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.
December 30, 2019
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: John Skelley (Harry), Yanna McIntosh (Hermoine) and David Abeles (Ron), stars of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, at the Curran Theater in San Francisco.
Also: Review of "The Tale of Despereaux" at Berkeley Rep.
December 26, 2019
Tommy Orange, author of the novel, There, There. Set in Oakland, this acclaimed first novel novel focuses on the lives of urban Native Americans as they converge on a pow-wow in the Oakland Coliseum. Rebroadcast.
December 23, 2019
Nick Tosches (1949-2019), novelist, music critic, journalist and biographer. Interviewers: Richard Wolinsky & Richard A. Lupoff, recorded October 19, 1994 during the tour for the novel "Trinities."
Also: Review of "Pride and Prejudice at TheatreWorks.
December 19, 2019
Sarah Ruhl, playwright, Becky Nurse of Salem, at Berkeley Rep's Peets Theater through January 26, 2020.
December 2, 2019
Jason Graae, lead actor, Scrooge in Love, at 42nd Street Moon Gateway Theatre through December 22, 2019
Also: Review of "Cloud 9" at Custom Made Theatre
November 28, 2019
Joel Selvin, author of Altamont: The Rolling Stones, The Hells Angels and the Inside Story of Rock’s Darkest Day. Honoring the 50th anniversary of the Altamont concert (December 6th, 1969), a look back at the event that ended the hippie era.
November 25, 2019
Marc Bruni, co-director, The Tale of Desperaux, at Berkeley Rep thru Jan. 5, 2020.
Also: Review of "Mother of the Maid" at Marin Theatre Company.
November 21, 2019
Katya Cengel, author of Exiled: From the Killing Fields of Cambodia to California and Back. A look at the plight of Southeast Asian refugees, from their lives under the genocidal watch of the Khmer Rouge to their difficult times in the United States, to the fear and possibility of deportation under ICE. Rebroadcast.
November 18, 2019
Pam MacKinnon, Artistic Director of A.C.T. American Conservatory Theatre.
Also review of Bull in a China Shop at Aurora.
November 14, 2019
Tea Obreht, author of Inland. 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.
November 11, 2019
Philip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials trilogy, including The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. Originally written as adult novels but sold as young adult in order not to be ghettozied as fantasy, the books are now perennial best-sellers. Now an HBO series. Recorded November 30, 2000 during Pullman's only American tour.
November 7, 2019
Terry Tempest Williams, author of Erosion: Essays of 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.
November 4, 2019
Gene Wolfe (1931-2019). Science fiction Grandmaster, author of The Book of the New Sun and other novels and short stories, who died on April 14, 2019. Recorded Thanksgiving weekend, 1982 in San Jose following the publication of Shadow of the Torturer and Sword of the Lictor. One of science fiction's writer's writers, Wolfe never achieved the mainstream fame of his contemporaries but within the field he was recognized as one of the greats. Interviewers: Richard Wolinsky & Richard A. Lupoff.
October 31, 2019
Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket), author of the novels Bottle Grove and All The Dirty Parts, and producer of the Netflix series, A Series of Unfortunate Events. Set in San Francisco, Bottle Grove looks at two marriages, the tech industry, and the changing face of the city. All The Dirty Parts is a frank look at a teen age boy coping with his sexual energy. A Series of Unfortunate Events tells the sad and disturbing tale of the Baudelaire children and their run-ins with the evil and somewhat incompetent Count Olaf.
October 28, 2019
Robert Kelley, artistic director of TheatreWorks, Silicon Valley.
October 24, 2019
Nicholas Meyer, director and screenwriter, returns to Sherlock Holmes with the novel The Adventure of the Peculiar Protocols. The author of The Seven Percent Solution takes Holmes and Watson on a new adventure that brings them to Odessa and Budapest.
October 21, 2019
Kate Attwell, playwright whose latest work is Test Match having its World Premiere at ACT’s Strand Theatre through Dec 8, 2019
September 30, 2019
Randal Myler and Dan Wheetman, creators of the play Mark Twain’s River of Song at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, through October 27, 2019,
September 26, 2019
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.
September 23, 2019
Tim Flannery, author of The Weather Makers.
In The Weather Makers and this interview, recorded in 2006, Flannery discusses changes in climate, some of which are starting to come to pass. The material is still as relevant today, if not more so.
September 19, 2019
Esi Edugyan, author of the novel Washington Black. Washington Black tells the story of a young slave in Barbados in the 1840s who is taken under the wing of the abolitionist brother of his master. The novel follows his adventures as he wends his way through the world. One of the NY Times Ten Notable Books of 2018. Rebroadcast.
September 16, 2019
Tamilla Woodard, director of Top Girls by Caryl Churchill, at ACT Geary through Oct. 13, 2019.
September 12, 2019
Molly Ivins (1944-2006), co-author of Bushwhacked, recorded December 2003. One of the great political commentators of the final decades of the Twentieth Century, Molly Ivins was incisive, articulate, intuitive and very funny. In honor of the documentary on her life, Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins.
September 9, 2019
Daniel Thomas, co-Executive Director of 42nd Street Moon theatre company. .
September 5, 2019
Joshua Furst, author of the novel Revolutionaries.
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.
September 2, 2019
Elizabeth Rosner, author of Survivor Cafe, recorded live at Pegasus Books in Berkeley. Survivor Cafe deals with trauma and its effects, both direct and indirect. The daughter of Holocaust survivors, Elizabeth Rosner examines the effects of war and other tragedies on the psyche, and how those effects can be passed down, generation to generation. Rebroadcast.
August 29, 2019
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.
August 26, 2019
Nora Ephron (1941-2012). Recorded November 21,2010 during the tour for I Remember Nothing (and other reflections). The great screenwriter and director talks about her life and career.
August 22, 2019
Ann Beattie, author of 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.
August 19, 2019
Justine Bateman, author of Fame:The Hijacking of Reality, former co-star of the television sitcom Family Ties. Justine Bateman discovered the pitfalls of fame at the age of 16. In Fame she puts her own experiences within the context of how society and individuals view fame.
August 15, 2019
Glen David Gold, whose latest book, just out in trade paper, is I Will Be Complete: A Memoir.
I Will Be Complete tells the story of Gold's life through his twenties, focusing on his relationship with his mother, who left him alone frequently to go off and do her own thing, and his relationships and attempts at coming to grips with his own life story. Reading like a novel, I Will Be Complete uses fictional tropes to tell a real-life story.
August 12, 2019
John Fisher, performer/writer, A History of World War II at the Marsh through Sept. 7, 2019; Artistic Director, Theatre Rhino.
August 8, 2019
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.
July 22, 2019
Susan Oxtoby, curator of the BAMPFA film series, Against Authority: The Cinema of Masaki Kobayashi.
July 18, 2019
Susan Sontag (1933-2004), recorded while on tour for In America, her final novel, recorded March 16, 2000.
An activist, philosopher, novelist and film-maker, Susan Sontag made her mark felt over her long career with several works of fiction and non-fiction.
Interviewers Richard Wolinsky/Richard A. Lupoff.
July 15, 2019
Ha Jin, author of The Banished Immortal, a biography of the eighth century Chinese poet Li Bai (Li Po).
Known as a respected novelist, Ha Jin is tackling biography for the first time, trying to avoid the novelist's ideas about embellishing history. Still, it almost reads like a novel.
July 11, 2019
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.
July 8, 2019
Steven Saylor, author of Throne of Caesar, just out in trade paper. Steven Saylor’s latest novel takes his detective protagonist, Gordianus the Finder, to the days leading to the assassination of Julius Caesar. In the novel, Gordianus has just been appointed by Caesar to the Roman Senate, and has been tasked by Caesar and by Cicero, to discover if there’s any plot afoot to kill the dictator before he leaves to conquer Parthia.
July 8, 2019
Nancy MacLean, author of Democracy in Chains.
Duke University Professor Nancy MacLean, in researching the life of libertarian professor James Buchanan, discovered the philosophical underpinnings of what Hillary Clinton (almost unknowingly) called the “vast right-wing conspiracy.” Funded by Charles Koch and other donors, they’ve taken over the GOP and have an agenda, she says, that ultimately will allow minority rule in the United States for the forseeable future.
July 1, 2019
Errol Morris, documentary film maker, author of The Ashtray (Or the Man Who Denied Reality).
The noted documentarian (The Thin Blue Line, The Fog of War, the TV series Wormwood) discusses the nature of truth in terms of his argument with a philosopher who believed all truth was subjective.
June 27, 2019
Armistead Maupin, author of the Tales of the City series of books. Recorded June 14, 2007 for the book Michael Tolliver Lives. The Tales of the City series added two more novels for completion, and a new miniseries came to Netflix at the beginning of June, 2019.
June 24, 2019
Simon Winchester, author of The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World.
A master at non-fiction writing, Simon Winchester looks at the difference between precision and accuracy, and at how these two elements helped create the world we see today, from automobiles to cell phones, from microscopes to telescopes.
June 20, 2019
Joseph Heller (1923-1999) author of Catch-22 and its sequel Closing Time. Recorded October 17, 1994. Co-hosts: Richard Wolinsky & Richard A. Lupoff. A new Hulu miniseries has breathed new life into Catch-22, the classic novel about military insanity in World War II that became iconic during the Vietnam era. Heller followed with several novels, including Closing Time, a post-war sequel.
June 17, 2019
David Sedaris, author of Calypso.
This latest collection of essays deals with family life, the death of David Sedaris' sister, and other events. Funny and often moving, his best collection in recent years.
June 13, 2019
Patricia Marx & Roz Chast, authors of Why Don't You Write My Eulogy Now So I Can Correct It?: A Mother's Suggestions.
Drawings in the inimitable style of Roz Chast are paired with New Yorker humor writer Patricia Marx's compendium of her mother's funniest sayings.
June 10, 2019
Giovanna Sardelli, director of Archduke at TheatreWorks Mountain View Center for the Arts thru June 30, 2019.
June 6, 2019
Tony Horwitz (1958-2019), 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.
June 3, 2019
Frank Galati, director of Rhinoceros by Eugene Ionesco, at ACT Geary Theatre through June 23, 2019.
May 30, 2019
Lisa See, author of The Island of Sea Women.
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.
May 6, 2019
Annette O'Toole, lead actor in the play The Good Book, directed by Lisa Peterson, at Berkeley Rep's Peet's Theatre through June 9, 2019.
May 2, 2019
Richard Powers, author of The Understory, winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, now in trade paperback.
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 the lifeblood of the planet to pay off leveraged debt.
April 29, 2019
Kate Kilbane & Dan Moses, "The Kilbanes," creators and performers of Weightless, at ACT Strand thru May 12, 2019.
April 25, 2019
Cherilyn Parsons, founder and Executive Director, The Bay Area Book Festival, May 4-5, 2019 in downtown Berkeley.
April 22, 2019
George R.R. Martin, before Game of Thrones.
Before he hit it big with A Song of Ice and Fire, George R.R. Martin had already written a handful of novels, and several short stories, and was the force behind the 1980's TV show, Beauty and the Beast. Interviewers: Richard Wolinsky & Richard A. Lupoff, recorded 1991.
April 18, 2019
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.
April 15, 2019
Pre-empted for KPFA 70th Anniversary.
April 11, 2019
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.
Extended podcast to be posted.
April 8, 2019
Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage, now out in paperback. 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.
April 4, 2019
Tommy Orange, author of the novel, There, There. Set in Oakland, this acclaimed first novel novel focuses on the lives of urban Native Americans as they converge on a pow-wow in the Oakland Coliseum.
April 1, 2019
The Jungle. Co-director Justin Martin and actor Amman Haj Ahmad discuss the play, The Jungle, at the Curran through May 18, 2019.
March 28, 2019
Kurt Vonnegut, recorded1991. Rebroadcast in honor of the 50th anniversary of the publication of Slaughterhouse-5. Interviewers: Richard Wolinsky & Richard A. Lupoff
March 25, 2019
Falsettos. Interviews with James Lapine, director; William Finn, composer/lyricist; Spencer Liff, choreographer; and Jordan Roth, producer of the musical Falsettos, now at SHN Golden Gate through April 14, 2019
March 21, 2019
Brian Garfield (1939-2018) author of western fiction, Death Wish and Hopscotch. Brian Garfield, who died on December 29, 2018 wrote westerns under several pseudonyms, worked in Hollywood, wrote thrillers and cautionary tales, and wrote non-fiction as well. This interview was recorded in 1983. Interviewers are Richard Wolinsky, Richard A. Lupoff and Lawrence Davidson. Remastered & re-edited in 2019 by Richard Wolinsky.
March 18, 2019
Mfoniso Udofia, playwright, The Ufot Cycle. Her Portmanteau at ACT Strand Theatre through March 31, 2010. In Old Age World Premiere at the Magic starting March 27, 2019.
March 14, 2019
Barry Eisler, author of The Killer Collective.
Barry Eisler spent three years in the CIA before leaving to become a lawyer and novelist. Bringing together his protagonists, an assassin named John Rain and a detective named Livia Lone in one book, he examines the relationship of government to mercenary outsourcing, along with governmental cover-ups.
March 11, 2019
Don Reed, comedian, writer/performer That Don Reed Show at the Marsh, Berkeley through April 28, 2019.
February 18, 2019
Josh Costello, Artistic Director of Aurora Theatre Company starting July 2019.
February 14, 2019
Wes Craven (1930-2015).
The noted director of the Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream series, and other films, and author of the novel Fountain Society. Recorded October, 1999. Interviewers: Richard Wolinsky & Richard A. Lupoff
February 11, 2019
Francine du Plessix Gray (1930-2019)
Author of Them, a family memoir, and contributor to the New Yorker magazine. Them is a fascinating memoir of parents, set against the backdrop of the mid-part of the 20th Century, from World War II through life with the New York intelligentsia in the '50s through '70s. Recorded May, 2005.
February 7, 2019
Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018).
Ursula K. Le Guin, who broke the artificial wall between science fiction and literature, died on January 22nd, 2018 at the age of 88. An essayist and poet along with being a fiction writer, she transcended all genres with the quality of her prose and the allegorical nature of her work. Among her best known works are The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed, and her fantasy novels set in Earthsea. Interview recorded September 29, 2000 while on tour for the novel The Telling. Hosts: Richard Wolinsky & Richard A. Lupoff.
February 4, 2019
Michael David Lukas, author of The Last Watchman of Old Cairo. The Last Watchman of Old Cairo” tells the story of a family hired a thousand years ago to guard a synagogue in Cairo, and of a secret scroll that may or may not exist. Michael David Lukas is also the author of the novel The Oracle of Stamboul.
January 31, 2019
Joyce Maynard, author of a memoir, The Best of Us.
The author of several novels and multiple memoirs, Joyce Maynard’s latest book deals with her unexpected relationship and marriage in her late fifties, followed shortly thereafter with her husband’s diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. It’s both a love story and a harrowing tale of coping with a fatal disease.
January 28, 2019
Tim Kreider, author of I Wrote This Book Because I Love You. Tim Kreider gained a reputation as a cartoonist in the style of B. Kliban before turning political following the stolen election of 2000 and 9/11. His series, “The Pain — When Will It End?” ran for twelve years in the Baltimore City Paper and other alternative weeklies. His latest collection of essays deals with the personal and the political, and examines such topics as the war on terror, atheism, the circus and other themes.
January 24, 2019
Peter Carey, author of the novel A Long Way from Home.
A Long Way From Home delves into the story of racism in Australia and the oppression of the indigenous aboriginal peoples who inhabited the continent for two centuries before the white man and colonialism arrived. The novel does this by focusing on the Redex, an auto trial which featured a voyage around Australia starting in Sydney.
January 21, 2019
Pam McKinnon, Artistic Director of American Conservatory Theatre (ACT)
January 17, 2019
Carol Channing (1921-2019)
Noted Broadway performer and the iconic star of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Hello, Dolly! on Broadway, and TV personality, and author of Just Lucky I Guess, a memoir. Recorded 2002.
January 14, 2019
Trina Robbins, author of the memoir, Last Girl Standing.
A legend in comic book circles, an artist at a time when hardly any women drew comics, Trina Robbins' latest book, a memoir, “Last Girl Standing,” deals with her life as an artist, author, and clothing designer. She was the first woman to edit a comic book created by women, “It Ain’t Me Babe,” the first woman to draw “Wonder Woman,” and the single most influential historian chronicling the women who created comics and cartoons.
January 10, 2019
Amos Oz (1939-2018), noted Israeli novelist and peace activist, recorded November 2004, author of A Tale of Love and Darkness and forty other books, and perennial Nobel Prize candidate. He died December 28, 2018.
January 7, 2019
Larry Kirwan, creator of the musical Paradise Square, at Berkeley Rep through Feb. 24, 2019. Co-founder of the Irish American band Black 47 and author of five books.
January 3, 2019
Katya Cengel, author of Exiled, From the Killing Fields of Cambodia to California and Back. A look at the plight of Southeast Asian refugees, from their lives under the genocidal watch of the Khmer Rouge to their difficult times in the United States, to the fear and possibility of deportation under ICE.