Notebook on Cities and Culture (podcasts)
(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 in London's West End with Melvyn Bragg, Lord Bragg of Wigton, host of Sky Arts 1's The South Bank Show and BBC Radio 4's In Our Time as well as the writer of many works of fiction and nonfiction including, most recently, The Book of Books: The Radical Impact of the King James Bible and his latest novel Grace and MaryThey discuss when he began seeing culture as a whole, unstratified entity; what he learned in his working-class northern upbringing;  his brief days with his own pop group; his first getting an arts program on BB2 "almost by accident," and the opportunities he realized it gave him to showcase a "rainbow" of arts, rather than a "pyramid" with opera, no matter how lousy, ever at the top; when he began as a writer at Oxford, the institution that gave him his first "proper free time"; his enjoyment of not just the act but the discipline of putting pen to paper; how he gives In Our Time an edge by doing it live, with a minimum of beforehand interaction with his invited experts on the topic of the week; how his writing feeds ideas into his radio work; why, despite losing belief in "the finer points of Christianity," he felt nonetheless compelled to write a study of the importance of the King James Bible; his love of television and radio as "scatter media," offering an education at the push of a button; how he realized culture seemed to have displaced class as a means of identification; the benefits of not worrying about what you personally like or dislike, believe in or don't believe in, but the "why" of it, understanding making for a much more interesting experience than condemnation; what he found in the stratified London in which he first arrived in the early 1960s making thirteen pounds a week; how, subsequently, "people became the culture" there; and how London, in its current cultural moment, retains its status as "quite a city."

Direct download: NCC_S4E32_Melvyn_Bragg.output.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:42pm UTC

Colin Marshall sits down in Hackney, London with Iain Sinclair, author of numerous books, all rooted in London and all operating across the spectrum of fiction to nonfiction, including DownriverLights Out for the TerritoryLondon Orbital, and most recently American Smoke: Journeys to the End of the Light. They discuss the momentarily impossible-to-define issue of Hackney's identity; the need to walk the neighborhood to know it — but to then do it your whole life; the re-making of the landscape in Hackney as elsewhere in London; the surprisingly functional London Overground's only partial integration into the city's transport consciousness; the way commemorative plaques "fix history," which forces you to find the reality for yourself; the operation of London hierarchies as he witnessed it in his book-dealing days, and how he then came to see uniformity set in; why students today never seem to get all the way through his books, drawing instead "a series of cultural cartoons" from excerpts and immediately applying them to their own project; why he's never had the sense of writing about London, per se, a subject to which he'd never expected the public to connect; the way the city's irrationality tends to drive those who write about into the realms of fiction; the criticism he takes for including "too may references" in his books, and his readers' freedom to pursue those references or not; the involved pub conversation that ensued when a Frenchman walked up to him and asked, "Is this London?"; what might have counted as the center of London in the seventies, and what might now; what results from asking, "What is this the center of?"; Geoff Dyer's years on Effra Road, and the associations its very name brings to mind; how he knows when one of his books  (or the latest continuation of his "one big book" of a career) has come to an end; taking on another country in American Smoke, and discovering the disappointing London in the mind of the Beats; and his notion the he has only ever "articulated aspects of place," still the most robust nexus of interests and influences available.

Direct download: NCC_S4E31_Iain_Sinclair.output.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:00am UTC

Colin Marshall sits down in Winchester, England with PD Smith, author of books on science, literature, superweapons, and, most recently, City: A Guidebook for the Urban Age. They discuss whether London has all the elements of the archetypally ideal city; the essential quality of "a place where you meet strangers"; the need to avoid writing only about buildings; the recent moment when half the world's population found itself living in cities; the factors that have made city life more possible today than ever before; what on Earth Prince Charles talks about when he talks about architecture and urbanism; the enduring impulse to knock cities down and start them over; the un-knocked-down city as a palimpsest-like store of knowledge, perhaps with its own "latent consciousness"; Tokyo and the metaphor of city as body; whether, in experiencing cities or writing about them, to focus on one element at a time or to try to take them whole; what Germans get right about city-building; when and where Starbucks starts to seem like the most foreign place you could go; the globe-spanning "cities" of the airport, the high street, or any other non-place; what it takes to make London strange again; the detective as a quintessentially urban figure exhibiting a mastery of his sensationalistically grim, dark, troubled environment; and the challenge any interesting city issues its resident: "Figure out how to live in me."

Direct download: NCC_S4E30_PD_Smith.output.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:25pm UTC

Colin Marshall sits down in Marseille, France, specifically in the Le Corbusier-designed Unité d'Habitation, with Jonathan Meades, writer and broadcaster on architecture, culture, food, and a variety of other subjects to do with place. In his latest film, Bunkers, Brutalism, and Bloodymindness, he looks at architectural styles once- and currently maligned. They discuss how much his residence in Marseilles has to do with his residence in the Unité d'Habitation, to which "caprice" brought him not long ago; unapologetic building versus pusillanimous building; the lack of centralized planning that afflicts France, and what kind of built environment it has brought about; what makes Marseille "no longer the city of Gene Hackman and Fernando Rey"; the phases of the Unité, from its rejection by the workers for whom Corbusier intended it onward; the larger reaction to 20th-century social housing in France and Britain, and what it means that those countries have no taste for the sublime; which European borders he crosses and most immediately notices that "someone cares" about the buildings; what you miss by never having seen Portsmouth's Tricorn Centre, which rose in a rebuilt city in a time when "new meant better"; how he finds no place boring, an attitude for which he may have received inadvertent training traveling through England with his salesman father; places as gardens of forking paths, leading to all manner of other things; real places, and the fiction places you by definition invent when you try to describe them; the "persona completely apart" he uses to contrast against the variety of places on display in his films; his ideal of satirizing everything; what went into his upcoming book An Encyclopedia of Myself, beginning with the "lie" of its title; whether he has ever felt fascinated by American places; what the French consider too "difficult" about his un-methodical work; and what hope we should hold out for a future Jonathan Meades film on Buenos Aires.

Direct download: NCC_S4E26_Jonathan_Meades.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:19pm UTC

Colin Marshall stands around Hackney, London's "Tech City" with urban designer Euan Mills. They discuss how to tip in a London bar and how to cross a London street; when he realized he has become an urban designer, and what that entails; the hugeness and non-understandability of the spread-out, car-dependent, crime-fearing São Paulo, where he grew up hating cities; the development of his interest in people, not buildings, and cities as networks of people; how he came to London, a city of paradoxes that still gives him the sense that anything exciting that happens will happen there; what, exactly, makes a "high street"; how zoning differences between the U.S. and the U.K. affect neighborhoods, and the sorts of changes he's seen in London's in the 21st century; This Isn't F***ing Dalston, and what it told him about the edges of neighborhoods; how long a place takes to gentrify, and how it then matures, coming to embody all its eras at once; what bars, and the price of a pint of Guinness, tell you about a neighborhood; how everybody likes "authenticity" and nobody likes to feel like a target market; the test of a business you feel uncomfortable entering; what it means then the charity shops, 99p stores, and betting offices start showing up; the change in places like the growth in our hair, so show we don't notice it; the necessity of combining local experience with placemaking expertise; São Paulo as a repeat of  London in the 1960s, and the bad reputation top-down planning developed in that era; what to look for in London, like the intentions of a place or its people; the importance of thinking about who owns the land; and what effect the London weather might have on all this.

Direct download: NCC_S4E23_Euan_Mills.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:46pm UTC

Colin Marshall sits down in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo with Dan Kuramoto, founding member of the band Hiroshima who have now played for 40 years and recently released their 19th album, J-Town Beat. They discuss what he sees around him in the Little Tokyo in transition today as opposed to the one he grew up in 40 years ago; what it means to play "Los Angeles music" in this multi-ethnic city; how the band's koto player June Kuramoto learned her classical instrument while growing up in a Los Angeles black ghetto; the question of whether you can build a modern, western band around the koto, which Hiroshima has always tried to answer; how musical traditions with deeper roots cooperate better together; making their musical mixtures work as, in microcosm, making America work; making the still mutable Los Angeles work as, in microcosm, making America work; his time as an Asian-American Studies department chair at CSU Long Beach, and what he found out about Japanese-Americans there; music as a "way of healing" from the self-hate he once took from the media; his lunch with Ridley Scott and Hans Zimmer; how it felt to become part of a group considered "the bad guys" again in the 1980s, just as Hiroshima really took off; the band's first trip to Japan, and the visceral feelings it brought about; the universality of craft as an integral part of Japanese identity; the difficulties companies have had categorizing Hiroshima, and the  special problems of the "smooth jazz" label; his lack of desire to play music for secretaries who just need their afternoons to pass more quickly; how they honed their chops in the Los Angeles black communities, and how black radio gave them their first big push; and the composition and meaning of the striking cover of their second album, Odori.

Direct download: NCC_S4E22_Dan_Kuramoto.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:32am UTC

Colin Marshall sits down in Copenhagen's Frederiksberg with Melanie Haynes, author of the blog Dejlige Days. They discuss the Danish national virtue of hygge (and the also important quality of dejlige); how she came to leave her native England for Denmark; the Copenhagen system of smiley-face food sanitation ratings; the Danish habit of both asking "Why are you here in my country?" and personally receiving her praise for the country; why she writes about festivals, eating, design, and "the relaxed life"; how the British operate in fifth gear at all times, and the Danish in third; her popular post on "becoming Danish," and Denmark's concept of immigration; the necessity to learn Danish so as to avoid perpetually apologizing all the time for your non-Danishness; her troubled period in Berlin, a city with which she could never really engage; how Danish society frowns on ambition versus how British society does; scarves and the way Danish women wear them; what pregnancy taught her about Danish life; the relative perception of taxes, and how her work in government public relations sheds light on it; how she intends to help her young son become a citizen of the world; what she wished she'd known about Denmark before coming; and her immediate feeling that she "should've always been here."

Direct download: NCC_S4E21_Melanie_Haynes.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:58pm UTC

Colin Marshall sits down in Copenhagen's Vesterbro with Per Šmidl, author of the bestseller Chop Suey, the essay Victim of Welfare, and the new novel Wagon 537 Christiania. They discuss the surprise foreigners, and especially Americans, feel upon discovering that a self-governing commune like Christiana has existed for over forty years in the middle of Copenhagen; how Christiana began as "a spiritual venture" and became "the last and greatest attempt Western man made to rid himself of the shackles of capitalism"; the criticism Danish society allows, but the price you must pay if you make it; how his speaking out resulted in his "confinement" to unpublishability; normal society as a corset, and the way life in a place like Christiana releases it; what it means when the protagonist of Wagon 357 Christiana discovers he can't urinate; the question of whether one moves into Christiana because of an awareness of wanting to live differently, or simply because of a diffused feeling of something having gone wrong; the difference between short- and long-term Christianites, and the results they get from their respective stints there; how Henry Miller revealed to him "the importance of personal liberation"; how he wrote Chop Suey while keeping his contact with the Danish state to a minimum, and the Czech exile he moved into after he completed it; the societal "lie" he felt he had to expose by writing Victim of Welfare; the state as an eternal parent who considerers unacceptable the individual's desire to live; how Christiana could possibly have survived as long as it has; what his time outside the Danish state taught him; and the importance of living a live between countries.

Direct download: NCC_S4E20_Per_Smidl.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:43am UTC

Colin Marshall sits down in Copenhagen's Nørrebro with Louise Sand (and her baby daughter Alice), who teaches the Danish language on the Copenhagencast. They discuss why the Danes speak English so well, yet still feel shy about speaking it; her experience teaching Danish to classrooms of foreigners; her original studies to become a Spanish teacher; her inspirational friendship with Japanese-teaching podcaster Hitomi Griswold of; how she learns one language after another, like a musician addicted to learning one instrument after another; the importance, and difficulty, of giving up goals like perfect fluency; how podcasting lets her approach Danish education in a "modern," less traditionally academic way; that thoroughly satisfying moment when a native speaker of a foreign language first understands you; the cultural lessons you find your way to when studying language, such as the existence of the onsdags snegle; how the Danish language enriches Danish life, especially its sense of humor; why to study subjects you love in other languages; the last twenty years you spend mastering the last ten percent of a language; the surprising directness of Danish in contrast with other languages, and the elements of life evoked by its idiomatic expressions; what she's learned watching her young children acquire language; how flash cards "increase the storage space in your brain"; and the new expansion of the Danish language, as manifested in the signature expressions of a well-known traffic broadcaster.

Direct download: NCC_S4E19_Louise_Sand.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:41pm UTC

S4E18: Where Your Nails Are with Thomas E. Kennedy

Colin Marshall sits down in one of Copenhagen's many storied serving houses with Thomas E. Kennedy, author of the "Copenhagen Quartet" of novels In the Company of AngelsKerrigan in Copenhagen: A Love StoryFalling Sideways, and the forthcoming Beneath the Neon Egg. They discuss whether one can truly know Copenhagen without knowing its serving houses; the drinking guide from which Kerrigan in Copenhagen takes its "experimental" form; his mission not just to know all of the city's serving houses, but to incorporate as much of its culture as possible into his books and to capture the "light of the four seasons" which first captivated him in 1972; how he came to live in Copenhagen, and the breakthrough as a fiction writer the act of leaving his native America brought about; how he overcame his fear of writing Danish characters; what happens after the first toast at a Danish dinner party; how he managed to take notes for the corporate satire Falling Sideways during dreaded office meetings; what it means that Danes tend to greet everyone in a room in rank order; his immersion into the Danish lifestyle, and to what extend the much-touted Danish happiness comes out of reduced expectations; whether he counts as an American, mid-Atlantic, Danish, Irish-American, or American European writer; how one society's clichés, such as the Danish expression "to hang your pictures where your nails are," offer bursts of insight to another; the American tendency to cling to differences and identity; the noir Beneath the Neon Egg, which explores Copenhagen's underbelly of violence, crime, drugs, sex clubs, and its famous commune Christiana; how his conversion into a full-time novelist fits in with his habit of "living life on fortune" (and why he may have written more with a day job); how Danes react to his depictions of them; and what his life in Denmark has taught him about the importance of taxes. 

Direct download: NCC_S4E18_Thomas_E_Kennedy.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:24pm UTC

Colin Marshall sits down at Copenhagen's Husets Biograf with Jack Stevenson, programmer of the theater and author of books on both Scandinavian and American film. They discuss Lars von Trier as the world's representative of Danish cinema; the difficulty of creating scandal within unshockable Denmark; revival theaters across the world as a nation of their own; the film education he drew from haunting the revival houses of Boston; his plan to serve ten White Russians during a screening of The Big Lebowski; Copenhagen as Scandinavia's most "real urban environment" in which to show films; the slow emergence of the strengths of the current generation of independent cinemas; the question asked about both Denmark and Korea, "How does that small country make such interesting films?"; his own introduction to Danish film, through Lars von Trier and others; how, in the era in America when "Scandinavian movie" meant, more or less, "porno movie," Danish film helped make porn chic; the ideal grind house experience evoked by Jack Kerouac in On the Road; the days when every train station in Germany, "a special place," had a porno theater; America's lack of an "off cinema" scene like the ones in European countries; why Danes can't accept film noir (and don't know about soul food); the history of the Husets Biograf's 19th-century industrial building, overtaken by anarchist squatters in the sixties; the surprises of filmgoing in Brussels; his resolve to program Halloween shows in the face of Danish indifference to Halloween; and his current work with traditional Danish ghost stories.

Direct download: NCC_S4E17_Jack_Stevenson.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:15am UTC

Colin Marshall sits down in Vesterbro with Mikael Colville-Andersen, urban mobility expert and CEO of Copenhagenize. They discuss where Los Angeles, with its "pockets of goodness," ranks on the global scale of Copenhagenization; what it takes for a city's population to become "intermodal"; his experience growing up in an English-Danish-Canadian household, biking all the time before the onset of the "culture of fear"; the qualities of a mainstream bicycle culture, including a lack of specialized cycling clothes of the type worn by the sport cyclists who have "hijacked" the practice; learning how not to promote cycling from environmentalism, the greatest marketing failure of all time; the need, in some places, to sell urbanism before you can sell urban cycling; his work busting myths about why Copenhagen allegedly differs so much from all other cities; why he settled in Copenhagen himself, beyond not needing to explain his name so often; the photo he took that "launched a million bicycles" and made him into a modern-day Jane Jacobs; the failed science of traffic engineering and how to rebuild it; cycling's "modal share" and what it tells you about a city, especially when it rises above five percent; the bicycle as "the symbol of the future, man"; how helmets kill cycling culture, and his TED Talk on riding without one; our innate need, as human beings, to fear stuff; and what urban cycling promoters can learn from the success of automobiles, and especially their introduction of the term "jaywalking" and the very concept of playgrounds.

Direct download: NCC_S4E16_Mikael_Colville-Andersen.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:46pm UTC

Colin Marshall sits down in the Copenhagen offices of Gehl Architects with founding partner Jan Gehl, architect, Professor Emeritus of Urban Design at the School of Architecture in Copenhagen, and author of books including Life Between BuildingsCities for People, and How to Study Public Life. They discuss what important change occurred in Copenhagen in 1962, and what led to it; the midcentury "car invasion" in Europe and the first modern shopping mall's construction in Kansas City; the re-emergence of the notion that "maybe pedestrians should walk"; the connectedness of walking in Copenhagen, which ultimately forms a "walking system"; the dullness of the anti-car position versus the richness of the pro-people one; the two movements of modernism and motorism, at whose intersection he found himself upon graduating from architecture school in 1960; what it meant to study "anti-tuberculosis architecture," and what it meant to build for the old diseases rather than the new ones; his marriage to a psychoanalyst and ensuing interest in increasing architecture's attention to people; how his PhD thesis became Life Between Buildings, and why that book has endured for over four decades in an ever-increasing number of languages; how first we form cities, and then they form us; what we can learn from Venice; the urban "acupuncture" performed on various American cities today; his long enjoyment of Melbourne; why we've only so slowly awoken to our dissatisfaction with the built environment; the loss of cheap petroleum and stable nuclear families, which propped up suburbia; how he and his team systematize and use their knowledge of cities to examine and assist the use of public space across the globe; and all he finds totally unsurprising about man's use and enjoyment of place.

Direct download: NCC_S4E15_Jan_Gehl.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:11am UTC

Colin Marshall sits down in Nørrebro with Classic Copenhagen blogger and photographer Sandra Høj. They discuss the city's current enthusiasm for tree-cutting; the small things in Copenhagen that draw her eye, from pieces of street art to weird details on houses; how she started blogging in the wake of the Muhammad caricature crisis with an interest in disputing the global perception of Danes as living obliviously in a land of pastries and fairy tales; her mission to describe "the good, the bread, and the ugly" of Copenhagen; the Danish tendency to nag about problems; what time spent in "cozy" Amsterdam taught her about her "sexy" home city; what time spend in Paris taught her about how Copenhagen could better respect itself; the bewildering array of political parties putting signs up all over the city, and how rarely their actions match their words; her desire for children to grow up in the same Copenhagen she did; the evolution of Amager, also known as "the Shit Island", and what gentrification looks like elsewhere in the city; the scourge of Joe and the Juice; and her continuing search outward for more "traces of life" in Copenhagen.

Direct download: NCC_S4E14_Sandra_Hoj.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:56pm UTC

Colin Marshall sits down in Copenhagen's Nørrebro with Lars AP, author of the book Fucking Flink and founder of the movement of the same name, which aims to make the Danish not just the "happiest" people, but the friendliest as well. They discuss just what it feels like to bear the label of "happiest" and whether "most content" might not suit the country better; the difference in impact of the word "fucking," especially in a book title, between Denmark and the States; the seemingly inward-turned people foreigners feel as if they encounter when they first visit Denmark; his TEDx Copenhagen talk about his realization that he acted less friendly when speaking Danish than he did when speaking English; "negative politeness" versus "positive politeness"; the importance of internalizing a culture in order to speak its language; how the Danish once had to meet few non-Danes, and how they can still feel the effects of that in American questions like "How you doin'?"; the process and impact of "baking a little meaning" into each social encounter; his tendency to act, when in the Danish countryside, in a way that makes his wife call him "homo jovialis"; how compliments and other acts of friendliness require not just honesty but creativity and surprise for maximum effectiveness; the origins of the Fucking Flink movement, and the stunts he has pulled off with it, such as giving out positive parking tickets; the similar misery of commenting on the internet, driving in traffic on the highway, and staying too embedded in your own culture; the Avatar handshake, and what we can learn from the accompanying greeting of "I see you"; how best to address the needs we have when we get to the top of the Maslow Pyramid; the need to use not just what's between our ears, but what's between us; and how this all relates to the 4,000 years' worth of city building coming very soon.

Direct download: NCC_S4E13_Lars_AP.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:41pm UTC

Colin Marshall sits down in Silver Lake with showman, "histo-tainer" and "Ambassador of Americana" Charles Phoenix, curator of vintage midcentury slides and author of books like Southern CalifornialandAmericana the Beautiful, and Southern California in the 50s. They discuss the postwar period's appealing mix of the highest and lowest American sophistication; how the country's new middle class became "buying machines" and "cultural monsters"; the "time travel in a box" he experienced when he found his first set of old slides in a thrift shop; the "luxurious" nature of Kodachrome; what makes any given slide a keeper, and how he can tell, say, a 1960 from a 1961; the layers of history visible in a photo, which he looks through as if through a window; the meaning of the first freeway-side mall with fallout shelter-equipped hidden delivery tunnels; the many midcentury innovations Southern California didn't invent, but perfected; his Disneyland tours of Down Los Angeles, and Disneyland as both a comparison to and metaphor for much in the human experience; how we gave up the joy of cars and let driving become a chore; the 1950s' love of speed in contrast to our modern tendency to " get it over with"; how he finds the good in every era, the seventies included; our hard-wiring to reject the past and buy new; his more recent interest in processed foodcraft, including work with Cheez Whiz and Jell-O molds; his Los Angeles architecture show, with which he intends to reveal the structures not yet properly acknowledged; how social media empowers the sharing of our aesthetic fetishes; whether modern designs like that of the iPhone express the optimism he sees in midcentury Americana; and the importance, often neglected today, of creating anticipation.

Direct download: NCC_S4E11_Charles_Phoenix.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:54pm UTC

Colin Marshall sits down in Hollywood with lawyer turned social dynamics expert Jordan Harbinger, co-host of the Pickup Podcast and co-founder of confidence education program The Art of Charm. They discuss how much time he spends explaining that he isn't Tom Cruise from Magnolia; how he conceives of The Art of Charm's mission to teach confidence, which involves teaching emotional intelligence; whether and how our generation of men have come out especially socially inept; the still-strong number of pickup artist types wandering around Hollywood, and the equally strong number of low-self-esteem women with whom they match; the importance of asking oneself the question "What can I learn from this person?", an entirely different question from "What can I get from this person?"; the Pickup Podcast's origin in someone else's basement, and how that developed into coaching and teaching; the skills of networking through his short law career, and how he realized they also applied to, say, meeting women; the day he found himself ostensibly studying for a law exam while remotely coaching a man for his imminent move from Africa to Denmark; knowing how to use Los Angeles, a land of "towns packed together for tax purposes," especially its areas of dense "city life" like Hollywood and Koreatown; everyone in Los Angeles' essential nature as a foreigner, and how that opens up the question, "Where are you from?"; his dull childhood in Troy, Michigan which led to an adolescence of conning and wiretapping, and then into Germany as an exchange student; language and travel as the engines of good social-habit development, and the advantages of becoming foreign and shifting your linguistic context; how "networking" became a dirty word; specificity, the enemy of relationships; the importance of people as vectors; and the sentiment "it's all who you know — and thank God for that!"

Direct download: NCC_S4E10_Jordan_Harbinger.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:21am UTC

Colin Marshall sits down above downtown Los Angeles in the U.S. Bank tower with Stephen Gee, senior producer at ITV Studios and author of Iconic Vision: John Parkinson, Architect of Los Angeles, the first book on the man who designed such landmark structures in the city as Union Station, the Memorial Coliseum, Bullock's Wilshire, and City Hall. They discuss how such a visionary could have gone unknown so long; Los Angeles' relationship to its public buildings; Parkinson's notion, during a time when Los Angeles set about defining itself, of putting up a built environment that would leave people inspired; the neatness, elegance, and organization that characterize a Parkinson building; the city's assumption that Parkinson would remain a household name for generations to come, and how World War II and the years after threw that off; Parkinson's move from England, and his own move from England in 1995; his struggle to find information related to the architect, and how everything new he learned made him want to learn more (as also happens with knowledge about the city of Los Angeles itself); how you engage better with Los Angeles after coming to understand its original intention; how to break down the false images of the city the rest of the world gets fed; Los Angeles as "the city of the future" in most or all eras of its existence; the modern repurposing of Parkinson buildings, into apartments and retail spaces and law schools; Iconic Vision's origin as, and possible future as, a television documentary; the new relevance of Parkinson buildings in an era when Angelenos have begun to regard and use the city differently; what he learned when he assembled of Parkinson's buildings, from Los Angeles and elsewhere, "in one place"; and what might architecturally excite the always forward-looking Parkinson in this always forward-looking city today.

Download the interview from Notebook on Cities and Culture’s feed or on iTunes.

Direct download: NCC_S4E9_Stephen_Gee.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:46pm UTC

Colin Marshall sits down in North Hollywood with Carren Jao, Manila- and Los Angeles-based writer on architecture, art, and design. They discuss what rain does to the aesthetic of Los Angeles; the role of the river here as the connection people don't realize they have; the difference between the floods Los Angeles used to routinely endure and the ones Manila routinely endures now; how, growing up in the Philippines, she got interested in the shape and form of cities; Manila's "improvisational" nature not centered around always having functioning systems; the Filipino inclination to make guests' lives easier in any way possible; her entry into the United States, but not the one that "everyone knows"; public transit as amusement-park ride; the important role of the Jeepney in Manila's transportation; her life in the San Fernando Valley, very much a place distinct from Los Angeles itself; how writing has forced her to explore this city and its environs, including still-developing ones like Pacoima's "mural mile"; how to get the wide-openness of the Los Angeles experience across to friends, family, and readers; the "third-world" contrasts of nice homes next to squatters' villages in Manila and the Arts District next to Skid Row in Los Angeles; the boom in interest related to architecture, design, and space-making, and the importance of leaving openings for people to construct their own environments; what she'd look at first after five years away from Los Angeles, and from Manila; this city's long-confused relationship with its water; what the Philippines have learned from other countries; what America could learn from the Asian sense of accommodation; what she learns from having to attend neighborhood council meetings; how fast word and social knowledge travel in Manila, how slow they can travel in Los Angeles, and how both have their advantages.

Direct download: NCC_S4E8_Carren_Jao.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:49am UTC

S4E7: The Impossible Overarching Narrative with Nathan Masters

Colin Marshall sits down in the Los Angeles Central Library's Maguire Gardens with Nathan Masters, writer interested in all things Los Angeles, especially the history of the city, about which he writes as a representative of Los Angeles as Subject for KCET and Los Angeles Magazine. They discuss how he regarded the distant downtown Los Angeles skyline while growing up in the Orange County town of Anaheim; the changing ways the county of his youth has regarded itself relative to Los Angeles; how far back you can go into the history of southern California and still have it bolster your understanding of the place, even to the era of allegedly "sleepy little village" of Mexican Los Angeles; why observers have insisted that this city has had little interest its own history; how he didn't need to spend time away from Los Angeles to appreciate it; the debate over whether actual orange groves inspired the "Orange" in Orange County, and his grandfather's home-movie footage of the uprooting of said groves; why observers have insisted that this city stands atop a desert; the competing boosting and demythologizing narratives; where he finds the greatest historical surprises, especially in the "old, weird" American 19th century; why knowing your history might get you driving more safely down the Arroyo Seco Parkway; how each foreign culture engages with Los Angeles in a different way, and how Los Angeles has no one way of accepting, absorbing, or digesting these influences; the seeming impossibility, given all this, of writing an overarching narrative of the city; the eternal struggle here between optimism and nostalgia; readers' love of stories of "lost geography"; the creek bed hidden in Koreatown; his own love of stories about trees; and the elusive stories of history's ordinary Angelenos.

Direct download: NCC_S4E7_Nathan_Masters.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:49pm UTC

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

S4E4: What Do People Really Eat? with Besha Rodell

Colin Marshall sits down in Silver Lake with Besha Rodell, who has written about food in New York and Atlanta, and last year came to Los Angeles to become the Weekly's restaurant critic. They discuss the secret appeal and non-Australian origins of the Outback Steakhouse's Bloomin' Onion; her Australian youth, and the friends who insisted she join them at Koala Blue after she came to the States; what counts as authentic Australian cuisine, and the tortured question of "authenticity" in Los Angeles; her concerns with what people really eat; her predecessor Jonathan Gold's influence on the city's food culture; the appeal of putting yourself utterly at a restaurant's mercy; "ego-driven" versus "devotional" cuisine; the strange modern prevalence of kale salads; her preference for odd and uneven dishes versus perfect and derivative ones; how she got to know Los Angeles in the three weeks she had before moving here and then assembling the Weekly's 99 Essential Restaurants list; the paradox of more money on the west side and less food there; how far you have to go before a restaurant doesn't count as "in Los Angeles" anymore — or whether such a distance exists; the spread of this city's culinary interestingness, and how it compares, culturally, to Atlanta's divide between "Inside the Perimeter" and "Outside the Perimeter"; how ideally, a restaurant critic would move to a new Los Angeles neighborhood every two months; the advantages of the "bogus" system of star ratings, and why chefs want their stars; the current blowup in food interest, and what the internet has to do with it; how she came up through restaurant culture, and came to appreciate how you can't be "kind of a cook"; how you can't understand Los Angeles if you don't eat much here, and how best to understand it when you do go eating.

Direct download: NCC_S4E4_Besha_Rodell.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:34pm UTC

S4E2: Prada and Fallas-Paredes with Brigham Yen

Colin Marshall walks through downtown Los Angeles with Brigham Yen, Realtor and author of the urban renaissance blog DTLA Rising. They discuss the sort of neighborhood that can rise from nothing, and whether Los Angeles' downtown has come back from a deeper state of nothingness than other downtowns; the "bones" of a city's center, and how Los Angeles' have remained sound through all its problems; the late introduction of public space here; his car-centric youth in the San Gabriel Valley suburbs, and how going to San Francisco for school changed everything; the enduring "obesity" of Los Angeles' streets, even as it has become the fastest-changing city in America; in what order transit, restaurants, bars, shopping, and housing needed to return downtown; how streets become "activated" with human energy; Broadway's prospects for becoming "one of the coolest streets in America"; the healthy urban balance of a Prada by a Fallas-Paredes; how he began writing about cities by writing about Pasadena, and how interaction between the blogging half of his career and the real-estate half has deepened ever since; how he responds to longtime Angeleno's complaints about "brainwashed Millennials" and their fallen expectations; the special importance of an undisputed urban center amid a sea of suburbia; the laid-back sensibility he hopes Los Angeles can retain during its transformation; and what dream people can see actively (and successfully) pursued if they visit downtown Los Angeles themselves.

Direct download: NCC_S4E2_Brigham_Yen.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:08pm UTC

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

S3E28: Aesthetic Moments with JJ Lee

Colin Marshall sits down in Vancouver's Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden with JJ Lee, menswear writer, broadcaster, and author of The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit. They discuss where to buy pocket squares in Vancouver (and whether to just have your kids make some); what to wear during the city's "false start summer"; his own uses of color, and his gradual approach toward "weird clothes"; our coming age of wide-open, postmodern suit-wearing, a recovery from men getting stupid about dressing in the sixties and seventies; his own early dislike of suits, when they to him represented all that went wrong in society; his father's quick rise, painful fall, and the undiagnosed, self-medicated depression that laid under it; his realization that people are highly aesthetic beings, always creating aesthetic moments; the adoption of tragic versus comic narratives, and which one led his father to stop dressing well; the way precision has replaced instinct for well-dressed men; Montreal and its status as Canada's style capital; his favorable impression of Toronto's dress, textbook though it may be; Vancouver's athleticism-influenced casualness and its limitations; how he starts conversations with clothes, even in New York; the lie behind the idea of "truth" in dress; how men now wear suits, but often defensively, out of fear; the decline of Chinatown tailoring culture; the way men today don't quite know how to be in a tailor shop, never having had that sort of interaction before; and his current project of essays on fatherhood, and the importance of leaving a legacy of ideas for his sons.

Direct download: NCC_S3E28_JJ_Lee.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:22pm UTC

S3E27: No Mo' Po-Mo with Paul Delany

Colin Marshall sits down in Yaletown, Vancouver, British Columbia with Paul Delany, professor of English at Simon Fraser University, editor of the reader Vancouver: Representing the Postmodern City, and author of the article "Vancouver: Graveyard of Ambition?" They discuss whether it makes sense to talk about a "postmodern" city in 2013; the influence of Douglas Coupland, William Gibson, and Jeff Wall; Vancouver's future-oriented open-endedness; his path to Vancouver from England via the United States and specifically a crumbling New York; the state of Vancouver in 1970, when he arrived; how the West End became dense in the fifties, and how Yaletown evolved; English literature's interest in the phenomenon of the modern city, and his own; the city as a nexus of fascinations; his disappointment in Vancouver's architectural development and its lack of internationalism, save for buildings like the downtown library, the unofficial campus for the city's many foreign language students; all the condo towers as Ballardian "prisons with the locks on the inside"; Microsoft's aborted entry into Vancouver's suburbs and its subsequent relocation to downtown; what led him to ask whether Vancouver made for a graveyard of ambition; the importance of getting outside Vancouver, and regularly; the lack of a fruitful intellectual model to replace postmodernism as a means of viewing Vancouver; and how the city's large and growing Asian presence prepares it for the future.

Direct download: NCC_S3E27_Paul_Delany.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:56am UTC

S3E26: Fifth-Generation "Japanese" with Leslie Helm

Colin Marshall sits down in Santa Monica with Leslie Helm, former Tokyo correspondent for Business Week and the Los Angeles Times, editor of Seattle Business, and author of Yokohama Yankee: My Family's Five Generations as Outsiders in Japan. They discuss the Asia connections of Los Angeles and Seattle; Japan's changing place in the zeitgeist since when he covered their economic bubble; how he observed the West's acceptance of Japan from his vantage as a quarter-Japanese yet Japanese-born "outsider"; how much of his family drama turns on the issue of how Japanese each member looks; the point of foreigner's entry Yokohama was before it became considered an extension of Tokyo; how firm identities as foreigners helped members of his family's older generations thrive in Japan; the new coolness of part-Japaneseness in this internationalist era; his frustration with the myth of Japanese difference and purity; what actually happened to Japan the economic powerhouse; the weakness of Japan's craft-based strengths in a software-based economy; what the low level of English in Japan reveals about the country's educational system; the fame his family accrued in the shipping business, and the bad reputation the company ultimately developed once sold; his kids, who look Japanese but grew up Western; the upside to the Japanese burden of obligations; to what extent Japan has realized it needs outsiders to keep the country going; what it means that Japan can burn through so many Prime Ministers in such a short time with no social disruption; the Shinto religion as Boy Scouts; how this book of family history became a painstakingly designed volume for the world to read; what America has, still, to learn from Japan; and which country seems more likely to overcome its worst tendencies. 

Direct download: NCC_S3E26_Leslie_Helm.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:31am UTC

S3E25: A Fine and Private Place with Joseph Mailander

Colin Marshall sits down in Los Feliz, Los Angeles with Joseph Mailander, who since 1981 has written fiction and poetry as well as political and cultural analysis in the city. His new collection is Days Change at Night: Notes from Los Angeles' Decade of Decline, 2003-2013. They discuss his long relationship with Argonaut Street; the unique changelessness of Playa del Rey; how Los Angeles became the first recognizably great city built on a mechanical scale; the pronunciation of "Playa del Rey", "Los Feliz", and even "Los Angeles", and his impatience with our sanctimoniousness in our rectitude and insistence on our errors; the fact that nobody comes to the city looking to see rules enforced; how contrarian a position he takes in naming 2003-2013 as the "decade of decline," and what New York looked like in its own, more severe one; the counterintuitive way political, economic, and social decline bring with them a flowering of arts and culture; Los Angeles' tendency to punish the very people who have fun in it, and whether they actually feel punished; how the renter-heavy housing market reflects political decline; young people who just want to make enough money to move out of town, and why they often don't do it after all; his repeated crossings of the Shakespeare Bridge to get to the theater district; what Disney Concert Hall, with its faulty fire alarms and lack of meeting places, means to him; conductor Gustavo Dudamel's hair as the Los Angeles Philharmonic's value proposition; how Los Angeles seems to have missed the arc of its own musical narrative; the expensive development of Grand Avenue, "the official street of Los Angeles ego," as a signal of out-of-touchness; Ye Rustic Inn, its Myrtleburger, and its promise of anonymity; and which administrators just don't understand the character of the city.

Direct download: NCC_S3E25_Joseph_Mailander.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:05pm UTC

S3E24: Aftershave Smile with Jeff Weiss

Colin Marshall sits down in Los Angeles' Franklin Hills with Jeff Weiss, music writer for the LA Weekly and many other publications, editor of The Passion of the Weiss, co-host of the podcast Shots Fired, and co-author of the book 2pac vs. Biggie. They discuss the total time of his life spent waiting for rappers to show up to interviews; Tyler the Creator and Odd Future as today's representatives of Los Angeles, and what the collective has to do with West Coast experimentalism and the city as a magnet for eccentrics; how he fights his personal war against cliché; kids today, and their tendency to listen to music of all eras, including golden ones, several of which we live in at any given time; Dam-Funk, Matthewdavid, Flying Lotus, and the new, highly Los Angeles-y genre they have created; the genesis of modern instrumental hip-hop; the un-irony of Los Angeles, and your need to carve out your own world within the city if you live in it; his journey from jock to writer, and his novel about a real tragedy on his baseball team; his childhood growing up in a culture-free household; how he one day found himself "hate-watching" Girls; how the Low End Theory helped him stop hating Los Angeles, and how the city concurrently "opened its gates" more generally; which albums can mentally prepare you for the city, and especially for its absurdity; his mentorship by Herbert Gold, the alleged rival of Jack Kerouac; and the only two prices that have come down in the past decade: that of cocaine, and that of writing.

Direct download: NCC_S3E24_Jeff_Weiss.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:17pm UTC

S3E23: Cut-Rate Crematorium with Patt Morrison

Colin Marshall sits down in Pasadena with journalist Patt Morrison, best known for her "Patt Morrison Asks" column in the Los Angeles Times, her years hosting Life and Times and Bookshow with Patt Morrison on public television as well as Patt Morrison on KPCC, and her book Rio L.A.: Tales from the Los Angeles River. They discuss her childhood in an Ohio town of 2,000 people, where the nearest cool place was a book; how and why her family decided to pull up stakes and stay on the move before suddenly deciding to settle in Tuscon, Arizona, a bustling metropolis by comparison; how she developed a kind of historical fourth-dimensional vision, letting her see what's been here as well as what is here; how she came to Los Angeles for Occidental College, and what she discovered here; what others have discovered in Los Angeles, like the individuality of expression, bordering on eccentricity, that comes with a certain type of property; how reading about Nellie Bly as a child convinced her then and there to become a journalist; the lessons she's learned from working across several major media; what she read to better understand Los Angeles, and what books she'd put in the city's welcome wagon kit; her drive to collect stories about "then" as well as "now"; Los Angeles' authentic-ness, as opposed to its authenticity; what you need to master to live the ever-growing number of lifestyles possible in the city; retaining that Los Angeles sense of perpetual astonishment, and reinforcing it by regularly traveling abroad; why we seem to have forgotten the importance of clothing on the West Coast, and whether $500 sweatpants and $100 filp-flops say something meaningful about Los Angeles; popular confusion about the real eastside-westside border, and what she's done to fight the misconceptions; and what to keep in mind when you, too, come to Los Angeles.

Direct download: NCC_S3E23_Patt_Morrison.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:21am UTC

S3E22: Battle Damage with Chris Gore

Colin Marshall sits down in Glassell Park with comedian and man of cinema Chris Gore, who has talked movies on such television shows as The X ShowThe New Movie Show with Chris Gore, and Attack of the Show; has written books including The Ultimate Film Festival Survival GuideThe Complete DVD Book, and The Fifty Greatest Movies Never Made; hosts the podcast PodCRASH with That Chris Gore; and has a new comedy album and picture book coming up called Celebrities Poop. They discuss how he takes his work seriously, but not himself; his "war" on the top five podcasts; his contretemps with Representative Dan Lungren while editing Videogames magazine; Colin's Podthought on PodCRASH, and the superiority of essays and films that don't tell you how to feel; his first television appearances on FX, and how he there learned to read a teleprompter by pretending not to read it; growing up a Michigander and a nerd, discovering alternative culture through film (and building his own eight-millimeter home theater at age seven) while actively not giving a shit what anyone thought of him; his choice to come to Los Angeles because it smelled less like pee than New York; his place in film culture versus nerd culture, and the word "nerd" versus the word "geek"; how he makes a podcast out of his appearances on other podcasts in the podcast Mecca that is Los Angeles; meeting and talking to cool people as a byproduct of a career, or as the raison d'être of one; which of them buys cars and which of them buys bespoke suits; what it felt like being around for the nineties' American indie film boom, and why only Quentin Tarantino has kept up his auteur's head of steam from those days; and why he made My Big Fat Independent Movie when that boom got to be too much.

Direct download: NCC_S3E22_Chris_Gore.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:06pm UTC

S3E20: Traitor to Genre with Gabriela Jauregui

Colin Marshall sits down in Mexico City's Colonia Condesa with Gabriela Jauregui, writer, poet, and co-founder of the publishing collective sur+. They discuss her childhood in Coyoacán and at what point during it she realized she lived in a place with a rich literary history; her coming up reading and speaking Spanish, English, and French; the real beginning of Latin American small presses, and what it means for the excitement of Spanish-language literature; why Mexican books get shrinkwrapped, anyway; how she mastered English while studying in Los Angeles, and the pleasure she finds in writing in a language not quite her own, especially one with weird exceptions, non-rules, and all the qualities of a "pirate language"; what her interest in the mechanics of language has to do with her pursuit of poetry; how you never quite know who's a poet in Latin America; the way Los Angeles revealed itself to her, and how understanding Mexico City involves approaching it as something between Los Angeles and New York; her memories of growing up in Mexico City's "dark years," including but not limited to fake M&Ms; "Malinchismo," the Mexican idea that whatever is Mexican is by definition inferior, and how it has fallen away, at least in part, where art and literature are concerned; how to read your way into Los Angeles of Mexico City, and if you don't want to read, how to use Alejandro Jodorowsky movies for the same purpose; and all the layers of history you can experience in Mexico City that, unlike in Europe, you can experience all at once. 

Direct download: NCC_S3E20_Gabriela_Jauregui.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:10pm UTC

S3E19: Nothing Works, Everything Moves with Juan Carlos Cano and Paloma Vera

Colin Marshall sits down in Mexico City's Colonia Condesa with Juan Carlos Cano and Paloma Vera, founders of the architecture and urbanism practice CANO | VERA. They discuss how everything in Mexico City's built environment exists "behind," being interesting in irregular ways; all the untrue superlatives you hear growing up about how Mexico City is the biggest in the world, and what an abstract concept "the biggest city" turns out to be anyway; the miracle of Mexico City's continued improvisational operation, especially as regards garbage collection; the amount of architect-less building going on in Mexico City, and what they're doing to help make it easier and more efficient; the creation of cities through the creation of connections, rather than through the building of beautiful things; where best to walk in the giant soufflé that is Mexico City; the intrinsic sense that Mumbai, Bangkok, or São Paulo make when you come from Mexico City, and how you feel at  home when you have to discover, anonymously, what a place is about; the meaning of Condominio Insurgentes to the urban environment, and the question of who built the thing in the first place; the city as a mirror of society's favorite ideas in one particular moment; the contradictory image of Mexico as a place where nothing works, but everything moves; the historical Mexican relationship to space as it appears both in Teotihuacan and Ciudad Universitaria, in pre-Hispanic markets and downtown today; how Mexico City grew and ego; and the Zócalo, the best place in town to both feel and fill the void.

Direct download: NCC_S3E19_Juan_Carlos_Cano_and_Paloma_Vera.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:05am UTC

S3E18: First-Rate "Second World" Eating with Nicholas Gilman

Colin Marshall sits down in Mexico City's Colonia Roma with Nicholas Gilman, author of the book and blog Good Food in Mexico City: Fondas, Food Stalls, and Fine Dining. They discuss the culinary importance of places like Mercado Medellín; how Mexico City's art, not its food, first brought him here (make a beeline though he did to the handmade tortillas when he first arrived at 18); all the warnings about "what you shouldn't do" in Mexico City — or, for that matter, the New York City of the seventies and eighties in which he grew up; the strides Mexico City has made in the past fifteen years, especially as regards cleaning up pollution and opening up small business and culinary opportunities; his career switch from painter to food writer, and his discovery that you simply "don't have to suffer so much" in Mexico City; his realization that no useful English-language food guides to the area existed, how that prompted him to publish his own, and the great deal of attention it soon drew; what people get wrong when they first go eating in Mexico City, such as understanding the "timing" of the food; the dismantling of the car culture, the institution of bicycle programs, and the conversion of Mexico into at least a new "second-world" country; his eating strategies in a new city, including looking for their markets; the importance of tapping into a city's social knowledge, especially that possessed by taxi drivers; how to convince people you want to eat "the real thing," i.e., the food they themselves eat; bringing a necessary outsider's perspective to another culture; the various misconceptions that linger about Mexican food; the usually unhappy experiences of foreign cuisines that make it to Mexico; and when best to eat huitlacoche.

Direct download: NCC_S3E18_Nicholas_Gilman.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:57pm UTC

S3E17: Youth Is Overrated with Brenda Lozano

Colin Marshall sits down in Mexico City's Colonia Roma with novelist and essayist Brenda Lozano, author of the Todo Nada and contributor to Letras Libres. They discuss the space Spain's troubles have opened for Latin American literature; the passion for Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde she learned from one particular teacher; how she began seriously reading in English, and only later in her native Spanish; the difference in enjoyment of Spanish versus English literature, and how the languages ultimately behave like two different animals; the importance of the pleasure of reading, as well as the acknowledgment thereof; poetry as pure sugar; Mexico City's combination of high culture and bad parties; how, when she began writing essays, she found ways to have a good time writing about even assigned topics, and what it revealed about the general skill of having a good time wherever you happen to go; the three years of her early twenties she spent writing a "terrible novel," and what they later gave Todo Nada; her conviction of the overestimation of youth, which led her to build the novel around an aged character, but a young narrator; what could possibly be the sales pitch for Dorian Gray stockings; the newly widened Mexican generation gap; her need to "close the door" when writing, so literary influences like Jorge Luis Borges or Clarice Lispector can't step right in; her first, worldview-changing encounter with Fernando Pessoa, when she asked, "Is this literature?"; what she felt standing next to a wax Octavio Paz; the current absence of non-wax literary fathers; her Mexico City literary community, a group of argumentative friends; getting to know places through literature, like Japan through Banana Yoshimoto, 1930s Los Angeles through John Fante, or indeed Mexico City through Roberto Bolaño; and, despite her having been born and raised there, her continued excitement about writing in Mexico City.

Direct download: NCC_S3E17_Brenda_Lozano.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:02pm UTC

S3E16: Autobiology with Kurt Hollander

Colin Marshall sits down in Mexico City's Colonia Condesa with Kurt Hollander, photographer, filmmaker, magazine editor, and author of Several Ways to Die in Mexico City: An Autobiography. They discuss his microbiologically informed view of life; the presence of death in Mexico, especially since people there now die developed-world deaths and, to an extent, developing-world deaths; his first enjoyment of Mexico's working-class culture, and his perspective, as an American, on American cultural encroachment; his earlier life on New York's Lower East Side, a barrio which prepared him for the one-huge-barrio that is Mexico City; the importance of "doing New York right" to subsequently spending time in other major cities; what he learned publishing the magazine The Portable Lower East Side; what kind of immigration makes a place more interesting, and what kind of immigration makes a place less so; how moving to Mexico City presented him the greatest learning curve of his life; when, and how, he got sick and didn't seem like he would get better; how danger makes culture, which he considers to be the accumulation of survival strategies; what it means to adapt to a culture, and what bearing doing so has on your survival; his strategies for seeking out the remaining strongholds of working-class culture, such as riding the Metro and exploring the miniature economies that grow in its stations; the importance of the pulqueria, and other places Mexicans warn foreigners away from; and how he has never felt in harm's way in Mexico City, despite respecting nothing, criticizing everything, and always going with the more dramatic story.

Direct download: NCC_S3E16_Kurt_Hollander.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:58pm UTC

S3E15: The Mexican Reality with Diego Rabasa

Colin Marshall sits down in Mexico City's Colonia Roma with Diego Rabasa, co-founder of Sexto Piso press. They discuss why this might make for the most exciting moment in Mexican, or even Spanish-language, literature; Mexico's past era of invincible intellectual giants, from whose shadow writers now emerge; these writers' response to their country's "total social meltdown"; how Mexico City got more secure as Mexico itself got less secure, a process that has by now made Mexico City the safest place in the country; his dull but well-off childhood in a PRI family, his university studies of engineering, and his subsequent discovery of literature, culture, and books; what Juan Rulfo revealed to him about his country; Sexto Piso's early mission to translate foreign writers, and its publication at first of hardly any Mexican writers; who, given Mexico's high illiteracy, supports Mexico City's cool bookstores; the correct pronunciation of "Donceles", the finest street for used books; Sexto Piso's presence in Spain, a much more conservative literary market; the upside and downside of taking government funding; the importance of throwing parties unlike the standard dull publishing cocktail affairs; having, as a publisher, to cover for only semi-professional booksellers and journalists; what to read to best understand the Mexican reality; how Mexico City became a "completely different place" from where he grew up, with its citizens now "getting the city back"; the enduring need to keep an eye on the politicians even as arts movements offer encouragement; and how he gets his mind off the corruption by reading Bruce Chatwin.

Direct download: NCC_S3E15_Diego_Rabasa.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:43pm UTC

S3E14: New York, Tokyo, and Back Again with Roland Kelts

Colin Marshall sits down in Echo Park, Los Angeles with Roland Kelts, lecturer at the University of Tokyo, co-editor of the literary journal A Public Space, and author of the book Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the U.S. They discuss whether Japan has yet really figured out how to sell its pop culture abroad; the success of; his time growing up as a partial outsider in the white northeastern United States, and how anime and manga's focus on the outsider thus resonated with him; the commission he received from the Coppolas to write a story about Japan, which had him live in Osaka for a year; the subsequent offers that came his way to write about Murakami, Miyazaki, and Japanese youth culture; why the Wachowskis like anime so much;  what his youthful Anglophilia revealed to him about the parallels, especially aesthetic, between Britain and Japan; how we even have sushi in American convenience stores, yet nothing like Japanese street vending machines; whether he felt, as did novelist Todd Shimoda, a not-fully-foreign presence in Japan; how he splits his time between New York and Tokyo, and the importance of maintaining ties with his native land; how the geographical oscillation provides him perspective on both cities, and what escapes his attention (Lena Dunham, for example) when he's away from each; the relative lack of coded engagement and easier physical flow of New York; his understanding of American psychology coming through a cross-country drive of vast spaces and non-major cities; and the passing of Donald Richie, which raises questions of how best to write about Japan, a country which must now return to doing more with less.

Direct download: NCC_S3E14_Roland_Kelts.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:50pm UTC

S3E13: Negative Appeal with Vincent Brook

Colin Marshall sits down in Silver Lake, Los Angeles with Vincent Brook, teacher at UCLA, USC, Cal State Los Angeles, and Pierce College, and author of books on Jewish émigré directors and the Jewish sitcom as well as the new Land of Smoke and Mirrors: A Cultural History of Los Angeles. They discuss the difference between Los Angeles obsession and Los Angeles chauvinism; his time in Berkeley, when Los Angeles became the enemy; the Christopher Dorner incident and the old racial wounds it has re-opened; Gangster Squad and the cinematic abuse of Los Angeles history; the city's tendency to repurpose rhetoric about it, no matter how negative, and Reyner Banham's role in that; Los Angeles as Sodom, Gomorrah, and whipping boy; what the German word Stadtbild means, and how Los Angeles lacks it; the great power ascribed to the city by its criticism; whether or not we only use twenty percent of brains, or of cities; hidden places, including but not limited to Barnsdall Park; the work Los Angeles requires from you to master it, and whether that counts as a desirable quality; how technology enables you to watch Sunset Boulevard as you cruise down Sunset Boulevard; Watts Towers as the key to Los Angeles; the city's far-flung museums, and their 21st-century tendency to roll large objects through the streets; how he came to teach a Rhetoric of Los Angeles class, and what his students have taught him; the truth of most local legends, even when contradictory; and how best to see the Los Angeles palimpsest.

Direct download: NCC_S3E13_Vincent_Brook.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:08am UTC

S3E12: Freaks and Outcasts with Kevin Smokler

Colin Marshall sits down in Westwood, Los Angeles with Kevin Smokler, author of Practical Classics: 50 Reasons to Reread 50 Books You Haven't Touched Since High School. They discuss what makes him think of Holden Caulfield as a Bing user; why we study novels in high school at all, and what it might have to do with Renaissance classics scholarship; how we got turned off to these books the first time around, and the radical notion that we now have time to properly absorb them; his hymn to his obnoxious teenage self, when he felt he possessed many abilities, yet none worked in concert with one another, and all lacked context; how these curricular books interact with the teenage impulse to rail at unfairness; whether Jane Austen represents the triumph of content over form or form over content; what, exactly, is the matter with The Scarlet Letter; David Foster Wallace's notion of challenging the reader in the act of seduction; books now fashionably disliked, such as A Separate Peace; our onetime love of Dead White Males, our swing too far away from them in the early nineties, and the ambiguous DWM-relative position in which we now find ourselves; how he earned a lasting reputation at his high school for deeming Shakespeare "trite"; those moments where the necessary context for a work floods in all at once; The Day of the Locust, and how he read it only after coming to Los Angeles at 19 to supplicate before the altar of cinema; high school readers' tendency to gravitate to the freaks and the outcasts, and whether his home city of San Francisco still welcomes such people; Rebecca Solnit's lament over Google, and how the city's future belongs to them rather than to the Grateful Dead; the life of a coffee-shop based San Francisco writer; and his next book, on music, which will go looking for a universal cultural experience in the particulars of his own adolescence.

Direct download: NCC_S3E12_Kevin_Smokler.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:07pm UTC

S3E11: Sad Characters with Clive Piercy

Colin Marshall sits down in Santa Monica with Clive Piercy, founder and principal of design studio air-conditioned and author of the photo book Pretty Vacant, an appreciation of Los Angeles "dingbat" apartments. They discuss Reyner Banham's enduring definition of the dingbat; his time growing up in England enamored with American culture, and his surprise to find Los Angeles existed in color; the glory of freeways and the guilt of driving them, and the sense of failed utopia they share with dingbat buildings; how dingbats crept into his Los Angeles photography jaunts, shaped by his love of Ed Ruscha's paintings, and what happened when his fellow immigrants living in them came out to confront him; how his countryman Martin Parr perfectly captures the blandness of modern architectural wonders; his countrywoman Frances Anderton and their separate flights from the crushing burden of history; the cars parked under dingbats, and their saddening cheapness that resonates with the saddening cheapness of the home itself; inherent British negativity versus inherent American positivity; his participation in the aesthetics of eighties Los Angeles, the redesign of the Shangri-La hotel, and the newspaper coverage of the 1984 Olympics; how the mini-mall co-opted postmodernism, getting the proportions all wrong in the process; Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles, which brought Banham and Ruscha together; Clive James and Ian Nairn's writing on cities, which honor the high and the low together; how neither graphic design nor Los Angeles needs you, and how that's the appeal; the current availability of all aesthetics, and his students' tendency not to discriminate between them and focus on brands instead; and whether he's been able to get any of these internet-savvy kids, usually from Asia and indifferent to Los Angeles, excited about dingbats.

Direct download: NCC_S3E11_Clive_Piercy.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:38pm UTC

S3E10: Trouble Sparks Creativity with Christopher Stephens

 Colin Marshall sits down in Nishinomiya, Japan with translator, writer, and former Kansai Time Out editor Christopher Stephens. They discuss whether higher Japanese skills get a foreigner more suspicion; the nearby presence and touristic effects of novelist Haruki Murakami's elementary school; the older writers, like Yasunari Kawabata, Junichiro Tanizaki, and Yukio Mishima, who stoked his interest in Japan; the experimental music to be found in Japan, such as the work of Keiji Haino and the Boredoms, and specifically in the Kansai noise scene; the Osaka duality between money-making hard workers and underground weirdness; the local pride taken in relative roughness and unrefinement, and the stereotype of the bad Osakan; what actually distinguishes the Osaka dialect, and how entirely different words might see use in one city but not its neighbor; Japan's visual culture, and the problematic emphasis on beauty that can ensue; his youth in Fresno, California, whose finest quality was the way it pushed him out; the time he took Wilco to an Osaka psychedelic sixties rock bar; how, when the Japanese open a psychedelic sixties rock bar, they really open a psychedelic sixties rock bar; his early struggles with regional backwardness in the eighties, and what happens when Japanese friends still ask him to hold their babies; Osaka's high crime rate for Japan and Fresno's high crime rate for California; whether Paris syndrome actually afflicts the Japanese; the West's eagerness to believe everything they hear about Japan; photographer Kyoichi Tsuzuki's purchase of the entire collection of Toba's science-fiction erotic museum; the cannaboid substance known as "herb" that recently made the rounds in Japan; the persistence of visual art in Japan which goes well beyond Takashi Murakami, and his own specialty, the Gutai group of painters; why no Japanese person has yet appeared on this show, and what linguistic reasons might explain it; the corrections Japanese people make to his English; his work editing Kansai Time Out during the heyday of its breed of publication; Japan's relatively robust print culture, at least by contrast to America's; how little time translation leaves to learn new words or savor the language; and, despite the world's having lost confidence in Japan, his theory that darkness always brings light, and that trouble sparks creativity.

Direct download: NCC_S3E10_Christopher_Stephens.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:54pm UTC

S3E9: The Poet's Peak with Stephen Gill

Colin Marshall sits down overlooking greater Kyoto on Mt. Ogura with Stephen Gill, poet, BBC radio scriptwriter, and executive director of People Together for Mt. Ogura. They discuss the mountain's place in a traditional Japanese poetry card game; how, after scores of Japanese noticed in it an opportunity for free trash disposal, the mountain generated the headline "Ogurayama, gomi no yama" (Mt. Ogura, Mountain of Trash); the compilation of a collection about Mt. Ogura featuring verse by one hundred different poets; the onset of sightseeing season, which mostly brings visitors to the neighboring Mt. Arashiyama; the rich literary heritage of this now-suburban area, which even offers real locations from The Tale of Genji; the modern development of Kyoto, whose tower blocks at least cast into relief its more historical elements in the "glorious chaos" mixture well known to Asia; his three stretches in Japan, and the constant visits to the doctor his early acclimatization required; how he makes radio programs about Japan, always beginning with an image and then crafting a broadcast around it; how he only learned about his native Britain by living abroad, and what a foreign poet can offer Japan by way of a helpful thorn in the side; his view of Kyoto as a vast intermeshing of systems, which once there tend to last a hundred, or even five hundred years; what could possibly "shake up" Kyoto short of actual destruction; and what it means for him to "tune in" to a place like this. He also reads haiku poems, both his own and those by other People Together for Mt. Ogura participants.

Direct download: NCC_S3E9_Stephen_Gill_revised.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:27am UTC

S3E8: Pyongyang Style with Rob Montz

Colin Marshall sits down in Los Angeles' Koreatown with filmmaker Rob Montz, director of Juche Strong, a short documentary about North Korea and its propaganda. They discuss reaching the same age as Kim Jong-un without a hermit kingdom to rule; the question of why North Koreans continue to believe in their state, despite having good reason not to; his early fascination with North Korea's World Cup showing, and how pursuing that fascination led him from standard opinions on the country to newer, more interesting ones; his realization that North Korean ideology comes built upon the same basic structures of psychological truth that any of us have; his interviewing of experts on North Korea, and their disagreements about the nature of the Juche idea; his trip to Pyongyang, and how it didn't require him to hide underwater from North Korean commandos, breathing through a reed; the state's aspirations to totalitarian watchfulness, and how incompetence shatters that image right at the airport; the boredom a visitor to North Korea endures, and how that boredom differs from the boredom we experience in the developed world, where we've mostly cured it; the nihilism that sets upon a mind deprived of the ability to autonomously create meaning and provide purpose; how life in the constant American stimulation stream may render you more vulnerable to boredom when you momentarily step out of it; how many pleasures a people will willingly forego if they're given a larger sense of purpose and community, and how we know the North Korean government knows this; what North and South Korea still have ideologically in common, though the South chose the means of ideological expression that let its people get fed; Confucian values on both sides of the DMZ, and how they even manifest in the strange filial piety of East Asian friends; his extension of the examination of North Korean-style propaganda to United States politics, and especially the ceaseless repetition of the phrase "God bless America" therein; of Washington, D.C., where homosexual atheist political operatives instruct Republican politicians to insist  upon the divine ordainment of American exceptionalism an inveigh against the "gay menace"; and how you can help fund the completion of Juche Strong on Indie Go Go (not to mention the clam-roasting footage you can get for doing so).

Direct download: NCC_S3E8_Rob_Montz.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:58pm UTC

S3E7: The Accidental Japanophile with Christopher Olson

Colin Marshall sits down near Nara, Japan's Tōdai-ji temple with artist, critic, and teacher Christopher Olson. They discuss his thoughts, as a Winnipegger born and raised, on Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg; the displacement, discombobulation, and respectable bullshitting of Chris Marker's Sans Soleil, a copy of which he keeps at all times on his phone; high-risk art, and the stuff that requires more time spent absorbing than creating; the still-exciting art school idea of limitations and restrictions as the engines of creation; whether or not Japan is "a land of images"; why you can't resist photographing your food in Japan, and what this has to do with the cultural sense of doing things properly or not doing them at all; the utilitarian, quick-and-dirty mindset of our North American homelands, which we notice with special force after having spent time amid Japan's superlegitimacy; the modern west's lack of filial piety, which he came to understand after getting involved with a Japanese lady (in a relationship that endured its Griffin and Sabine period); life in Japan as a constant process of auditing one's assumptions, especially those instilled by western Buddhism; freeloading on the Japanese social contract as a foreigner, and enjoying the liberty to "create your own Japan"; the gaijin you meet in Japan, including the "weeaboo" and the last-refuge English teacher; how Japanese vending machines could possibly not be trashed, robbed, and stripped of all saleable metal; Vancouver, the city where Canadians go to figure their shit out; the benefit of the foreigner's anti-inanity language barrier; how the force that makes Japanese trains run on time also causes the occasional Japanese to jump in front of one; the lack of ambient ambition in Japan, as opposed to the aspirational culture in North America that generates both resentment and a certain charge; his turn toward writing and criticism after an "I'm just not that good" moment in the visual arts; his desire to recapture that Chris Marker sense of delirious displacement in day-to-day life; and how he's ridden that distinctively Japanese sawtooth pattern of culture shock.

Direct download: NCC_S3E7_Christopher_Olson.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:38am UTC

S3E6: Form Over Function with John Dougill

Colin Marshall sits down seven stories above Kawaramachi, Kyoto, Japan with John Dougill, professor of British culture at Ryukoku University, blogger at Green Shinto, and author of books including Kyoto: A Cultural HistoryIn Search of Japan's Hidden Christians, and Oxford in English Literature. They discuss the commonalities between the Kyoto geisha and the English gentleman, who practice their respective cultures' ritual, regulation, and repression; form's dominance over function in Japan, as exemplified by one young fellow in a Union Jack t-shirt; how he got a handle on Japan by writing a book on Kyoto, and how in the process the scales fell from his eyes, revealing the "magical paradise" he lives in; his ambivalence toward the "sprawling urban mess" that has built up around modern Kyoto; Oxford, the other city in his life, and the formula of "old buildings and young people" that makes it ideal; his early feelings of isolation and anger toward Japan, and how he overcame them; coming to represent British culture in Japan, using Marmite and other traditional tools; his attractions to "earth religions," particularly Shinto, which he considers to be the true essence of Japanese culture; the Japanese tendency to contextually follow a variety of religious traditions and honor a variety of "equally valid" though sometimes opposing truths; how Japan's "hidden Christians" created and protected their own mixed folk religion; his current project, a book on Japan's UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and the problems inherent in a place becoming one; how Kyoto's younger generation has preserved and repurposed traditional machiya buildings; and the process by which he has come to see his own country through Japanese eyes, which means he sees a great deal of "rudeness, dirtiness, and lack of efficiency" — a different Britain, in other words, than the one he grew up in. 

Direct download: NCC_S3E6_John_Dougill.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:56pm UTC

S3E5: A Decent Banger with Josh Parkin

Colin Marshall sits down in Nakatsu, Osaka, Japan with guitarmaker Josh Parkin proprietor of Josh Parkin Guitars. They discuss how the intensity of Japanese enthusiasm extends to guitar-playing; how Japanese friends in London urged him not to set up shop in Tokyo, but in Osaka; his early life in Yorkshire, "the English Kansai," where he made his first attempts to build and modify guitars; the importance of finding the best handmade pickups and of learning to see the difference between .2 and .3 millimeters; the excellence of Japanese manufacturing, and its somewhat less impressive mastery of anthropometrics; his working life on Denmark Street, the center of London guitarmaking, and why he decided not to open his own business there; his travels through Asia before moving to Japan, which began in India and eventually found him homeless in Beijing; what it takes for a foreigner to open a business in Osaka (besides a few years off that foreigner's life); the impossibility of finding a decent banger in Japan; his dissatisfaction with the usual foreigner's job of teaching English, because it wasn't making guitars; his work with Tim Olive and experience of the Japanese noise scene, which seems to spring from within the culture rather than interpreting traditions outside it; the way everything in Japan gets easier after six months, except perhaps dealing with the ward office; Japanese-style obsessive drive as a necessity of guitarmaking, no matter where you do it; and his dream job of building a guitar according only to the player's musical style.

Direct download: NCC_S3E5_Josh_Parkin.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:28am UTC

S3E4: Ashukurafuto with Brian Ashcraft

Colin Marshall sits down in Osaka, Japan's Senri-Chūō with Brian Ashcraft, Senior Contributing Editor for video game site Kotaku, contributor at Wired, and author of the books Arcade Mania! and Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential. They discuss the kind of arcade gaming best (and now only) seen in Japan; the Expo 70-developed north of Osaka versus the city's "real" south; Osaka's reputation across Japan for brash un-gentility; where best to do one's gaming in Osaka, the the overall continuing robustness of Japanese arcades; the tradition of North American arcade gaming growing up around alcohol, and the tradition of Asian arcade gaming growing up around coffee, cigarettes, and milk tea; the Nintendo Entertainment System, known in Japan as the Famicom, and how it shaped both a decade and a generation on either side of the Pacific; the inevitable proximity of Japanese celebrities to gaming culture, whether through commercials or some stronger connection, in stark contrast to their game-averse American counterparts; his Dallas-Tokyo flight attendant childhood neighbor, and the strange but alluring cans of Coca-Cola she'd bring back from work; his first Japanese friend, whose family introduced him to their country's gift-giving culture; Tokyo's feeling of a "city of strangers," versus the more personable Osaka; his trying early years of Japan, and how he recognized his own sprachgefühl while watching Battle Royale; his time in Japan's having made him interested in his own Texas background; how he has made sure his sons learn about American culture, and how he laments their limited linguistic interaction with their American grandparents; the importance of raising children in Japan without giving them "the strange-last-name complex"; Japan's lack of weirdness, or at least the lack of weirdness you perceive if you take the time to ground your observations of it, including observations of or relating to arcade machines and schoolgirls, with as much non-oversimplified historical and cultural knowledge as possible.

Direct download: NCC_S3E4_Brian_Ashcraft.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:08am UTC

S3E3: "The Foreign Guy" with Michael Lambe

Colin Marshall sits down in Kyoto, Japan's efish café with Michael Lambe, Deep Kyoto blogger, teacher, and Public Relations Representative for the Kyoto Journal. They discuss the city's flummoxing preponderance of Irish pubs and the "celebrated infamy" of one in particular; the rich cultural heritage that brings foreigners to Kyoto, the modernization that foreigners bewail, and the preservation efforts that certain Japanese now make; his arrival in Japan on the JET program and original intent to go to the "wild snowswept north" of Hokkaido, though he wound up going from the northeast of England to the northeast of Japan instead; the Beatles-in-1963 treatment he received as the only foreigner in town; his time in Fukushima, then known as an unusually safe place, and one famous for its fruit; disasters, such as the 2011 one in Fukushima, as facts of life in Japan, and the necessity to rebuilt efficiently as another fact of life; his own adoption of that spirit when he volunteered to build houses in the Miyagi prefecture; the times he found himself bowing on the phone, leaving taxi doors open in England, and having lived over a decade in Japan; the difficulties of living vegetarian in Japan, even when you allow yourself fish; missing British television amid the "appalling" morass of cheap Japanese variety shows; evasion of the British television license men versus Japan's (as seen in Haruki Murakami's "Town of Cats"), and how he once got an NHK collection agent to think him a madman; how his four-year stint in Tokyo came up against his small-town sensibility, and how he disappointedly discovered the capital's absolute lack of demand that he speak (and thus learn) Japanese; his move to Kyoto, where visiting a rock bar he began making "real" non-Anglophone Japanese friends; the role of "the foreign guy" in Japan as comparable to Norm's on Cheers; Sons music bar, one place he discovered in the project that is Deep Kyoto (and Tadg's, which he recommends wholeheartedly); the history of the Kyoto Journal and its latest special issue on energy; Japan's odd reliance on nuclear power (not to mention squat toilets); and how blogging has connected him with foreigners, opposed to his original mission as that is.

(Photo: Stewart Wachs)

Direct download: NCC_S3E3_Michael_Lambe.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:03pm UTC

S3E2: The Temple Next to the Love Hotel with Tim Olive

Colin Marshall sits down in Kobe, Japan with guitarist, improviser, and sound artist Tim Olive, whose latest album is 33 Bays with Alfredo Costa Monteiro. They discuss Japan's importance to global experimental music culture; his own swerve toward experimentation after a western Canadian childhood spent listening to Black Sabbath's Paranoid; his early exploration of Javanese music in a Saskatchewan record library; how a Québécois girlfriend took him from Montreal to Osaka, where he lost "the rage"; how struck he felt by the sea of black hair Japan first presented to him; Osaka's "glorious ugliness," Nara's deer, and Kobe's wild pigs (just one of the signs of its close proximity to nature); his lack of a computer until last year, his longstanding ambivalence toward digital technology, and the double-edged sword of the internet's power to open up everything all at once; his workshop full of guitars in various states of dismantlement, and the importance of instrument modification to the physicality and sense of touch in music, both of which he prizes; Japan's distinctive combination of the highest new technology and the oldest traditions, as seen in the zoning collage of Osaka where venerable temples meet up with glossy love hotels; the fluid senses of time and space one must cultivate when moving between the West and the East, or even between Asian countries; his "under the table"-style freedom in Japan, and the other kinds of freedom the country affords, such as to one particular naked salaryman before the cops caught up with him; 845 Audio, the label he founded to release 33 Bays without delay; and his recommendations for getting tapped into the Kansai experimental music scene.

Direct download: S3E2_Tim_Olive.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:11pm UTC

S3E1: Buoyancy and Poignancy with Pico Iyer

Colin Marshall sits down in Nara, Japan's Nara Hotel with writer of place Pico Iyer, author of such books as Video Night in KathmanduThe Lady and the MonkThe Global Soul, and most recently The Man Within My Head. They discuss the discovery that Japan looks exactly like Japan, and the "piercing sense of familiarity" the enthusiast feels upon visiting for the first time; autumn in Japan, and its place at the core of The Lady and the Monk, his second book and still his favorite; Japan's distinctive combination of buoyancy and poignancy, which leads to the pre-savoring of wistfulness to come; the culture's dissolution of mind, heart, and soul all in the same place, and his efforts to build an intellectual infrastructure around his Japan-related intuitions; his recent reading of John Cage, an unexpected master of the Japanese virtues of not knowing and not saying; the necessity, when you want to write about something, to write about something else, and of writing about a passion in order to write about yourself; the Californian question of "being yourself," and its inadmissability to the Japanese mindset; his relief at not having to be Japanese within Japanese society, and what being a Japanese in Japanese society has done to visit a female brain drain upon the country; what it takes to best remain an outsider in Japan, enjoying its peculiar kind of diplomatic immunity, and how Donald Richie mastered that exchange of belonging for freedom; street vending machines and train-station bathrooms as outgrowths of both Japanese thoughtfulness and the nation's tendency to regard itself as a family; his visit to West Point, where the cadets received The Lady and the Monk as required reading; the danger of Japan's getting left behind by the increasingly interconnected world, what with its bad public relations and low level of spoken English; the enduring "vitality" of the seemingly less civilized places outside Japan; and how Japanese literature expresses nothing happening because Japanese life values nothing happening.

Direct download: NCC_S3E1_Pico_Iyer.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:37pm UTC

S2E27: A Productive Obscurantism with Tom Lutz

Colin Marshall sits down in Silver Lake with Tom Lutz, founding editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books, professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside, and author of the books CryingAmerican Nervousness, 1903Cosmopolitan Vistas, and Doing Nothing. They discuss whether the internet has brought about a new golden age of the essay; giving writers the word count they need to write about the subjects they want to, such as the literature of Romania; "publish what you want to read" as a guiding editing principle as "write what you want to read" is a guiding writing principle; the team of specialized editors that help him sift through a hundred pitches per day; why on Earth the name Los Angeles Review of Books was still available in the 21st century, and the seat of its "steampunk" appeal; the curiously "doubled relationship" non-New Yorkers have to New York publishing; how his readership turned immediately global, and whether coming from as international a city as Los Angeles necessarily entails that; the internationalism of "taco trucks and Korean spas," and the attendant indifference of distinction between "high" and "low" culture; connection as the very purpose of essays, and cosmopolitanism and debate as the essence of literary culture; the possible corrupting influences of the review form itself; the surprising pieces he has run, such as Ben Ehrenreich's consideration of the "death of the book" which became a consideration of Bruno Schulz; what's to be done about the divide between popular writing and "professionally deformed" academic writing; the value of clarity, honesty, curiosity, and a little bit of obscurity; whether to rule out the parts of Los Angeles by now written into the ground, such as the freeways, the beach, and the entertainment business; his early wanderings through Los Angeles and how they placed him in the city the way books couldn't; and literature's inability to catch up with the expansiveness of Los Angeles, the way he couldn't read everything printed in the year 1903, and the way even Herbert Spencer couldn't capture his entire life in his three-volume autobiography.

Direct download: NCC_S2E27_Tom_Lutz.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:34am UTC

S2E26: Dial M for Murderousness with Jay Caspian Kang

Colin Marshall sits down in Los Angeles' Sunset Triangle with Jay Caspian Kang, editor at sports and pop culture site Grantland and author of the novel The Dead Do Not Improve. They discuss his youthful Midnight in Paris dream of drinking in red leather bars with dead authors; the racy science fiction of L. Ron Hubbard; the current or former importance of New York City as a destination for a youngster with literary ambitions; his avoidance of the role of "tribal writer," tacitly assigned with explaining his culture to outsiders; growing up imprinted by the last "dangerous," pre-pop hip-hop, which he used as a tool to deal with otherness in his North Carolina high school; filling his main character Philip Kim's head with that and other preoccupations of the era in which he grew up, such as The Simpsons; the thirty-ish generation's combination of high ambition with almost patternlessly scattered efforts, as exemplified by Lena Dunham; slightly younger creators' instinctive consciousness of themselves as a "brand" based on their volume of output; his desire to write a hyper-real novel of San Francisco that would skewer — sometimes by actually killing — that city's more self-satisfied sort of residents; the divide between old and new San Franciscans, and those who fell in between by growing up there in the eighties, when the utopian dreams had fallen through and the town needed an identity; how Chris Isaak turned up in his book; the Virginia Tech shooting, and how he and other Korean-Americans knew immediately that an Asian school shooter had to be Korean; the comparative racial situations of San Francisco and Los Angeles, and what makes Crash "one of the worst movies ever"; coming out of a "hoity-toity MFA program" and writing a genre novel versus one that uses the elements of genre; Troy McClure quotes providing the book with a "funny unreal superstructure," and other aspects of The Simpsons' "large intrusion" into the text; and Los Angeles as a writer's escape from the writerly life which doesn't demand that you be as young, old, rich, or poor as New York does.

Direct download: NCC_S2E26_Jay_Caspian_Kang.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:14pm UTC

S2E25: Feel Literary with Adrian Todd Zuniga

Colin Marshall sits down at Hugo's Tacos in Los Angeles' Atwater Village with Adrian Todd Zuniga, founding editor of Opium magazine and impresario behind the international reading series Literary Death Match. They discuss what might make Los Angeles "the new Berlin"; his aim to make the city the literary center of the world by 2022; the hatred that flows into Los Angeles, but not out of it; Literary Death Match TV, the project that moved him here, and his battle against the idea of its being "too smart for television"; December 12th's live pilot shoot at Hollywood's Florentine Gardens; his experiences putting on Literary Death Matches in cities like Tulsa, Helsinki, Amsterdam, and Beijing; his love of his collaboration, whether or not it comes from growing up as the last of eight kids and always wanting to hang out with the most interesting people; how to "explode what literature is in the current pop culture landscape"; his frequent travel, his use of flights as a writing environment, and the thousand-page novel his travel memoir has become; turning your own experiences into fiction, and which rules that changes (especially the sexual ones); his transferring to 23 different schools in childhood due to the workplace conduct of his "tactless genius" father"; his current search for a "quieter sense of what life is" and the conflict between wanting to change book culture forever and wanting to go to sleep; and how he taps into the universal desire to feel literary.

Direct download: NCC_S2E25_Adrian_Todd_Zuniga.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:39pm UTC

S2E24: Every Part of the Pig with Camas Davis

Colin Marshall sits down in Portland's Pearl District with Camas Davis, food writer and founder of the Portland Meat Collective. They discuss why bacon has hit the zeitgeist so hard; her interest in fostering an "alternative economy of meat"; her former career writing travel pieces, which invariably and instinctively became food pieces; her education in the "meta-meta theoretical" exploration of food; how meat became cool again, after industrialization made it uncool (and not particularly tasty); her agreement with even the hardest-core animal-rights vegan about the horrors of industrial meat production; growing up in Eugene, where if you weren't vegetarian, you weren't cool; her return from vegetarianism to the meat-eating fold with a bacon meal while teaching in a women's prison; how American got itself into an entitlement mentality about cheap meat thrice a day; the importance of killing animals we eat ourselves, and how she finds some people are better at it than others; her time studying in southwestern France, what exactly separates French eating culture from American, and how the French are just getting into some of what has made American food unpalatable in recent decades; all the surprising things you can do with a pig's head; Portland's food consciousness and food renaissance, and how they might serve as a bellwether for a countrywide shift in attitudes about eating; Portland's suspicion of eateries that get "too big for their britches," which results in a certain elevated-comfort-food trademark cuisine; her butchery classes, in which she's found far fewer obnoxious hipster foodies enrolling than she'd expected; our rightful fear of most meat, and the meat we need not be scared of; and whether America has many small food movements, or one big food movement.

Direct download: NCC_S2E24_Camas_Davis.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:55pm UTC

S2E22: Uncaptive Rider with Jarrett Walker

Colin Marshall sits down in southeast Portland with Jarrett Walker, public transit consultant and author of the blogs Human Transit and Creature of the Shade as well as the book Human Transit: How Clearer Thinking About Public Transit Can Enrich Our Communities and Our Lives. They discuss how Portland "turned the battleship" toward sustainable transport in that least likely of all decades, the seventies; the city's discovery of its own extraordinary capacity for self-promotion in the nineties; his adolescence there spent in fascination at the buses departing to all their myriad destinations; how thinking about transit makes thinking about cities more interesting; the unfortunate divide between urban design and transport planning; how the North American revolt against highway-building also hampered the construction of transit infrastructure; a city's transportation system as the ultimate test of its citizen's freedom; the close relationship between a city's density and its transit possibilities, and why fantastically inefficient systems are always pleasant to ride; how he has come to love Los Angeles, during its current transitional moment, as someone who has hated it; Los Angeles' place as a "city on the edge" that always captures the imagination, no matter the petty judgments it draws; Los Angeles' distinctive geography offering the best possible opportunity for transit-building; the questions he asks about whether a city wants him to understand the whole of its transit system, and whether it treats him as a free actor; the surprises that delight him now that he's gotten used to confusing, sad, and unpleasant transit experiences; airport stations and their tendency toward "symbolic transit"; and the importance of whether a city treats transit as a commuting device or as an all-purpose urban structure, and whether or not it's motivated simply by the coolness of the vehicles.

Direct download: NCC_S2E22_Jarrett_Walker.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:21am UTC

S2E21: Grittiness and Heart with Kevin Sampsell

Colin Marshall sits down in Portland's Montavilla with Kevin Sampsell, publisher of Future Tense Books, editor of Portland Noir, and author of the memoir A Common Pornography and the novel This is Between Us, forthcoming from Tin House. They discuss the meth crime to be found beyond 82nd Avenue; Portland from the vantage point of his childhood in Washington's Tri-Cities; how he met other writers by publishing his own "lo-fi chapbooks"; how one forges one's own unique voice by maintaining their not-giving-a-crap nonchalance; his chronologically un-pinpointable founding of Future Tense and its surprise success with Zoe Trope's Please Don't Kill the Freshman; writing as a kind of martial art, which develops you even if you start out flabby, and which demands its own kind of meditation; how he became a (more) serious reader at Powell's Books; his love of southern writers, and more generally those who combine grittiness and heart; how unimportant he finds sense of place in fiction, yet how much praise he won for "capturing the Tri-Cities" in A Common Pornography; his technique of mixing the mundane with the shocking and hoping for the best; moving from the "no style" and short chapters of his last book to the longer chapters and conversational style of his new one; and the attractions of the Portland writing life, including having space to live and being in a place where nonfiction writers and poets might actually associate.

Direct download: NCC_S2E21_Kevin_Sampsell.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:41pm UTC

S2E20: Conservatively Progressive with Carl Abbott

Colin Marshall sits down at Portland State University with Carl Abbott, professor there of urban studies and planning and author of Portland in Three Centuries: The Place and the People. They discuss the debate over Portland's status as a "small city" or a "big town"; the distinctive ease of making connections in the city; how modern-day Portland enthusiasts would look at the place before 1965 and see Akron, Ohio; the oft-made comparisons between Portland, Seattle, and Austin; the history and continued presence of agriculture and industry around the "cool Portland" of today; Microsoft and Boeing, the "accidental" companies that made Seattle the younger sibling that out-competed Portland, one with better booms but worse busts; Portland's "conservatively progressive"  politics, and how that sensibility shows up in its light rail system and central library (especially as compared to Seattle's); the relationship between the city's vaunted "livability" and its patterns of diversity; how he came to Portland and when, exactly, the city turned away from its former stodginess (and when its porno theaters started turning into revival houses); Portland entrepreneurship, which Portlanders prefer to call "D.I.Y."; how best to engage new immigrants and hip youngsters in "Portlandism," a civic-minded, participatory approach to incremental problem-solving; science fiction's visions of cities, which present recurring patterns related to urban theory; and whether Portland counts as a utopian project, if a practical one.

Direct download: NCC_S2E20_Carl_Abbott.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:17pm UTC

S2E19: Small Town Cop with Matt Haughey

Colin Marshall sits down in Portland's Slabtown with Matt Haughey, founder of MetaFilter, the most civilized community on the internet, co-founder of Fuelly, and creator of several other sites as well. They discuss his escape from San Francisco's "goofball startup culture"; what it means for MetaFilter to be "civilized"; his desire not simply to create "a safe place for people to yell past each other"; the importance of keeping personal identity out of debates; the strange backend provided by MetaFilter's question-and-answer service Ask MetaFilter; the second-most popular Ask MetaFilter thread of all time, Colin's own "What in life did it take you a surprisingly long time to realize you've been doing wrong all along?"; the strange popularity of questions about how to talk to girls, relate humanity, and/or live life, also known as the "forever alone" series; what it takes to become one of MetaFilter's ten worst users, drunk on power or stupidity; the hyperarticulate sourness that makes bad comments on MetaFilter especially bad, and how it leads to users pre-emptively armor-plate their sentences; Portland as a setting for the simple life, but also the good one; advertising's domination of internet business models, and the bite mobile browsing even now takes out of that; who's actually clicking those ads that ostensibly support everything; the benefits of living down the long tail, and of executing difficult-to-describe ideas that are therefore difficult to replicate; where to shut yourself off from the net in Portland, be it on a bike or at a food cart; and how a Portlander can possibly react to a kid on a unicycle, in a Utilikilt, playing a bagpipe, topped with a Darth Vader helmet.

Direct download: NCC_S2E19_Matt_Haughey.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:11am UTC

S2E18: 200% Happier with Mia Birk

Colin Marshall sits down in southeast Portland with Mia Birk, author of Joyride: Pedaling Toward a Healthier Future and President of Alta Planning + Design, which strives to make biking, walking, and mass transit an integral part of daily life. The discuss exactly how much happier he would have been riding a bicycle to the interview than riding a bus; the way Portland "got the ball rolling" for its cycling infrastructure development in the nineties; the moments of surprising hostility she found upon first pedaling down Portland streets; bicycle infrastructure as a facilitator of cooperation; how to extend enthusiasm for cycling beyond the guys in Lance Armstrong spandex to those who simply need to get somewhere; the ill effects of America's having spent decades incentivizing driving, and exactly how European cities like Copenhagen pulled so far ahead; how she gauges the cycling in a new town, asking first to see "the good, the bad, and the ugly"; the importance of creating conditions of delight for riding in a city, and the need to re-teach the occasional public official how to use a bike before doing so; how the declared identity of a city affects the implementation of cycling within it; how she finds you can fit "a little party" into every day; and what, exactly, to do when you turn up in Portland yourself, jonesing to ride.

Direct download: NCC_S2E18_Mia_Birk.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:51am UTC

S2E17: Grueling Whittling with Mike Russell

Colin Marshall sits down in northwest Portland with comic artist and film critic Mike Russell, co-host on the Cort and Fatboy podcast, creator of Culturepulp, Mr. Do and Mr. Don't, The Sabertooth Vampire, and more. They discuss the excruciating process of drawing an interview; his adaptation of a page of David Foster Wallace's "Up, Simba"; what it's like to artistically live-blog the Portland Opera; the unusual robustness of the Portland comics industry, and its incentivization of "putting comics where they shouldn't be"; his current task of drawing a comic for a set of European finance ministers; the origins of Portland podcasting, and how he became a part; how Star Wars formed at least part of his cinematic consciousness, and what it takes to grow up into an astute genre fan; the worrisome effects of nostalgia and "remix culture"; the Portland "put it out there, what the hell" attitude; Portlandia's proper title of Southeast Portlandia, and how Los Angeles still sees the dream of the nineties as alive in the city; Portland as an undrying source of drawable weirdness; and the quintessentially Portland sport of "hashing," or taking runs from bar to bar, drinking beer at each.

Direct download: NCC_S2E17_Mike_Russell.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:32am UTC

S2E16: Reality's More Interesting with Thom Andersen

Colin Marshall sits down in Silver Lake with Thom Andersen, professor at the California Institute of the Arts' School of Film/Video and director of films including Red Hollywood, the new Reconversion, and the well-known documentary Los Angeles Plays Itself, on the truth and falsity of the city's representation in motion pictures. They discuss The Fast and the Furious shooting on his street; the end of the current era of impressive car chases crafted by Nicolas Winding Refn and Quentin Tarantino; H.B. Halicki's original Gone in 60 Seconds, and the importance of its literalism regarding greater Los Angeles' South Bay; how rarely mainstream cinematic interest looks beyond white people of "immodest means," and what the films that do go beyond them achieve (such as the creation of detective films that actually involve detecting); Killer of Sheep, Boyz n the Hood, and the differences between garden-variety "gang movies" and those that truthfully deal with survival; the questions to do with the black population, bank bailouts, and the destruction of the working class he believes movies could address but rarely do; how much more interesting reality is than our imaginations, which by now have long since filled up with junk; Los Angeles as a representational battleground, and the way filmmakers have an alibi here not to do important work; the native's lack of advantage in understanding this city, and the outsider's advantage in making it strange again, as seen in Zabriskie Point, The Outside Man, Model Shop, and Point Blank; the changes in Los Angeles, how they vanish in comparison to the changes in major Asian cities, and how they have for the most part taken place among the people rather than in the infrastructure; the racism of Crash versus the naïveté of Falling Down; his continuing fascination with the Los Angeles wherein people struggle to make a living; and what fillms and books can to do change minds, given that they so often make minds in the first place.

Direct download: NCC_S2E16_Thom_Andersen.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:27pm UTC

S2E15: Places are People with Ben Casnocha

Colin Marshall sits down in San Francisco's South Beach with entrepreneur, author, blogger, traveler, and learner Ben Casnocha. His latest book, co-written with Reid Hoffman, chairman of LinkedIn, is The Start-Up of You. They discuss the advantages of hanging an IKEA world map on the wall; his ten days of silent meditation and the feeling of enlarged thumbs that resulted; the San Francisco Bay Area's convergence of Californian spirituality and Californian technological intensity; the three Californias: San Francisco, Los Angeles, and everything else; "NorCal" pride and State of Jefferson stickers; being the average of the five people you spend the most time with, and how that got him involved in technology startups to begin with; how where you physically live now matters both more and less than it used to (and who still lives virtually on Livejournal); how loyalty now extends horizontally to your network rather than vertically to your company, and how your identity now comes before your role as an organizational component; his lifelong habit of reaching out to interesting people, and how it differs from the standard sleaziness of "networking"; his visits to Detroit and Athens, and how those cities may have strained his appreciative thinking muscles; his interest in underrated and underdiscussed places as well as people, such as those in South America; his adoption of "home bases" around the world, be they in San Francisco, Santiago, Zurich, or Tokyo; the pronunciation of Tegucigalpa; the loneliness he sees deep in the eyes of people who declare themselves "nomadic"; the necessity of acting consistently on curiosity, and of cultivating both a highly technical and a highly nontechnical mind; whether moving to a city means moving to randomness; and his sensory-deprivation experience floating in a saltwater pod.

Direct download: NCC_S2E15_Ben_Casnocha.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:33pm UTC

S2E14: Next Year, Jerusalem with Peter Orner

Colin Marshall sits down in San Francisco's Bernal Heights with Peter Orner, author of the novels Love and Shame and Love and The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo and the short story collection Esther Stories as well as co-editor of the nonfiction collections Underground America: Narratives of Undocumented Lives and Hope Deferred: Narratives of Zimbabwean Lives. They discuss the heightened Americanness of Chicago and what it has offered his literary sensibility; our tendency as Americans, for good and ill, to chase stuff, whether in the city or the suburbs; his fascination with how life simply goes on amid grand (and possibly meaningless) power struggles; how, as a fresh college graduate, he found his was to Namibia; how his experience compares with the fictional Scottish doctor who falls in with Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland, especially in the sense of the gnawing burden of non-belonging; life in a country where things slow down, and the space for thought that provides; how Namibia inspired him to write a story of a man lost in a Kafkanly inescapable shopping mall, and how he used a school's sole typewriter to compose it; his constant aspirations to the condition of the short story collection, the "highest form," and how even his novels secretly take that form; the experimentalism of great books that don't seem experimental, like Bleak House or Moby Dick; how Namibia's situation compares to that of Zimbabwe, and how many of Zimbabwe's problems can be laid at the feet of Robert Mugabe; how he experiences a San Francisco beyond the Fisherman's Wharves and the Transamerica Pyramids; and his criticism of the city's increasing pricing out of families that leads, ultimately, to a loss of stories.

Direct download: NCC_S2E14_Peter_Orner.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:18am UTC

S2E13: Greatly Great Music with Cariwyl Hebert

Colin Marshall sits down in San Francisco's Yerba Buena Gardens with Cariwyl Hebert, founder of the community-based classical music appreciation society Salon97. They discuss New Yorker classical music critic Alex Ross' hatred of "classical music"; her project of pretension removal and safe-place creation; how she identified a need in the way her work in classical music proved a reliable conversation-ender; developing and implementing the idea of the classical listening party around which  Salon97 is now based; listening party themes that draw attention and/or create tension, and how she strikes the correct balance between too schmaltzy and not schmaltzy enough; having to begin musical discussions with pure opinion, and bringing out the controversial lives of the composers to generate discussion; returning the social aspect to classical music, by beer, wine, or other means; what, exactly, a composer can infuse their music with while keeping it "classical"; the life of the classical music enthusiast in San Francisco, whether or not it crosses into competitive culture-vulturing; what  a Salon97 listening party is actually like, versus Ross' experience of the concert hall; why we sat down at our concerts in the Victorian era and never stood back up; the casualizing influence of the tech industry and how it opens up the various levels of San Francisco culture; and how you can watch Mozart doing stuff.

Direct download: NCC_S2E13_Cariwyl_Hebert.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:18pm UTC

S2E12: Good Old Shareware with Stan James

Colin Marshall sits down in San Francisco's Mission at the Noisebridge hacker space with Stan James, founder of Lijit, creator of the first browser-based massively multiplayer games, co-host of the 7th Kingdom podcast, and author of a book in progress on technology and our minds. They discuss Noisebridge itself and its almost Utopian qualities; how the supernormal stimuli of cat videos create addiction; how his early multiplayer games could created addiction; San Francisco's position as the American city to be in for those with technological interests, not exclusively technological interests; the optimal Mission-style burrito ordering strategy; how we've left the concept of immersion in virtual reality behind in favor of always being at least a little bit on the internet, and how we can see it in the ways we navigate and even date; stepping outside our reactions to new technological developments by going back to Plato; parental disregard for the protocol of Skype calling; his life in Berlin, another city where people go to do projects and make things; how and why he became "Wandering Stan," and the importance he's found of digging into others' lives when he's in actual places; whether younger so-called "digital natives" can better handle technological addictiveness; how wide a swath of the human experience San Francisco offers; how he discovered the difference between his engaged-in-a-project face and his dead-eyed Reddit-browsing face; and how word of Avril Lavigne reached Nepal before it reached him.

Direct download: NCC_S2E12_Stan_James.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:41am UTC

S2E10: Eco Chamber with Ethan Nosowsky

Colin Marshall sits down in San Francisco's Mission with Ethan Nosowsky, Editorial Director at McSweeney's. They discuss security breaches at the McSweeney's office by overenthusiastic fans seeking a physical connection to their favorite publisher of physical books; his tendency to act as "the Joe Lieberman of publishing" in his editorial career, carrying unchanging tastes through changing times; Geoff Dyer, the writer with whom he has worked the longest, and how the subject-independence of Dyer's writing parallels the subject-independence of his editing; the counterintuitively un-self-indulgent qualities of "Dyeristic" prose; memoir booms vampire booms, and the eternal bad-book boom; how he finds the real action in hybrids of fiction and essay, and how those forms provide the surprises that all art should; his life in New York publishing before his homecoming to the San Francisco Bay area, and how he has come to regard the ecosystem/echo chamber of the New York literary scene at a distance; the dominance of food and technology over books in Bay Area culture; David Byrne's new ​How Music Works​ , and other books that you want certain authors to write; and the potential usefulness of the authorly switcheroo, as when Dyer planned to write a book about tennis but wrote a book about Andrei Tarkovsky's ​Stalker​.

Direct download: NCC_S2E10_Ethan_Nosowsky.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:59pm UTC

S2E9: Beautiful Abstractions with Josh Kornbluth

Colin Marshall sits down at downtown San Francisco's Contemporary Jewish Museum with monologist Josh Kornbluth. They discuss the proper pronunciation of the word "monologist"; his simultaneous return to the practice of oboe-playing and late entry into things Jewish; the question of whether Andy Warhol is "good for the Jews," and how he spun it into a monologue; the qualities of faith shared by Judaism and the communism of his childhood, which still releases endorphins when he thinks about it; the difficulty of dragging beautiful, pure abstractions of any kind into the concrete human sphere; Haiku Tunnel, the "FUBU of office workers"; the implicit premise of perhaps most monologues that everything ultimately connects to everything; how to show you've put in the hours on a performance by presenting its artifice just right; building a career in the San Francisco Bay Area, and how the place ratchets the average New York Jew's stress level down from eleven to ten; New York as his own personal primordial ooze; how San Francisco tends to push out its aspirers, especially where theater is concerned; the outsider's longing to understand music, Judaism, or both, and how he's come to experience both as practices; and the wonder of trying, failing, and trying again at one's craft within a community.

Direct download: NCC_S2E9_Josh_Kornbluth.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:08pm UTC

S2E8: Paris Legitimizes with Daniel Levin Becker

Colin Marshall sits down in San Francisco's Castro with Daniel Levin Becker, member of the experimental literary group Oulipo, reviews editor at the Believer, and author of Many Subtle Channels: In Praise of Potential Literature. They discuss whether Oulipo membership impresses the ladies; his earlier, long pre-Oulipo days, when he would make mixtapes consisting entirely of songs without the letter "e" in the title; his fascination with taking mundane patterns, applying enough work to them, and making something pretty incredible; palindromes, beau présent, homophones, metro poems, mathematical constraints, and Greimas squares; his Fulbright-enabled stay in Paris to organize Oulipo's junk, which led to his writing a book on the group, and then to their offer of membership even before he thought he had accrued the necessary literary steez; whether Paris retains its status as a literary-minded young American's dream, and its status as a "literary mindfuck" nevertheless; what Paris legitimizes, including but not limited to sexy Orangina animals; "gamification," in the artistic, urban, and Silicon Valley senses; the possible use of Oulipian restrictions in Many Subtle Channels itself; what makes Oulipo distinctively French, and what its irony about the canon may have in common with the irony of D.A.R.E. shirts worn in the United States; the Believer as a representative of west coast United States literary culture, and how the scrappiness of Chicago stands in contrast; and when he suspends his Chicagoan-ness, and how much of that involves not eating spicy meats.

Direct download: NCC_S2E8_Daniel_Levin_Becker.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:12pm UTC

S2E7: Corporate Refuge with Christin Evans and Praveen Madan

Colin Marshall sits down in a back room in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury with Christin Evans and Praveen Madan, owners and transformers of The Booksmith, and now Kepler's in Menlo Park. They discuss being deemed "corporate refugees" by their employees for their tech consulting past; creating a positive, aspirational experience that doesn't make bookstores seem like broccoli; what they learned from spending date nights in other cities, having dinner and then visiting the local independent bookstores; the importance of offering serendipity, deeply knowledgeable service, and a multisensory browsing experience; how they've come to hold 200 events a year, including their popular bookswaps, born of customers' desire to meet people in places other than bars; what makes Haight-Ashbury something more than a neighborhood where a lot of fun stuff happened a long time ago, and how they made it a first priority to connect with the local community; the parallel non-profit functions of community bookstores, including public education; what makes bookstores businesses, but not normal businesses; "matchmaking" books to readers such as Dwight, lover of Russian history; how they create an addiction to books, bearing in mind that half of America doesn't read a book afer high school; what the controversy about Yann Martel's Beatrice and Virgil illustrates about The Booksmith's "high-touch" business model; the abstraction of life in corporate consulting, and the total lack of abstraction of life in bookselling; bookstores as social networks when you want to unplug from social networks; and the mind-expanding books that running The Booksmith has brought into both of their lives.

Direct download: NCC_S2E7_The_Booksmith.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:49pm UTC

S2E6: Inconsiderable Things with Steve Roden

Colin Marshall sits down in a Wallace Neff dome in Pasadena with visual and sound artist Steve Roden. They discuss whether art can exist without constraints; his enthusiasm for "dumb ideas," such as painting with his mouth; the influence of Buckminster Fuller's Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, which he found in a gutter as a kid; the inspiration a Jimi Hendrix impersonator gave him, and how he went on to enter the Los Angeles punk scene of the late seventies and early eighties; his punk band's catalog, including such songs as "Kill Reagan" and "Jesus Needs a Haircut"; his skill set consisting primarily of patience and the ability to evolve slowly; working in forms that admit the most failure, and thus produce the most interestingness; the days when he would hang out at the Westwood Tower Records until midnight, and the clerk that gave him an all-important copy of Brian Eno's Another Green World; the beauty of playing an instrument you know nothing about, and of other ideas born of incomplete information; his involvement with languages he doesn't speak, including researching Walter Benjamin without German, studying in Paris without French, and translating Swedish poetry without Swedish; finding the unknown in Los Angeles, and what it means to be able to traverse the city with ease or difficulty; the importance of maintaining a one-man practice; and his uncommonly fruitful experiences reading liner notes.

Direct download: NCC_S2E6_Steve_Roden.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:11pm UTC

S2E5: The "Kiss Me, Stupid" Date with Karina Longworth

Colin Marshall sits down in Sliver Lake with Karina Longworth, film writer at the LA Weekly, co-founder of the film-culture blog Cinematical, and author of the upcoming Masters of Cinema: George Lucas. They discuss the public fascination with criticism versus blogging; J. Hoberman's notion of criticism as reporting what it feels like to be in the screening room; how she promoted a version of herself in her blogging days, and what she regrets about doing so; the pre-YouTube video essays she would create in school about Moonlighting, Judy Garland's apocryphal marriage proposal to Frank Sinatra, and Maury Povich; whether it makes sense to ask if we live in an interesting time for cinema, and whether she can even tell through the fog of writing about movies every week; time travel films and the oft-fumbled promise thereof, especially in the shadows of Back to the Future's pop mainstreaming of scientific devices; what she's learned about making Claire Denis and Sion Sono quickly relevant to readers who may well never have heard of them; how New York gets more movies than Los Angeles, how moviegoing means something different in the two cities, and her cover story about the whole dichotomy; her book on George Lucas, and the looming question of what, exactly, happened to him; her fears about her favorite directors getting too much budget, power, and freedom, and her greater fears about the Dodgers falling victim to the same; the strange fate of the rental collection at Kim's Video; her experience of cinematic burnout, and the subjectivity to which is may lead; Andrew Bujalski's Computer Chess, which is actually about computer chess; pictures like Sans Soleil and Kiss Me, Stupid, which so formed their cinematic consciousnesses as to become their representations in film form; and the magical, destructive, entrancing, awful myth of old Hollywood.

Direct download: NCC_S2E5_Karina_Longworth.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:24pm UTC

S2E4: The Maybe Pile with Carolyn Kellogg

Colin Marshall sits down in Echo Park with Carolyn Kellogg, writer on books and publishing for the Los Angeles Times and their literary blog Jacket Copy, board member at the National Book Critics Circle, and formerly the blogger and podcaster behind Pinky's Paperhaus. They discuss what happens when the interviewer becomes an interviewee; her use of early internet radio as a social skill-free way to penetrate the Los Angeles literary scene; that scene's coherence through the internet, and its tendency to be "nicer" than New York's, where publishing has cultural primacy; her tendency to strike less of a local-global balance in Jacket Copy than to regard Los Angeles itself as stateless; the city's unknowability, and the probable facetiousness of anyone who claims to know it; whether books, bookstores, reading, and criticism are or were ever in crisis; solid versus ephemeral media, and the importance of your inability to drop your library in the toilet; publishing's former status as a "gentlemen's business," and how that allowed it the tolerance for failure that every creative industry needs; whether Twitter makes people too nice to produce serious criticism; what makes some social networks suitable for book talk, and others completely worthless; the Los Angeles Times' use of blogs, and Tony Pierce's influence on it; her days in the Los Angeles of the eighties, working at an all-night Russian cafe downtown; how writers don't seem to hate it here as much nowadays, though some sort of heartbreak remains; how she filters not just the daily shipment of books to her house, but the onslaught of books that enter existence on a daily basis; and the possibility that someone's finally getting the multimedia reading experience right.

Direct download: NCC_S2E4_Carolyn_Kellogg.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:20pm UTC

S2E3: Jetpacks and Flying Cars with Chris Nichols

Colin Marshall sits down below the mid-Wilshire offices of Los Angeles magazine with its associate editor Chris Nichols, the man behind the Ask Chris column and blog, former chair of the Los Angeles Conservancy Modern Committee, and author of The Leisure Architecture of Wayne McAllister. They discuss the importance of the now-empty Johnie's Coffee Shop on Wilshire and Fairfax; what being a civic booster means in Los Angeles; the remains of the postwar American car culture of easy, breezy livin', and their enduring value; the preponderance of hard-to-explain objects across the Los Angeles landscape, and how he explains them in his writing; the richness and strange inhospitability of La Brea Avenue, currently caught between old and new ideas of the city; architectural preservation, and how much of it in Los Angeles is too much; the surviving Googie coffee shops like Pann's and Norms, Wayne McAllister's pre-Googie creations, and their place in the city's historical palimpsest; his determination to help tourists determine and discover their fantasy of Los Angeles, of which countless many exist; why you have to go out and find the city, and why it will simply never come to you; the wonders of Cucamonga; how he's used Los Angeles as his own personal party space; the Dutch chocolate shop that became a swap meet, and the spectacular twenties movie palace that became a storeroom; how things filled out when "the world moved in" to places like Koreatown, where you can find, for instance, a cafe that is also a boat; what meaning, if any, Frank Gehry's much-discussed Disney Concert Hall has; and his desire to get lost in Los Angeles once again

Direct download: NCC_S2E3_Chris_Nichols.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:15pm UTC

S2E2: The Crushing Burden of History with Frances Anderton

Colin Marshall sits down in Ocean Park with Frances Anderton, host of KCRW's Design and Architecture and Dwell magazine's Los Angeles editor. They discuss how her countrymen Reyner Banham, David Hockney, and Christopher Isherwood opened up the idea of Los Angeles to England, vague as the understanding of its cityscape remained; the modernism of Los Angeles then emblematized by its freeways and its architectural freedom from the crushing burden of history, as unlike her native Bath as possible; how Paris' Pompidou Centre and the mere image of sliding glass patio doors shaped her architectural consciousness; the rise of preservation in Los Angeles, and how it might take an outsider to clearly see the movement's potential to hinder eccentricity; the American tendency to prostrate ourselves before whatever seems sufficiently old; how stark early-sixties modernism rose in Los Angeles without actually displacing anything, except on Bunker Hill; Chris Burden's ideas about the super-fast self-driving car as the transportation of his future, and his generation's implicit yearning to bring back 1962; how she figured out that radio was indeed a suitable medium for the discussion of design, architecture, and aesthetics, especially when it can include conversations about such subjects with the likes of Moby; and what Moby's architecture blog says about the surreality of Los Angeles, as well as where she still finds that surreality herself after 21 years in the city.

Direct download: NCC_S2E2_Frances_Anderton.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:37am UTC

S2E1: Affinity for the Dead with Nate DiMeo

Colin Marshall sits down at the West Hollywood Library with Nate DiMeo, public radio producer and creator of the podcast The Memory Palace. They discuss American history's unique wealth of inventors, fakes, geniuses and eccentrics, such as serial impostor Stanley Clifford Weyman and child prodigy turned streetcar transfer taxonomist William James Sidis; the odd satisfaction of stories that arrive at "close enough" rather than classic success; the issue of the right historical moment for a creation, whether that creation is a podcast, a radio show, or the music of Slash; podcasting's theoretically ideal function as public radio's "indie underground" feeder system, and its failure thus far to perform that function; his own realization that The Memory Palace probably wouldn't take the public radio path, and the freedom that gave him; the enduring appeal, no matter podcasting advantages, of the "kismet" of radio, which can deliver unexpected information, entertainment, and delight; why a relatively high degree of public radio innovation has gone on in Los Angeles, and how a public radio producer can become the hit of any entertainment-industry party here; why the older public radio generation hasn't yielded to the younger; and what it takes for him, as an avowed non-history buff, to draw certain feelings from moments in American history and then reconstitute those feelings in audio form.

Direct download: NCC_S2E1_Nate_DiMeo.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:28am UTC

S1E32: Genuine New York Novelist with Joshua Henkin

Colin Marshall sits down in West Hollywood with novelist Joshua Henkin, author most recently of The World Without You, for their first conversation in four and a half years since his previous appearance on The Marketplace of Ideas. They discuss how the new book makes a space for characters to converge rather than occupying the space between two people, like his last one; the authorial balance between knowing too much and knowing too little, and the need to address the same question in fiction you would on Passover of "why this night is different from all other nights"; his bringing in a divorce, a death, the war in Iraq, and July 4th, and how much is too much; his tendency to throw away thousands of pages when refining each novel, observing the economist's principle of sunk costs; how character is plot, and how stories go wrong when character isn't plot; his ways of fictionally repurposing pieces of his own life that few readers would guess; the dangers of writing about recent-past events, and doing so while achieving the universal with a laserlike focus on the particular; the importance of writing no character as an authorial mouthpiece, especially when dealing with sensitive political and religious issues as The World Without You does; his use of teaching as a feedback look for his own writing, and how early in his career he managed to expose himself to a great amount of what doesn't work in fiction; his writer's life in Brooklyn, and why that borough has become such a writerly place; his childhood in and return to New York, and what that has to do with his characters existing in perpetual relationships to the place; the writer's need to hang out primarily with non-writers; his techniques for achieving a sense of place, and the American difficulty of having any sense of place at all about somewhere as distant as Iraq, which seems to have become a theme of the war itself; the press' eagerness and the author's wariness to discuss the "aboutness" of a book; and the irreducibility of fiction meaning that the easier you can summarize a novel, the worse that novel is.

(Photo: Matthew Polis)
Direct download: NCC_S1E32_Joshua_Henkin.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:10pm UTC

S1E31: Freedom and Ugliness with Christopher Hawthorne

Colin Marshall sits down on top of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles with Christopher Hawthorne, architecture critic at the Los Angeles Times and co-author of The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture. Last year, he conducted Reading Los Angeles, a yearlong study of the city through the books written about it. This year, he's doing a series of essays and video explorations of Los Angeles' boulevards: first Atlantic, then Sunset, and soon Crenshaw and beyond. They discuss the break from the city's previous connection with the automobile, the single-family house, and private amenity; the unusual number of existential questions Los Angeles has faced and continues to face; outsiders' visceral reaction to Los Angeles "inconsistent" architecture (especially as manifested by Randy's and Dale's Donuts), and the way freedom and ugliness can go hand-in-hand; his having grown up in Berkeley, a process that subjected him to a certain anti-Los Angeles "indoctrination"; the sense that Los Angeles is its "own thing," and how that motivates deadening choices like freeways as well as enlivening choices like turning away from Europe and toward Latin America and Asia; Woody Allen and his attitudes about cities and urbanism, as revealed in films like Annie Hall and Midnight in Paris; how the stereotype of Los Angeles' superficiality conceals its layered nature, and whether the city's best elements can ever be made directly accessible; how to read cities versus reading objects, and how familiarity with Los Angeles helped him read a city like Houston; the complicated relationship between public and private space in Los Angeles, as exemplified by streets that simply give up on sidewalks and beloved midcentury modern houses in terribly alienating locations; and the tendency of tourists to see only the worst of Los Angeles and go no further — unless they go much, much further.

Direct download: NCC_S1E31_Christopher_Hawthorne.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:59pm UTC

S1E30: The Stories of Los Angeles with David Kipen

Colin Marshall sits down in Boyle Heights with David Kipen, founder of that neighborhood's combined bookstore and lending library Libros Schmibros and a true man of both letters and Los Angeles. He gives commentary on books and literary culture on KPCC-FM and Sirius XM's The Bob Edwards Show, he's written the book The Schreiber Theory: A Radical Rewrite of American Film History, he recently translated Cervantes' The Dialogue of the Dogs for Melville House Books, and he spent over four years as the National Endowment for the Arts' Director of Literature, where he got their Big Read program started. They discuss how to sell paper books in neighborhoods the Kindle hasn't penetrated; his interest in getting into conversations about books on both the low-profile person-to-person level and the high-profile media one; whether we have indeed left an actual lost golden age of American reading; the lack of "slack" in American life to use for reading; how rail makes up a city's skeleton, and how Los Angeles' skeleton is growing with new additions like the Libros Schmibros-proximate Gold Line; 1939, the annus mirabilis of Los Angeles literature, and the city's modern desire, as exemplified by Mike Davis' City of Quartz, to fetishize its own depredations and destruction; whether it's hard to keep your mind in the narrative of this city, where even the natives have to immigrate; and that undervalued observer of Los Angeles and the whole of California, Thomas Pynchon.

(Photo: Alissa Walker)

Direct download: NCC_S1E30_David_Kipen.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:46am UTC

S1E29: Great Mistakes with Alissa Walker

Colin Marshall sits down in Silver Lake with Alissa Walker, writer on urban design, architecture, and the cityscape — especially Los Angeles' — for publications like GOODDwell, the LA Weekly, and more. She also associate-produces KCRW's DnA: Design and Architecture. They discuss Sunset Triangle Plaza, the area of reclaimed street where they sit, and what it says about the Angeleno "mind shift" toward getting out of the car; how many small, cheap improvements can alter the urban experience in the same way as a few large, expensive ones; her friends' lingering fear of getting "all sweaty" while riding bicycles, buses, and trains; the complacency Los Angeles instilled in its residents in the seventies, eighties, and even nineties; increasing the "stumble upon" factor in a large, spread-out city; her experience building a more accurate narrative of Los Angeles, a city that hasn't done much to brand itself lately, than the ones in the New York Times; the urban projects that work in this city and the ones, like a "living wall" being torn down right behind them, that don't; Los Angeles' tendency to create spaces in which to compress and imitate itself; the lack of markers, literally and figuratively, to show you "where the stuff is"; learning and showing Los Angeles through its architecture, and other works of public design more interesting than the artisanal chairs so popular last decade; her part in the GOOD Ideas for Cities project, especially when it went to her native St. Louis, and how it got her thinking about the possibilities of American cities; and her recommendations on how best to keep your eyes on the streets in Los Angeles.

Direct download: NCC_S1E29_Alissa_Walker.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:08pm UTC

S1E28: No Such Thing as Free Parking with Donald Shoup

Colin Marshall sits down at UCLA with urban planning professor Donald Shoup, author of The High Cost of Free Parking and the man who's made us aware of the fact that our cities' problems come not from too little parking, but too much. They discuss the academic tendency to believe, without verification, anything bad about Los Angeles; how this city became the densest car-oriented one in America, as well as the most car-oriented dense one; falsely perceived parking "shortages," how they led to minimum free parking requirements, and how those have worsened our urban experience; Los Angeles' parking requirement-skirting Adaptive Reuse Ordinance, which made even monstrosities like 1100 Wilshire usable; the development of technology needed to allow parking prices to respond to demand, and how it works in systems like San Francisco's SFPark; the importance of treating parking space just like any other real estate, and how irresponsible we've been about that; how Ventura streets got free wi-fi through their parking program; what ruined Westwood, and what parking policy had to do with it; how he realized parking mattered so much, and why the general public has only begun to; the necessity of humor when you're writing about parking for 800 pages; and how cycling makes it users happier than any other mode of transportation (perhaps because of its lack of parking complications).

Direct download: NCC_S1E28_Donald_Shoup.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:58pm UTC

S1E27: Spoiled By San Francisco with Jesse Thorn

Colin Marshall sits down nine stories above Westlake with Jesse Thorn, host of Public Radio International's Bullseye, proprietor of the Maximum Fun radio and podcast empire, and host of the men's style web series Put This On. They discuss what it takes for GQ to introduce you as a guy who hates Los Angeles; the points of starkest division between northern and southern California, including burritos and new-aginess; his time growing up in San Francisco's inner Mission district, where he was spoiled by the ease of getting around and much else besides; coming of age amid the city's crack epidemic, nearly witnessing shootings, and dodging batteries thrown from rooftops; neighborhoods as extensions of your home into the outside world; the vast distances one must traverse in Los Angeles, and the toll they takes on one's ability to "pop on over" anywhere; Put This On's exploration of the great men's style cities, including New York, London, and Milan ("the Los Angeles of Italy"); the utilitarianism of dress in America, and the prevalence of surfer and skater traditions in southern California; the twin tendencies of white Angelenos to expensively project the image of not caring about clothes and to nevertheless pay close, anxious attention to their physical attractiveness; and the knowledge that neither he nor anyone else can never go home again to the old now-gentrified San Francisco neighborhood.

Download the interview from Notebook on Cities and Culture’s feed here or on iTunes here.

Direct download: NCC_S1E27_Jesse_Thorn.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:35am UTC

S1E26: Multiplicity with David C. Sloane

Colin Marshall sits down in Del Rey with David C. Sloane, professor and director of undergraduate programs at the University of California's Price School of Public Policy and editor of Planning Los Angeles. They discuss the book's obvious contrarian marketing angle against the widely held idea of Los Angeles as the most chaotic, least planned U.S. city; how people assume Los Angeles to be both older and newer than it really is; the city's much-discussed "polycentricity" coming from trains, not cars; freeways as conduits, Berlin Walls, psychological shortcuts, and Brasília-style monuments; the fears surrounding the non-disaster of "Carmageddon" and what they say about the increasing difficulty of the midcentury Los Angeles lifestyle; the transition to a world of multimodal transportation, where bicycles, cars, and trains coexist; his move to Los Angeles during the inauspicious year of 1992, though one that paradoxically saw several highly auspicious urban developments on the way; the changes in thinking that led to the changes in American cities from their nadir in the late seventies and early eighties; whether Los Angeles, having spread to its geographical limits, has now run out of excuses for not looking inward; and the city's anxiety about which places are "real" and which "fake."

Direct download: NCC_S1E26_David_C_Sloane.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:51pm UTC

S1E25: Paradise of the Ordinary with D.J. Waldie

Colin Marshall sits down in Lakewood City Hall with D.J. Waldie, author of books like Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir and Where We Are Now: Notes from Los Angeles, collaborator on books like Real City with photographer Marissa Roth, and a 34-year employee of the City of Lakewood as Public Information Officer and Deputy City Manager. They discuss the importance of Wallace Stevens' "work and walking" to his own writing; his advice to the latest wave of Los Angeles newcomers looking for solutions to the problem of how to live here; what it means to lead a "redemptive" suburban life, and whether "suburban" means the same thing to every writer; Lakewood and other rapidly built postwar tract-home communities as exciting, frightening experiments in living from which new democratic vistas could well; the meaning of Lakewood's motto that "Times Change, Values Don't"; how considerable variation can arise from built uniformity; his premise that there are no "good" places, and his ongoing interest in the question of what would happen if you fell in love with the place where you are; how knowledge of a place, if not quite love for it, can enrich the experience of that place; how the newest Angelenos seem to long to connect to and invest in their place; and how Los Angeles' resistance to its own history has contributed to bad choices over the years, leading to frustrations financial, racial, and otherwise.

(Photo: Tom Johnson)

Direct download: NCC_S1E25_DJ_Waldie.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:23am UTC

S1E24: Japanese International Style with Todd Shimoda

Colin Marshall sits down in Little Tokyo with novelist Todd Shimoda, author, in collaboration with visual artist L.J.C. Shimoda, of "philosophical mystery" novels with science, engineering, Japanese and Japanese-American themes. His latest, Subduction, follows a disgraced young physician into his four-year exile on a tiny, earthquake-prone, mythology-freighted island off the Japanese coast. They discuss Japan's very real earthquakes in Kobe and Fukushima; the book's obsessed characters, whether obsessed with seismology, documentation, or simply staying on the island; the question of how much scientific data he can safely include in a novel, and if this age of Wikipedia changes that; the "four-dimensional" Japanese cultural co-existence of mythology and science, and its blurred boundary between practice and belief; writing a novel of Japan without writing a novel of Japanese-ness, and avoiding other problems that befall Westerners' writing about the East; Haruki Murakami, Kobo Abe, and the Japanese International Style; his risk of real-life island despair while living on Kauai, and his regular, pendulum-like moves between the urban, suburban, and rural worlds; how to use the cultures that converge in Los Angeles to write a novel of Los Angeles, where the appearance of no neighborhoods becomes the reality of too many; the city's actual earthquake of the previous evening; Chin Music Press' sense of geographic place; and the availability of a constant stream of Western fascination with Japan for a novelist to tap into.

(Photo: Mike Mazzoli)

Direct download: NCC_S1E24_Todd_Shimoda.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:26pm UTC

S1E23: The Music Nerd Ghetto with Hollywood Steve Huey

Colin Marshall sits down in Barnsdall Art Park with Hollywood Steve Huey, writer and media personality, former critic at All Music Guide and host of the web series Yacht Rock. They discuss his introductions to the likes of Michael Jackson, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Barry Manilow; elements of his home state of Michigan, including Big Rapids (not to be confused with Grand Rapids), Ann Arbor, and the urban ruins and $5,000 mansions of Detroit; the All Music Guide's shaping force on his musical consciousness; the lack of a genre equivalent to Yacht Rock today thanks to marketing departments' lack of imagination; great works, like Nirvana's Nevermind, that both found genres and dissolve them; life in the music nerd ghetto within the entertainment capital of the world at the time of bewildering musical (and cinematic and televisual) bounty; acquiring the name "Hollywood Steve" through a one-off gig on Pirates of the Caribbean; how he came to appreciate Barry Manilow, an artist known to some as a byword for bad music; and why guilty pleasures — whether musical ones in the case of Barry Manilow, or urban ones in the case of Los Angeles — are better enjoyed as regular pleasures.

(Photo: Sammy Primero)

Direct download: NCC_S1E23_Hollywood_Steve_Huey.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:12am UTC

S1E22: The Discerning Cosmopolitan Cartographer with Eric Brightwell

Colin Marshall sits down in Silver Lake with Eric Brightwell, proprietor of both Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography, which offers hand-drawn maps of neighborhoods in Los Angeles and beyond (and posts them to Amoeba Music's Amoeblog), and Brightwell, which offers luxury and craft items to the discerning cosmopolitan gentleman. They discuss the days when Silver Lake was Ivanhoe; the distinctively shifting and disputed nature of Los Angeles neighborhoods; the differences between neighborhood mapping by Google Maps, by Yahoo Maps, on subway station walls, and by hand; the unintended Berlin Wall effect of freeway construction; his attracting of angry, all-caps comments from the gangs of Frogtown; longtime Angelenos' lack of awareness about the neighborhoods that surround them, and their need to believe that their own has gone to the dogs; Hollywood's retailers of pimp-geared $169 three-suit deals; how an authenticity jones can ruin your experience of Los Angeles; his discovery of microsubcultures in unexpected places, and the larger fact that no one part of the city is more interesting than any other; Hitler's Pacific Palisades bunker; and the advanced art of entering a neighborhood, exploring it, and documenting it without knowing anything at all going in.

(Photo: Fern)

Direct download: NCC_S1E22_Eric_Brightwell.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:34pm UTC

S1E21: Connoisseur of Silence with Todd Levin

Colin Marshall sits down in Silver Lake with comedian, writer, and comedy writer Todd Levin, who's written for Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien, Conan, and the Onion News Network. They discuss using comedy performers as tools; the advantages of being a cipher; deliberately bewildering the audience, listening for reactions beyond laughter, and in the process becoming a connoisseur of silence; the comparative humorous possibilities of Tetley and Bigelow tea bag package copy; the inevitable and healthy decision to stop reading internet feedback on one's work; Conan O'Brien's coxcomb of hair; New York's inherent masochism, and Los Angeles' bus stops full of people who look just about to surrender; the pleasures of New York's crosstown buses and the agonies of its garbage trains; Los Angeles' lack of an excuse for shuffling around in flip-flops; his heightened suspicion of venues that aggressively promise good times, and what aggressive promises of laughter can do to comedy; the ultimately fruitless technique of reliable joke insertion, which reveals an anxiety to hold an audience's attention and in so doing loses that attention; that particular Conan O'Brien brand of delivering silliness and lasting memories at once; and the haunting question of telling which of your actions indicate maturity, and which indicate complacency.

(Photo: Lisa Whiteman)

Direct download: NCC_S1E21_Todd_Levin.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:22am UTC

S1E20: All the Single Ladies with Tony Pierce

Colin Marshall sits down at KPCC headquarters in Pasadena with Tony Pierce, the station's blog editor, former editor at LAist and blog editor at the Los Angeles Times, and author of the Busblog. They discuss the time when he was the only English-language blogger to ride the bus; the longing for Los Angeles that brought him out of the Chicago suburbs; his years in the collegiate Eden of Isla Vista; making like the rich young prince in the bible and selling all his stuff in order to leave San Francisco and come back to Los Angeles; beginning to blog as a way to let all the city's single ladies know he was here; his encounters with different groups of people on different transit lines, and his strategic use of the subway for drinking; how people in Los Angeles can live here for decades without ever bothering to be truly present, and how they might do that in any city in the world; his push, while editing LAist, to tap into as great a variety of voices and experiences as possible; his belief that the Busblog, despite its explosive popularity, never deserved to get known at all; the fixture of Los Angeles literary culture that is the paradoxically positive Charles Bukowski; and how, in all of the Busblog's non-fanciness, he still wants to let the ladies of the world know he's available.

Direct download: NCC_S1E20_Tony_Pierce.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:59am UTC

S1E19: DJing the DJs with Mark "Frosty" McNeill

Colin Marshall sits down in an undisclosed Hollywood-ish location with Mark "Frosty" McNeill, co-founder and creative captain of the internet radio "future roots music" collective Dublab. They discuss founding an internet radio station in 1999, when everything sounded like a tin-can phone; the nature of future roots, where the very old meets the very new, the very traditional meets the very experimental, and everything sounds different yet retains a common undercurrent; Dublab's mission to curate the curators, or "DJ the DJs"; his theory that all art is derivative, especially all music, but in a good way; his days doing gruntwork at USC's classical station, and the roomful of free John Cage, Terry Riley, and Nonesuch albums it afforded him; Dublab's early courtship by the companies of the internet bubble, and the free lunches (and nothing else) this offered; Los Angeles' great advantages of diversity and space, of both the physical and mental varieties; what about music seems to incentivize narrow rather than wide appreciation, and how to get around that without being a pusher man; Secondhand Sureshots, the short documentary he co-directed, and what it says about the importance of repurposing forgotten and obscure sounds; whether and how the dust on a record acts as "seasoning"; and the joy of reconstructing someone's personality by buying their record collection at a thrift store — and how he did just that by giving it a spin on his show Celsius Drop.

Direct download: NCC_S1E19_Mark_Frosty_McNeill.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:44pm UTC

S1E18: Historic Détente with Andy Bowers

Colin Marshall sits down at NPR West in Culver City with Andy Bowers, Executive Producer of Slate's podcasts and fourth-generation Angeleno. They discuss his status as a "secret Angeleno"; what it takes to introduce microphones into entertaining conversations without things getting tiresome; the difference between podcasts as podcasts and podcasts as imitation radio; discovering the joy of biking in Los Angeles; the city's troubled downtown bike lanes and what they emblematize about local civic projects; what problems arise when you try to get anything accomplished in a city with 88 distinct municipalities; Roger Rabbit, Chinatown, and the allure of mythical Los Angeles malice; whether or not you can really move into a Woody Allen movie; his youth in Los Angeles and his return which converted the city from an adolescent one into an adult one; the various placements and interpretations of Los Angeles' great east-west divide; his time at National Public Radio bureaus in London and Moscow, and the accessibility of those cities' cultural institutions; his time producing Day to Day, and the loss of public radio's old eclecticism; podcasting as radio's skunkworks, especially in this podcasting Mecca of southern California; podcast listeners connecting with hosts even more than with content; and why Stephen Metcalf stirs so many people up, anyway.

(Photo: Steve McFarland)

Direct download: NCC_S1E18_Andy_Bowers.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:00am UTC

S1E17: Food, Film, and Frugality with 99-Cent Chef Billy Vasquez

Colin Marshall takes a trip to the 99¢ Only Store and beyond with Billy Vasquez, better known as the 99 Cent Chef. They discuss the store as a prime venue for peoplewatching (whether the people dress in their Sunday best or in pink-striped miniskirts); the appeal of midcentury Googie diner architecture; how he drove out to Venice Beach on the 10 and stayed in Los Angeles for 37 years; the meaty usefulness of both chorizo and soyrizo; asparagus, a product you'd never have found at any 99-cent store a decade ago; 99-cent Italian beer with 99-cent Italian pasta, and 99-cent German beer with 99-cent German chocolate cake-coated marshmallows; ingredient substitution (like cumin for curry powder) as the essential skill of the 99-cent gourmand; the strange allure of Vienna Sausage corn dogs; inventing the only pasta that pays tribute to John Cassavetes; the suicidal possibilities of marshmallow ropes; the delicious possibilities of portobello crab rockefeller; the Banquet-to-Contessa spectrum of frozen dinners; the two-piece 99-cent deal to be had every Tuesday at Popeyes'; the Los Angeles Expo Line as a glorious passageway to places like Earlez Grille, Let's Be Frank, and Chef Marilyn's Soul Food Express, and his adventures at cheap eateries on rail lines past; how his Cajun heritage taught him, with nutria and crayfish, that you can eat anything; his street photography, and the Restaurant Nocturnes video series that came out of it; and all of the fascinating contradictions of Los Angeles, a city both beautiful and tarnished, that just might disappear if you don't water it.

Direct download: NCC_S1E17_Billy_Vasquez.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:19pm UTC

S1E16: Cavalcade of Marvels with Michael Silverblatt

Colin Marshall sits down in West Hollywood with Michael Silverblatt, host of the literary interview program Bookworm from KCRW in Santa Monica since 1989. They discuss how he's managed to host a book show for so long "in Los Angeles, of all places;" the near-racist tradition of New York writers savaging Los Angeles in the thirties and forties; introducing the likes of Edward St. Aubyn to Angelenos and others well beyond; radio as a dreamlike "mad tea party," whether dreamt in one's car or at one's computer; the band Sparks as American humorists, the writes Krys Lee as an exponent of ethnic writing as both exotic and erotic, and how to recommend both without resorting to anything so uninteresting as opinion; being not a critic, and not a fan, but an omnivorous conversationalist; the lamentable rise of "patented hip taste;" how Terence Malick's Badlands drew him out to Los Angeles from the East Coast; the Angeleno phobia of cultural confrontation; Los Angeles' failure to insist upon or preserve its genius; not driving because you never learned versus not driving because you don't know how to get the money for a car; America as a "cavalcade of marvels;" and the importance of accepting and existing the confusion of an ungraspable whole, whether its the whole of a book, of a film, of an album, or of Los Angeles.

Direct download: NCC_S1E16_Michael_Silverblatt.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:10pm UTC

S1E15: Your Own Pimp and Your Own Whore with Molly McAleer

Colin Marshall walks through Larchmont with Molly McAleer, co-founder of HelloGiggles and writer for CBS' Two Broke Girls. They discuss the definition of internet fame, especially when one's internet debut comes in a photo funneling a beer; whether moving to Los Angeles after graduating from the disappointingly party-free Boston College counts as a betrayal of Boston; her avoidance of the label "humorist," and thus any association with Mark Twain; her time at Defamer, which gave her a "magical" view of Los Angeles, and what she'd say to those who accuse it and every other Gawker site of hastening the decline of western civilization; joining Two Broke Girls at the height of the Whitney Cummings boom; Koreatown, her point of entry into Los Angeles after having lived in a frat house with 32 dudes; aging a thousand years after spending six in Los Angeles; how much of a discount on nail polish counts as a deep discount on nail polish; her struggle to be as popular with her friends as her mom; the resurgence of press-on nails; experiencing utter brokeness in Los Angeles, and getting banned from using Google ads when those friends tried to help her out; cookies aside, the reduced presence of the Girl Scouts, except in cases of high-profile transsexual trouble; her resistance to driving, and her feeling that some people are meant to drive, while others are meant to be driven; the basic tasks of life that somehow never get taught; manicures as the last bastion of personal maintenance; and how hard it is to avoid humblebragging when The Wonder Years' Fred Savage directs your script.

Direct download: NCC_S1E15_Molly_McAleer.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:45pm UTC

S1E14: Fathers Chosen and Unchosen with Pico Iyer

Colin Marshall sits down in downtown Los Angeles with Pico Iyer, writer about place — both our dreams of it and its realities. They discuss his new book The Man Within My Head; how best to introduce Graham Greene's The Quiet American to new readers; how he started a book on being a pleasantly bewildered foreigner in Japan and finished a book about Greene, brush fires, and his own father; the roles of fathers both chosen and unchosen; the ultimate unknowability of other people, and the form of intimacy found in accepting that not-knowing; graduating from school into a British Empire twenty years dead; his Fowlerian perspective to Los Angeles' Pyle; England under the burden of too much past, California under the burden of too little, and his inoculation against the excesses of both by having oscillated between them; his return to England in the form of Japan; how Los Angeles anthologizes the world within itself versus how Japan does, and how Los Angeles handles its multiculturalism versus how Toronto does; his distrust of words, and Greene's distrust of everything but words; his father's interaction with the children of the 1960s' Californian counterculture, and Hunter S. Thompson chronicling the collapse of that culture while seeing idealism without ideology; living friends as traveling companions versus dead authors as traveling companions; and Greene as, at once, his predictor, reflector, guide, understander, and anticipator.

(Photo: Derek Shapton)

Direct download: NCC_S1E14_Pico_Iyer.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:08pm UTC

S1E13: The Trash Compactor of Reality with Scott Jacobson

Colin Marshall sits down in Atwater Village with comedy writer and music video director Scott Jacobson, who has written for programs like The Daily Show, Squidbillies, and Bob's Burgers, and made videos for artists like Nick Lowe, Superchunk, and The National. They discuss the comedic style of George Herriman's Krazy Kat and whether a place exists for it today; expectations, the enemy of comedy; what it means that the likes of Adult Swim and Tim & Eric can thrive in today's world, or if they indeed thrive in it; The Daily Show's rise alongside George W. Bush's, and the trickiness of presenting its voice as the voice of reason; the feeling of finally getting a foothold in New York, and the sense of personal failing that comes from not loving it; whether anyone else misses the obscure cruelty of Craig Kilborn's Daily Show; the "journalistic vamp" and other news filler, up to and including Glenn Beck's moment of popularity; the "trash compactor of reality" that is political coverage, and the solace offered by a Squidbillies or a Bob's Burgers; his childhood love of the divisive Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist; the way critical opinion eventually came to elevate Carl Barks' Scrooge McDuck Comics, and the joy of bringing something in "low art," like Hospitality's "Friends of Friends," to the public's attention; using ridiculous contexts to smuggle genuine content; New York's manic energy that insistently pushes you forward; and the phenomenon of "really smart people doing really stupid things" that, championed by the David Lettermans and Conan O'Briens of the world, has risen to prominence in modern comedy.

Direct download: NCC_S1E13_Scott_Jacobson.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:10pm UTC

S1E12: We Care About Everyone with William Flesch

Colin Marshall sits down in Westwood with William Flesch, professor at Brandeis University and author of Comeuppance: Costly Signaling, Altruistic Punishment, and Other Biological Components of Fiction. They discuss José Saramago's way with obscure Biblical episodes; literary Darwinism and its discontents; why and how we get concerned with what happens to fictional characters at all; the difference between stories we care about versus stories we don't; how we recommend books, films, and shows to friends, thus caring about how they care about how characters care about one another; Michael Haneke's scary Funny Games viewed with an audience and Michael Haneke's ludicrous Funny Games viewed at home; what's so great about Wittgenstein; the trade-off between humanizing and monsterizing your viliains, as with Hitler in Max and The Boys from Brazil; the perfect biological pitching of Onion's 9/11 headline "Hijackers Surprised To Find Selves In Hell"; what makes the 19th-century novels of George Eliot, Anthony Trollope, Charles Dickens, and William Makepeace Thackeray so gripping; our desire to feel we've misjudged characters; Buffy, Angel, and our bets about liking them; and characterization and reversion to type all the way from Shylock to Stewie Griffin.

Download the interview from Notebook on Cities and Culture’s feed here or on iTunes here.

Direct download: NCC_S1E12_William_Flesch.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:27am UTC