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.

Colin Marshall sits down at the intersection of Los Feliz, Thai Town, and Little Armenia with Caleb Bacon, writer on the TBS sitcom Sullivan and Son and host of the podcast Man School (as well as the podcast Sullivan and Son: Behind the Bar). They discuss his feeling in his own guest seat; his move to Los Angeles from Albany purely in search of "good times and good weather"; the deliberately old-school-sitcom nature of Sullivan and Son, and the opportunity its Philadelphia setting provides for racist jokes; how it feels to work simultaneously in "old" and "new" media; how he fell into television, and how he deliberately entered podcasting during the Great Podcasting Boom of '09; why he even focused his first podcast The Gentlemen's Club on men's interests; how he soon came to interview, alternately, comedians and pornstars, and what the overall combination taught him about humanity and the Los Angeles entertainment industry; the conversations he had with other men as he pulled his own life into shape, what he learned from them, and how that experience fueled Man School; the riches of "real stuff" yielded by genuine-curiosity-driven conversations, even outside of podcasting, as when he once met a retail clerk who mentioned getting kidnapped in Africa (and then invited him to come on Man School); whether our generation has become worse at being men than previous generations; how social fragmentation, of Los Angeles' type and others, has led men to have less meaningful communication with one another; his interest in the rules that new-media creators, in their ostensibly rule-free environments, inevitably create; Thai Town's enduring Seinfeld billboard; Man School's first live show at the Los Angeles Podcast Festival; the grand lessons he's learned from man-to-man conversations, such as the importance of slight progress adding up to big progress, and what travel teaches you about yourself; and the value of simple suggestions like "Hey man, just be cool," or, simpler still, "Don't be a jerk." 

Direct download: NCC_S4E6_Caleb_Bacon.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:10pm UTC

S4E5: The Great Wrong Place with Richard Rayner

Colin Marshall sits down at the University of Southern California with Richard Rayner, author of the novels Los Angeles Without a MapThe ElephantMurder RoomThe Cloud Sketcher, and The Devil's Wind as well as the non-fiction books The Blue Suits, Drake's FortuneThe Associates, and A Bright and Guilty Place. They discuss the three or four Los Angeleses in which he's lived since arriving in the city from England in the early eighties; the "up-for-it-ness" of the Los Angeles he first discovered; the reporting he later did from the 1992 riots, and the "geographical apartheid" he saw; his lack of a driver's license, and how he addresses the question of where the buses go; his observations of how the city once flung itself outward from downtown, and now flings itself back inward; Los Angeles' simultaneously unsurpassed optimism and pessimism; USC's Doheny Library as a metaphor for blunt capitalism in action; why we crave stories about Los Angeles' foundation on wrongdoing; how Los Angeles gets liked more in deed than word; how the current wave of interest in local history began; Los Angeles' era of booster books against anti-booster books; his escape from English history only to plunge into Los Angeles history; what his unfinished novel of a man who loses his memory in Wales revealed to him about his own life in America; how his English hometown diversified, and how Los Angeles did the same; his cycle through "dustbins of jaded cynicism," and the different sensibility his students (one of whom has written "the gay Korean Los Angeles novel") bring to bear; his favorite bus lines to take notes on overheard conversations; and how his enjoyment of the riots, in a sense, got him writing about his own criminal past.

Direct download: NCC_S4E5_Richard_Rayner.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:53pm UTC