Pam MacKinnon, Artistic Director of American Conservatory Theatre (A.C.T.) discusses how her company has dealt wth the Covid theatre shutdown.
David Grann discusses his best-selling non-fiction book, The Lost City of Z, recorded in 2009. New Yorker staff writer Grann examines the history of El Dorado through the prism of the life of Percy Fawcett, an explorer who disappeared into the Amazon jungle in 1925. Fascinating reading. The podcast extended edit of this interview includes a long discussion about the 2008 presidential election and its aftermath. Grann covered the McCain campaign for the New Yorker. A film of The Lost City of Z is available on Netflix.
Joshua Furst, author of the novel Revolutionaries, now out in trade paper. Joshua Furst, in his second novel, focuses on the radicals of the ’60s by looking at the life of a prankster activist based on Hoffman, and on the lives of his wife and son, and on the noted folk singer Phil Ochs.
Bill Irwin, discussing his one-man show, On Beckett, which played at A.C.T. in December 2016-January 2017. On Beckett
airs through the Irish Repertory Theater Nov. 17-22, 2020.
Richard A. Lupoff (1935-2020), Probabilities book review program from July, 1992 with Richard A. Lupoff, Richard Wolinsky and Shelley Singer.
Walter Tevis (1928-1984), Probabilities archive interview recorded October, 1981. Interviewers: Richard Wolinsky, Richard A. Lupoff, Lawrence Davidson. Among Tevis's novels are The Hustler, The Man Who Fell To Earth, The Color of Money and The Queen's Gambit.
Tea Obreht, author of the novel Inland, just out in trade paper
The author of The Tiger’s Wife turns her attention to the American west in a tale that encompasses ghosts and camels, and the hardscrabble life of frontier families..
Gamal Abdel Chasten, Artistic Director and co-founder of the Breath Project, which consists of short video pieces of 8:46, the time it took George Floyd to die, created by artists of color.
Terry Tempest Williams, author of Erosion: Essays on Undoing. Activist and essayist, Terry Tempest Williams writes of the destruction of our environmental legacy in this latest collection of essays, culminating in the poignant story of the death of her beloved brother.
Jeanne Sakata, playwright, Hold These Truths, streaming through TheatreWorks Silicon Valley website through November 3, 2020.
Heather Cox Richardson, author of How The South Won the Civil War and Letters from an American (daily posting on Facebook). In her book, historian Heather Cox Richardson takes us on a journey through the underbelly of American history, in particular the racism that undermines the dream of equality and freedom, and explains how the South may have lost the war, but won the peace. Her Letters, daily on Facebook, is a must-read compendium of each day's events starting from September, 2019 to the present.
Recorded September 11, 2020
Jonathan Safran Foer,author of We Are The Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast.
In this book, Jonathan Safran Foer discusses how the food we eat, specifically animal products and by-products, contribute to climate change, and comes up with ways to slow our carbon imprint. Complete 46-minute interview. Hershey Felder, performer, George Gershwin Alone, live from Florence, September 13, 2020. Interview recorded in 2013. Complete interview. Gail Sheehy (1936-2020) author of Passages and My Passages. Interview recorded September 24, 2014. One of the founders of the New Journalism, Sheehy's book My Passages takes us from her days at New York Magazine through her years as a freelance journalist, focusing on the personalities of the people she's interviewed over the years as well as on her personal life. Complete interview
Recorded at Book Passage in Corte Madera.
Madhuri Shekar, playwright, In Love and Warfare, ACT production streaming live Sept 4-5 and 11-12, then on demand Sept 18-25.
Roger Kahn (1927-2020), author of The Boys of Summer and The Era. Interviewed by Richard Wolinsky and Richard A. Lupoff, October 13, 1993. A close personal friend of Jackie Robinson, Roger Kahn's focus on racism in baseball and the story of the sport's integration was only one facet of this great sportswriter's tool chest. Complete 68-minute interview. Tony Horwitz, author of Spying on the South. In the mid-1850s, the future creator of Central Park, Frederick Law Olmstead, traveled down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to the Mexican border, detailing in his writings what he found along the way. In 2014-18, Tony Horwitz followed the same path, finding how life and the environment had changed (and not changed) along the way. A beautiful book. Tony Horwitz died of a heart attack ten days after this interview was recorded. Complete 49-minute Radio Wolinsky podcast. Mavis Gallant (1922-2014) noted short story writer for The New Yorker, author of Across The Bridge, recorded October 6, 1993. Focusing on the lives of ordinary people in France and Canada, Mavis Gallant uncovered the inner lives of people going about their business, with a focus on how people can fall prey to fascism. Interviewers: Richard Wolinsky/Richard A. Lupoff. Complete 41-minute Radio Wolinsky podcast. Robert Macfarlane,author of Underland: A Deep Time Journey. Robert Macfarlane's latest work, a travelogue through caves, glacial crevices, mines, and catacombs, as he examines the world below our feet. A gorgeous and depressing (climate change!) and brilliant piece of writing. Complete 43-minute Radio Wolinsky podcast. Robert K. Massie (1929-2019), historian of the House of Romanov, author of The Romanovs: The Final Chapter, recorded November, 4, 1995. While Robert K. Massie wrote on other subjects, his focus was on the Czars of the Romanov family, with biographies of Catherine the Great, Peter the Great and most notably, Nicholas and Alexandra. His book The Final Chapter deals with the post-revolution history of the bones of the last Romanov family, and of those claiming to be Anastasia and other children. Interviewers: Richard Wolinsky/Richard A. Lupoff. Complete 38 minute Radio Wolinsky podcast.
Dave Eggers, author of The Parade. The award-winning author of the memoir, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, several novels and essays, Dave Eggers' latest novel is a parable of two contractors hired to build a road in an unnamed third world country. Recorded in 2019.
Suzanne Bradbeer, playwright, Shakespeare in Vegas streaming July 23-27, 2020 on the TheatreWorks website. Erik Larson, author of The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz. Narrative non-fiction about Churchill's first year in office starting in May 1940 and concluding a year later, which coincided with both the Battle of Britain, the Blitz, and events in the lives of his family. The nostalgia for real leadership is intense. Recorded July 9, 2020. Complete interview. Barry Lopez, author of Horizon. From the National Book Award-winning author of the now-classic Arctic Dreams, a vivid, poetic, capacious work that recollects the travels around the world and the encounters–human, animal, and natural–that have shaped an extraordinary life. Extended 45-minute Radio Wolinsky podcast.
Margaret Atwood, recorded in 1993: discussing her novel, The Robber Bride. Three women, their intertwined lives and their betrayals, told by one of the world's greatest storytellers. Interviewers: Richard Wolinsky/Richard A. Lupoff.
Carlos Ruiz Zafon (1964-2020, author of the Cemetery of Lost Books quartet of novels, beginning with Shadow of the Wind. Zafon wrote gorgeous phantasmagorical epics set in Barcelona prior to World War II dealing with events surrounding the Borgesian Cemetery, and became an international sensation for his work This interview was recorded in 2002 on the tour for the second volume, The Angel's Game. Extended 54-minute Radio Wolinsky podcast.
Rupert Everett, director/star/writer, the film The Happy Prince. Rupert Everett burst onto the scene with the film Another Country, and became an international star with My Best Friend's Wedding. But opportunities for an openly gay actor in the 1990s were not what they became in the 21st Century. He produced, wrote, directed and starred in The Happy Prince about the last days of Oscar Wilde.
Ayana Mathis, author of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie. This well-reviewed collection of interrelated short stories about an African American family in Philadelphia in the twentieth century has some stunning and visceral moments. Ayana Mathis is a talent to watch.Extended 44-minute Radio Wolinsky podcast. Recorded in 2013.
Mart Crowley (1935-2020) playwright, The Boys in the Band, The Men from the Boys. Leading American gay playwright. The Boys in the Band was a landmark American play; the follow-up, The Men from the Boys, was first performed in 2002 at San Francisco's New Conservatory Theatre. Interview recorded in 2002.
Judy Juanita, author of the novel Virgin Soul. Former Black Panther Judy Hart tells the fictionalized stories of her days as one of the original Black Panther sisters in Oakland and San Francisco. Works as both memoir and novel. Fascianting. Recorded in 2013. Extended 51-minute Radio Wolinsky podcast. Bonnie Tsui, author of Why We Swim. A look at the history of swimming, from caveman days to the present, the history of swimming strokes, swimming contests, long-distance swimming. Extended 34-minute Radio Wolinsky podcast. Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage. An American Marriage deals with a marriage torn apart by the unjust arrest and imprisonment of the husband after an accusation by a white woman at a motel, and how both spouses deal with the following few years. Recorded in 2018. Extended 44-minute Radio Wolinsky podcast. Frank Galati, director, Rhinoceros by Eugene Ionesco, at ACT's Geary Theatre in May - June, 2019. Chicago-born director Galati dissects the underlying stories behind the classic parable of fascism. Complete 41-minute interview. Erik Larson, author of In The Garden of Beasts, recorded in 2011. The story of the U.S. ambassador to Germany during the early days of the Nazi regime, and very relevant to the events of 2020 in the United States. Recorded in 2011. Complete 44-minute Radio Wolinsky podcast
Tarrell Alvin McCraney, playwright and screenwriter, the plays Head of Passes and Choir Boy. Post-interview: Oscar winner, co-screenwriter, Moonlight. recorded in 2014.
May 10, 2020
Tony Kushner: Two Interviews (2006, 2016)
Andrew Altschul, author of the novel The Gringa. The Gringa tells the story of a radicalized American coming to Peru and getting involved with militant revolutionaries, loosely based on the Lori Berenson story, which Altschul uses as a jumping off point for a look at American foreign involvement and American exceptionalism.
Suzan-Lori Parks, playwright, Topdog/Underdog, Pulitzer Prize winner, three time Obie award winner, recorded May 20, 2003 while on tour for the novel Getting Mother's Body.
Ann Beattie, author of the novel A Wonderful Stroke of Luck.
Known primarily as a short story writer, Ann Beattie has a long career as a novelist. This particular novel tells the story of Ben, a millennial who must cope with creating a life for himself in the 21st Century.
Peter Carey, author of True History of the Kelly Gang.
The two-time Booker Prize winner's novel about Ned Kelly, the romanticized Australian outlaw became a major film in 2020. Here Carey discusses the history of Ned Kelly in the context of Australian culture. Recorded March 7, 2001.
Complete Radio Wolinsky podcast TBA.
Tope Folarin, author of the novel A Particular Kind of Black Man. Tope Folarin is the son of Nigerian immigrants to America, and grew up in Utah and Texas, as a fish out of water, black but not part of the African-American culture. This novel reflects his journey to find himself and his roots.
Extended Radio Wolinsky podcast TBA
Michael Crichton (1942-2008), recorded on tour for Jurassic Park, discussing his career including The Andromeda Strain and the original film of Westworld. Interviewers: Richard Wolinsky & Richard A. Lupoff.
Tribute to E.L. Doctorow (1931-2015)
Documentary look at the life and career of the author of Ragtime, The March, Homer & Langley and other novels.
Margaret Atwood, recorded while on tour for Cats Eye, February 22, 1989. Interviewers: Richard Wolinsky, Richard A. Lupoff, Lisa Goldstein.
John Lanchester, author of the novel The Wall.
Taking place in a future where climate catastrophe has destroyed the world's beaches and refugees are seeking safety, a wall has been built, presumably around England, to safeguard against both the sea and human incursion. A frightening, plausible dystopia by the noted British essayist.
Mary Higgins Clark (1927-2020) Recorded during her tour for While My Pretty One Sleeps. With an output that totaled over fifty best-selling novels, Mary Higgins Clark was the queen of women-in-jeopardy suspense novels. She died on January 31, 2020 at the age of 92. Interviewers: Richard Wolinsky & Richard A. Lupoff. Recorded May 24, 1989.
Colum McCann, author of Apeirogon.
Titled "A Novel," Apeirogon is the slightly fictionalized account of two men, Rami Elhanon, an Israeli, and Bassam Aframin, best of friends, who both lost daughters to the violence in Israel and the Occupied Territories, who now lecture on the need for understanding and peace in the region. The book reads like a mosaic, with multiple viewpoints and histories.
Terrence McNally (1938-2020)
Playwright, Lisbon Traviata, Master Class; Librettist, Ragtime, The Full Monty. Recorded March 18, 2004 at New Conservatory Theatre in San Francsico.
Lisa See, author of Island of Sea Women, now out in trade paper. Jeju Island, off the coast of South Korea, is the site of Lisa See's latest novel, which examines the relationship of two women set inside a matrifocal culture of women divers through the course of the 20th Century.
Clive Cussler (1931-2020) Adventure novelist, Dirk Pitt series, etc. Clive Cussler wrote over 80 novels in the vein of the adventure pulps. He was also a noted deep sea explorer. In this interview from 1994, he talks with Richard Wolinsky and Richard A. Lupoff about his career, and about the creation of his hero, Dirk Pitt.
Complete Radio Wolinsky podcast (TBA)
Lidia Yuknavitch, author of Verge.
Verge is a series of short stories which examine the lives of the marginalized in America. Intense and acute, Lidia Yuknavitch has become a master of the form.
Stephen Sondheim at 90. Interview conducted in 2011 for volume 2 of his collection of lyrics, Look! I Made a Hat.
Bookwaves/ArtsWaves Hour March 19, 2020
Salman Rushdie, author of Quichotte. In Salman Rushdie's latest novel, which takes off on themes by Cervantes, a retired Big Pharma salesman takes off on a road trip across America, accompanied by a imaginary turned real son named Sancho, as he contemplates his life in India and his love for an Indian actress who serves as his Dulcinea.
Ricardo Perez Gonzalez, playwright, Don't Eat the Mangos at the Magic Theatre (run ended early)
Complete Bay Area Theater podcast (TBA)
March 5, 2020
Katya Cengel, author of a memoir, From Chernobyl with Love: Reporting from the Ruins of the Soviet Union.
A memoir about Katya Cengel's life as a young reporter in Latvia and Ukraine in the period just before and after 9/11, during the transition out of communism.
March 2, 2020
Sting, creator and star, The Last Ship at the Golden Gate Theatre (run ended early)
Eric Ting, Artistic Director California Shakespeare Theatre, director of Gloria at ACT Strand (run ended early).
Review: Culture Clash (Still) in America at Berkeley Rep's Peets Theatre (run ended early.
February 10, 2020
Jim Lehrer (1934-2020). Host, PBS NewHour, 1975-2009. Recorded on tour for his novel Purple Dots, October 19, 1998. Interviewers: Richard Wolinsky/Richard A. Lupoff. Also: Review of Tiny Beautiful Things at SF Playhouse.
Program as heard on KPFA
February 6, 2020
Will Eno, playwright, Wakey Wakey, at ACT Geary Theatre through February 16, 2020.
February 3, 2020
Susan Oxtoby, curator of the Federico Fellini at 100 retrospective at BAM/PFA in Berkeley. Also: Review of How to Transcend a Happy Marriage at Custom Made Theatre.
January 20, 2020
Donna Seaman, author of Identity Unknown: Rediscovering Seven American Women Artists. An examination of seven twentieth century women artists, all deceased and now mostly forgotten, whose contribution to the world of art in various disciplines should be remembered alongside their male counterparts. The seven artists: Louise Nevelson, Gertrude Abercrombie, Lois Madou Jones, Ree Morton, Joan Brown, Lenore Tawney and Christina Ramberg.
Also: Review of Noura at Marin Theatre Company.
January 16, 2020
Jeanette Winterson, author of Frankissstein: A Love Story. A writer specializing in novels and essays about gender, artificial intelligence and technology, Jeanette Winterson's Frankissstein incorporates the story of Mary Shelley and the creation of her novel with a modern day tale of a trans man, AI, and current attempts to play god.
January 13, 2020
Mona Golabek, performer, The Pianist of Willesden Lane, at TheatreWorks Mountain View through Feb. 16, 2020. Also: Review of Becky Nurse of Salem at Berkeley Rep.
January 9, 2020
Michael Nava, author of the novel, Carved in Bone, a Henry Rios mystery. One of the first writers with a gay detective, Michael Nava went back to his series after nearly two decades to write a powerful novel set during the AIDS crisis.
Alla Kovgan, director of the film Cunningham, about the life and work of dancer/choreographer Merce Cunningham.
Also: Review of "Groundhog Day: The Musical" at San Francisco Playhouse.
January 2, 2020
A.E. Van Vogt (1912-2000) author of several science fiction novels including The World of Null-A, Slan and Voyage of the Space Beagle, recorded in 1980, interviewed by Richard A. Lupoff & Lawrence Davidson. One of the masters of science fiction during the era of the pulps into the 1950s, writing for John W. Campbell and Astounding, Van Vogt is mostly forgotten today, though his stories served as inspiration for several movies and TV shows, most particularly Alien. Digitized, remastered & re-edited by Richard Wolinsky, December 2019.