City Arts & Lectures

By City Arts & Lectures

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Since 1980, City Arts & Lectures has presented onstage conversations with outstanding figures in literature, politics, criticism, science, and the performing arts, offering the most diverse perspectives about ideas and values. City Arts & Lectures programs can be heard on more than 130 public radio stations across the country and wherever you get your podcasts. The broadcasts are co-produced with KQED 88.5 FM in San Francisco. Visit CITYARTS.NET for more info.


Episode Date
Kim Stanley Robinson with Bill McKibben
01:01:48

In The Ministry for the Future, science fiction novelist Kim Stanley Robinson imagines a near-future where climate change has wreaked havoc, from severe heat waves, to flooding, limited resources, and a global refugee crisis. It’s a terrifying set of circumstances. But it’s not without hope - and Robinson brings to life a possible path for survival.  Robinson has also published a memoir, The High Sierra: A Love Story. On June 7, 2022, Kim Stanley Robinson talked with his friend, author and environmental activist, Bill McKibben, about his work, the challenges facing environmentalists, and how older people can play an important role. This program also includes an excerpt from the audiobook of The High Sierra read by the author, courtesy Hachette Books.

Jul 03, 2022
Amor Towles
01:15:17

This week, a conversation with one of today’s most beloved and historically imaginative authors: Amor Towles. Towles earned wide critical acclaim and a loyal international audience with his 2016 novel, A Gentleman in Moscow. His new book, The Lincoln Highway, follows four boys on an exhilarating ten-day trip across America, from the farmlands of Nebraska to the bustling streets of New York City. On June 7, 2022, Amor Towles came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with Steven Winn. 

Jun 26, 2022
Angela Davis with Alonzo King
01:08:47


Our guest is writer, scholar, and activist Angela Davis. For more than 5 decades, Davis has been fighting for Black liberation, equal rights for women, queer and transgender people. Davis first received national attention in 1969, after being removed from her teaching position at UCLA for her social activism and membership to the Communist Party. In 1970, she was placed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted List” on false charges, which culminated in one of the most famous trials in recent U.S. history. A massive international “Free Angela Davis” campaign was organized, leading to her acquittal in 1972. Davis is a founding member of Critical Resistance, a national organization dedicated to dismantling the prison-industrial complex, and the author of books including Freedom is a Constant Struggle and Women, Race & Class. On May 24, 2022, Angela Davis came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk to choreographer and activist Alonzo King.

Jun 19, 2022
David Mitchell with Pico Iyer
01:03:43

This week, we’ll listen to a conversation with David Mitchell and Pico Iyer, recorded on May 8, 2021. David Mitchell’s many novels include Cloud Atlas, The Bone Clocks, and Ghostwritten. . His most recent novel, Utopia Avenue, follows the strangest British band you’ve never heard of. Mitchell’s stories often weave together the supernatural and the philosophical.  He’s also one of the most structurally inventive writers of our time, featuring nonlinear storylines and multiple genres within a single book. Pico Iyer is a travel writer, essayist, and novelist, whose many books include Video Night in Kathmandu and The Lady and the Monk.

Jun 12, 2022
Michael Lewis and Dave Eggers
01:15:20

This week,  journalist Michael Lewis is in conversation with his fellow writer and friend Dave Eggers. Michael Lewis is the author of books including Moneyball and The Big Short, and most recently The Premonition: A Pandemic Story. It’s a nonfiction thriller filled with the unforgettable characters that Lewis is known for. His knack for storytelling is also what makes his podcast Against the Rules so captivating.  It’s about the state of “fairness” in American life – and each episode tackles the issue through the lens of people who depend on public trust - from sports referees to health care providers. On May 19, 2022, Michael Lewis came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk to Dave Eggers about season three of the podcast, and share stories of his own life too.

 

Jun 05, 2022
Neil Gaiman
01:07:32

This week, our guest is Neil Gaiman. He’s been called one of the modern masters of fantasy writing, but his work includes other genres too, from novels like American Gods and Neverwhere, to song lyrics, and poetry. His groundbreaking series The Sandman was the first comic ever to receive a literary award. It’s now being adapted into a show on Netflix. Coraline, his dark fantasy for children, was made into a movie too. On May 3, 2022, Neil Gaiman appeared at the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to read and take questions from fans.

May 29, 2022
Neil Gaiman Bonus - "Chivalry"
58:46

Neil Gaiman has been called one of the modern masters of fantasy writing, but his work includes other genres too, from novels like American Gods and Neverwhere, to song lyrics, and poetry. His groundbreaking series The Sandman was the first comic ever to receive a literary award. It’s now being adapted into a show on Netflix. Coraline, his dark fantasy for children, was made into a movie too. In this bonus podcast taken from his appearance at the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco on May 3, 2022 , Gaiman reads his story “Chivalry”, which he published in 1998 as part of the collection “Smoke and Mirrors”. It’s the story of an elderly woman who finds the Holy Grail in a thrift shop.
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May 29, 2022
Richard Powers
01:14:50

This week, our guest is Richard Powers. He’s the author of thirteen novels on everything from neuroscience, to artificial intelligence to the environment. His book, “The Overstory” earned him a Pulitzer prize in fiction. The Financial Times called it “A Great American Eco-Novel.” His latest book is called “Bewilderment”, and it also deals with environmental catastrophe. It’s the story of a widowed father and his son, and their journey into the wilderness.

 On April twenty-fifth, 2022, Richard Powers came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk to neuroscientist Indre Viskontas. Mutual admirers, the two had much to discuss, from the cognitive basis of creativity to our relationship with the natural and digital worlds.

May 22, 2022
Jennifer Egan and Jaron Lanier
01:14:03

This week, a conversation between two accomplished multi-disciplinary minds - writer Jennifer Egan and computer scientist and artist Jaron Lanier. Egan won a Pulitzer Prize for her novel A Visit from The Goon Squad. Now, a decade later, she’s written a sort of sibling to that book. It’s called The Candy House and it imagines a technology that allows people to access every memory they’ve ever had, and give away those recollections in exchange for access to the memories of other people.

Technology’s dystopian potential is something scientist Jaron Lanier has given a lot of thought to… Lanier is a composer, artist, and a pioneer in the field of virtual reality. He’s both developed new technologies, as well as taken a critical approach to them – particularly in his research into their social impacts and political ramifications. Lanier’s books include You Are not A Gadget, and Who Owns the Future.

On April 18, 2022, Jaron Lanier and Jennifer Egan sat down to talk to one another about the relationship between fiction and consciousness, and technology’s impacts - both good and bad.

May 15, 2022
Janelle Monáe, Yohanca Delgado, and George M. Johnson
01:12:04

Musician, actor, and fashion icon Janelle Monáe has long been creating sci-fi worlds through her albums and performances. With her new short story collection The Memory Librarian, Monáe, along with a team of collaborators, expands on the Afrofuturistic world of one of her critically acclaimed albums, Dirty Computer.  Dirty Computer introduced us to a world where people’s memories—a key to self-expression and self-understanding—could be controlled or erased by an increasingly powerful few. And whether human, A.I., or something in-between, citizen’s lives and sentience were dictated by those of the New Dawn, who’d convinced themselves they had the right to decide fate—that was, until Jane 57821 remembered and broke free. On April 24, 2022, Monáe came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to appear in conversation with one of the Memory Librarian collaborators, short story writer Yohanca Delgado, and George M. Johnson, whose memoir All Boys Aren’t Blue, has been banned in a recent wave of censorship of books dealing with themes like race and gender identity.

May 08, 2022
Krista Tippett
01:15:32

This week, our guest is Krista Tippett, host of the On Being podcast. Tippett started the program in 2003.  It features conversations about faith, ethics and moral wisdom. Tippett often begins her interviews by asking guests what their relationship to faith was like growing up. It’s a prompt that grounds them in memory before Tippett takes the conversation into an expansive examination of their views on everything from their work, to how they see the world and what wisdom they can impart. On April 23, 2022, Tippett came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk to Pico Iyer, another uncommonly thoughtful host. Iyer is the author of numerous books, including one on his friend, the Dalai Lama, and The Art of Stillness, a beautiful investigation of the benefits of quiet contemplation and travel to “nowhere.

May 01, 2022
Lauren Groff
01:10:21

Lauren Groff is a two-time National Book Award finalist and the author of four novels and two collections of short stories.  The relatively young author gathered major attention for her novel Fates and Furies – from literary awards to a nod from President Barack Obama.  Her newest novel, Matrix, imagines the life of Marie du France, a medieval writer who became France’s first woman poet. Her work regularly appears in The New YorkerThe Atlantic, and elsewhere, and she was named one of Granta’s 2017 Best Young American Novelists. On April 12, 2022, Lauren Groff came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk about Matrix with Isabel Duffy.  The two also discussed the utterly unique way in which Groff writes her novels.  After copious research, she writes a complete first draft, tosses that away without reviewing it, writes a new draft, and repeats the process again. With Matrix, she went through eight full drafts before arriving at the final version.

Apr 24, 2022
Rachel Cusk
59:35

Rachel Cusk is a writer of considerable range and depth, and her most recent works, dubbed the Outline Trilogy, embody a new and distinctive style. The novels take the form of a succession of monologues delivered not by the protagonist, but by the people she encounters.  Little is revealed about a central character who serves principally as a conduit for others.  The themes and questions that arise from those stories are weighty – as is Cusk’s choice to subvert traditional positions and form.  On April 8, 2019, Rachel Cusk came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with Steven Winn about her unconventional work and its reception. 

Apr 17, 2022
Azar Nafisi
01:04:06

This week, our guest is author and academic Azar Nafisi. Her books include Reading Lolita in Tehran and Things I’ve Been Silent About. Nafisi was born in Iran, and first came to the United States to study in the 1970s. After earning her Ph.D., she returned to her home country to teach at the University of Tehran, where in 1981, she was expelled for refusing to wear the mandatory Islamic veil. Nafisi went back to teaching six years later, with a series of lectures that examined the role of Western literature and culture in Iran after the 1979 revolution. She returned to the United States in 1997 to advocate on behalf of Iran’s intellectuals, youth, and especially young women. Her new book Read Dangerously: The Subversive Power of Literature in Troubled Times examines some of the most probing questions of our time through the works of Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie, James Baldwin, and more. On March 31, 2022, Azar Nafisi talked to Steven Winn at the studios of KQED in San Francisco.

Apr 10, 2022
Questlove and Boots Riley
01:14:45

This week, we’re listening back to a conversation on creativity from 2018 with two artists whose work span multiple genres. Boots Riley is the leader of the radical funk/hip-hop band “The Coup,” and the director of the 2018 film “Sorry to Bother You.” Ahmir Khalib Thompson, better known as Questlove, is the drummer and joint frontman for The Roots, author of several books, and as of March 27, 2022 - an Academy Award-winning director. His debut film documentary Summer of Soul is about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival. It features performances by music legends like Stevie Wonder, Sly and the Family Stone, Mahalia Jackson, Nina Simone, and others. On April twenty-first, 2018, Questlove and Boots Riley came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk to host Carvell Wallace.

Apr 03, 2022
Progressive Prosecuting: Chesa Boudin and Kim Foxx
01:05:17

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin was elected to office in 2020 after a campaign focused on improving public safety and reforming the criminal justice system.  Kimberly M. Foxx is the first African American woman to lead the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office –the second largest prosecutor’s office in the country– with a vision for transforming the office into a fairer, more forward-thinking agency focused on rebuilding the public trust, promoting transparency, and being proactive in making all communities safe. On March 22, 2022, the two spoke with Lara Bazelon about what it looks like to be a progressive prosecutor. They addressed data about crime rates, the misleading notion that progressives aren’t interested in convicting criminals, tensions between prosecutors and the police force, and formative childhood experiences that led each of them to work in criminal justice reform.

Apr 03, 2022
From the Archives: Madeleine Albright
01:11:56

We’re celebrating the life of the late Madeleine Albright this week with an encore of her 2008 City Arts & Lectures appearance..  Madeleine Albright was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1937. She and her family were refugees who fled Nazi invaders, eventually emigrating to the US in 1948. Albright went on to earn 8 academic degrees, including both a master’s and doctorate from Columbia University.  Her tenacity and flair for foreign policy led Bill Clinton to appoint her as the first female Secretary of State. During her tenure, Albright concentrated on a bipartisan approach to foreign policy, which made her remarkably popular both at home and abroad. Albright died on March 23, 2022, at the age of 84.

On October 13, 2008, Madeleine Albright came to the Herbst Theater in San Francisco to be interviewed on stage by Roy Eisenhardt.  She had just published “Memo to the President-Elect”.

Mar 27, 2022
Jacob Ward
01:07:23

Journalist Jacob Ward of NBC News talks about our growing reliance on artificial intelligence.  His new book is “The Loop: How Technology Is Creating a World Without Choices, and How to Fight Back”.  He draws on interviews with over 100 scientists, as well as his own reporting on behavior shaping technology.  It’s both an investigation into the negative effects of artificial intelligence and a plan for combating them.  On March 15, 2022, Jacob Ward talked with Lauren Schiller, host of the radio show and podcast “Inflection Point”.

Mar 20, 2022
Jack Kornfield and Anne Lamott
01:14:02

Jack Kornfield trained as a Buddhist monk in the monasteries of Thailand, India and Burma. He has taught meditation internationally since 1974 and was one of the key teachers to introduce Buddhist mindfulness practice to the West. He is co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Massachusetts and a founding teacher of the Spirit Rock Center in Woodacre, California. Over the past 40 years, Kornfield has taught around the world, led International Buddhist Teacher meetings with the Dalai Lama, and worked with many of the great teachers of our time. His many books include The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist PsychologyA Path with Heart, and After the Ecstasy, the Laundry.

Loved for her ability to write eloquently, gracefully, and often hilariously about complicated subjects, Anne Lamott has written on subjects ranging from alcoholism and single parenting to religion and writer’s block. She is the author of seven novels including Hard LaughterRosie, and Crooked Little Heart, as well as four bestselling books of nonfiction: Operating InstructionsBird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life,Traveling Mercies, and Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. Her latest book, Dusk, Night, Dawn: On Revival and Courage serves as an inspiring guide to restoring hope and joy in our lives.

On February 15, 2022, the two friends talked about navigating uncertain times – what Lamott calls the “COVID College” - and finding compassion for others, even those who hurt us.

Mar 13, 2022
Jeremy Denk
01:09:50

Our guest is Jeremy Denk, one of America’s foremost pianists. Winner of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship and the Avery Fisher Prize, Denk is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He returns frequently to Carnegie Hall and has recently appeared with ensembles including the Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic, and Los Angeles Philharmonic. In addition to phenomenal technique, Denk brings a deep knowledge of music history and composition to his performances – and to his writings on music, including his memoir, “Every Good Boy Does Fine”.  On February 15, 2022, Jeremy Denk talked with Steven Winn about his love of classical music – and performed parts of Bach’s Fugue in B minor from “The Well-Tempered Clavier” – in a conversation recorded in the San Francisco home of music legend Linda Ronstadt.

Mar 06, 2022
Dr. Paul Farmer
01:12:52

This week, we’re celebrating the life of Dr. Paul Farmer, a physician and anthropologist who dedicated his life to caring for the world’s poorest people.  Farmer believed that addressing the social roots of illness was as important as treating its symptoms; so, in addition to direct care, he undertook advocacy work that significantly influenced public health approaches to diseases like tuberculosis, HIV, and Ebola. On May 23, 2013, Farmer spoke to Adam Hochschild about his nonprofit, Partners in Health; the aftermath of the 2010 Haitian earthquake; and how his Catholic upbringing informed his work.  Paul Farmer died on February 21, 2022, at the age of 62, while working in Rwanda.

Feb 27, 2022
Stephen Breyer
01:16:18

In January of 2022, after more than three decades on the Supreme Court, Justice Stephen G. Breyer announced that he’ll retire at the end of the current term, once his successor has been confirmed.

Born in San Francisco, Breyer received a BA in philosophy from Stanford, attended Oxford as a Marshall Scholar, and earned his law degree from Harvard University. He was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1994 by President Clinton. Breyer is known for his pragmatic approach to constitutional law, urging judges to consider both the purpose of statutory and constitutional text, as well as the potential consequences of specific rulings when deciding cases.  His optimistic viewpoint, well-articulated in his books, describes judges as essential in building “productive working relationships with other institutions,” especially Congress and the Executive branches. His latest book, The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics (2021), is a reflection on the authority of the Supreme Court—both how that authority was gained, and how measures to restructure it could undermine the Court itself as well as the constitutional system of checks and balances that depends on it.

Stephen Breyer has been a guest on City Arts & Lectures several times.  In this conversation, recorded on September 25, 2015, he talked with Marcia Coyle about his recently published book “The Court and the World”. Coyle is a lawyer, journalist, and the Chief Washington Correspondent for The National Law Journal, covering the U.S. Supreme Court and national legal issues.

Feb 20, 2022
Wajahat Ali
01:08:09

Wajahat Ali is a playwright and lawyer who writes and speaks on race, religion, politics, and social justice with insight and humor. He is the author of The Domestic Crusaders, the first major play about Muslim Americans post-9/11. In his new memoir, Go Back to Where You Came From: And Other Helpful Recommendations on How to Become American, Ali shares stories, both hilarious and poignant, of his experience growing up a Muslim Pakistani-American in an effort to inspire a new vision of America’s multicultural identity.  Ali served as a national correspondent for Al Jazeera America, where he told stories of communities and individuals often marginalized or under-reported in mainstream media. His writing also appears regularly in the New York TimesThe AtlanticThe Washington Post, and The Guardian. On February 1, 2022, Wajahat Ali talked to Dave Eggers, the author of many books, including ZeitounWhat Is the What, You Shall Know Our Velocity, and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. 

Feb 13, 2022
Tongo Eisen-Martin
01:14:23

Tongo Eisen-Martin is the current poet laureate of San Francisco. He is the author of Heaven Is All Goodbyes, published as part of City Lights’ Pocket Poet series, and someone’s dead already. Eisen-Martin is also an educator and organizer whose work centers on issues of mass incarceration, extrajudicial killings of Black people, and human rights. He has taught at detention centers around the country and at the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University, and is the founder of Black Freighter Press. His most recent collection, Blood on the Fog, further explores themes of love and loss, family and faith, refracted through the lens of the Black experience.  On December 15, 2021, he came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with journalist and music critic Jeff Chang.

Feb 06, 2022
Billy Collins
01:06:03

Billy Collins is one of the most popular contemporary poets.  His 12 collections include “The Trouble With Poetry” and “The Rain in Portugal”.  He’s known for conversational poems that welcome readers with humor, but often slip in profound observations on the everyday, reading and writing, and poetry itself.  Collins served two terms as the US Poet Laureate, from 2001 to 2003, and was New York State Poet Laureate from 2004 to 2006.   On October 23, 2021, Billy Collins spoke with Steven Winn about his newest collection, “Whale Day”.  

Jan 30, 2022
Temple Grandin
01:02:26

Temple Grandin is an author and speaker on both autism and animal behavior. She is a professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University, and consults on both livestock handling equipment design and animal welfare. She is the author of many books on animal science and autistic experience, including the bestsellers Thinking in Pictures and Animals in Translation. Her new book, Navigating Autism: 9 Mindsets For Helping Kids on the Spectrum, presents nine strengths-based mindsets necessary to successfully work with young people on the autism spectrum. Grandin shares her own personal experience, as well as anecdotes from parents and professionals who have sought her advice, providing parents and caretakers of autistic children with new, empowering mindsets they can apply to develop the full potential of every child. On October 18, 2021, Temple Grandin came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater for an onstage conversation with Indre Viskontas, a cognitive neuroscientist at UC San Francisco and co-host of the podcast Inquiring Minds.

Jan 23, 2022
From the Archives: E. O. Wilson
59:08

This week, we reach into the City Arts & Lectures archives for a conversation with E. O. Wilson.   The biologist and author was the world’s leading authority on ants – but he was also often referred to as “the father of biodiversity”.  In addition to significant scientific research, Wilson made major contributions to the public’s understanding of larger issues of science, nature, and conservation.  He won the Pulitzer Price twice, for his books “The Ants” and “On Human Nature”.  His other popular works include “Letters to a Young Scientist” and “The Meaning of Human Existence”.

Wilson was a professor at Harvard University and also taught at Duke University, which houses the E. O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation.  E. O. Wilson died on December 26, 2021, at the age of 92. 

In this program, recorded on October 10, 2006, he talks with Roy Eisenhardt about his newly published book “The Creation: A Meeting of Science and Religion”.   In it, Wilson appeals for the combined efforts of scientific, political, and religious leaders to help prevent species extinction, save biological diversity, and be good stewards of the Earth.  

Jan 16, 2022
From the Archives: Wayne Thiebaud
01:13:28

Painter Wayne Thiebaud is best known for his carefully studied still lifes of ordinary objects such as hot dogs, sweets, and lipsticks. It’s his cherry-topped cakes, lush with frosting, and brightly hued slices of pie that first come to mind for many of his fans. The pleasures of diners and dessert carts, rendered in thick paint, evoke a bygone era. But what could be misinterpreted as saccharine nostalgia is often cut through by a sort of sadness. The blue shadow around a plate … the downward gaze of a pair of swimmers.  Thiebaud’s landscapes, showcasing the steep streets of San Francisco, and the golden hills of California, feature an intensity of light and color, as well as his distinctive brushwork and lush paint. Thiebaud lived in California for most of his long life, settling in Sacramento and teaching at UC Davis.

Wayne Thiebaud died on December 25, 2021 at the age of 101. The artist worked until the end of his life — he was 100 years old in August of 2020 when The New Yorker magazine featured one of his iconic ice cream cones as its cover image.  We’re celebrating Thiebaud’s life with a rebroadcast of his 2005 appearance at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco where he spoke to Wendy Lesser, founding editor of the Threepenny Review. He talks about his early career, the artists he most admires, and his approach to teaching.

Jan 09, 2022
From the Archives: Archbishop Desmond Tutu
01:07:09

This week, we present an archival City Arts & Lectures program recorded in 2010 with the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter, the Reverend Mpho Tutu, in conversation with Roy Eisenhardt.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu dedicated his life to fighting for basic civil and human rights for all. Born a teacher’s son in South Africa, Tutu followed his father’s path and taught for several years before studying theology.  From there, he became the first Black general secretary of the South African Council of Churches, and then the Archbishop of Cape Town.  In 1997, Nelson Mandela asked him to chair the Truth and Reconciliation Commission after the abolition of apartheid.  

Archbishop Tutu presided over the ordination of his daughter Mpho Tutu into the Anglican priesthood in 2004.  This program, recorded at Davies Symphony Hall on March 17, 2010, was just after the publication of a book they wrote together, “Made for Goodness, And Why This Makes All the Difference”.   Desmond Tutu died on December 26, 2021, at the age of 90.

Jan 02, 2022
From the Archives: Joan Didion
58:53

This week, we reach into the City Arts & Lectures archives for a conversation with Joan Didion.

One of the most influential writers of our time, Didion both chronicled and shaped American culture with a sharp, witty, and distinctively Californian sensibility.   The Sacramento native graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. Her novels include “Play it as it Lays”, “A Book of Common Prayer”, and “The Last Thing He Wanted”.  With her husband John Gregory Dunne, she co-wrote screenplays including “True Confessions”, “Up Close and Personal”, and “The Panic in Needle Park”.  Didion’s nonfiction, beginning with the 1968 “Slouching Towards Bethlehem”, exemplifies the New Journalism movement – a subjective approach to reporting that employs literary techniques. Didion’s inimitable voice was brought even more to the foreground in her memoirs “The Year of Magical Thinking”, and “Blue Nights”, which describe the loss of her husband and daughter and her anxieties about parenting and aging.  Joan Didion died in Manhattan on December 23, 2021, at the age of 87.

Joan Didion appeared on City Arts & Lectures six times between 1996 and 2011.  In her last visit, recorded on November 15, 2011, she spoke with novelist Vendela Vida, shortly after the publication of “Blue Nights” at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco.  The program was a benefit for the 826 Valencia College Scholarship program. 

Dec 26, 2021
From the Archives: bell hooks and Walter Mosley in 1995
58:51

This week, we celebrate the life and work of trailblazing poet, feminist, and cultural critic, bell hooks. bell hooks changed the course of feminism, demanding that the voices of women of color, queer women, and working-class women be included at a time when feminism was seen as a white middle-class movement. Her more than three dozen books, include collections of poetry and essays, and her groundbreaking 1981 book Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism. bell hooks died at her home in Kentucky on Wednesday, December 15, 2021. She was 69 years old. 


In this wide-ranging conversation recorded in San Francisco in 1995, bell hooks spoke to Walter Mosley––novelist best known for his historically based crime and mystery fiction including Devil in a Blue Dress, Black Betty, and White Butterfly––about the power of language, about racism and sexism in America, the importance of discourse and more.

Dec 19, 2021
Louise Erdrich
01:05:56

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Louise Erdrich has written many novels including Love Medicine and The Roundhouse, as well as works of non-fiction, poetry, and children’s books.  She’s written extensively on Native American identity, and is the owner of an independent bookstore in Minneapolis, Birchbark Books, which specializes in Native American writing.  Her new novel, The Sentence, takes place in such a bookstore. It's a ghost story, set against the real-life backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and the murder of George Floyd. On November 19, 2021, Louise Erdrich spoke to Steven Wynn at the studios of KQED in San Francisco.

Dec 12, 2021
Nikole Hannah-Jones and Barry Jenkins on The 1619 Project
01:13:38

This week – Jeff Chang talks to Nikole Hannah-Jones, one of today’s foremost investigative journalists.  Her reporting on civil rights and racial justice, including school segregation, has earned her numerous awards, chief among them a Pulitzer Prize for her work on the 1619 Project.  It’s an ongoing initiative from the New York Times that reframes the way we understand America’s history by examining the modern legacy of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans.  On November 29, 2021, Nikole Hannah-Jones came to San Francisco to celebrate the release of the book version of the 1619 Project.  Joining her was one of the book’s contributors, Barry Jenkins, the Academy-Award-winning director of Moonlight, and most recently, a television adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s “The Underground Railroad”.  But before the two sat down to talk to Jeff Chang, Forrest Hamer read his poem “Race Riot”.  

Dec 05, 2021
Stephen Sondheim
01:03:24

For this special archive edition of City Arts and Lectures, we present a 2008 interview with the lyricist and composer Stephen Sondheim.  Since his Broadway debut at age 27 as the lyricist for “West Side Story”, Stephen Sondheim has stretched the conventions of musical theater with sophisticated storylines and complex musicality.  Though his work has always been controversial, and met with mixed reviews from critics and audiences, Sondheim’s impact on music theater is undeniable. His landmark shows include “Company”, “Into the Woods”, “A Little Night Music”, “Sunday in the Park with George”, “Assassins”, and “Sweeney Todd”.  Sondheim has won eight Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, a Pulitzer Prize, eight Tony Awards, and received the Kennedy Center Lifetime Achievement Honors and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  

Stephen Sondheim died on Friday, November 26, 2021, the day after enjoying a Thanksgiving dinner with friends.  He was 91 years old.  At the time of his death, he was working on a new musical called “Square One”.

In this program, recorded on March 9, 2008, Sondheim was interviewed on the stage of the Herbst Theater in San Francisco by Frank Rich of the New York Times.  Join me now for a 2008 conversation with the late Stephen Sondheim.

Nov 28, 2021
Gary Shteyngart
59:02

Gary Shteyngart’s new book is “Our Country Friends”, which he began writing during the first month of the pandemic.  It’s the story of eight friends who shelter in place at the upstate New York home of a Russian-born American writer.  His previous books include “Super Sad True Love Story” and “Absurdistan”.  On November 8, 2021, Gary Shteyngart joined Andrew Sean Greer, the Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of “Less”, to talk about finding humor in dystopic times. 

Nov 21, 2021
Jelani Cobb
01:11:59

Jelani Cobb is a staff writer for the New Yorker magazine, historian, and professor of journalism at Columbia, and one of today’s most important public intellectuals.  He is the co-editor of  a new anthology, The Matter of Black Lives, which compiles New Yorker essays on race in America through time, by writers including James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Hilton Als, and Zadie Smith. On November 5, 2021, he came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco for an on-stage conversation with Jeff Chang and a live audience. They spoke about diversity in the newsroom, the controversy surrounding Dave Chappelle, and the findings of a task force created by Lyndon Johnson in the wake of racial riots in the 1960s.

Nov 14, 2021
Anita Hill
01:11:36

In 1991, Anita Hill testified at the Senate confirmation hearings of Justice Clarence Thomas.  It was an act of enormous bravery, and Hill immediately became a symbolic figure of extraordinary controversy. 

Anita Hill’s role in bringing gender-based discrimination to America’s consciousness cannot be understated.  In fact, prior to her testimony, sexual harassment simply wasn’t part of our collective consciousness. Her work for fair treatment in the workplace, and for a society free of harassment and violence, continues to this day.

On October 22, 2021, Anita Hill came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to speak with USF law professor Lara Bazelon, about the arc of her remarkable life, and her new book BelievingOur Thirty-Year Journey to End Gender Violence. 

Nov 07, 2021
Susan Orlean
43:43

Susan Orlean, author of The Orchid Thief, and The Library Book, returns with On Animals. The book is a collection of essays she’s written for The New Yorker-- where she is a staff writer-- that catalogue her love and wonder of animals. On October 13, 2021, Susan Orlean talked to Steven Winn about her fascination with all kinds of creatures, and some truly bizarre animal owners, like a woman who has twenty-three pet tigers.

Oct 31, 2021
Dave Eggers
59:20

Dave Eggers’ books include A Hologram for the King, What is the What, and many more since his breakout memoir in the year 2000, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. He’s written a new novel, called The Every. It’s follow up to his 2013 book The Circle, and both take a very skeptical view of technology’s impact not only on our daily lives, but our capacity for focus and empathy.

On September 23, 2021, Eggers talked to Tom Barbash about the problems with big tech and about social media’s addictive and destructive algorithms - and the disappointment he feels when an adult friend or colleague resorts to an emoji to express a serious emotion.

Oct 31, 2021
Adam Schiff
01:09:23

Congressman Adam Schiff represents California’s 28th Congressional District. In his 11th term in the House of Representatives, Schiff currently serves as the Chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which oversees the nation’s intelligence agencies. In his role as Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Schiff led the first impeachment of Donald J. Trump. Before he served in Congress, he worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles and as a California State Senator. His new book Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy And Still Could offers a vital inside account of American democracy in its darkest hour, and a warning that the forces of autocracy unleashed by Trump remain as potent as ever.

Oct 24, 2021
Andrea Elliott
01:00:58

Andrea Elliott is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter for The New York Times and a former staff writer at The Miami Herald. In 2012, Elliott set out to report about what it was like to be an unhoused child in New York City. She met 11-year-old Dasani Coates, living in a shelter with her parents and seven siblings.  The conditions were unsurprisingly horrible, and the challenges faced by Dasani’s family enormous and multigenerational. Elliott followed Dasani and her family for eight years, and her book Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival, and Hope in an American City, weaves together Dasani’s story - including her time at a boarding school designed to help disadvantaged girls escape poverty – with the history of Dasani’s family, tracing the passage of their ancestors from slavery to the Great Migration north. It’s the story of a fierce, resilient, and overburdened child – and the profound impacts of poverty and racism.  On October 5, 2021, Andrea Elliott spoke with Isabel Duffy about the book - what it took to write it and what she’d like readers to take from it.

Oct 17, 2021
Mary Roach
01:08:52

Mary Roach is the author of the books StiffSpookBonkGulpGrunt, and Packing for Mars, all of which bring her distinctly funny voice to popular science subjects. Her new book Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law, combines little-known forensic science and conservation genetics, with a motley cast of laser scarecrows, trespassing squirrels, and more of “nature’s lawbreakers,” offering hope for compassionate coexistence in our ever-expanding human habitat. Roach has written for National Geographic, Wired, and The New York Times Magazine.  On September 29, 2021, Mary Roach came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco for an on-stage conversation before a live audience with Malia Wollan, director of the UC Berkeley-11th Hour Food and Farming Journalism Fellowship at the Graduate School of Journalism.

Oct 10, 2021
Karl Ove Knausgaard
54:53

Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard is best known for the autobiographical series “My Struggle.” The six volumes total more than 3,000 pages. And the books manage to be both epic and intimate. In them, Knausgaard meticulously catalogs the minor details of his daily life, like cleaning his father’s house and checking out books at the library.  He also tackles fundamental questions about existence -- laying bare his personal relationships and anxieties about family, career, and purpose. The stories move slowly and calmly and their effect on the reader can be almost hypnotic. On September 23, 2021, Karl Ove Knausgaard spoke to Judson True about his newest book, a novel called The Morning Star.

Oct 03, 2021
Colson Whitehead
01:08:18

Colson Whitehead is the only novelist to win a Pulitzer Prize for consecutive books: The Underground Railroad, now a television miniseries directed by Oscar-winner Barry Jenkins, and The Nickel Boys. His novels span a wide range of genres, including satire (Apex Hides the Hurt), post-apocalyptic zombie horror (Zone One), and an autobiographical coming-of-age story (Sag Harbor, which is slated for an HBO adaptation produced by Laurence Fishburne). With his highly-anticipated new heist novel, Harlem Shuffle, Whitehead tries his hand at yet another literary category. On September 17, 2021, Colson Whitehead talked to Alexis Madrigal about his writing before an audience at the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco, the first live on-stage program for City Arts & Lectures since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sep 26, 2021
Frances Moore Lappé
59:31

This week, we’ll hear from Frances Moore Lappé, whose groundbreaking book “Diet for a Small Planet” was controversial when it first came out in 1971.  World hunger was a major news topic and a genuine concern; many believed there simply wasn’t enough food to feed the planet.  But Lappé argued that hunger wasn’t caused by a scarcity of food, but a scarcity of power among those who go hungry.  She believed democracy – and a plant-centered diet – could solve the problem.  On September 9, 2021, Frances Moore Lappé spoke to her daughter, Anna Lappé, about what drove her to write the book, and what she’s learned in the intervening 50 years.  Anna Lappé is also an author and an advocate for sustainability and food justice.

Sep 19, 2021
Daniel Handler
57:52

Under the pen name Lemony Snicket, Daniel Handler is responsible for the beloved thirteen-volume A Series of Unfortunate Events and the four-volume All the Wrong Questions, among other books. Mr. Snicket is back with his first book for readers of all ages, a whimsical and philosophical novel that begins with the protagonist Snicket finding a note that informs him: “You had poison for breakfast.” On August 30, 2021, Daniel Handler talked to his sister, the writer Rebecca Handler, about writing again as Mr. Snicket, about craft, and about family. Daniel Handler is the author of the novels Why We Broke UpWe Are PiratesAll the Dirty Parts, and most recently, Bottle Grove. Under the name Lemony Snicket, Handler has written numerous children’s books, including The Dark, the four-volume All the Wrong Questions, and the thirteen-volume A Series of Unfortunate Events, which has sold more than 60 million copies and was the basis of a feature film. Poison for Breakfast, Snicket’s most recent book––for readers of all ages––was published in August 2021. The whimsical and philosophical novel begins with the protagonist Snicket finding a note that informs him: “You had poison for breakfast.”

Rebecca Handler is a writer who lives and works in San Francisco. Her stories have been published and awarded in several anthologies. Her recent debut novel Edie Richter Is Not Alone features a protagonist who moves with her family to Perth, Australia following the death of her father. There, she finds herself isolated and forced to confront a painful secret from her past.

On August 30, 2021, Daniel Handler and Rebecca Handler talked about writing again as Mr. Snicket, about craft, and about family.

Sep 16, 2021
Andrew Budson
58:56

Dr. Andrew Budson is a cognitive and behavioral neurologist, a cognitive neuroscientist, and author. He has written and co-authored a number of books that focus on Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and related disorders –– including his most recent work, Six Steps to Managing Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia, is a guide for families who are navigating caring for a loved one. Budson is incredibly active in his field: he is the founder and medical director of the Boston Center for Memory; Associate Director & Education Core Leader for Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center; and a professor and lecturer of neurology at both Harvard Medical School and Boston University School of Medicine.  On August 31, 2021, Budson spoke with Simone Silverstein, a writer and performer living in San Francisco.

Sep 16, 2021
Michael Pollan
59:24

This week…. a encore of a 2018 conversation with Michael Pollan. When it was originally recorded in 2018, the idea of using psychedelics for therapeutic intervention was new to many people. Today, just a few years later, treating mental health disorders like depression and PTSD with drugs like psilocybin, LSD or MDMA, better known as a component in Ecstasy, is much more familiar. Some might say it’s rapidly gaining public acceptance.

Michael Pollan has written numerous books and articles about the places where the human and natural worlds intersect - on our plates, in our farms and gardens, and in our minds. His books, including The Omnivore’s Dilemma and The Botany of Desire, are all meticulously researched and wonderfully engaging to read. With “How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence” -- Pollan takes a deep dive into the historical record and current research on psychedelics, as well as his own personal journey. On May twenty-first, 2018, Michael Pollan came to the Nourse Theater in San Francisco to talk about the science of psychedelics with Dacher Keltner.

Sep 05, 2021
Rita Dove
42:23

Rita Dove was the youngest person ever to be named United States Poet Laureate.  She was also the first African American to hold the title.  Her poems imbue historical events with personal detail and experience.  Dove is also a novelist and acclaimed lyricist.  On August 15, 2021, she talked with Steven Winn about her most recent collection. “Playlist for the Apocalypse”.

Aug 29, 2021
Joy Harjo
42:26

Joy Harjo is a performer and writer of the Muskogee Creek Nation. She’s currently serving her second term as United States Poet Laureate.  Much of Harjo’s poetry incorporates indigenous myths.  She also addresses social justice and feminism.  Her newest book is a memoir, “Poet Warrior”.  On August 16, 2021, Joy Harjo talked with Steven Winn about her work.

Aug 29, 2021
Alison Bechdel
57:54

Alison Bechdel‘s cult following for her early comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For grew wildly in response to her family memoirs, the best-selling graphic memoir Fun Home, adapted into a Tony Award-winning musical, and Are You My Mother? She has become a cultural household name for the concept of the Bechdel Test, a metric used when considering the representation of women in film. Bechdel has been named a MacArthur Fellow and Cartoonist Laureate of Vermont, among many other honors. On May 7, 2021, she talked to artist George McCalman about her latest book “The Secret to Superhuman Strength”.  It’s a history of exercise trends, from Jack LaLanne in the 1960s to spin classes and yoga studios.  It’s also a very personal examination of Bechdel’s own fascination with fitness.

Aug 26, 2021
"Learning in Public" with Courtney Martin
01:01:36

When journalist Courtney Martin learned that white families in her gentrifying neighborhood in Oakland largely avoided the majority-Black, poorly-rated public school down the street, she began asking why. In Learning in Public: Lessons For a Racially Divided America From My Daughter’s School, Martin examines her own fears, assumptions, and conversations with other parents as they navigate school choice.  The book is part memoir, part investigation into the persistence of school segregation in the United States. It’s a vivid portrait of integration’s virtues and complexities.

Courtney E. Martin is the author of five books, including Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists and The New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream, as well as the popular newsletter Examined Family. She is the co-founder of the Solutions Journalism Network, FRESH Speakers, and the Bay Area chapter of Integrated Schools, as well as the Storyteller-in-Residence at The Holding Co.  On August 11, 2021, Courtney Martin spoke with Anna Sale, host of the podcast “Death, Sex, and Money”. 

Aug 22, 2021
Brian Greene
01:09:52

Brian Greene is one of the world’s leading theoretical physicists, widely recognized for his groundbreaking discoveries in the field of superstring theory. His ability to clearly communicate cutting-edge science - even bringing humor to abstruse mathematical concepts -- has made Greene a sort of rock star physicist. On February 25, 2020, Brian Greene came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk to Gina Pell about his newest book “Until The End of Time: Mind, Matter and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe”.

Aug 01, 2021
Hannah Zeavin: The Distance Cure, A History of Teletherapy
01:01:03

This week, we’ll hear how distance has played a key role in psychotherapy – even before the pandemic. Starting with Freud’s treatments by mail, to crisis hotlines, and now mobile phones and Zoom sessions, therapy has long existed outside the doctor’s office.  Hannah Zeavin calls it teletherapy, and she explores its history in a new book “The Distance Cure”.  On July 17, 2021, Zeavin talked to Adam Savage.

Jul 25, 2021
Michelle Zauner
55:57

Michelle Zauner is a musician who plays indie pop under the name “Japanese Breakfast”.  Zauner grew up in the Pacific Northwest, raised by her mother, a Korean immigrant.  As an adult, she moved back to become a caregiver at the end of her mother’s life.  Her memoir “Crying in H-Mart” grapples with grief and trauma - but also provides delicious detail about her family’s Korean cooking.  On May 6, 2021, Zauner spoke with comedian Bowen Yang of Saturday Night Live.

Jul 18, 2021
Lucy Corin
56:25

Lucy Corin is the author of the novel “Everyday Psycho Killers: A History for Girls”, and two short story collections, the most recent being “100 Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses”.  On June 23, 2021, Corin talked with Daniel Handler just before the publication of her second novel, “The Swank Hotel”.  The book explores mental illness, familial grief, and love.

Jul 11, 2021
Victoria Chang
52:22

Poet Victoria Chang’s new collection, “Obit”, is about grief and grieving.  Chang wrote the book in the wake of her mother’s death.  The poems are written as obituaries, and their creation gave Chang a way to process her loss and contemplate her own mortality.  Victoria Chang spoke with Daniel Handler on January 19, 2021.

Jul 11, 2021
Dr. Jen Gunter
01:05:09

Dr. Jen Gunter is an ob-gyn and a pain medicine physician who writes on topics of sex, science, and social media. A fierce advocate for women’s health, Gunter is devoted to correcting the misinformation perpetuated by the internet around women’s well-being and reproductive health. She is the author of The Preemie Primer and The Vagina Bible. Her new book, The Menopause Manifesto: Own Your Health with Facts and Feminism, counters stubborn myths about menopause with hard facts, real science, fascinating historical perspective, and expert advice. On June 7, 2021, Gunter talked with Isabel Duffy about the book and the history of medical understanding – and misunderstanding – about this stage of women’s lives.

Jul 04, 2021
Jhumpa Lahiri
01:01:03

Twenty years ago, Jhumpa Lahiri received the Pulitzer Prize in 2000 for Interpreter of Maladies, her debut story collection that explores issues of love and identity among immigrants and cultural transplants.  She went on to write more short stories, poems, essays, and novels, such as The Namesake.  Since moving to Italy in 2011, Lahiri has worked as a translator of Italian literature, and produced her own work in Italian.  For her latest book, Whereabouts, she first wrote the story in Italian before translating it into English. On May 18, 2021, Jhumpa Lahiri spoke with Monica Seger, Program Director for Italian Studies at William & Mary University.

Jun 20, 2021
Stress and Resilience: Elissa Epel and Dacher Keltner
01:06:09

Over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, people have faced unprecedented emotional challenges.  Our guests this week are both experts in the relationship between physical and emotional well-being.  Dr. Elissa Epel’s research includes the ways that chronic stress affects the process of aging. She’s a professor of psychology at UC San Francisco.  Dr. Dacher Keltner studies the biological and evolutionary origins of feelings like compassion, awe, and love.  He’s the director of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. On May 10, 2021, the two discussed stress and how we can improve our resilience and response to it, and how the solution for pandemic stress should be a communal and not an individual one.

Jun 13, 2021
High on the Hog: Dr. Jessica B. Harris with Samin Nosrat
01:08:19

Dr. Jessica B. Harris is the preeminent authority on the culinary culture of the African Diaspora.  Harris has spent over three decades studying African food and its migration.  To understand the rich and complex flavors of African American cuisine requires looking at the culinary cultures of the African continent and the slave trade that brought Africans to America. Harris is the author of twelve critically acclaimed cookbooks documenting the foods and foodways of the African Diaspora including Iron Pots and Wooden Spoons: Africa’s Gifts to New World Cooking and The Welcome Table: African-American Heritage Cooking. Her most recent book is My Soul Looks Back: A Memoir. Netflix has just made a series based on Harris’s seminal book “High on the Hog”. On May 13, 2021, Harris spoke with chef and author Samin Nosrat, whose book “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” was also made into a Netflix series.

Jun 06, 2021
Stacey Abrams
01:07:55

In 2018, Stacey Abrams lost her bid to be governor of Georgia.  It was a huge disappointment – she was the first Black woman to become the gubernatorial nominee of a major party in the US.  It was also unexpected – Abrams won more votes than any Democrat in Georgia’s history.  The surprise outcome had much to do with the state’s mismanagement of the election.  After she lost, Abrams created the voting rights organization Fair Fight.  Since 2018, she’s been instrumental in driving an enormous number of voter registrations in Georgia – those voters were critical in turning Georgia blue in the 2020 presidential election and in electing two Democratic Senators.  On May 13, 2021, Stacey Abrams talked to journalist Rebecca Traister about protecting our democracy, and some of her many other pursuits – including writing legal thrillers, including her newest “While Justice Sleeps”.

May 30, 2021
Tamika Mallory
52:39

 

As an activist fighting for racial and social equality, Tamika Mallory has inspired countless others to get involved with these issues – and never more so than when the speech she made during the protests following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis went viral.  Mallory grew up in an activist family; her parents were founding members of the civil rights organization National Action Network.  She would go on to become its youngest ever executive director.  On May 14, 2021, Tamika Mallory talked with Courtney Martin, about her book “State of Emergency” and her life as an activist.

May 23, 2021
Bryan Stevenson
54:04

Bryan Stevenson is a lawyer who’s brought national attention to the failures of America’s criminal justice system. He’s the founding director of the Equal Justice Institute in Montgomery, Alabama.  Under his leadership, EJI has won major legal challenges, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and of the mentally ill, and exonerating innocent Death Row inmates.  We’ll hear Stevenson talk to Chesa Boudin, San Francisco’s District Attorney, and Rachel Marshall.  This conversation was recorded on December 14, 2020, for “Chasing Justice”, a podcast hosted by Boudin and Marshall.

May 23, 2021
David Mitchell and Pico Iyer
01:04:08

This week, we’ll listen to a conversation with David Mitchell and Pico Iyer, recorded on May 8, 2021. David Mitchell’s many novels include Cloud Atlas, The Bone Clocks, and Ghostwritten. . His most recent novel, Utopia Avenue, follows the strangest British band you’ve never heard of. Mitchell’s stories often weave together the supernatural and the philosophical.  He’s also one of the most structurally inventive writers of our time, featuring nonlinear storylines and multiple genres within a single book. Pico Iyer is a travel writer, essayist, and novelist, whose many books include Video Night in Kathmandu and The Lady and the Monk.  

May 16, 2021
Rachel Kushner
01:04:23

Rachel Kushner is the author of several novels including The Mars Room and The Flamethrowers.  Her work has been compared to Joan Didion’s, and that of Don DeLillo, a literary mentor to Kushner. Kushner’s newest book, The Hard Crowd, is a collection of essays from the past 20 years that showcase her intellect and diverse interests, from muscle cars to postmodern art and politics.  She has received grants and prizes from the Guggenheim Foundation and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and her fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine. On April 29, 2021, Rachel Kushner talked with Heidi Julavits about the art of writing and the places and people that inspire her.

May 09, 2021
Astra Taylor and Robert Reich
01:02:10

This week, our guests are Astra Taylor and Robert Reich.  Taylor is an activist, author, and documentary filmmaker whose films include What is Democracy? (2018) and An Examined Life (2008). Last year, at the onset of the pandemic, Taylor joined economist Robert Reich to discuss his just-published book, The System.  It was the very beginning of COVID-19’s complete upheaval of normal life, and Reich made a plea for government to understand the moment as a health crisis, not an economic one. On April 19, 2021, Taylor and Reich returned to reflect on the past year, from racial reckoning to widening income inequality – and to discuss Taylor’s new book, Remake the World: Essays, Reflections, Rebellions.  In it, Taylor invites us to imagine how things could be different while never losing sight of the strategic question of how change actually happens.

May 02, 2021
Alonzo King
58:55

This week, we present a conversation with choreographer Alonzo King.  He’s the artistic director of LINES Ballet, a contemporary dance company in San Francisco.  He founded it in 1982, and has revolutionized the way we view dance.  King’s choreography includes a blend of powerful and tender emotion, and unbelievable feats of athleticism.  LINES Ballet looks and moves unlike any other ballet company, and King’s art has always spoken to the moment, politically and spiritually.  On April 14, 2021, Alonzo King spoke with Steven Winn about his artistic process and the inspiration he took from his parents, who were both civil rights activists.  

Apr 25, 2021
The Catastrophist - Lauren Gunderson and Nathan Wolf
01:03:46

 Playwright Lauren Gunderson’s work is often based on the lives of historical figures – scientists like Marie Curie and Isaac Newton, and political figures such as the first woman elected to Congress.  Gunderson didn’t have to travel far to research her newest play, The Catastrophist – the one-man play centers on her husband, virologist Nathan Wolf. One of Wolf’s areas of expertise – biological threats that can lead to pandemics.  On April 8, 2021, Adam Savage talked to Gunderson and Wolf about the play, their respective careers, and the pandemic’s effect on theater.

Apr 18, 2021
Ocean Vuong and Tommy Orange
01:10:03

This week, we’ll hear a conversation between two writers with unique perspectives on America.  Ocean Vuong is a poet and the author of the novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous.  The story closely mirrors Vuong’s own life: born in Viet Nam, he was two years old when his family left a refugee camp in the Philippines to come to the US.   Tommy Orange published his debut novel, There There, in 2018; it’s about the complex and painful history of a multi-generational Native American family in Oakland.  On February 3, 2020, Ocean Vuong and Tommy Orange came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco.  It was a powerful evening – a few times you could hear members of the audience gasp as conversation literally took their breath away.  It was City Arts & Lectures’ last live event before the COVID-19 pandemic kept us from gathering – of course we didn’t know that at the time, but we’ve returned to this conversation for inspiration many times since then.

Apr 11, 2021
Mindfulness and Medicine, with Larry Brilliant and Jack Kornfield
01:06:50

This week, our guests bring us unique perspectives on life during a pandemic.  Larry Brilliant is a renowned epidemiologist whose work with the World Health Organization helped eradicate smallpox, giving him keen insights into how governments can help tackle global disease. In a new book, Sometimes Brilliant, he reflects on his remarkable life and his extraordinary experiences as a doctor, innovator, philanthropist, and cultural revolutionary.

 Jack Kornfield was one of the first people to introduce Buddhist mindfulness practices to the West over 40 years ago.  His many books include The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology, A Path with Heart, and After the Ecstasy, the Laundry.

On March 23, 2021, Larry Brilliant and Jack Kornfield joined us for a conversation about mindfulness and medicine.  The two talked about our individual and collective responses to the coronavirus pandemic, what it will take to move beyond it, and how we might promote well-being during this uncertain time.  

Apr 04, 2021
Jenny Offill
01:03:41

Jenny Offill is the author of the novels Last ThingsDept. of Speculation, and, most recently, Weather. One of the pleasures of reading Offill’s books is hearing the emotional struggles and ambivalent attitudes of very honest narrators.  In Weather, the concerns of daily life and parenting combine with the looming apocalypse of climate change. Both hilarious and heartbreaking, the novel asks readers to think about the mundane ways we live and grapple with our rapidly deteriorating environment.  Offill lives in upstate New York and teaches at Syracuse University and Queens University.

On March 18, 2021, Jenny Offill talked via videoconference with Brit Marling, an actor and writer who has focused on creating projects that offer counter-narratives to the more common ones diminishing women’s worth. 

Mar 28, 2021
Reuben Jonathan Miller
01:02:48

There are over 2 million people incarcerated in the United States – but tens of millions more who are living with criminal records.  This week, we’ll hear about the constraints and challenges faced by formerly incarcerated people.  Reuben Jonathan Miller is a sociologist, criminologist and a social worker who teaches at the University of Chicago in the School of Social Service Administration where he studies and writes about race, democracy, and the social life of the city. His book, Halfway Home: Race, Punishment, and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration, shows that the American justice system was not created to rehabilitate, and how parole is structured to keep classes of Americans impoverished, unstable, and disenfranchised long after they’ve paid their debt to society.

On March 8, 2021, Dr. Miller had a conversation with Terah Lawyer, an advocate for incarcerated people for more than a decade. Ms. Lawyer is herself a formerly incarcerated person, and that experience informs her commitment to improving the justice system.

Mar 21, 2021
Rebecca Handler and Daniel Handler
59:33

In this City Arts & Lectures Podcast exclusive, Daniel Handler and Rebecca Handler talk about family and work in a uniquely familiar conversation that only siblings could have.

Rebecca Handler is a writer who lives and works in San Francisco. Her debut novel Edie Richter Is Not Alone features a protagonist who moves with her family to Perth, Australia following the death of her father. There, she finds herself isolated and forced to confront a painful secret from her past.

Daniel Handler is the author of many books, perhaps best known for A Series of Unfortunate Events, penned under the pseudonym Lemony Snicket.

Mar 19, 2021
Patricia Lockwood
01:05:12

Poet, memorist, and essayist Patricia Lockwood is perhaps best known for her memoir Priestdaddy, an extraordinarily funny account of growing up the daughter of the most singular Catholic priest in America. Lockwood has just published her first novel, No One is Talking About This, reckons with the feeling of being eternally online, unable to shut off the feed that keeps on scrolling, no matter what we do to stop it. She’s a frequent contributor to the London Review of Books, and has a vast following on Twitter, which regularly features her Internet-famous cat, Miette. Lockwood is the author of the two poetry collections Balloon Pop Outlaw Black and Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals.  On March 1, 2021, Patricia Lockwood spoke with author Sheila Heti about her new book.  The two writers also shared their perspectives on grief, creativity, and the ephemeral and addictive world of the internet.

Mar 14, 2021
Susan Choi
01:06:31

This week, our guest is novelist Susan Choi.  She’s the author of five books, most recently “Trust Exercise”. It centers on a group of teenagers at a competitive art school in 1980s suburbia.  What starts out as something straightforward becomes more complex – and with an experimental narrative structure that concludes with a surprise twist.  The book won the 2019 National Book Award for fiction.  Choi teaches fiction writing at Yale and lives in Brooklyn. On February 16, 2021, Susan Choi spoke with Rachel Khong, the author of “Goodbye, Vitamin”. Choi described growing up as one of a few people of color in her Indiana town, and how teaching writing has made her a better writer.

Mar 07, 2021
Lily King
01:06:49

Our guest is Lily King, the award-winning author of five novels.  Her 2014 novel “Euphoria” was inspired by the life of anthropologist Margaret Mead.  Last year, King published “Writers and Lovers”, the story of an aspiring author finding her way in the world.  Written with her trademark humor, heart, and intelligence, “Writers & Lovers” explores the terrifying and exhilarating leap between the end of one phase of life and the beginning of another. On February 18, 2021, Lily King talked with Isabel Duffy about her creative process and how she herself forged a literary path.

Feb 28, 2021
The Science of Sleep with Matthew Walker
01:07:38

Why do humans sleep?  What is sleep’s evolutionary basis? And what is really going on while we sleep?  This week, we broadcast a conversation with cognitive neuroscientist Matthew Walker, talking to Indre Viskontas, originally recorded in 2015.  Walker is an expert in sleep science, and his research reveals that every tissue in the body and every process within the brain is enhanced as we sleep – and impaired when we’re not sleeping enough.  His research also examines the effects of stress, medications, and alcohol on sleep, and the ways we can improve our sleeping habits.

Feb 21, 2021
Dr. Carl Hart "Drug Use for Grown-Ups"
01:10:04

Dr. Carl Hart is a neuroscientist and psychologist at Columbia University whose research focuses on the effects of psychoactive drugs on the brain.   He’ll talk about his positions on recreational drug use, which continue to spark controversy and are often at odds with others in his field. Hart’s latest book, Drug Use for Grown-Ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear, draws on decades of research and his own personal experience to argue that the criminalization and demonization of drug use, rather than drugs themselves, has been a scourge on America and reinforced this country’s enduring structural racism.  Hart is also the author of High Price, and co-author of the textbook Drugs, Society and Human Behavior.  On January 27, 2021, Carl Hart spoke with Lara Bazelon, a professor of law at the University of San Francisco.

Feb 07, 2021
Cheryl Dunye
01:05:40

This week, a conversation with filmmaker Cheryl Dunye.  Dunye first emerged in the 1990’s as part of the “Queer New Wave”, and much of her work explores questions of race and gender, using her own experience as a lens.  Her debut feature film, “The Watermelon Woman”, is now considered a classic of queer cinema, and her style – a mixture of documentary aesthetic and fictive elements – has earned the term “Dunyementary”.  Her films, including a collection of her documentary shorts, were recently added to the Criterion Channel. More recently, Dunye has directed television shows including “Dear White People”, “Queen Sugar”, and “Lovecraft Country”.  On November 16, 2020, Cheryl Dunye talked with Ra Malika Imhotep, in a conversation co-presented with the Criterion Channel.

Jan 31, 2021
Gabriel Byrne
01:09:17

 

We’ve long admired Gabriel Byrne for his nuanced performances in films like The Usual Suspects, Miller’s Crossing, and Dead Man, and the television series In Treatment, for which he won a Golden Globe. Byrne’s thoughtful, understated acting style is reflected in his writing.  His new memoir, Walking with Ghosts, far from a celebrity tell-all, is an exquisite portrait of an Irish childhood and a remarkable journey to Hollywood and Broadway success. The book follows Byrne from his childhood in the outskirts of Dublin, to seminary in England where he hopes to become a priest, to his growing interest in theater and poetry in 1960’s Dublin. Byrne also courageously recounts his battle with addiction and the ambivalence of fame. On January 12, 2021, Gabriel Byrne talked to Stephen Winn via videoconference. 

Jan 24, 2021
The Future of Polling
01:04:57

This week, a conversation with two veteran political opinion researchers about the future of polling. They’ll explore to what extent election outcomes can accurately be anticipated. Many believe the predictions before our last two presidential elections were misleading. How much validity is there to that belief? And can polling evolve to better serve us? We’ll hear from Peter Hart and Neil Newhouse, two veteran pollsters from different ends of the political spectrum.

Jan 17, 2021
Robert Sapolsky
01:11:04

This week, we are presenting an encore of a 2017 conversation with Dr. Robert Sapolsky. Sapolsky is a primatologist and neurologist with a unique gift for storytelling.  Oliver Sacks called him “one of the best scientist-writers of our time”.  Sapolsky has spent decades studying primate behavior.  One of his most consuming fascinations is how humans are both the most violent species on earth – as well as the most altruistic, cooperative, and empathetic. That paradox, and the factors behind it, are the subject of his most recent book “Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst”.  On May 22, 2017, Robert Sapolsky talked with psychology professor Dacher Keltner at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco. 

Jan 10, 2021
Ear Hustle
01:01:18

This week, a conversation with two of the creators of Ear Hustle, the first podcast created and produced in prison. The show features stories of the daily realities of life inside California’s San Quentin State Prison, shared by those living it. Ear Hustle was launched in 2017; at the time, Earlonne Woods was an inmate at San Quentin. His sentence was commuted in 2020.  Now, Woods co-hosts the podcast from outside the prison walls, along with Nigel Poor, a well-respected photographer whose work teaching inside prison changed the focus of her practice.  Today, Poor spends the majority of her time focused on, and working alongside, the incarcerated. On November 19, 2020, Earlonne Woods and Nigel Poor.spoke with Alexis Madrigal about the making of the latest season of Ear Hustle.

Dec 27, 2020
Thomas Keller
01:03:51

Thomas Keller is the first and only American chef to have two Michelin Guide three-star-rated restaurants, The French Laundry and per se, both of which continue to rank among the best restaurants in America and the world. He is also the author of The French Laundry Cookbook, Bouchon, Under Pressure, Ad Hoc at Home, Bouchon Bakery, and his new book The French Laundry, Per Se. On October 26, 2020, Keller spoke with food journalist Amanda Hesser, co-founder and CEO of Food52.  They discussed diversity in restaurant kitchens, the difference between influence and inspiration in the culinary world, and the post-pandemic future of the industry.

Dec 20, 2020
Race, Storytelling, and the Future of Journalism with W. Kamau Bell and Chan’Cellore Makanjuola
01:01:01

In the past year, journalists have been out in the streets covering racial reckoning and protest.  Inside newsrooms – which are overwhelmingly white – media organizations are beginning to confront inequity in their own ranks.  When journalism is mostly led by a privileged class of white men, what does that mean for the kinds of stories that get covered, missed, or undervalued? On November 20, 2020, in a co-production with the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, cultural critic, comedian, and CNN docu-series host W. Kamau Bell joined graduate student Chan’Cellore Makanjuola for a conversation about race, storytelling, and the future of journalism.

Dec 13, 2020
Crosstalk Part Two: Genre is Cancelled
59:19


Crosstalk is a two-part series of compiled conversations between City Arts & Lectures guests from the previous three years, discussing literary identity and the sometimes pleasurable, sometimes painful, act of writing. Guests include Ocean Vuong, Zadie Smith, Marlon James, Ottessa Moshfegh, Tommy Orange, Eileen Myles, Rebecca Solnit, and Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Dec 06, 2020
Crosstalk Part One: Writing Identity
58:48

Crosstalk is a two-part series of compiled conversations between City Arts & Lectures guests from the previous three years discussing literary identity and the sometimes pleasurable, sometimes painful, act of writing. Guests include Ocean Vuong, Zadie Smith, Marlon James, Ottessa Moshfegh, Tommy Orange, Eileen Myles, Rebecca Solnit, and Ta-Nehisi Coates. Crosstalk is produced by Juliet Gelfman-Randazzo.

Nov 30, 2020
Going Meatless: The Future of Sustainable Food
01:05:27

Our guests are a chef and a scientist who are tackling climate change through creating sustainable food.  Pat Brown is a biochemist and founder of Impossible Foods, a company at the forefront of making nutritious meat and dairy products from plants to satisfy meat lovers and address the environmental impact of animal farming. Traci Des Jardins is the chef-owner of several restaurants, from fine dining to casual eateries.  She was one of the first chefs to put the Impossible Burger on her menu and worked closely with the company on their new “Impossible: The Cookbook”.  On November 9, 2020, Pat Brown and Traci Des Jardins talked with Adam Savage via videoconference.

Nov 22, 2020
Yotam Ottolenghi
01:04:41

Our guest is chef and author Yotam Ottolenghi, whose best-selling cookbooks have earned him a cult following among home chefs around the world.  Born in Israel, Ottolenghi now lives in London where he operates six restaurants and delis.  On October 15, 2020, Ottolenghi spoke to Isabel Duffy from his test kitchen in London.  The two discussed his latest book, “Ottolenghi Flavor”, which includes more than 100 plant-based recipes, and how the chef is feeding his own family during the pandemic.

Nov 15, 2020
Alicia Garza and Megan Rapinoe
01:06:15

This week, we’re broadcasting a conversation with Alicia Garza and Megan Rapinoe, recorded four days before the presidential election.  Alicia Garza is an activist and writer.  In 2013, she posted a Facebook response to the murder of Trayvon Martin in which she used the hashtag “Black Lives Matter”, and it sparked a major social movement.  Garza has now written a book, “The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart”.   Megan Rapinoe is a soccer player, two-time World Cup champion and co-captain of the US Women’s National Team.  She’s also an outspoken advocate for social justice and the issue of equal pay for female athletes. On October 28, 2020, Alicia Garza and Megan Rapinoe spoke about activism, organizing, and tactics for achieving structural change.

Nov 08, 2020
Bruce Springsteen
01:10:26

This week, a conversation with Bruce Springsteen, originally recorded in 2016. The legendary rock star, referred to by his countless fans as “The Boss”, had just published his autobiography, Born to Run. It took Springsteen seven years to write the memoir, covering everything from his childhood and early days performing to his fear of failure and his ambivalence about success. Bruce Springsteen came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco on October 5, 2016, to talk about his life in rock and roll. Fans had traveled from around the country to attend, and the energy in the room was at a fever pitch more along the lines of a stadium concert than a literary talk. Still, the conversation with Dan Stone managed to be both intimate and deeply personal.

Nov 01, 2020
Alice Wong and W. Kamau Bell: Disability Visibility
01:04:46

This week, disability activist Alice Wong talks with comedian and journalist W. Kamau Bell. Wong is founding director of the Disability Visibility Project, an online community dedicated to creating and amplifying disability media and culture.  She has edited an anthology of personal essays by contemporary disabled writers to mark the 35th anniversary of the ADA, “Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-first Century”.  On October 19, 2020, Alice Wong talked about the book with her good friend, comedian and journalist W. Kamau Bell.  The two also spoke about the extra challenges faced by voters during the time of COVID-19, the importance of abled allies advocating for the disabled community, and their shared admiration for Denzel Washington. 

Oct 25, 2020
Chanel Miller with Jia Tolentino
01:08:26

Chanel Miller was just twenty-seven years old when she published her memoir, Know My Name, the book recounts her experience as the victim of sexual assault. It’s a keen examination of gender, power, and the failures of our criminal justice system. It’s also exquisitely written. Among the book’s many fans is her interviewer for this program, Jia Tolentino, a contributor at the New Yorker and the author of Trick Mirror. On October 15, 2020, they discussed the challenges of becoming a public figure and the essential work of forging ones own identity. Miller and Tolentino also spoke about their creative processes, including Miller’s visual art, now on display at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum.

Oct 18, 2020
Claudia Rankine
01:02:40

This week, a conversation with poet and essayist Claudia Rankine. Rankine is the author of Citizen: An American Lyric and four previous books, including Don’t Let Me Be Lonely. Her newest book, Just Us: an American Conversation, weaves together essays, poems, and images. Some of its most memorable scenes are those where Rankine examines the moments of discomfort between herself and those around her, urging us to begin discussions that might open pathways through this divisive and seemingly stuck moment in American history. On October 1, 2020, Claudia Rankine spoke to Stephen Best, Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley. She also answered questions from teachers and students, offering advice to readers and today’s young poets.

Oct 11, 2020
Yaa Gyasi
01:00:13

This week, a conversation with novelist Yaa Gyasi.  Gyasi was just 26 years old when her debut, Homegoing, was published.  It spans eight generations, tracing the lives of two half-sisters and their descendants from eighteenth-century Ghana to present-day America.  The book garnered major critical acclaim and praise from fellow authors like Zadie Smith and Ta-Nehisi Coates.  Four years later, Gyasi has written another powerful work, Transcendent Kingdom.  The protagonist, Gifty, is a doctoral candidate in neuroscience.  Her mother, an immigrant from Ghana, suffers from depression and comes to stay with her.  The novel examines the challenges of addiction and grief, as well as the tensions between science and faith.  On September 22, 2020, Yaa Gyasi spoke with Courtney Martin about her work.

Oct 04, 2020
Jill Lepore
55:06

Jill Lepore is a professor of American History at Harvard University and also a staff writer at The New Yorker. A two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, her many books include the international bestseller These Truths and This America. Her latest book, If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future, is a revelatory account of the Cold War origins of the data-mad, algorithmic twenty-first century, unearthing from archives the shocking story of a long-vanished corporation, and of the women hidden behind it. She recorded this conversation on September 16, 2020, with Mina Kim, host of KQED's Forum.

Sep 27, 2020
The Science of Music with Indre Viskontas
01:02:30


This week, we present an encore of a 2014 conversation on the neuroscience of music and creativity with Dr. Indre Viskontas, a cognitive scientist and opera singer. Viskontas has published groundbreaking work on the neural basis of memory and creativity. She is the author of "How Music Can Make You Better" and co-host of the podcasts "Inquiring Minds" and "Cadence". Viskontas came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco in May of 2014 to speak with Dr. Kelly McGonigall about music's effect on and relationship with the brain.

Sep 06, 2020
Trevor Noah
01:07:07

From the City Arts & Lectures archives, a conversation with Trevor Noah originally recorded November 21, 2016…. just following Donald Trump’s election. Noah is the host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.” He first joined the show as a contributor in 2014 and succeeded Jon Stewart as host in 2015. 


Trevor Noah spoke in 2016 with Laurene Powell Jobs, the founder and president of Emerson Collective, an organization that supports social entrepreneurs, about growing up the son of a black South African mother and a white European father, in South Africa during one of the most turbulent times in the country’s history. They also discussed the role of comedy in speaking truth to corruption - and to process events taking place.

Aug 30, 2020
Whoopi Goldberg
58:28

From the City Arts & Lectures archives, a conversation with Whoopi Goldberg, originally recorded in 1987, just after Goldberg’s explosive performance in the film adaptation of The Color Purple. Even before Goldberg achieved celebrity status and critical acclaim, she never shied away from voicing her incisive and irreverent perspectives on race, sexism, the film industry, and American politics. In fact, many of the causes she discussed in 1987 with Mary Lou Manalli, a reporter for KGO radio in San Francisco, remain regrettably relevant. Whoopi Goldberg is currently one of the hosts of ABC’s The View.

Aug 23, 2020
Jeffrey Toobin and Preet Bharara
01:03:59

Our guests this week is Jeffrey Toobin, whose latest book is “True Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Investigation of Donald Trump”.  How is it that so many close associates of President Trump have been convicted of federal crimes – some, like his campaign chair and personal lawyer, even going to jail – yet Trump himself has survived to run for reelection.  Toobin is a staff writer for the New Yorker, and the author of numerous best-selling books.  On August 6, 2020, he talked to Preet Bharara, former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, about his deep dive into the Mueller investigation, and how the legal and political battles surrounding Trump might affect the next election, and beyond.

Aug 16, 2020
The Buddhist on Death Row
01:07:44

For 30 years, renowned Buddhist thinker Jarvis Jay Masters has lived on Death Row at San Quentin State Prison. His spiritual practice has helped him deal with violent and difficult experiences in prison, inspiring Masters to teach meditation to many of his fellow inmates. In his new book, The Buddhist on Death Row, David Sheff explores Masters’ gradual transformation from a man consumed by violence to one who has helped those around him find meaning and peace in their lives. On June 11, 2020, Jarvis Jay Masters and David Sheff spoke with author and activist Rebecca Solnit, discussing among other issues how the Black Lives Matter movement and the COVID-19 pandemic were affecting incarcerated people.  Several weeks after the recording, Masters contracted the virus himself as it swept through San Quentin; he is recovering.

Aug 10, 2020
Maria Bamford
01:06:59

Maria Bamford uses comedy to confront her lifelong struggles with OCD, bipolar disorder, and suicidal thoughts. She is the star of “Lady Dynamite”, a surrealist series based on her life, as well as several comedy specials. Bamford’s deeply personal comedy goes well beyond self-deprecation, using genuine vulnerability to examine mental health issues rarely discussed. On November 15, 1999, Maria Bamford came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with Cara Rose DeFabio.

Aug 02, 2020
Steve Kerr
01:08:54

Steve Kerr, head coach for the Golden State Warriors, is one of the most important figures in basketball today. A former NBA championship player, Kerr was named head coach of the Warriors in 2014, leading the team to win three championships in four seasons and set a new record for most wins in a season. Kerr is also an activist, who uses his platform to talk about politics and human rights issues like Middle East policy, national-anthem protests, and gun control.  On February 26, 2020, Steve Kerr came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with Alexis Madrigal about the experiences that have led him to become the outspoken and effective coach and activist he is today.

Jul 26, 2020
Charlie Kaufman
58:24

One of the most acclaimed filmmakers of our time, Charlie Kaufman is best known for movies like Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. His unique style, sometimes labeled surrealist, features characters that reflect back on themselves, stories within stories that blur the boundaries between dream and event. Now, with his debut novel “Antkind”, Kaufman continues to explore the absurd – and often lonely – nature of human consciousness. On June 15, 2020, Charlie Kaufman spoke to Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the novel Less, about the freedoms, and challenges, of writing a book.

Jul 19, 2020
The Science of Psychedelics with Robin Carhart-Harris
59:21

How might substances like LSD, psilocybins, and other hallucinogens provide relief to people suffering from conditions such as depression, addiction, and anorexia?  Robin Carhart-Harris is a neuroscientist and head of the Imperial Centre for Psychedelic Research, which builds on over a decade of pioneering work including a clinical trial that has kickstarted global efforts to develop psilocybin therapy into a licensed treatment for depression. On June 29, 2020, Dr. Carhart-Harris spoke with Dr. Mellody Hayes, an anesthesiologist and founder of a psychedelic wellness clinic, by videoconference during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jul 12, 2020
Anna Wiener
01:00:53

Anna Wiener is a contributing writer to The New Yorker, covering Silicon Valley, startup culture, and technology. In her mid-twenties,as the tech industry was rapidly transforming into a locus of wealth andpower, Wiener left a job in book publishing to join the startup workforce. Part memoir, part cultural analysis, her book Uncanny Valley, reflects on the absurdities, excesses, and aspirations of the startup world.  It’s also a coming-of-age story, with Wiener charting her own disillusionment with and complicity in work she frequently found empty and inauthentic. On March 12, 2020, Wiener came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with Robin Sloan about her memoir, and where tech has – and hasn’t – taken us.

Jul 05, 2020
Brian Greene
01:09:52

Brian Greene is one of the world’s leading theoretical physicists, widely recognized for his groundbreaking discoveries in the field of superstring theory. His ability to clearly communicate cutting-edge science - even bringing humor to abstruse mathematical concepts -- has made Greene a sort of rock star physicist. On February 25, 2020, Brian Greene came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk to Gina Pell about his newest book “Until The End of Time: Mind, Matter and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe”.

Jun 28, 2020
Hanif Abdurraqib
01:08:55

Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic.  Abdurraqib’s writing fuses cultural commentary
with intimate poetic language.  His subjects – everything from A Tribe Called Quest to his own childhood in Columbus, Ohio, Bruce Springsteen to Muhammad Ali.  Abdurraqib’s latest collection is “A Fortune for Your Disaster”, which wrestles with histories both personal and shared, the process of rebuilding after
heartbreak, and the people and things that helped us heal. On May 29, 2020, just as protests were breaking out across the country after the death of George Floyd, Hanif Abdurraqib spoke via videoconference with the journalist and music critic Jeff Chang.  

Jun 21, 2020
Ethics in Technology, with Ruha Benjamin and Meredith Whittaker
01:01:34

Ruha Benjamin studies the social dimensions of science, technology, and medicine.  In books like “Race After Technology”, and “People’s Science”, Benjamin examines how racial inequality plays out in every corner of civic, scientific, and social life.  Meredith Whittaker co-founded the AI Now Institute, a
research center examining the social implications of artificial intelligence in criminal justice, law enforcement, housing, and education. 

On June 1, 2020, Ruha Benjamin and Meredith Whittaker spoke via video conference. The two talked about biases built into every day technologies, how COVID-19 disproportionately harms marginalized communities, and ethical concerns over the increased power tech elites now have over our educational systems.

Jun 14, 2020
Mary Karr and Kaveh Akbar
01:06:23

This week, a conversation between two of today’s most fearless writers, addressing topics of addiction, spirituality, and existence. Mary Karr is the author of "Lit" and "The Liars Club" -- memoirs that have come to define the genre as we know it today. Her poems bear the same markers of intelligent observation, humor, and visceral emotion. Kaveh Akbar is a major voice in contemporary poetry and author of the collections "Pilgrim Bell" and "Calling a Wolf a Wolf".

On May 20, 2020, Mary Karr and Kaveh Akbar spoke and read poems via video conference on the occasion of the paperback release of Karr’s newest poetry collection, “Tropic of Squalor.”

Jun 07, 2020
Rebecca Solnit and Britt Marling
01:07:25

This week, we present a conversation between two of today’s most incisive thinkers and creators. Rebecca Solnit is a writer, activist and public intellectual. Her broad curiosity has fueled over twenty books on topics ranging from the environment to feminism, literary criticism to social change. Brit Marling is best known as the star and creator of the television series, “The OA”. It’s just one among many projects Marling herself created as an alternative to narratives that diminish women’s worth, all too common in Hollywood.  On May 11, 2020, Rebecca Solnit and Brit Marling spoke via video conference on the occasion of Solnit’s newly published memoir, “Recollections of My Nonexistence.” 

May 31, 2020
Jia Tolentino and Jenna Wortham
01:02:27

This week, two phenomenally smart observers of culture, Jia Tolentino and Jenna Wortham.  Tolentino
is a staff writer at The New Yorker and author of the essay collection “Trick Mirror”. Wortham co-hosts the New York Times podcast “Still Processing”. On May 6, 2020, what was to be an on-stage conversation at the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco ended up being a far more intimate exchange about the
logistics and emotional realities of life in self-isolation.  The two spoke by videoconference, discussing
their new relationships to productivity, an urgent desire to do good in the world, and some of the lighter aspects of their pandemic lives – such as reality television.

May 24, 2020
Your Undivided Attention: Persuasive Technology with Tristan Harris
01:06:48

What are some of the insidious designs behind the technology we engage with? How are algorithms designed to convince you to keep scrolling? Tristan Harris, co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology, is devoted to thinking about the tools built into technology that persuade us to keep returning to it. Harris believes the unmitigated race for our attention has multiple and profound negative consequences --- shortened attention spans, increased mental health issues, mass narcissism and other effects are among what Harris calls “human downgrading.”

On April 29, 2020, Tristan Harris spoke with Jacob Ward, technology correspondent for NBC News, via video conference while under orders to shelter-in-place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

May 17, 2020
FEMAIL: The Art of Sustainable Fashion
01:01:07

Our guests are Camilla Carper and Janelle Abbott, the co-creators of FEMAIL Forever, a project dedicated to sustainability and zero waste.  The two met in design school, and after graduation, returned to their respective homes of Oakland and Seattle. To continue their collaboration, Abbott and Carper mail garments back and forth through the US Postal Service. Each time that work passes from one to the other, new scraps and remnants are added, sometimes, things are taken away.

On April 29, 2020, befitting their long-distance process, the two spoke via videoconference with Avery Trufelman, who  produces original pieces about architecture and design for the award-winning podcast 99% Invisible by Radiotopia.  The three discussed how we can all commit to dressing more sustainably, wearing ugly clothing with confidence, and maintaining a collaborative friendship at a physical distance.

May 10, 2020
Miranda July
01:09:34

Miranda July is a multi-disciplinary artist with enormous output who has honed an entirely unique voice, one that provides unconventional perspectives on bizarre nuances of human connection. She is the author of "No One Belongs Here More Than You" and "The First Bad Man", and the writer-director of the movies "The Future", "Me and You and Everyone We Know", and the forthcoming "Kajillionaire". On April 20, 2020, she spoke via videoconference with Jenny Odell, a professor at Stanford and the author of "How to Do Nothing".

May 03, 2020
Remembering Oliver Sacks
01:02:25

The pioneering writer and neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks, who died in 2015, was beloved for his compassion and creativity. Sacks was deeply invested in the lives and well-being of his patients – people with neurological conditions that included Tourette’s, hallucinations, and autism.  He was a phenomenal storyteller, whose many case studies – he called them ‘neurological novels’ – include “The Man Who
Mistook His Wife For A Hat” and “Awakenings”.  On April 17, 2020, author Steve Silberman hosted a conversation with Sacks’ longtime collaborator Kate Edgar, and Temple Grandin, one of the world’s
best-known autistic adults.  Their memories of Sacks are interspersed with clips from a new documentary about his life and work, “Oliver Sacks: His Own Life”.  

Apr 26, 2020
Peggy Orenstein
01:06:30

Peggy Orenstein is the author of “Cinderella Ate My Daughter” and other books about the cultural constraints that affect young women.  Orenstein has now turned her attention to boys - conducting comprehensive interviews with young men, psychologists, and academics about consent, vulnerability, hookup culture, and many other issues relating to boys’ emotional lives. These are collected in her new book “Boys & Sex: Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity”. On March 19, 2020, Peggy Orenstein talked to author Daniel Handler via video conference, under orders to shelter in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apr 19, 2020
Carmen Maria Machado and Namwali Serpell
58:32

Our guests are Carmen Maria Machado and Namwali Serpell. Carmen Maria Machado’s “In The Dream House,” is a memoir about queer domestic abuse, beautifully and meticulously told through an array of forms, entirely eschewing convention. Machado is also the author of the short story collection “Her Body and Other Parties.” Namwali Serpell is a professor of literature at UC Berkeley. Her debut novel “The Old Drift” tracks three Zambian families across three generations, from the pre-colonial past into the near future. ****

On April 8, 2020, Namwali Serpell and Carmen Maria Machado spoke via video conference, under orders to shelter-in-place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other things, the two reflected on writing post-apocalyptic narratives while they themselves live through a time of pandemic.

Apr 12, 2020
Dolores Huerta and Alice Waters
01:10:14

Our guests are Dolores Huerta and Alice Waters, legendary activists working in different, but complementary areas of our food systems.  Huerta is co-founder of the United Farm Workers Association, and one of the most influential labor activists of our time. Waters is a chef and owner of Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, California. A proponent of organic produce, and farm to table cuisine, Waters has brought a sustainable food curriculum -- and free, organic lunch -- to numerous schools through the Edible Schoolyard program.  On April 1, 2020 Dolores Huerta and Alice Waters talked to Davia Nelson of the Kitchen Sisters via video conference at their respective homes, under orders to shelter-in-place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apr 05, 2020
Robert Reich
01:06:54

Our guest is Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley.  Contrary to what many politicians are saying, Reich believes that the global pandemic is a public health emergency - but not necessarily an economic crisis. And he believes that in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, we must halt the economy, and assist the poor.

On March 23, 2020, Reich talked to filmmaker and activist Astra Taylor. Under shelter-in-place orders, the two spoke from their respective homes via video conference.

Mar 29, 2020
Ocean Vuong
01:09:47

Our guest is poet Ocean Vuong. His debut novel "On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous" takes the form of a letter written to the narrator's mother. The details closely mirror Vuong's own life. Vuong was raised by his mother and grandmother in Hartford, Connecticut. Born in Viet Nam, he was two years old when they left a refugee camp in the Philippines to immigrate to the United States. Ocean Vuong came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco on February 3, 2020, to talk with fellow writer Tommy Orange about making art, the power of language, and what it means to be an American.

Mar 22, 2020
Ottessa Moshfegh
01:10:02

Ottessa Moshfegh is the author of the novels "My Year of Rest and Relaxation", and "Eileen", and the novella "McGlue". Moshfegh is known for writing characters wracked with depression and neurosis - and for the care with which she tends to them. Dark subject matter like grief and alcoholism are tempered by Moshfegh's keen sense of humor. On January 13, 2020, Ottessa Noshfegh came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with Isabel Duffy.

Mar 15, 2020
Dan Pfeiffer
01:09:31

Dan Pfeiffer was one of the first people to volunteer on Barack Obama’s campaign for the presidency in 2008. He was one of the last people to leave, in 2015. Over those eight years, Pfeiffer served in the Obama Administration in a number of key roles, including White House Communications Director and Senior Advisor. Today Pfeiffer co-hosts the podcast “Pod Save America” with fellow Obama administration alumni. On February 27, 2020, Dan Pfeiffer came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk to Lara Bazelon about the Democratic primaries and his just-published book “un-trumping America.”

Mar 08, 2020
Sally Rooney
01:09:20

Not yet thirty years old, the Irish novelist Sally Rooney has quickly amassed an international following. In “Conversations with Friends” and “Normal People”, Rooney’s nuanced depictions of complex characters confront structures of intimacy, friendship, and class. On February 12, 2020, Sally Rooney and fellow writer Heidi Julavits had a conversation - originally scheduled before an audience at the Sydney Goldstein Theater in January, but postponed due to Rooney’s illness, the program was recorded in a New York studio.

Mar 01, 2020
Adam Mansbach and W. Kamau Bell
01:00:43

Adam Mansbach is a screenwriter and cultural critic whose books include “Angry Black White Boy,” and “The End of the Jews.” But he achieved his greatest commercial success with his first adult parody of children’s books, “Go the Fuck to Sleep”. He’s joined by political comedian Kamau Bell, host and executive producer of the CNN docu-series United Shades of America. On January 6, 2020,  Mansbach and Bell, friends and collaborators, came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk about writing, raising daughters, getting vasectomies. and more.

Feb 23, 2020
Raphael Bob-Waksberg
01:09:57

This week our guest is Raphael Bob-Waksberg, creator of the darkly funny animated series “BoJack Horseman,” now in its final season on Netflix.  The show has received wide acclaim for its concurrent hilarity and exploration of more serious themes like depression, failure, and alcoholism.  His new book, *Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory, *is a collection of short stories about love. On December 16, 2019, Rafael Bob-Waksberg came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with television critic Emily Nussbaum.

Feb 16, 2020
"Eating Alone in My Car" with Melissa Broder
01:10:04

Our guest is poet, podcaster, and novelist Melissa Broder. Broder’s sardonic humor and genuine vulnerability have garnered a loyal following through her twitter persona @sosadtoday - as well as her novel “The Pisces”, a story of a woman fleeing heartbreak and a failed dissertation, finding comfort and passion in a love affair with a merman.  On December 11, 2019, Melissa Broder came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to perform a live episode of her podcast “Eating Alone in My Car.”

Feb 09, 2020
Ibram X. Kendi
01:09:57

Our guest is historian Ibram X. Kendi, the author of “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.” Kendi’s newest book, “How to be an Antiracist”, tasks readers with identifying their own racism, and working to challenge racist policies that underlie society. On December 12, 2019, Ibram Kendi came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk to Jelani Cobb, staff writer for the New Yorker.

Feb 02, 2020
Ben Lerner and Maggie Nelson
01:10:59

Ben Lerner and Maggie Nelson are two of the foremost writers working at the intersections of poetry, nonfiction, and memoir. They talk about Lerner's book "The Topeka School", a semi-autobiographical work that examines language, masculinity, and today's political and cultural crises. This program was recorded at the Sydney Goldstein Theater on November 21, 2019.

Jan 26, 2020
Mo Rocca
01:09:47

Mo Rocca, humorist, history buff, and a regular panelist on NPR's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me!, is fascinated by obituaries. He coined the term "Mobituaries" as a second remembrance for people or things that didn't get a proper one the first time around - from obscure presidents to lawn darts to disco. On November 18, 2019, Mo Rocca came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with Adam Savage.

Jan 19, 2020
Gloria Steinem
01:07:12

Our guest is writer, activist, and feminist organizer Gloria Steinem.  In 1971, when Steinem founded the groundbreaking “Ms.” women’s magazines focused on finding a husband, or the right lipstick. But Ms. carried articles on de-sexing the English language, abortion, and the real challenges women were facing. The feminist icon continues to fight for equality across race and gender. And at eighty-five years of age, her energy is undiminished.  On November 13, 2019, Gloria Steinem came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with Amy Richards about today’s political climate, the need for organizing across generations, and her lifelong wish to be a stand-up comic.

Jan 12, 2020
Chris Hughes
58:29

Our guest is Chris Hughes. In May of 2019, Hughes published an Op-Ed in the *New York Times, *entitled “It’s Time to Break Up Facebook.” Hughes called for government regulation of the platform, and reflected on the troubling directions he believes Facebook has moved in since he co-founded the company. On November seventh, 2019, Chris Hughes came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with journalist and author Courtney E. Martin about his successes and failures as a young person working in tech, and the societal problems he sees Facebook and other large corporations contributing to. Hughes also talked about the notion of a universal basic income, and anti-monopoly fund he is working on right now.

Jan 05, 2020
Liz Phair
01:07:11

In 1993, Liz Phair flipped the indie rock landscape with frank lyrics about sexuality and anxiety on her debut album “Exile in Guyville.” In her memoir “Horror Stories,” Phair recounts the most transformative moments in her life as an unabashed musician and mother. On October 21, 2019, Liz Phair came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to sit down with photographer Tabitha Soren for a candid conversation about her sudden rise to fame, and the often unrecognized, universal experiences of shame and fear that make up our common humanity.

Dec 28, 2019
Andre Aciman and Andrew Sean Greer
01:09:20

Our guests are writers Andre Aciman and Andrew Sean Greer. Aciman is a memoirist, essayist, and scholar of seventeenth-century literature. His best-known novel, “Call Me By Your Name”, was adapted into an Academy Award-winning film. He’s just published a sequel to the book, “Find Me.” Andrew Sean Greer is the author of “The Confessions of Max Tivoli” and “Less,”  a comedy about a man fleeing the humiliations of love, middle-age, and failure. “Less” won last year’s Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. On November 6, 2019, Andre Aciman and Andrew Sean Greer came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with Steven Winn.

Dec 22, 2019
John Lithgow with Calvin Trillin
01:08:34

Our guest is actor, artist, and now - published poet John Lithgow, known for his television and film roles including “Third Rock From the Sun,” “The Crown,” and “The World According to Garp” - and numerous stage credits, most recently playing Bill Clinton in “Hillary and Clinton.” Lithgow plays Roger Ailes in the 2019 film “Bombshell” and he’s just published “Dumpty: The Age of Trump in Verse”. The book, featuring Lithgow’s own illustrations, chronicles the last few years in politics with his characteristic sharp wit. On October 30, 2019, John Lithgow came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with New Yorker staff writer and humorist Calvin Trillin.

Dec 15, 2019
Zadie Smith
01:07:32

Zadie Smith is known for her emotionally rich stories and unique perspective on contemporary culture. Smith wrote her widely acclaimed debut novel “White Teeth” as an undergraduate. She soon cemented her reputation as one of the most important voices of her generation with books like “Swing Time,” “The Autograph Man,” and "On Beauty.” On October 16, 2019, Zadie Smith came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with Isabel Duffy about her debut short story collection, “Grand Union.”  Their far-ranging conversation ruminated on living abroad, maturing as a writer, and the catharsis of reading fiction and philosophy.

Dec 08, 2019
Ta-Nehisi Coates with Chris Jackson
01:07:29

Our guest is Ta-Nehisi Coates, one of today’s most respected voices on race relations in the United States. Catapulted to fame with the publication of “Between The World And Me,” Coates has maintained his focus on institutional injustice, as well as the very personal work of honing his writing craft. In his newest work, Coates tackles fiction. “The Water Dancer” merges slave narrative and fantasy, and draws on historical research. On October 15, 2019, Ta-Nehisi Coates came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater to talk with his editor Chris Jackson about writing his first novel.

Dec 01, 2019
Ta-Nehisi Coates with Michael Chabon
01:06:32

Our guest is Ta-Nehisi Coates. His debut novel, “The Water Dancer,” merges the slavery narrative with fantasy, and draws on themes, stories, and research from his past non-fiction, including from his books “Between the World and Me” and “We Were Eight Years in Power.” On October 14, 2019, Ta-Nehisi Coates came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater to talk with fellow writer Michael Chabon about craft, the role of the writer in public discourse, and much more.

Dec 01, 2019
Pico Iyer
01:09:26

Known to many as a travel writer,  Pico Iyer is not so much a guide to foreign lands as he is a sage interpreter of our interior lives. His many books include Video Night in Kathmandu, The Lady and the Monk, and The Art of Stillness, a poetic investigation of the benefits of quiet contemplation and travel to “nowhere.” With his two newest works, Iyer turns his attention to Japan, his adopted home of thirty-two years. Autumn Light is a personal account of grief and family. A Beginner’s Guide to Japan looks outward, drawing on readings, reflections, and conversations to illuminate aspects of Japanese culture. On October 10, 2019, Pico Iyer came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco, to be interviewed by Dan Stone.

Nov 24, 2019
Susan Sontag: Her Life and Work
01:02:47

This week, we pay tribute to the activist, essayist, and critic Susan Sontag. 15 years after her death, Sontag's perspectives on language, sexuality, and politics still resonate. She elevated art forms like film and photography, and believed that dedication to high culture was in itself a form of activism. On October 2, 2019, biographer Benjamin Moser and writer and activist Rebecca Solnit came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to discuss the life, work, and legacy of Susan Sontag.

Nov 17, 2019
Governor Jerry Brown and Miriam Pawel
01:08:46

Our guests are former California governor Jerry Brown and journalist Miriam Pawel. In 1975, Jerry Brown became the youngest governor in modern American times. Three decades later, he returned as the oldest, to face unprecedented challenges, including rampant wildfires and a statewide financial crisis.  Miriam Pawel has just written a biography of the Brown family - a dynasty that led the state for nearly a
quarter of a century. 

On October 25, 2019, Brown and Pawel came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to
talk to Lara Bazelon.

Nov 10, 2019
Patti Smith
01:05:16

Poet, artist, and musician Patti Smith first gained recognition in the 1970s for her merging of rock and poetry. Later, she would become a punk icon and the author of numerous books including “Just Kids,” and “M Train.”  Her new memoir “Year of the Monkey” is a beautifully written account of loss and friendship -- over the course of a single year. On October 7, 2019, Patti Smith came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk to Dan Stone and perform a few songs.

Nov 03, 2019
Demi Moore
58:30

Demi Moore is an actress, producer, director and activist known for her roles in St. Elmo’s Fire, Ghost, A Few Good Men, Indecent Proposal, and G.I. Jane, among many others. For decades, Moore has been
synonymous with celebrity. From iconic film roles to high-profile relationships, Moore has never been far from the spotlight — or the headlines. In her memoir "Inside Out", Moore opens up about her career and
personal life – her tumultuous relationship with her mother, her marriages, addiction, her struggles with balancing stardom with raising a family, a skyrocketing career and at times negative public perception, and her journey toward open-heartedness.

Krista Smith is the host of the Netflix podcast “Present Company with Krista Smith”. Previously, Smith served as Executive West Coast Editor for Vanity Fair. On September 27, 2019, Demi Moore came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco for an onstage conversation with Krista Smith.

Oct 27, 2019
Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey
01:09:57

Our guests this week are Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, the New York Times reporters who first broke the story of Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual misconduct. They’ll talk about the many obstacles Weinstein created to stop women from going public with their stories, and how he prevented reporters from investigating. Their new book, “She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement,” is an in-depth account of Weinstein’s incredibly disturbing treatment of women, and an unflinching look at the people and systems that aided and abetted this behavior.

On October 11, 2019, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk to Bernice Yeung. They were joined by Rowena Chiu, a former assistant to Weinstein who recently went public with her allegations of harassment and attempted rape.

Oct 20, 2019
Rachel Maddow
01:10:52

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow talks about the oil and gas industry’s impact on democracy around the world, tying in Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, the impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump, and more. On October 6, 2019, Rachel Maddow came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater to read from her new book “Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth”. Maddow spoke to Dan Pfeiffer, a former advisor to President Barack Obama who now co-hosts “Pod Save America”.

Oct 13, 2019
Malcolm Gladwell
01:07:30


Malcolm Gladwell is a staff writer for the New Yorker and has written numerous books at the intersection of sociology, economics, and behavorial science. Gladwell has now brought his passion for storytelling to the world of podcasting with two projects: the music podcast “Broken Record”, and “Revisionist History”, which reexamines the past and asks whether we got it right the first time. He came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco on September 19, 2019 to talk with Al Letson about the surprising lessons in his newest book “Talking to Strangers”.

Oct 06, 2019
Dr. Jen Gunter
01:09:24

Jen Gunter is a physician who's been nicknamed "Twitter's resident gynecologist", whose new
book is "The Vagina Bible". Within the private confines of her examining room, women ask deeply personal questions and share intimate details about their bodies rarely discussed in public. How can it be that so many women can know so little about their own bodies? Dr. Gunter is determined to help them
know more, and frustrated by the dangerous myths and misperceptions perpetuated by online misinformation and wellness gurus. On May 21, 2019, Jen Gunter came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with writer Ayelet Waldman.

Aug 25, 2019
Privacy and Technology
01:09:48

This week, a conversation about privacy, ethics, and organizing in the world of technology.Who benefits from the lack of diversity in the tech industry? Does artificial intelligence reflect the biases of those who create it? How can we push for regulation and transparency?  These are some of the questions discussed by our guests, Meredith Whittaker, co-founder of AI Now at NYU and the founder of Google’s Open Research Institute; and Kade Crockford, Director of the ACLU Massachusetts’ Technology and Liberty Program. They appeared at the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco on June 7, 2019.

Aug 18, 2019
Amor Towles
01:09:24

Before Amor Towles became a bestselling writer, he spent two decades working for an investment firm, staying countless nights at luxury hotels. That’s where he had the idea for "A Gentleman in Moscow", the story of a Russian aristocrat who is sentenced by the Bolsheviks to a lifetime of house arrest in Moscow's Metropol Hotel.

Amor Towles came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco on June 4, 2019, to talk with Michael Krasny of KQED.

Aug 11, 2019
George Packer
01:09:30

A longtime staff writer for The New Yorker now writing for The Atlantic, George Packer has reported extensively on global unrest, from Bosnia, to the Iraq War, to the civil war in Syria. In his new book “Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century,” Packer writes about one of America’s greatest diplomats. He compares Holbrooke’s larger than life character, utterly self-absorbed, in turns revered and reviled, to an era of enormous global influence. On May 23, 2019, George Packer came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater talked with Clara Jeffrey about Richard Holbrooke, the slow deterioration of American influence, and the country’s retreat into nationalism.

Aug 04, 2019
Jared Diamond
01:08:57

Jared Diamond, the author of “Guns, Germs, and Steel” discusses his new book about the rise and fall of civilizations around the globe. "Upheaval: How Nations Cope with Crisis and Change" combines history, geography, economic, and cultural analysis. Its broad scope and vast historical sweep are what fans of Diamond have come to appreciate. On May 15, 2019, Jared Diamond came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with Roy Eisenhardt.

Jul 21, 2019
Tom Sachs and Adam Savage
59:51

Maker Adam Savage, best known as the host of Mythbusters, and artist Tom Sachs have long been obsessed with outer space - from the engineering and aesthetics of NASA to the immensity of interstellar exploration. The gear, architecture, fashion, and dreams are all part of an exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art through January 2020, “Far Out: Suits, Habs, and Labs for Outer Space”. Sachs and Savage, and exhibition curator Joseph Becker, talked at the Fog Design and Art Fair.

Jul 15, 2019
Anand Giridharadas
01:08:38

In 2015, Anand Giridharadas delivered a speech at the Aspen Institute that took direct aim at the philanthropists and thought leaders in attendance. Giridharadas argued that the corporate world’s attempts at doing good, and many of the goals and deeds of philanthropy, actually do great harm by preserving a corrupt and unfair system of capitalism. The speech made waves, and inspired the book “Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World.”

On May 7, 2019, Anand Giridharadas came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with Courtney Martin.

Jul 14, 2019
David Brooks
01:11:54

David Brooks is a columnist for the New York Times, and a regular on PBS News Hour and Meet The
Press. In his new book, “The Second Mountain,” Brooks writes about his religious and spiritual journey, our country’s current political state of detachment, and how he learned to move from a state of disengagement to one of fulfilling connection in his personal life.

On May 1, 2019, David Brooks came to The Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco, to talk with Rabbi Ryan Bauer of Congregation Emanu-El.

Jul 07, 2019
Combating Climate Change with Bill McKibben and Mustafa Santiago Ali
58:32

In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a report that served as a stark wake up call for many in the movement to combat climate change. Its key takeaway -- we only have about 12 years for aggressive action to keep global warming below one and a half degrees Celsius. Since then, the climate movement has experienced a surge of action, from school strikes in cities across the world, to the Sunrise Movement with Alexandria Ocasio Cortez leading the charge for a Green New Deal. On April 30, 2019, Bill McKibben and Mustafa Santiago Ali came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco, to talk to May Boeve of 350.org about the future of the climate change movement.

Jun 30, 2019
Samin Nosrat and Lindy West
01:10:18

Samin Nosrat and Lindy West join us this week to talk about how they developed their individual
voices, the process of adapting their work for television, and how to make delicious food. Samin Nosrat is author of the cookbook “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” and the executive producer of the Netflix series of the same name. Lindy West is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. Her essay collection “Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman,” is now a critically acclaimed television series starring Saturday Night Live’s Aidy Bryant. On April 29, 2019, Samin Nosrat and Lindy West came to The Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco, to talk with Allison P. Davis, senior culture writer for New York Magazine’s The Cut.  

Jun 23, 2019
Jelani Cobb
01:08:13

A staff writer for The New Yorker magazine, Jelani Cobb writes with eloquence and urgency on topics of race, politics, history, and culture. He is a professor of journalism at Columbia University, and the author of several books including “The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress” and “To the Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip Hop Aesthetic.”

On April 16, 2019, Jelani Cobb came to The Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco, to talk with New Yorker colleague Hilton Als.

Jun 16, 2019
Michael Lewis
01:10:35

Whether writing about the business of baseball, or the strange and surprising subcultures of the financial world, Michael Lewis has a penchant for iconoclasts of industry, and characters so fascinating they seem imagined. Several of his bestselling books, including “Moneyball” and “The Big Short,” have been made into movies.

On April 11, 2019, Michael Lewis came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater to talk with Jacob Weisberg about his career in journalism, from reading Tom Wolfe on the floor of his childhood home to the overnight success of his debut publication “Liars Poker.” The conversation was interspersed with clips from Lewis’ new podcast “Against
the Rules.”  

Jun 09, 2019
"Still Processing" Live, with Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris
01:09:29

Our guests are Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris, hosts of “Still Processing”... a culture podcast
from the New York Times. Each week, Wesley, a critic-at-large, and Wortham, a staff writer for the New York Times Magazine, lovingly debate pop-culture products and people, from queerness to unpacking black male privilege, Michael Jackson to Marie Kondo.

On April 10, 2019, Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris came to The Sydney Goldstein Theater in San
Francisco. The event was a co-presentation with The New York Times.

Jun 02, 2019
Stacey Abrams
01:11:12

In 2018, Stacey Abrams made United States history when she became the first black woman to be nominated by a major party for governor. Despite winning more votes than any other Democrat in Georgia’s history, Abrams lost the hotly contested election. But her impact can’t be understated. Abrams continues to work against voter suppression, and her plans to run for future office are a major source of curiosity among media and electorate alike.

On May 19, 2019, Stacey Abrams came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk to Alexis Madrigal about her family, her desire to build a template for future Democratic campaigns, and the question of whether or not she will run for president.

May 26, 2019
Ruth Reichl
01:11:07

Ruth Reichl served as restaurant critic for the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, before becoming Editor in Chief of Gourmet Magazine during the Golden Era of print journalism. In her latest memoir, “Save Me The Plums,” Reichl reveals the realities of her time at Gourmet, and the lasting ways in which she innovated
food journalism as we know it.

On April 9, 2019, Ruth Reichl came to The Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with arts journalist and fiction writer Steven Winn.  

May 19, 2019
Dr. Michio Kaku
01:06:17

Dr. Michio Kaku is a theoretical physicist and futurist, and the co-founder of string field theory, a branch of string theory. Thanks to his many books, regular television appearances, and robust Twitter presence, Dr. Kaku is one of the rare scientists with an enormous public following, particularly among young people. In his newest book, “Our Destiny Beyond Earth,” Kaku argues that human civilization can and will move to outer space.

On April 8, 2019, Dr. Michio Kaku came to The Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with
Alexis Madrigal, a staff writer at the Atlantic.

May 12, 2019
Rachel Cusk
01:01:16

Rachel Cusk is a writer of considerable range and depth, and her most recent works —  dubbed the
“Outline” trilogy -- embody a new and distinctive style. The novels take the form of a succession of monologues delivered not by the protagonist, but by the people she encounters. Little is revealed about a central character who serves principally as a conduit for others. The themes and questions that arise from those stories are weighty, as is Cusk’s choice to subvert traditional positions and form. On April 8, 2019, Rachel Cusk came to The Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with Steven Winn about her unconventional work and its reception.

May 05, 2019
"Ear Hustle" with Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods
01:08:50

Started three years ago in the media lab of California’s San Quentin Prison, the podcast Ear Hustle tells the daily realities of life inside prison, shared by those living it. On March 29, 2019, two of the podcast’s creators, visual artist Nigel Poor and former inmate Earlonne Woods, came to The Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk to Al Letson. After twenty-one years of incarceration, Earlonne Woods’ sentence had recently been commuted by Governor Jerry Brown. This was his first major public appearance since his release.

Apr 28, 2019
"The Whole Brain Child" with Dr. Daniel Siegel
59:32

Dr. Daniel Siegel is a clinical professor of psychiatry, and the author of multiple books on child-rearing, including “The Whole Brain Child” and “No Drama Discipline.” Siegel’s books are popular with parents and and teachers alike, with their strategies for cultivating calmer, happier children. While mindfulness techniques -- and patience -- help foster healthy brain development, Siegel also suggests that improving children’s health and well-being requires addressing our own problems.

On March 4, 2019, Dr. Daniel Siegel came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with Steven Winn.

Apr 21, 2019
Rebecca Solnit
01:10:21

Rebecca Solnit is a writer and activist whose work addresses a wide range of issues, from climate change
to feminism, and literary criticism to police brutality. She is the author of over twenty books, including Hope in the Dark and  Men Explain Things to Me. On February 27, 2019, Rebecca Solnit came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco, to talk with Astra Taylor, a filmmaker and political organizer*. *

 

Apr 14, 2019
Tommy Orange
01:05:35

Among this year’s most acclaimed books is Tommy Orange’s debut novel “There, There”. The book begins with a poignant prologue describing the devastating history of genocide and violent removal of Native Americans from their lands, setting the stage for a contemporary story about the urban Native American experience in the city of Oakland. The characters’ lives are informed by their ancestors’ suffering, as well as the continued systematic discrimination against Native people.

On February 25, 2019, Tommy Orange came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater to be interviewed by Jeff Chang, author of “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop” and the Vice President of Narrative, Arts, and Culture at Race Forward.

Apr 07, 2019
Preet Bharara
01:08:12

Preet Bharara served as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of
New York from 2009 to 2017, before being fired by President Trump within a few
weeks of his inauguration. Bharara is the host of the podcast Stay Tuned
with Preet
, and author of the book Doing Justice: A Prosecutor’s
Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law.
On March 26, 2019,
Preet Bharara came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk
with Jeffrey Toobin, a staff writer at The New Yorker and a senior legal
analyst at CNN.

Mar 31, 2019
Marlon James
01:09:15

Marlon James is best known for “A Brief History of Seven Killings”, a sweeping, violent novel about the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in 1976, which won the Man Booker Prize in 2015. His new novel  “Black Leopard, Red Wolf”  is the first in the “Dark Star Trilogy,” a fantasy series which James describes as an African Game of Thrones.

On February 19, 2019, Marlon James came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with fellow author Jeff Chang.

Mar 24, 2019
Michael Tubbs
01:09:37

Michael Tubbs has devoted his political life to fighting economic inequality in Stockton -- the Northern California city where he was born and raised.  Elected Mayor in 2016, Tubbs has worked to reinvent the formerly bankrupt city. This past year, he spearheaded a universal basic income pilot program. Already identified as a rising figure in the progressive movement, Tubbs isn’t even thirty years old yet, making him the youngest mayor of an American city of more than 100,000 people.

On February 13, 2019, Mayor Tubbs came to The Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk
with Dan Pfeiffer, co-host of Pod Save America and a former senior advisor to President Obama. Join me now for a conversation with Mayor Michael Tubbs.

Mar 17, 2019
Jad Abumrad
01:19:15

Jad Abumrad is the creator and co-host of Radiolab, a program with a unique brand of storytelling that explores science, philosophy, and the human experience. Abumrad is also the creator of “More Perfect,” a podcast about how the Supreme Court shapes everything from marriage and money to public safety and sex.

On February 8, 2019, Jad Abumrad came to The Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to
talk with Alexis Madrigal, staff writer at “The Atlantic”.

Mar 10, 2019
Rebecca Traister
01:19:00

Rebecca Traister has spent her career writing about politics, media, and entertainment from a
feminist perspective.  In her most recent book, “Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of
Women’s Anger,” Traister tracks the history of female anger as political fuel - from suffragists protesting outside the White House during the First World War, to office workers vacating their building after Clarence Thomas was confirmed to the Supreme Court.

On February 4, 2019, Rebecca Traister came to The Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco, to
talk with Lara Bazelon, a professor of law at the University of San Francisco.

 

Mar 03, 2019
Meg Wolitzer
01:12:51

Author Meg Wolitzer brings readers deep into the lives of others. A feminist thread
runs through all of her work, including novels like “The Interestings” and “The
Wife,” but nowhere is the subject of power more deeply investigated than in her
newest book, “The Female Persuasion.” Campus assault, intergenerational feminism,
debate, mentorship and ambition make it an especially timely story. On January 24
2019, Wolitzer came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater to be interviewed by The
New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik.

Feb 24, 2019
BJ Miller
01:18:15

Dr. BJ Miller is a palliative care expert who has spearheaded a nationwide effort to change the way we approach death and dying. Rather than hospitalization and endless attempts at sustaining life, Miller advocates for a
mindful, human-centered model of care that embraces dying not as a medical event, but a universally shared life experience. On January 22, 2019, BJ Miller came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater to talk with author Pico Iyer.

Feb 17, 2019
Jeff Tweedy
01:09:41

It has been twenty-five years since Jeff Tweedy founded the seminal alt-country band Wilco. The band still performs together, while Tweedy contributes his talents to other projects too - musical,  and now literary, with the
publication of a 2018 memoir, “Let's Go (So We Can Get Back): A Memoir of Recording and Discording with Wilco, Etc.” Tweedy’s newest solo album, “Warm,” is his most personal to date.

On January 11, 2019, Jeff Tweedy came to The Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk
with the writer George Saunders, author of  “Lincoln in the Bardo.”

Feb 10, 2019
Angela Davis and Ibram X. Kendi
01:20:45

Our guests are activist and scholar Angela Davis, and historian Ibram X. Kendi.

Throughout her lifetime, Angela Davis has been a passionate voice for human rights, working from the position that the battles for African American rights, women’s rights, gay rights, and prisoners’ rights, are interconnected. Dr. Kendi profiled Dr. Davis in his book “Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.”

On January 10, 2019, Angela Davis and Ibram X. Kendi came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco, to talk with Jeff Chang about the connections between capitalism, racism and sexism, and ways that activists, and all citizens, can move forward.

Feb 03, 2019
James Forman Jr.
58:15

James Forman Jr., a legal scholar and author, has devoted his life to fighting institutionalized racism. In his book,  “Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America,” Forman writes about the war on crime that began in the 1970s, examining the role that African American judges, prosecutors, and leaders played and how it contributed to the mass incarceration of people of color.

On December 13, 2018, Forman came to The Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with Lara Bazelon, a professor of law at the University of California San Francisco. Join me now for a conversation with James Forman Jr.

Jan 27, 2019
Nadine Burke Harris
58:26

This week on City Arts & Lectures, pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris talks about how exposure to violence and stress affects the developing brains and bodies of children - resulting in increased instances of substance dependence, and even heart disease or cancer. Harris is the founder of the Center for Youth Wellness and author of The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity. On December 3, 2018, Nadine Burke Harris came to the Nourse Theater in San Francisco to talk with Indre Viskontas.

Jan 20, 2019
Kirsten Gillibrand
59:37

Kirsten Gillibrand has represented New York in the US Senate since 2009, where her major accomplishments include leading the effort to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and providing permanent health care and compensation to 9/11 first responders. She talks with KQED’s Marisa Lagos about her time in the Senate, being a mother and a legislator, the MeToo movement, and her new childrens’ book “Bold and Brave” profiling women suffragists.

Jan 13, 2019
Jonathan Franzen
01:12:43

Our guest is Jonathan Franzen, the author of celebrated novels including “The Corrections” and “Freedom.” On November 27, 2018, Franzen came to the Nourse Theater in San Francisco to read from his new essay collection, “The End of The End of The Earth.” Part social criticism, part personal examination, the essays consider Franzen’s love of birding, his writings and ruminations on climate change, and the underpinnings of family and friendship.

Jan 07, 2019
Al Madrigal
01:02:01

Our guest is comedian Al Madrigal, best known for his role as the "Senior Latino Correspondent" for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, where he helped shed light on racism and anti-immigrant sentiment. The veteran of stand-up comedy has gone on to co-found the podcast network "All Things Comedy". Madrigal currently stars in Showtime’s “I’m Dying Up Here”. He was interviewed at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco by Adam Savage on November 10, 2018.

Dec 30, 2018
Peter Sagal
01:09:04

Peter Sagal, host of NPR’s “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!”, is an accomplished playwright, actor, and now - marathoner, and author of the new book “The Incomplete Book of Running”. Sagal came to the Nourse Theater on November 9, 2018. He talked to Michael Krasny about the work of putting together one of public radio’s most popular humor news programs, as well as his dedication to running.

Dec 23, 2018
Eileen Myles
01:14:37

Eileen Myles is the author of more than twenty books of essays, fiction, and poetry including “Chelsea Girls” and “I Must Be Living Twice.”  On November eighth, 2018, Myles came to the Nourse Theater in San Francisco to read from the new poetry collection, “Evolution,”and to talk with Stephen Best about struggling to be a writer in 1970s New York, running for president, and the experimental writing movement New Narrative.

Dec 17, 2018
Abbi Jacobson
59:26

Our guest is Abbi Jacobson, a comedian and author who’s best-known as half of the creative duo behind the series “Broad City” On November 3, 2018, Jacobson came to the Nourse Theater for a conversation with her longtime friend and fellow comedian, D’Arcy Carden. The two talked about friendship, collaboration, and Jacobson’s solo cross-country road trip last year on the heels of a devastating break-up - which forms the basis for her new book “I Might Regret This”.


Dec 10, 2018
Artificial Intelligence: The Problem with Bias, with Kate Crawford
58:05

Does artificial intelligence reflect the biases of those who create it? Can discrimination live on digital platforms and become part of the logic of everyday algorithmic systems? Kate Crawford, co-founder of the AI Now Institute at New York University and an expert on the social impacts of big data, discusses bias in artificial intelligence with Indre Viskontas.

Dec 04, 2018
Jill Soloway and Friends
58:52

This program presents a gathering of feminist thought leaders to celebrate the publication of Jill Soloway’s book “She Wants It: Desire, Power, and Toppling the Patriarchy.”  Soloway is the creator and showrunner of “Transparent” and “I Love Dick”. On October twenty-fifth, 2018, City Arts & Lectures hosted Hannah Gadsby, best-known for her comedy performance “Nanette”, Lili Loofbourow, Susan Stryker, and Faith Soloway, for an evening of comedy, music, debate and conversation, hosted by Jill Soloway, Favianna Rodriguez, and Cara Rose deFabio.

Nov 26, 2018
Barry Jenkins
01:07:28

Director, producer, and writer *Barry Jenkins *has received sweeping critical acclaim for his films, which notably depict black and queer experience through a nuanced and expressive lens. His 2016 film Moonlight received the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as the Golden Globe Award for Best Picture — Drama. Jenkins is currently in production on The Underground Railroad, a series based on Colson Whitehead’s novel of the same name, and his forthcoming film, an adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel If Beale Street Could Talk, will be released in late November.

Nov 18, 2018
Susan Orlean
01:04:25

A staff writer for The New Yorker since 1992, Susan Orlean has written with wit and endless curiosity about subjects ranging from umbrella inventors to origami artists, from the figure skater Tonya Harding to treadmill desks, gospel choirs, and taxidermy. She is the author of Rin Tin Tin and The Orchid Thief, which was the basis for the feature film adaptation starring Meryl Streep. In her newest work, The Library Book, Orlean reopens the unsolved mystery of the most catastrophic library fire in American history. Weaving her life-long love of reading with the fascinating history of libraries and the sometimes-eccentric characters who run them, Orlean presents a uniquely compelling story of the legendary Los Angeles Public Library fire, to showcase the crucial role that libraries play in our lives.

Nov 13, 2018
Doris Kearns Goodwin
01:05:08

Doris Kearns Goodwin’s new book, Leadership in Turbulent Times, is a culmination of five decades of studying American Presidents. Combining her signature storytelling with essential lessons from four of our nation’s presidents—Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson—Goodwin explores their unique journeys to recognize themselves as leaders, the ways in which they navigated adversity, and how they emerged to confront the challenges and contours of their times.

Nov 04, 2018
The New York Times Op-Ed Live
01:15:46

This week, City Arts & Lectures features Michelle Goldberg, Jennine Capó Crucet, and Roxane Gay, all of whom are contributors to the New York Times Op-Ed section. The program includes stand-up comedy, conversation, and a live version of Roxane Gay’s advice column. This co-presentation with The New York
Times was recorded at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco on October 19, 2018, and hosted by Rachel Dry, editor of the Times’ Sunday Review.

Oct 28, 2018
Fran Lebowitz
01:11:11

In a cultural landscape filled with endless pundits and talking heads, Fran Lebowitz stands out as one of our most insightful social commentators. Often considered heir to the crown of Dorothy Parker, her essays and interviews have been featured in Interview and Mademoiselle. Her books include Metropolitan Life, Social Studies, the children’s book Mr. Chas and Lisa Sue Meets the Pandas, and the novel Exterior Signs of Wealth. Lebowitz has long been a talk show regular, appearing on those hosted by Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, and Bill Maher, among others. Lebowitz lives in New York City. She’s interviewed by Lawrence Rinder, Director and Chief Curator of the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. 

Oct 21, 2018
Sally Field
58:50

Our guest is Sally Field. She got her start acting on TV in situation comedies like “Gidget" and “The Flying Nun”, before doggedly pursuing a career in film at a time when television talent was not always welcome in Hollywood. Against those odds, Field went on to portray dozens of iconic characters, in films including “Steel Magnolias,” “Norma Rae,” and “Lincoln.” Her new memoir is “In Pieces”. On September twenty-eighth, 2018, Sally Field came to the Nourse Theater in San Francisco and talked with Steven Winn about her life and career, and how her love of acting helped her find her way out of a difficult childhood.

Oct 14, 2018
"The Daily" from the New York Times, with Michael Barbaro, Annie Brown, and Kevin Roose
01:01:02
Oct 07, 2018
Mohsin Hamid & Pico Iyer
58:29
Sep 30, 2018
Gary Shteyngart
01:04:21

Gary Shteyngart reads from his latest book, "Lake Success", and talks with Isabel Duffy about his writing methods, his love of luxury watches and roadside diners, and Soviet humor.

Sep 23, 2018
Questlove & Boots Riley
57:38

This week, Questlove and Boots Riley join us for a conversation about art, activism, and the creative process. Questlove is a founding member of The Roots, a seminal hip hop band out of Philadelphia. Boots Riley is the writer and director of the film Sorry to Bother You and frontman of The Coup, a radical hip-hop band from Oakland. On April twenty-first, 2018, Questlove and Boots Riley were interviewed by Carvell Wallace at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco.

Sep 14, 2018
Hilton Als
01:25:46

Hilton Als spoke with Stephen M. Best on February 8, 2018 at the Sydney Goldstein Theater.

Feb 08, 2018