Mick LaSalle, author of Dream State: California in the Movies. An book-length examination of the role California plays in films, and how the idea of California -- particularly San Francisco and Los Angeles -- permeates films made in and by Hollywood.
Stephen Greenblatt, author of Will in the World: When Shakespeare Became Shakespeare. A fascinating examination of how Elizabethan England's history, politics and social life found its way into the works of the era's greatest playwright. Recorded in 2005.
Eric Ting, Artistic Director, California Shakespeare Theater (Cal Shakes). The interview includes a look at how Cal Shakes fared during the pandemic lockdown, plus an examination of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, the first post-pandemic Cal Shakes producction.
Kitty Carlisle Hart (1910-2007), recorded 2002. Part Three of The Gershwin Project, a set of interviews intended for use in an unfinished documentary on the life of George Gershwin. Kitty Carlisle Hart dated George Gershwin during the final three years of his life. She also worked with the Marx Brothers, but is best known for her stint on the TV quiz show, To Tell The Truth.
Andrew Altschul, author of 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.
Margaret Atwood, author of The Penelopeiad, , Moral Disorder, Writing with Intent and The Tent. Moral Disorder is a novel masquerading as a short story collection based on events in Atwood's life. The Penelopiad is a marvelous retelling of The Odyssey from Penelope's perspective. Writing With Intent and The Tent are new collections: the former of recent essays and the latter of short undefinable pieces of prose. Recorded December, 2006 in New York City.
Masters of Science Fiction
Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) author of the Foundation series, I Robot, The Gods Themselves. One of the most famous science fiction writers of all time, Isaac Asimov got his start writing for John W. Campbell's Astounding Stories, and later expanded his interests outside science fiction into books about science, about art, and about the bible. In this interview, recorded August 10, 1983, he discusses his career as a writer. Digitized and re-edited in 2021 and heard for the first time in nearly thirty years.
Ray Bradbury (1920-2021) author of The Martian Chronicles, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Farenheit 451, The Illustrated Man. Another of the "big three" science fiction writers of the Twentieth Century (Robert Heinlein was the third), Bradbury was a stylist and a humanist, and a poet. Recorded 1992 at his home in Los Angeles. Interviewers: Richard Wolinsky and Richard A. Lupoff.
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.
W. P. Kinsella (1935-2016) author of Shoeless Joe. Kinsella's best known novel, Shoeless Joe, formed the basis for the classic film, Field of Dreams. But he also wrote other books, and other novels about baseball. A rare interview, digitized and edited in 2021, and recorded April 19, 1988.
Interviewers: Richard Wolinsky and Richard A. Lupoff.
Jack Arnold (1916-1992), film director, Creature from the Black Lagoon, It Came from Outer Space, The Incredible Shrinking Man, The Mouse That Roared. Recorded at Universal Studios, 1981, for the Probabilties radio show. Interviewers: Richard Wolinsky, Lawrence Davidson, Richard A. Lupoff. Digitized and edited in 2021, unheard for thirty years.
Sean San Jose, Artistic Director, Magic Theater in San Francisco's Fort Mason Center.
Tony Horwitz (1958-2019) author of Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War, recorded in 2011. The author of Confederates in the Attic and other works looks at John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry in this fascinating book that serves as a primer to the events and ideas that led up to the American Civil War.
2003 interview: The Time of Our Singing. A brilliant multi-dimensional saga that combines a history of race in America in the second half of the Twentieth Century with music and notions about the nature of time. Recorded Feb. 14, 2003.
2018 Interview: The Overstory. Based on prodigious research, Powers tells of the way trees communicate with one another, and spins stories based on real life confrontations between protestors and those who would destroy in order to pay off leveraged debt. Recorded April 27, 2018.
Tess Gerritsen, author of the Rizzoli & Isles novels, mystery and thriller writer.
2004 Interview: Body Double, a Rizzoli and Isles novel. Excellent thriller.
2021 Interview: Choose Me, co-authored by Gary Braver.A stand-alone novel involving a college professor who gets involved with a student and focuses on the #metoo movement from both a male and female perspective.
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 and more.
Jim Obergefell, co-author of Love Wins: The Lovers and Lawyers Who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality. Written like a thriller, Love Wins, co-written by journalilst Debbie Cenziper, tells the story of the marriage equality case against the backdrop of Jim and John’s relationship, and the relationships of others who also joined the case.Recorded in June, 2016.
Armistead Maupin, author of the Tales of the City series of novels.
2007 Interview: Michael Tolliver Lives. A slight but very entertaining return to the world and people of "Tales of The City" as we follow Michael Mouse, now in his mid-50s and his old Barbary Lane pals in present day San Francisco.
2015 Interview: The Days of Anna Madrigal. The "Tales of the City" series concludes as we learn about the past of the legendary landlady of Barbary Lane, and the old tenants take a trip to Burning Man.
Paul Rudnick, author of the novel Playing the Palace and the HBO film Coastal Elites. Playing The Palace tells the story of an American designer who falls in love with a gay Prince of Wales. It starts as a comedy (and Paul Rudnick is a master of comedy writing) but then starts to resemble the life of Prince William and Meghan Markle. Coastal Elites was written as a response to Trumpism and was filmed during the pandemic.
Kate MacKay, curator of a retrospective of the "Four Seasons" films directed by Eric Rohmer at BAM/PFA through July 28, 2021.
Jeanne Sakata, playwright, Hold These Truths, at SF Playhouse through July 3, 2021.
Flynn Berry, author of the novel Northern Spy. Set in the near future during a revival of the Northern Ireland troubles, Northern Spy focuses on a young radio producer who gets involved with both the IRA and British intelligence.
Jacques D'Amboise (1934-2021) 2011 interview recorded while he was on tour for his memoir I Was a Dancer.Jacques D'Amboise was a principal dancer for the New York Ballet from 1953 to 1984 and the primary interpreter of the choreographed ballets of George Balanchine.
Damon Knight (1922-2002), science fiction novelist and editor, author of the classic short story, "To Serve Man." In the interview he discusses his career, starting as a member of the Futurians science fiction fan club, then on to his work as editor and writer. Recorded July 3, 1983. Interviewers: Richard Wolinsky/Richard A. Lupoff. Complete 36-minute interview. Digitized and edited din 2021 by Richard Wolinsky.
Margaret Atwood, author of The Blind Assassin, recorded September 14, 2000. Interviewers: Richard Wolinsky/Richard A. Lupoff. Complete 48-minute interview. In the interview she discusses her novel, which won the Booker Prize in 2020, and gives a brief history of pulp magazines. Digitized and edited in 2021 by Richard Wolinsky.
Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007) interviewed September. 1991 by Richard Wolinsky and Richard A. Lupoff. The author of such works as Slaughterhouse-5 and Cat's Cradle, Vonnegut was one of the 20th Century American masters.
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.
David Thomson, author of A Light in the Dark: A History of Movie Directors. The noted critic and film historian discusses the nature of movie direction, with particular attention to how our perception and era changes how we look at films.
Johanna Pfaelzer, Artistic Director of Berkeley Rep. A look how the theatre company fared during the pandemic. The Waves in Quarantine runs at the Berkeley Rep website through June 30, 2021.
Cherilyn Parsons, founder and Executive Director of the Bay Area Book Festival, streaming May 1-9, 2021.
Jason Graae, performer, Perfect Hermany, the songs of Jerry Herman, streaming through the 42nd Street Moon website, April 10 - May 2, 2021.
Larry McMurtry (1936-2021), author of Lonesome Dove, co-author (with Diana Ossana) of Pretty Boy Floyd. Larry McMurtry was one of America's greatest regional writers, with novels such as The Last Picture Show and Terms of Endearment, and their sequels. This interview in its complete version features co-author Diana Ossana; the aired version focuses solely on McMurtry. Recorded October 13, 1994. Digitized and remastered by Richard Wolinsky in March, 2021. Interviewers: Richard Wolinsky/Richard A. Lupoff
Nathan Englander, author of the novel, kaddish.com
A short novel that deals with the nature of the internet and its relation to religion, kaddish.com deals with a formerly agnostic religious Jew who goes on-line to find someone who will perform an extended ritual for his late father. Funny and often profound.
Paul Kantner (1941-2016) Singer/songwriter with Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship. Recorded February 9, 1984. Interviewers: Richard Wolinsky/Richard A. Lupoff. Digitized and remastered by Richard Wolinsky in 2016.
Frederik Pohl (1918-2013) author of Man-Plus, Gateway and other novels, science fiction Grandmaster. Recorded October 1978. One of the greats in the science fiction field, Fred Pohl did everything: short stories, collaborative novels (most notably with C.M. Kornbluth), novels, book editor for Bantam Books, pulp magazine editor, digest magazine editor, literary agent. This interview was conducted by Richard Wolinsky, Richard A. Lupoff and Lawrence Davidson the weekend of October 15-16, 1978 at the Octocon Science Fiction convention in Santa Rosa, California. Digitized and remastered in 2021 by Richard Wolinsky.
Margaret Maron (1938-2021) noted mystery author of the Sigrid Harald and Deborah Knott series, with over forty books to her credit. Margaret Maron was also one of the leading figures in the Sisters in Crime organization. She died February 23, 2021. Interview recorded June 6, 1994. Interviewers: Richard Wolinsky/Richard A. Lupoff. Digitized and remastered in March, 2021 by Richard Wolinsky.
Sue Grafton (1940-2017). Best-selling author of the Kinsey Millhone alphabet mysteries, A is for Alibi, etc. Compilation of two interviews recorded August 17, 1989 and April 13, 1992. Interviewers: Richard Wolinsky/Richard A. Lupoff.
Lauren Gunderson, playwright, The Catastrophist, at Marin Theatre Company's website through July 24, 2021, and the most produced living playwright in America today.
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.
Jane Smiley, author of the novel Perestroika in Paris. Perestroika is a real horse, nicknamed Para, but this is a fantasy about how a horse much like the real one escapes from a racetrack in Paris, France and hides out with other animals in a large mansion near the Eiffel Tower. Escapism that somehow seems necessary during the non-travel era of a world pandemic.
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.
Charles Yu, author of Interior Chinatown, winner of the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction. A mix of prose, screenplay, teleplay, and polemic, Interior Chinatown deconstructs the stereotypes of Asian actors and actresses in Hollywood over the course of the past half-century.
Delroy Lindo, director/actor, discussing his career and the work of playwright August Wilson, recorded November 2008.
Carl Hiaasen, author of the novel Squeeze Me, a satirical look at the Trumpist world of Palm Beach involving elderly fan clubs, giant snakes, and other things Floridian. Very funny and engrossing by the author of Strip Tease, Skinny Dip and other comic thrillers.
Alla Kovgan, director of the documentary film Cunningham, about the early work of dancer/choreographer Merce Cunningham, currently streaming on Hulu. Recorded in December, 2019.
Chris Hedges, author of Wages of Rebellion, 2015 interview in front of a live audience. Chris Hedges was prophetic in this conversation recorded weeks before Donald Trump declared his candidacy, and the insights from six years ago remain as profound as they were then.
Ralph Steadman, author of Ralph Steadman: A Life in Ink, artist/illustrator best known for his work with Hunter S. Thompson. With a brief memoir at the beginning, this large format collection from Chronicle Books shows his work as artist and satirist.
Neil Sheehan (1936-2021), author of A Bright and Shining Lie and A Fiery Peace in a Cold War, recorded 2009. The journalist who broke the Pentagon Papers in the New York Times went on to write a definitive book about the Vietnam War, and followed it with an examination of the Cold War and how the world avoided nuclear annihilation. He died in early January, 2021.
Jan Morris (1926-2020), travel writer and historian, interviewed August 1999 by Richard Wolinsky and Richard A. Lupoff. Digitized and edited in 2021 by Richard Wolinsky.
Eddie Muller, noted film noir scholar and programmer, discusses the restored 1951 film adaptation of Richard Wright's Native Son, starring the author Richard Wright, as well as film noir in general.
Barry Lopez (1945-2020) Interview recorded in 2000 while on tour for the story collection Light Action in the Caribbean. Barry Lopez split his writing between short fiction and essays on the natural world, and in both cases, brilliantly and intelligently dissected both current events and the past and future of our planet. Interviewers: Richard Wolinsky and Richard A. Lupoff. Digitized and edited in 2021 by Richard Wolinsky.