All Signs Point to Lunatic

The Cool as Hell Theatre Podcast talks with a man named “Rex Reginald” who claims to be the author of a book called The Party Crashers. Apparently, Mr. Reginald claims that the producers of the film The Wedding Crashers ripped off his book. But here’s the interesting thing: There’s no trace of any book authored by Rex Reginald at either the Library of Congress or ISBN. In fact, the only book named The Party Crashers is a novel written by Stephanie Bond. Reginald claims in Rice’s podcast that he’s involved in a major lawsuit against unidentified producers and studios, that he’s about to get paid big money to buy a mansion. Perhaps he might want to consider investing this cash in a publicist who might be able to plug his nonexistent book.

Women Podcasters: Less XXX and More XX Please

Pinky’s Paperhaus attended the Podcasting Expo noting that only 15% of the people who showed up were women. She says the expo was “hype-y and ho-hum.” Why then is the realm of podcasting overwhelmingly male? This Wired article delves into the issue more, pointing out that even the president of Women in Technology International is a man. Further, podcaster Wendy Malley notes in the article, “I don’t know if a guy’s going to download that podcast. They’ll see that it’s two chicks and think, ‘I probably don’t want to hear a bunch of chick talk.'”

Bad enough that we have pejorative and often misleading labels like chick flicks and chick lit. Does this mean that we’ll see a slew of journos and bloggers badmouthing “chickcasts” as well?

Podcasting, I think, has demonstrated that it is less of a novelty and more of a viable possibility than it was a year ago. And I’m curious why women have been reluctant to take the mike and cement themselves in a low-cost medium that encourages alternative voices.

Wells Done

I can’t find a specific permalink, but it looks as if Jeffrey Wells somehow scored an interview with the highly reclusive Terence Malick back in 1995 and he’s posted the results. If you thought David Foster Wallace was antsy about interviews, he’s got nothing on Malick.

Incidentally, this Sunday Wells is also starting up a live, twice-weekly Internet radio show called Elsewhere Live. Again, no direct link. But apparently there will be a red light that will permit visitors to listen. Wells insists that this isn’t a podcast (strangely enough, Dennis Loy Johnson also eschews that term), but I certainly hope Wells keeps some archives. It’s incredible to see so many figures embracing Internet audio like this.

Literary Podcasts

[2010 UPDATE: Please note that the below list has become outdated. In May 2010, I prepared an updated list of literary podcasts that is more reflective of the present landscape. I’m leaving this post unmodified so that anybody who wishes to track the podcast scene in 2005 has a resource.]

Like Maud, I’m finding it difficult to keep track of all the literary podcasts. The latest publishing company to enter the fray is Penguin, with the Penguin Podcast. This makes Penguin the second big publisher after Simon & Schuster. (And of course, there’s also Moby Lives Radio.) Personally, I’m waiting to see if Richard Nash will throw his hat into the podcasting ring.

Here’s a rundown of all the literary podcasts I’m aware of — some of them culled from The Millions. If anyone has any to include, please feel free and let me know and I’ll add them to the list.

PODCAST-SPECIFIC:

PUBLISHERS:

AUTHORS:

  • Cory Doctorow: Thanks to the Creative Commons license, his works are now available in podcast form.
  • Scott Sigler: Sigler reads his novel-in-progress, Earthcore.

FROM RADIO:

If you have any more, please let me know and I’ll add it to the list.

More Podcasts with Laila

And speaking of audio literary offerings, it looks like Megan has entered the fray[1], preserving Laila‘s appearance at her bookstore in podcast form.

[1] In one of the nuttiest quid pro quos ever devised, I pledged recently to someone that I will no longer be using the phrase “weigh in” on this blog. All future references to “weigh in” will be replaced with “enter the fray,” since using a war metaphor in an ironic and peaceful context is not as egregious as a junior high school wrestling metaphor.

Web 2.0: Hype or Practical Extension of Medium Language?

Tom Coates offers this very interesting sneak peek at a new BBC feature called Annotable Audio. And damn, this has some serious possibilities. Essentially, users will be able to take an audio file and annotate specific sections of it for other users. If there’s any downfall to the idea, it’s that the brain (or, at least, mine anyway) may not be able to process text information and audio information at the same time. But as a reference tool, I can see this as an invaluable interface for something like a podcast. Let’s say, for example, that an interview subject mentions an arcane topic and the listener might be scratching his head, wondering what he’s on about. Well, the informative text is there, perhaps with a few links to other audio segments or alternative presentations.

The BBC has been very ahead of the curve in exploring new technologies. No accident that they were the ones to take on Douglas Adams’ notion of a Web-based Hitchhiker’s Guide. But with all this talk of Web 2.0, this Annotable Audio tool is the kind of thing that represents a transition point between the web language of today (hyperlinks) and its integration with other mediums (sound). And hopefully we’ll see other organizations and companies working to extend vernacular along these lines.

San Francisco Theatre Podcasts

The San Francisco Fringe Festival started this week. We’ve been so busy that, disgracefully, we haven’t yet seen any of the shows, but plan on attending a few this weekend and next week. (And if you’re in the San Francisco area, this is a great way to load up on cheap indie theatre. Each show is no more then $9.) Fortunately, the SFist has an early report and there should be more from Chronicle theatre critic Robert Hurwitt over the weekend.

But here’s the really cool thing: This year, the Fringe (or, rather, the fantastic Michael Rice) is offering podcasts with many of the performers, which can be accessed on the main Fringe page and found at the Cool As Hell Theatre Podcast. Among the highlights: El Camino Loco, Show Me Where It Hurts and, in particular, this brilliant podcast about failed artistry with Kirk White.

Media Overload

We’re still sitting on two more Bat Segundo shows, all to come in the next few weeks. If podcast interviews aren’t you’re thing and you’re hoping to hear some steady reading, the incomparable Gerard Jones has, rather amazingly, kept quite busy. He’s put up podcasts for the first sixteen chapters of Ginny Good and he’s even managed to squeeze some Joan Baez into his introduction.

The “We Battled Insomnia with Gin Last Night and the Gin Won, But Heaven Help the Fallout” Roundup

  • The fantastic Carrie Frye points to the Word Nerds, a podcast devoted to “the effect of Internet communication” and various language-related issues. I’ll definitely be checking it out, as soon as I finally finish the next installment of my own damn podcast.
  • So according to the Associated Press, the book world “is still searching for this year’s great American novel,” eh? There are endless ways that I can answer this, but for now I’ll point again to Lee Martin’s The Bright Forever and Kirby Gann’s Our Napoleon in Rags as two books that I’ve enjoyed very much this year and, in my view, do indeed cut the mustard. Perhaps the key here is to stop thinking about the big boys and dare to delve into the little ones.
  • Dan Wickett doesn’t read Playboy for the pictures or the articles. No, sir, he’s reading it for the literature. I knew about the four-bunny system for books, because I actually had a Playboy subscription at the age of sixteen, in which I would secretly run to the mailbox and grab the latest issue covered in black plastic. (Remind me sometime to tell you the tale of what happened when I was finally caught and how I talked my way out of it.) The nice thing about this was that it allowed me to outgrow a reliance upon visual prurience and apply my perverted sentiments to everyday discourse without shame and of course evolve my unabated interest in breasts. But if the likes of Robert Coover can be found within Playboy‘s pages, then I may have to pick up a subscription. I have to wonder, however, if Mr. Wickett is secretly on Hefner’s payroll.
  • Dubya actually reads serious books? Apparently, some of the books that he’s taken on a five-week summer sojurn are Mark Kurlansky’s Salt: A World History, Alexander II: The Last Great Tsar (which seems peculiarly apt) and John M. Barry’s The Great Influenza.
  • The Gothamist talks with Foop! author Chris Genoa.
  • Another celebrity reading slacker: Noel Gallagher, who only just started reading fiction with Angels and Demons (“my first ever book. Believe it or not, it is.”). In the same article, Hester Lacey suggests that to dismiss someone who hasn’t read “seems both sweeping and snobbish.” Oh come on, Hester. We’re talking Dan Brown here. If Victoria Beckham has not even read Green Eggs and Ham, should her raison d’etre not be suspect?
  • The new China Miéville short story collection, Looking for Jake, gets an early look at SFF World.
  • What the hell was I thinking with the gin? Head hurts. More later.

Books by the Bay Podcasts

The San Francisco Chronicle, one of the few newspapers right now offering podcasts (not even the L.A. Times can say this much), has made David Kipen’s interview with Gus Lee (from this year’s Books by the Bay) available. Of course, it’s only a mere excerpt. But it’s the closest thing to being there.

(The Crime Time panel is also available. And all this sure beats uncomfortable fangirl moments with Charo.)

The Bat Segundo Show #4

the bat segundo show #4

Approximate Date: July 31, 2005

Authors: Amanda Filipacchi and Kevin Smokler

Condition of Bat Segundo: In an unspecified condition of “pain.” More sober than usual, pining for scotch and merlot.

Subjects Discussed: Stalking, dark comedy, intense behavior, Harriet Klausner, chick lit, keeping lists, sex, the politically incorrect, the menage a trois, class-based characters, free time, book tours, the relationship between publishers and online literary venues, FSG and Christopher Sorrentino’s Trance, the next generation of writers (McSweeney’s as homogeneous voice?), the telegenic requirements of writers, the cult of personality, clarifying the “Reading at Risk” controversy, the intentions of Bookmark Now, literary standards vs. enthusiasm, the Iliad as logline, responding to the “writing in unreaderly times” flap, individual vs. group reading, explaining the Nicholson Baker acknowledgment.