Los Angeles Public Library Podcasts: ALOUD @ Centr

Los Angeles Public Library Podcasts: ALOUD @ Centr

United States

The following podcasts were recorded live in the Los Angeles Central Library's Mark Taper Auditorium as part of the award-winning ALOUD at Central Library speaker series presented by the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. ALOUD podcasts are updated on a monthly basis. Initial funding for ALOUD podcasts was made possible by Arent Fox LLP.


The End of Ice: Stories from Greenland’s Northernmost Villages  

 Greenland’s ice sheet is now shedding ice so fast (five times faster than it did in the 1990s) that scientists have labeled Greenland’s seasonal sea ice “a rotten ice regime.” For 20 years, writer Gretel Ehrlich has traveled with Inuit hunters in Greenland, listening to their narratives and observing changes in their traditional hunting. This past spring, she went with some of those Inuit hunters to Paris, with plans to speak at the climate talks which were dashed when terrorists struck the city. In conversation with award-winning NPR journalist Neal Conan, Ehrlich reports on her experience in Greenland and Paris and discusses the challenge of climate change—how can we move from “it’s too late…” to “there’s much we can do”?Click here for photos from the program. 

Live From the Vault: Rare Recordings of James Baldwin  

 Co-presented with Pacifica Archives Join us for a live broadcast (on KPFK 90.7 FM) dedicated to the voice of author and civil rights activist James Baldwin. Brian DeShazor, host of From the Vault radio program will air rare recordings of Baldwin from 1963-1968, including: an oration called the Artist’s Struggle for Integrity; a reading from Giovanni’s Room; Baldwin’s fiery speech after the murder of four girls in Birmingham, Alabama; and his introduction of Dr. Martin Luther King (taped in the home of Marlon Brando) weeks before King’s assassination. DeShazor is joined by two writers who’ve thought deeply about Baldwin’s work—novelist Nina Revoyr and Melvin L. Rogers, Associate Professor of Political Science and African-American Studies at UCLA—to reflect on Baldwin’s impact on literature and society. Click here for photos from the program. 

Eileen Myles and Maggie Nelson: Why We Write  

 For twenty years, groundbreaking poets Eileen Myles (Chelsea Girls; I Must be Living Twice) and Maggie Nelson (National Book Critics Circle Award, The Argonauts) have been friends, mutual influences, and interlocutors on the experiences of living in a poetry and gender inflected writing world. Myles’ latest work—a collection of old and new poems—refracts a radical world and a compelling life.  Nelson’s genre-bending memoir, The Argonauts, calls for radical individual freedom and the value of caretaking.   Together on stage to read both poetry and prose, these two ground-breaking writers then will join in conversation to, as Myles says, “let thoughts rip.”Click here for photos from the program.

PEN Emerging Voices: A Reading  

In partnership with PEN Center USA, ALOUD presents the culminating event of PEN’s 2016 Emerging Voices Fellowship to mark the program’s 20th anniversary. Revisit this evening of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction with readings from the 2016 Fellows: Marnie Goodfriend, Jian Huang, Wendy Labinger, Natalie Lima, and Chelsea Sutton; featuring an introduction from this year’s Emerging Voices mentors: Carmiel Banasky, Claire Bidwell Smith, Patrick O’Neil, Mike Padilla, and Alicia Partnoy. The Emerging Voices Fellowship is a literary mentorship program aiming to provide new writers who are isolated from the literary establishment with the tools, skills, and knowledge they need to launch a professional writing career.  

Ben Ehrenreich: The Way to the Spring  

 For three years, award-winning journalist Ben Ehrenreich has been traveling to and living in the West Bank, living with Palestinian families in its largest cities and smallest villages. Placing readers in the footsteps of ordinary Palestinians, Ehrenreich’s new book, The Way to the Spring, offers some of the most empathetic reporting ever to emerge from the turbulent region. With a keen eye for detail, he paints a vivid portrait of life in three Palestinian villages, interspersed with crash-course history lessons on the Israel-Palestine conflict. In conversation with Amy Wilentz, National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author and former Jerusalem correspondent for The New Yorker, Ehrenreich discusses the journalist’s mission to listen and understand the complexities of human experience.Click here for photos from the program. 

Rosanne Cash and Joe Henry | Composed: The Intersection of Poetry and Song  

 Like dreams, poetry and song enter our lives by way of a mystery—unrecognized and often uninvited. Both represent the speaking of the otherwise unspeakable: the place where real truth is unencumbered by fact, time is made elastic, and narrative emerges from the abstract to tell us something of who we are. Listen in for a special evening of music and conversation with two leading voices as songwriters and authors Rosanne Cash and Joe Henry (both multi-GRAMMY Award winners) reflect on the transcendence of language through poetry and song.Click here for photos from the program. 

Yaa Gyasi: Homegoing  

 Hailed as “an inspiration” by writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, Yaa Gyasi’s debut novel, Homegoing, traces 300 years of history and family lineage through a sweeping account of the many descendants of two half-sisters born in 18th century Ghana. From the beginnings of slavery to the Harlem Renaissance to 21st century California, the novel captures with stunning immediacy how the memory of captivity was inscribed on the soul of a nation. Join as Gyasi takes the ALOUD stage for a discussion with comparative mythologist and scholar Ayana A.H. Jamieson.Click here for photos from the program.

Judith Freeman: The Latter Days  

 How does one become a writer? For acclaimed novelist Judith Freeman— born the sixth child of eight in a devout Mormon household, married at seventeen, and divorced  at twenty-two with a young child—it was an unlikely path. In her arresting, lyrical memoir set in the patriarchal cloister of Utah in the 1950s and 1960s, she explores the circumstances and choices that informed her course through a thicket of profound difficulties towards becoming. Joined by L.A. native and novelist Michelle Huneven, Freeman visits ALOUD to share her illuminating portrait of resilience and self-discovery. Click here for photos from the program. 

An Evening with Eddie Huang  

 Co-presented with the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center Chef, food personality, bestselling author of Fresh Off the Boat, and inspiration behind the hit television show of the same name, Eddie Huang makes his ALOUD debut with a brash new memoir about love, meaning, and returning to your ancestral homeland. Double Cup Love takes readers on a cultural romp from Williamsburg dive bars to the skies of Mongolia, from Michelin-starred restaurants to street-side soup peddlers in Chengdu. Listen in as Fresh Off the Boat star, Constance Wu—who plays Eddie’s unforgettable mother—interviews Huang about family, food, and broken hearts.  Click here for photos from the program. 

Vivian Gornick and David L. Ulin: Two Walkers, Two Writers, Two Cities  

 Like writing, cities are all about process, the back-and-forth between our aspirations and our abilities; we walk to discover them and to discover ourselves. In this dialogue, moderated by Los Angeles native Louise Steinman, Vivian Gornick and David L. Ulin investigate the role of the city as both literary and psychic landscape. For Gornick, who was born and raised in the Bronx and is the author of the new memoir of self-discovery, The Odd Woman and the City, New York is the city that provokes. While for Ulin, as a Manhattan-raised Southern California transplant and author of the compelling inquiry, Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles, L.A. is the terrain that inspires. What do their journeys have in common? What sets these two cities, and their literature, apart?Click here for photos of the program. 

Maxine Hong Kingston and Viet Thanh Nguyen: Two Writers Reflect on War and Peace  

 Visionary writer Maxine Hong Kingston has been writing about war and peace since her landmark 1976 book The Woman Warrior. Her lifelong efforts on this theme often touched on the Vietnam War, from China Men to The Fifth Book of Peace. These works influenced award-winning novelist and critic Viet Thanh Nguyen as he dealt with the war in both fiction (The Sympathizer) and scholarship (Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War). Both writers will share the ALOUD stage to discuss their own personal histories with the war, and the responsibility of literature in depicting war machines and peace movements.Click here for photos from the program. 

William Finnegan: Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life  

 New Yorker writer William Finnegan leads a counter life as an excessively compulsive surfer. In his deeply lyrical self-portrait Barbarian Days, Finnegan chronicles his lifelong adventures from a young man chasing waves all over the world to becoming a distinguished writer and war reporter. Part coming-of-age story, part thriller, part cultural study, Finnegan’s vivid memoir explores the gradual mastering of a little understood art. Join Finnegan as he returns to the Pacific coast to discuss his revelatory pursuit of the perfect wave with David Rensin, author of ALL FOR A FEW PERFECT WAVES: The Audacious Life and Legend of Rebel Surfer Miki Dora. Click here for photos from the program.   

Geoff Dyer: Searching to See: Experiences from the Outside World  

 From the Watts Towers in Los Angeles to the Forbidden City in Beijing, Geoff Dyer’s newest collection of essays, White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World, explores what defines place: where do we come from, what are we, where are we going? The elegant, witty, and always inquisitive Dyer returns to ALOUD to reflect on his unexpected findings with Jonathan Lethem — celebrated for his novels, essays, and short stories — to illuminate the questions we ask when we step outside ourselves.Click here for photos from the program. 

Kate Tempest: The Bricks That Built the Houses  

 Award-winning poet and rapper Kate Tempest’s electrifying debut novel takes us into the beating heart of London in this multi-generational tale of drugs, desire, and belonging. The Bricks That Built the Houses explores a cross-section of contemporary urban life with a powerful moral microscope, giving us intimate stories of ordinary lives, and questions how we live with and love one another. Heralded by critics and fans alike for her powerful performances, Tempest takes the ALOUD stage to present her dynamic new work.Click here for photos from the program. 

Writing Our Future: Readings from Graduate Writing Programs of the Southland  

 Our third annual gathering unites students from five Southland graduate writing programs—CalArts, Otis College, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, and USC—to share recent work and tune our ears to the future of language. What are the ideas, forms, questions, syntaxes, images, and narratives of our immediate future? Who better as our compass in the wilds of the now than emerging writers?Click here for photos from the program.

U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera: The Further Adventures of Mr. Cilantro Man  

 Juan Felipe Herrera grew up the son of Mexican immigrants in the migrant fields of California, and became the first Latino Poet Laureate of the United States. Exuberant and socially engaged, reflective and healing, wildly inventive and unpredictable, the award-winning poet will discuss his life’s work as it ranges from Aztlan to Paris, San Bernardino to Florida and back; from Larry King and Oprah, to the Janis Joplin days in the City by the Bay. Join us for a brimming, wide-open evening as Herrera blazes the endless chasms of culture on the “Laureate Trail.”Click here for photos from the program.

Adam Hochschild: Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939  

 Best-selling author, prize-winning historian, and Mother Jones co-founder Adam Hochschild offers a sweeping new history of the Spanish Civil War. Spain In Our Hearts is a nuanced international tale of idealism and heartbreaking suffering told through a dozen characters, including Ernest Hemingway and George Orwell, who reveal the full tragedy and importance of the war. Hochschild returns to ALOUD to explore the complicated conflict that would galvanize Americans in their pursuit of democracy across the world just before the opening battle of World War II.Click here for photos from the program. 

John McWhorter, Mark Z. Danielewski: Dictionaries and the Bending of Language  

 Through the etymology of words, the OED exhibits the shape-shifting nature of language across time, reflecting how it bends to the task of describing our evolving human experience. But is all change good? What is the role of the dictionary in reporting, recording, and refereeing language variation and change? Linguist, political commentator and author of The Power of Babel and Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue, John McWhorter talks with genre-busting author of House of Leaves Mark Z. Danielewski about whether dictionaries support or inhibit the idiosyncratic use of language as a means of creative expression. Presented as part of the Library Foundation’s project, Hollywood is a Verb: Los Angeles Tackles the Oxford English Dictionary. Click here for photos from the program.

Sarah Bakewell: At The Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being and Apricot Cocktails  

 The best-selling author of the National Book Critics Circle Award-Winner How to Live, a spirited account of twentieth century intellectual movements and revolutionary thinkers, delivers a timely new take on the lives of influential philosophers Sartre, De Beauvoir, Camus, and others. At The Existentialist Café journeys to 1930s Paris to explore a passionate cast of philosophers, playwrights, anthropologists, convicts, and revolutionaries who would spark a rebellious wave of postwar liberation movements. From anticolonialism to feminism and gay rights, join Bakewell as she discusses with David L. Ulin what the pioneering existentialists can teach us about confronting questions of freedom today.Click here for photos of the program. 

Helen Macdonald: H is for Hawk  

 A New York Times bestseller and award-winning sensation, Helen Macdonald’s story of adopting and raising one of nature’s most vicious predators has soared into the hearts of millions of readers worldwide. Following the sudden death of her father, Macdonald battled with a fierce and feral goshawk to stave off her own depression. With ALOUD’s Louise Steinman, author of the far-reaching memoir about her father’s past, The Souvenir, Macdonald will discuss her transcendent account of human versus nature and the essential lessons she learned from her foray into falconry.Click here for photos from the program.

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