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.
S3E31: Heightened Rootlessness with Timothy Taylor

Colin Marshall sits down above Gastown, Vancouver, British Columbia with novelist Timothy Taylor, author of Stanley Park, Story House, and The Blue Light Project, as well as the short story collection Silent Cruise. They discuss what, exactly, Vancouver is; what, exactly, CanLit is; his being born into a nomadic lifestyle; his inadvertent prediction of the modern locavore movement; whether one can live in Vancouver without developing an interest in architecture; his fascination with creative and toxic "dyadic relationships," as well as the place of emulation and envy in human affairs; how he discovered René Girard's ideas about "mimetic desire" and came up with a critique of consumerism contra his countrywoman Naomi Klein; the visible desires of Vancouver and its murky, independent-minded past; our quasi-sacrificial system of celebrity; what he learned from watching reaction videos on YouTube; his moves from the navy to banking to consulting to writing;  how he grew fascinated with entrepreneurs; why we haven't eaten so well, historically, in North America; Canada's potential as the New-Worldiest place in the New World; his search for where people gather when he visits a new city, and where he would say Vancouverites go to be Vancouverites; his disputation of tradition in Canadian literature; his next project picking up on the lives of the characters from Stanley Park; and what to open yourself up to when you come to Vancouver.

Direct download: NCC_S3E31_Timothy_Taylor.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:56pm UTC

S3E30: A Little Bit Wet with Dave Shumka

Colin Marshall sits down in Mount Pleasant, Vancouver, British Columbia with comedian and podcaster Dave Shumka, co-host with Graham Clark of Stop Podcasting Yourself. They discuss what everyone in Vancouver is, a little bit; the city's much-touted "livability"; becoming that icon of fun that is a comedian in "No Funcouver"; the origin of Stop Podcasting Yourself; the newly classic Vancouver lifestyle up in downtown condos versus the classic classic Vancouver lifestyle in his hundred-year-old house; waking up in adulthood to find himself in a reasonably cool city; the pull, for comedians and media people, of both Toronto and the United States; his job overseeing international music at the CBC, and to what extent it puts his finger on the pulse of the Canadian musical consciousness; whether music will always out-cool comedy; the quaintness of the Canadian media experience; whether Vancouver has stories to tell, and how he'd like to see them told; the scarred hookers of the less-scary-than-sad Hastings Street; how many Torontonians it takes to screw in a lightbulb; the struggle for comedic visas; the descent of the stretchpant; Vancouverites' tendency to luxuriate in the idea that they could, theoretically, ski and windsurf in a single day; how he heard the call of comedy at a Salvadoran restaurant; his strategic conversational use of mundane topics; Vancouver's stinkiest buses; and the most fruitful sources of ridiculousness he has, including dumbness and his own simulation thereof.

Direct download: NCC_S3E30_Dave_Shumka.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:13pm UTC

S3E29: That's Livin' with Gordon Price

Colin Marshall sits above Hastings Street in Vancouver, British Columbia with Gordon Price, Director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University, former Councillor for the City of Vancouver, and creator of the electronic magazine Price Tags. They discuss his personal definition of "Vancouverism"; his city as a mid-20th-century version of 19th-century city-building; the balance of trying to maintain the place's Edenic qualities while shipping out its natural resources; the D-word of density, and whether Vancouver's West End ever really had the highest density in North America; how built environments age in place, passing from horror to heritage;  how building for the car worked, until it didn't; "stroads," like Los Angeles' La Cienega, which combine the worst of streets with the worst of roads; budgets as the sincerest form of rhetoric; the role technology plays in our newfound adoption of transit; whether Los Angeles could become "the Vancouver of 2020" — or maybe 2030; how New York came from the brink, and what he saw during its decline; whether the Utopian question of how to prevent dullness matters to Vancouver; the erotic power of the surreptitious, the illegal, and whatever you can't regulate; the element of his personal life that got him interested in cities, where he used to find them emblems of what had gone wrong in society; gay men as urban pioneers; and how cities can do better with whatever they've already got.

Direct download: NCC_S3E29_Gordon_Price.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:54pm UTC