pairs artists together to discuss their work and creative practice.
For this episode, we asked artist Ja'Tovia Gary who she would most like to speak with, and she selected author Kaitlyn Greenidge. In an expansive examination of academia and the archive, Gary and Greenidge underscore the importance of expanding access and redistributing power. They talk about how a historically based practice shapes representations of Black womanhood in their respective works.
Ja’Tovia Gary is a Brooklyn-based artist and filmmaker. Her films include An Ecstatic Experience, Giverny I, The Giverny Suite, The Giverny Document, and most recently The Evidence of Things Not Seen (forthcoming). Her work is held in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art and other renowned cultural institutions.
Kaitlyn Greenidge is the author of the novel We Love You, Charlie Freeman. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, The Believer, Virginia Quarterly Review, and American Short Fiction. Greenidge and her two sisters recently started a podcast called Sharpening Our Oyster Knives which examines history through a Black feminist lens.
Becca Blackwell selected fellow New York-based performer Okwui Okpokwasili to discuss building relationships with their audiences, challenging gender norms, fighting fear with art-making, and the power of body language in their work.
Becca Blackwell is a New York-based trans actor, performer, and writer. Their play, They, Themself and Schmerm, has been presented across the country and most recently, Schmermies Choice. They have collaborated with Young Jean Lee, Noah Baumbach, Tina Satter, and Richard Maxwell, and was featured in season four of HBO's High Maintenance. Blackwell was the recipient of a 2015 Doris Duke Impact Award.
Okwui Okpokwasili is a performer, choreographer, writer, and genre-breaking figure in New York City’s experimental dance scene. Her productions include Bronx Gothic (2014) and Poor People’s TV Room (2017). Her latest project, “Sitting on a Man’s Head”, was choreographed in collaboration with Peter Born at Danspace Project and co-curated with Danspace Executive Director and Chief Curator, Judy Hussie-Taylor for PLATFORM 2020: Utterances from the Chorus. Okpokwasili received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2018.
In this episode, we did something a little different: revisiting a BOMB interview from 1993 between Deborah Eisenberg and Francine Prose.
The two writers address the state of fiction twenty years later, the importance of forgoing “safe” characters, the word “process,” and the 2015 PEN/Charlie Hebdo scandal.
Deborah Eisenberg has published five collections of stories: Transactions in a Foreign Currency, Under the 82nd Airborne, All Around Atlantis, Twilight of the Superheroes, and Your Duck Is My Duck.
Francine Prose is the author of twenty-one works of fiction, including Mister Monkey, Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932, A Changed Man, and Blue Angel, a finalist for the National Book Award. Her works of nonfiction include Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife, and the New York Times–bestseller Reading Like a Writer. Prose is a Visiting Professor of Literature at Bard College.
Simone Leigh selected longtime collaborator and friend Madeleine Hunt Ehrlich to talk about experimenting with new media, the importance of failure in one’s career, and what it means to be a “race woman.”
Simone Leigh is an artist working with sculpture, installation, video, and social practice. In 2018, Leigh was awarded the Guggenheim Museum’s Hugo Boss Prize. Her sixteen-foot-tall sculpture, Brick House, is currently installed on New York City’s High Line. A solo exhibition of new sculptures is on view at David Kordansky gallery through June 11, 2020.
Madeleine Hunt Ehrlich is an artist, filmmaker, and assistant professor in film and television production at Queens College, City University of New York. She is the recipient of numerous honors, including a Rema Hort Mann Award and a UnionDocs fellowship.
We asked Nick Hornby, author of the memoir Fever Pitch and the novels High Fidelity and About a Boy, who he’d most like to speak with. Without hesitation, he named Grammy-winning composer and jazz orchestra leader Maria Schneider. The pair discuss writing “big stuff,” small towns, childhood fantasies, flailing, building an archive, hang gliding, and finding one’s voice.
Nick Hornby is a novelist, screenwriter, lyricist, and producer. His novel High Fidelity was recently adapted into a show that premiered in February (2020) on Hulu, starring Zoe Kravitz and Jake Lacy. Nick is also a longstanding contributor to The Believer’s monthly column, “Stuff I’ve Been Reading.”
Since 2005, the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra has performed at festivals and concert halls with over eighty groups in more than thirty countries. Schneider collaborated with David Bowie on his single “Sue (Or In A Season of Crime)” and received a 2016 GRAMMY. Schneider and her orchestra received an additional GRAMMY that year for their project The Thompson Fields. Schneider’s latest project, Data Lords, is set to be available for purchase this year.
Featured music in this episode: "Hang Gliding" by Maria Schneider.
Mira Jacob selected fellow novelist Scott Cheshire to discuss process, epiphany, and race in the era of Trump. Jacob considers how to write unflinchingly about the realities of contemporary American life—with horror and humor—as well as the hard choice between vengeance and clarity.
Mira Jacob is the author of the novel The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing and the graphic memoir Good Talk, which is being adapted into a television series. She is currently a visiting professor in the Creative Writing MFA at the New School.
Scott Cheshire is the author of the novel High As the Horses' Bridles, a Best Book of 2014 pick at The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, and Electric Literature.