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Notebook on Cities and Culture S1E2: “Graduate Education” with David L. Ulin

Colin Marshall sits down at the La Brea Tar Pits with David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times book critic, editor of the anthologies Writing Los Angeles, Another City, and Cape Cod Noir, and author of The Myth of Solid Ground, The Lost Art of Reading, and the upcoming novella Labyrinth. They talk about his attitude as a young New Yorker moving to Los Angeles; his approach to everything in life through the filter of books; his “graduate education” writing for the mythologized oasis of writerly cool that was the Los Angeles Reader; the importance of competition in print journalism; criticism as the search for the most important questions; how to talk about a city that doesn’t know how to talk about itself; how to have a coherent conversation about a city that resists coherent conversation; the “sacred ordinariness” of Los Angeles; how literature of exile became literature of place; ersatz public and protected pseudo-urban space; whether the city will feel the same ten years from now; whether we’ll still have what architectural critic Reyner Banham described as an “autopia” ten years from now; how narrative offers our only hope of meaning, yet only offers meaning up to a point; and what happens when our narratives go bad, assuming we notice.

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

(Photo: Noah Ulin)

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