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Notebook on Cities and Culture S2E9: Beautiful Abstractions with Josh Kornbluth

Colin Marshall sits down at downtown San Francisco’s Contemporary Jewish Museum with monologist Josh Kornbluth. They discuss the proper pronunciation of the word “monologist”; his simultaneous return to the practice of oboe-playing and late entry into things Jewish; the question of whether Andy Warhol is “good for the Jews,” and how he spun it into a monologue; the qualities of faith shared by Judaism and the communism of his childhood, which still releases endorphins when he thinks about it; the difficulty of dragging beautiful, pure abstractions of any kind into the concrete human sphere; Haiku Tunnel, the “FUBU of office workers”; the implicit premise of perhaps most monologues that everything ultimately connects to everything; how to show you’ve put in the hours on a performance by presenting its artifice just right; building a career in the San Francisco Bay Area, and how the place ratchets the average New York Jew’s stress level down from eleven to ten; New York as his own personal primordial ooze; how San Francisco tends to push out its aspirers, especially where theater is concerned; the outsider’s longing to understand music, Judaism, or both, and how he’s come to experience both as practices; and the wonder of trying, failing, and trying again at one’s craft within a community.

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

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