations, collects his stories originally written for the libertarian magazine Reason, works of comic journalism on such subjects as the Iraq war, gun control, the “War on Drugs” and Amtrak.
Direct download: MOI_Peter_Bagge_2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:51am UTC

Treeless Mountain director So Yong Kim Colin Marshall talks to So Yong Kim, director of In Between Days, winner of the 2006 Sundance Film Festival’s Special Jury Prize for Independent Vision, and more recently Treeless Mountain, which is now available on DVD. The story of two very young sisters in Seoul left with their distant aunt while their mother searches for their absent father, the film belongs solidly to the realist tradition while evoking the scale, perspective and feel of childhood. The New York Times‘ A.O. Scott calls Treeless Mountain one of the “vital, urgent and timely” vanguard members of the new genre of “neo-neorealism.”
Direct download: MOI_So_Yong_Kim.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:01pm UTC

On the craft of freeform radio with WFMU's Ken Freedman Colin Marshall talks to Ken Freedman, general manager of Jersey City’s WFMU, the longest-running freeform radio station in the United States. Since the mid-1980s, Freedman and his staff have made WFMU’s name a byword for the modern freeform sensibility with a combination of, among other factors, early adoption of new distribution technology, avoidance of identity politics and pure, unadulterated unpredictability.
Direct download: MOI_Ken_Freedman.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:53pm UTC

On French cuisine's decline with Michael Steinberger Colin Marshall talks to longtime Slate wine columnist Michael Steinberger, author of Au Revoir to All That: Food, Wine and the End of France. An ardent culinary Francophile in earlier decades, Steinberger has, along with much of the rest of the food world, come to realize that a malaise has fallen upon the cuisine that once led the world in taste, artistry, experience and sophistication. Steinberger’s book chronicles the history of French food, the recent developments that have forced it to face tough competition from countries like Spain and the United States and the importance of such things as the legality of lait cru cheese, the effects of viticultural subsidies and the fall of the once-almighty Michelin guide.
Direct download: MOI_Michael_Steinberger.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:57pm UTC

On Nick Drake's Five Leaves Left with Trevor Dann, Patrick Humphries and Peter Hogan Colin Marshall talks to three music writers who have written books on English singer-songwriter Nick Drake, whose debut album Five Leaves Left originally shipped on September 1, 1969. Joining the conversation to celebrate the record’s fortieth anniversary are Trevor Dann, former head of BBC Music Entertainment and author of Darker Than the Deepest Sea: The Search for Nick Drake; Patrick Humphries, noted biographer of musicians and author of Nick Drake: The Biography, the very first book on the man; and Peter Hogan, author of Nick Drake: The Complete Guide to His Music and an enthusiast of Drake’s music from the very beginning.
Direct download: MOI_Five_Leaves_Left.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:25pm UTC

On religion and falsity with Joel Grus A conversation about religion and falsity with Joel Grus, humorist, atheist and author of Your Religion is False.
Direct download: MOI_Joel_Grus.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:57pm UTC

Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cowen on personal economies A conversation with Tyler Cowen, professor of economics at George Mason University and founding blogger of Marginal Revolution. Cowen's new book is Create Your Own Economy: The Path to Prosperity in a Disordered World.
Direct download: MOI_Tyler_Cowen_2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:24pm UTC

On recorded music's history with Greg Milner A conversation with Greg Milner, who's written music and technology journalism for Spin, Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, Slate, Salon and Wired. His new book, Perfecting Sound Forever: An Aural History of Recorded Music, tracing the evolution of music's capture from Edison cylinders to vinyl albums to waveform synthesis.
Direct download: MOI_Greg_Milner.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:41pm UTC

On Shohei Imamura with The Criterion Collection's Kim Hendrickson A conversation about the early works of filmmaker Shohei Imamura, who brought an entirely new irreverent aesthetic and sociological sensibility to the 1960s Japanese film scene, with Kim Hendrickson, executive producer at The Criterion Collection and producer of their new box set Pigs, Pimps and Prostitutes: Three Films by Shohei Imamura.
Direct download: MOI_Kim_Hendrickson.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:04am UTC founder Brian Gruber A conversation about bringing intelligent video to the internet with Brian Gruber, founder and executive chairman of, the web's largest collection of unmediated video drawn from live events, lectures, and debates from the world's top universities, think tanks and conferences.
Direct download: MOI_Brian_Gruber.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:16am UTC

Traveler and journalist Lawrence Osborne on Bangkok A conversation with novelist, journalist, memoirist and traveler Lawrence Osborne, author, most recently, of Bangkok Days.
Direct download: MOI_Lawrence_Osborne.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:45pm UTC

On Brian Eno with David Sheppard A conversation about rock music's foremost intellectual "non-musician."  producer and cultural theorist with David Sheppard, author of On Some Faraway Beach: The Life and Times of Brian Eno.
Direct download: MOI_David_Sheppard.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:51pm UTC

On Hume and Rousseau's quarrel with John T. Scott A conversation about the dissolution of the friendship between two very different philosophers with John T. Scott, professor of political science at the University of California, Davis and co-author with Robert Zaretsky of The Philosophers' Quarrel: Rousseau, Hume and the Limits of Human Understanding.
Direct download: MOI_John_Scott.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:04pm UTC

Philosophical journalist Alain de Botton A conversation with Alain de Botton, author of fiction, nonfiction, journalism and various hybrids thereof. Following treatises on Proust, philosophy, travel and architecture, de Botton's newest book of "philosophical journalism" is The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work.
Direct download: MOI_Alain_de_Botton.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:36am UTC

On the vinyl LP with Travis Elborough A conversation about the rise, fall and rise of the long-playing album format both technologically and artistically with journalist Travis Elborough, author of The Vinyl Countdown: The Album from LP to iPod and Back Again.
Direct download: MOI_Travis_Elborough.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:02pm UTC

43Folders founder Merlin Mann A conversation with writer, speaker, blogger and student of the creative mind Merlin Mann. In 2004, Mann founded 43Folders, a blog and community focused on tips, tricks, tools and techniques designed to improve one's productivity, and in late 2008, he took the site in a new direction, toward the habits and thoughts of humanity's best creators and what can be learned from examining them.
Direct download: MOI_Merlin_Mann.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:18am UTC

On publishing with Richard Eoin Nash Part three of our ongoing series of conversations about the future of books and reading, this time with publishing consultant Richard Eoin Nash. Nash ran the widely-acclaimed Soft Skull Press between 2001 and March of this year.
Direct download: MOI_Richard_Eoin_Nash.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:05am UTC

Author and screenwriter Jon Raymond A conversation with Jon Raymond, editor at Plazm magazine and author of the novel The Half-Life and the new short story collection Livability. With filmmaker Kelly Reichardt, Raymond co-adapted two of Livability's short stories into the critically-acclaimed feature films Old Joy and Wendy and Lucy.
Direct download: MOI_Jon_Raymond.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:33am UTC

Podcaster, blogger, critic and intellectual shock jock Edward Champion A conversation with Edward Champion, critic, host and producer of the cultural interview podcast The Bat Segundo Show, blogger behind Reluctant Habits and all-around "intellectual shock jock".
Direct download: MOI_Edward_Champion.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:41am UTC

Filmmaker Ramin Bahrani A conversation with filmmaker Ramin Bahrani, director of Man Push Cart, Chop Shop and the new Goodbye Solo. Roger Ebert calls Bahrani "the new great American director."
Direct download: MOI_Ramin_Bahrani.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:40pm UTC

Electro-acoustic musician Ethan Rose A conversation about using old technology to craft modern sounds with electro-acoustic musician Ethan Rose, whose newest album Oaks was recorded with a vintage 1920s Wurlitzer organ found in the skating rink at Portland's Oaks Park. Two tracks from the record are included in this broadcast.
Direct download: MOI_Ethan_Rose.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:55pm UTC

ZBS Foundation president Thomas Lopez A conversation about creating radio fiction and humorously raising consciousness with Thomas Lopez, founder and president of the ZBS Foundation. This broadcast contains excerpts from the ZBS productions Dreams of the Amazon, Ruby and Two Minute Film Noir.
Direct download: MOI_Thomas_Lopez.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:25am UTC

Electronic musician Tim Hecker A conversation about iterative creative processes, building music in layers and the history of loud sound with electronic musician Tim Hecker, whose latest album is An Imaginary Country, from which two tracks are featured in this broadcast.
Direct download: MOI_Tim_Hecker.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:51am UTC

Denis Dutton on aesthetics and evolution A conversation about aesthetics and evolutionary biology with Denis Dutton, professor of the philosophy of art at the University of Canterbury, founding editor of Arts & Letters Daily and author of The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure and Human Evolution.
Direct download: MOI_Denis_Dutton_2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:31pm UTC

Novelist and journalist Ian Buruma A conversation with novelist, journalist, documentarian and Henry R. Luce Professor of Human Rights and Journalism at Bard College Ian Buruma. His latest book is The China Lover, a historical novel examining the life and career of Manchurian-born Japanese actress Yoshiko Yamaguchi through the eyes of three different narrators.
Direct download: MOI_Ian_Buruma.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:25am UTC

Sound artist Lawrence English A conversation about appreciating the seasons, collecting international field recordings and turning others on to sound art with composer, multimedia artist, critic and ROOM40 label head Lawrence English. Two tracks from English's latest record, A Colour for Autumn, are included in this broadcast.
Direct download: MOI_Lawrence_English.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:25am UTC

Bookworm host Michael Silverblatt A conversation about reading, writing and radio with Michael Silverblatt, who has hosted KCRW's Bookworm, the beloved forum for the discussion of fiction and poetry on public radio, for twenty years. [Marketplace of Ideas home]
Direct download: MOI_Michael_Silverblatt.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:19am UTC

Jesse Thorn, host of The Sound of Young America A conversation about the craft of interviewing and the state of public radio today with Jesse Thorn, host and producer of Public Radio International's The Sound of Young America as well as the principal of podcasting empire
Direct download: MOI_Jesse_Thorn.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:23am UTC

Jonathan Gottschall on science and the humanities A conversation about what's wrong with literary studies and a possible way forward with Jonathan Gottschall, English instructor at Washington and Jefferson College and author of Science, Literature and a New Humanities.
Direct download: MOI_Jonathan_Gottschall.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:19am UTC

Physicist and anthropologist Gregory Cochran on human evolution A conversation with physicist and University of Utah adjunct professor of anthropology Gregory Cochran, co-author with Henry Harpending of The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution.
Direct download: MOI_Greg_Cochran.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:54pm UTC

Science journalist Jonah Lehrer on decisionmaking A conversation about the organic basis of decisionmaking with Jonah Lehrer, editor-at-large at Seed magazine and author of How We Decide.
Direct download: MOI_Jonah_Lehrer_2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:51am UTC

On gardens and broadcasting with Robert Harrison A conversation about what gardens say about human nature, what's missing from mainstream radio and the place of the humanities with Robert Harrison, Rosina Pierotti Professor of Italian Literature at Stanford University and host of KZSU's Entitled Opinions. His latest book is Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition.
Direct download: MOI_Robert_Harrison.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:48pm UTC

Mathematician Keith Devlin on probability A conversation about the genesis of probability theory with mathematician Keith Devlin, author of The Unfinished Game: Pascal, Fermat and the Seventeenth-Century Letter that Made the World Modern.
Direct download: MOI_Keith_Devlin.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:59am UTC

Writer and cultural polymath Clive James A conversation about having fun with poetry, providing an alternative to academia and hosting television programs from one's own home with writer and "cultural polymath" Clive James, author of Opal Sunset: Selected Poems 1958-2008. [download] [MOI home] [MOI archive]
Direct download: MOI_Clive_James.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:49am UTC