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Notebook on Cities and Culture 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.

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

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