Journalist Melissa Maerz on the behind-the-scenes drama on the movie Dazed and Confused.
Melissa Maerz has been an editor at SPIN and Rolling Stone, a staff writer for Entertainment Weekly and the Los Angeles Times, and a founder of New York Magazine's Vulture website. Her latest book is Alright, Alright, Alright: The Oral History of Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused.
Some of the things we talk about: Eden and Fiona's favorite celebrity interviews including bed interviews with Issac Mizrahi, Scott Thompson, and Tim Gunn; how Melissa got her foot into the door by emailing Richard Linklater at Aol.com; all the people who got their start in this movie; how there was one person on the cast with Jim Morrison vibes who everyone agreed to hate; whether Matthew McConaughey was really a jock who carefully calculated his easy breezy ways; a Parker Posey stan tangent; and how no one wanted to make out with Ben Affleck.
Author and activist Renée Watson tells us about her big publishing break and why she fights so hard for her book covers.
A New York Times bestselling author, an educator, and a community activist, Watson won a Coretta Scott King Award for her young adult novel Piecing Me Together. She has also written several other YA and middle-grade books, and recently announced her debut adult novel will be published by Little, Brown in 2024.
Some of the things we talk about: Our start in journalism which ultimately led to this gig for Fiona; Renée’s juvenilia which included a full play when she was in seventh grade; being kept after class at college for a big Random House reveal; getting a book deal before an agent; the importance of opportunity meeting preparedness; a tangent about YA influences including Nancy Drew, Babysitters Club, Ramona Quimby, and Judy Blume; drawing from the legacy of Nikki Giovanni, Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, and Gwendolyn Brooks; advocating for your book covers; and how it all amounted to selling over a million books.
Poet and Comic Derrick Brown talks breakups, boats, and beers to the face.
Derrick Brown is a former paratrooper for the 82nd airborne, a comedian, a novelist, and a traveling poet. He also founded the rockstar of indie poetry presses Write Bloody Publishing in 2004. He’s toured with Cold War Kids, Amber Tamblyn, and Eugene Mirman. Plus you may have seen him on the Tonight Show. Look closely.
Some of the things we talk about: Unexpected career twists involving Fidel Casto; Gob Bluth Christian magician vibes; good poetry versus So I Married An Axe Murderer poetry; Derrick’s new book and some good relationship advice from all; how heartbreak can straighten your hair; touring with Cold War Kids; The Tonight Show and Jessica Alba; Sub Pop comedy records; and poetry allies that stop people from throwing glasses at your head.
anthony hudson/Carla rossi
Writer and performer Anthony Hudson slash drag clown Carla Rossi on collaboration, the art of the drag queen, and the importance of moderating your appetite.
From the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Siletz, Anthony is an artist and writer also known as the drag clown Carla Rossi. Together they host and program Queer Horror at the Hollywood. Anthony also cohosts the queer feminist horror podcast Gaylords of Darkness, and cowrote and costars in the upcoming Gloop, coming soon to a stage near you.
Some of the things we talk about: Creative collaboration which prompts a Vanilla Ice ref, obvs; how drag queens can change your life; Anthony and Eden’s small-town beginnings; Mrs. Winchester’s eavesdrop rooms; ham flutes—not what you might think; the perils of unregulated appetites; the ghosts that wander abandoned Curves gyms; mining life for art (including one’s personal emissions); chicken leg tights FTW; live theatre’s improvisational possibilities; and knowing who will rescue you when you end up hanging on a light switch.
Singer-songwriter Laura Gibson on how a song was born from the Beatles, fondue, and a senior salsa night.
Laura is an internationally acclaimed multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and producer, who has toured four continents and has the distinct honor of performing the very first NPR Tiny Desk concert. She also earned her MFA in fiction writing from Hunter College completing her thesis in the back of a tour van.
Some of the things we talk about: How wonderful Enchanted Forest amusement park is and Duran Duran; a brief declaration on the importance of Magic Mike 2; how adding some dates onto a tour sounds good in theory but not in reality; how performing your own story over and over can begin to feel like lies; what the loneliest foods are; sleeping above a club in the Canary Islands where there is an eternal Salsa Night; writing music using gibberish; how to finish a lovely song.
Novelist Juhea Kim talks about the sweet, sweet writing motivation of revenge
Juhea Kim is a writer with bylines in a wide range of publications including Granta, the Times Literary Supplement, The Independent, Guernica, and more. Her debut novel Beasts of a LIttle Land was critically acclaimed and a finalist for the 2022 Dayton Literary Peace Prize. She is also the founding editor of Peaceful Dumpling, an online magazine covering sustainable lifestyle and ecological literature.
Some of the things we talk about: How Eden’s styling of a well-known band with some strange requests was great essay fodder; why Juhea loves meeting readers; falling in love in your 20s; love bombers and why they are dangerous; revenge as motivation; acknowledgements name drops; diet villains; and how writing about your exes is a feminist move.
Novelist and screenwriter Jon Raymond on how the movie First Cow was born from a beer commercial and why drunken porch conversations are essential to the creative process
Jon Raymond is the author of the novels The Half-Life, Rain Dragon, Freebird, and Denial, and the story collection Livability, winner of the Oregon Book Award. He has collaborated on six films with the director Kelly Reichardt, including Old Joy, Wendy and Lucy, Meek’s Cutoff, Night Moves, First Cow, and Showing Up. He also received an Emmy Award nomination for his screenwriting on the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce directed by Todd Haynes and starring Kate Winslet.
Some of the things we talk about: Why the movies Clueless and Clue are important pieces of screenwriting, how the novel Half-Life and the film First Cow came from a drunken porch conversation and a 1980s beer commercial, how we consider ourselves to be connoisseurs of gossip and it’s actually a high art, how writing for novels and films differ, the through line from Huckleberry Finn to Friends, and the inspiration Jon felt from David Wojnarowicz’s ‘When I Put My Hands on Your Body’ work of two skeletons holding hands.
Screenwriter, storyteller, and Broadway actor, Vin Shambry talks about the movie based on his 1990s Portland life and the unbelievable thing a director asked him to do in college.
Vin Shambry is a writer, actor, storyteller, producer, filmmaker and all round lovely person. He has performed on Broadway, toured internationally, won many awards for acting, is an acclaimed storyteller—you may have heard him on The Moth—currently working on a short story collection and wrote a movie about his childhood called Outdoor School.
Some of the things we talk about: How writing from your lived experience can be both terrifying and empowering, achieving credibility through a 90s Trailblazers rap, why you gotta have Cool Nutz in your movie, how a Moth story became a film about outdoor school, an explainer on the game Suck and Blow, how Vin experienced racism in the theater world, and how a traumatic life moment can stay inside you until you find a way to tell it.
Journalist, fiction writer, and style columnist Vivian McInerny dishes New York Fashion Week gossip from her many years on the beat, talks brushes with Anna Wintour and Harry Connick Junior, her chat with Destiny's Child, plus some wild changes in journalism over five decades.
Vivian McInerny covered fashion for The Oregonian including being their NYFW correspondent from 1984 to 2015 and brings many stories of that time today. She also has quite the following on the creator’s network Ello where she regularly publishes new work in addition to her short stories published in several literary journals. She also wrote the adorable children’s book The Whole Hole Story published through Harper Collins
Some of the things we talk about: the technological changes in journalism that changed all our jobs; what Anna Wintour said to Vivian the first time they met and when she iced her; how no famous people used to go to Fashion Week and it wasn't cool when they started showing up; how fashion isn't about expensive brands, but about how you choose to express yourself; how all the journalists were trying to figure out Donald Trump's combover 30 years ago.
Some of Vivian's NYFW runway snaps from the '90s and 2000s.
Writer and editor Conner Reed talks juvenilia written in a log cabin in the woods, going up against Stephen Sondheim, and performing his first musical during a global pandemic.
Conner Reed is reviews editor at Publishers Weekly, covering mysteries, thrillers, true crime, and memoirs. He's the former Arts and Culture Editor at Portland Monthly magazine, and has written for a variety of publications including Artforum and the British movie magazine Little White Lies. He is also the writer and director of the acclaimed 2020 piece Hatred, a Musical.
Some of the things we talk about: juvenilia and the bad poetry of youth; stealing music from Broadway; growing up in a log cabin with big art dreams; how theater kids are friends forever; performing on the internet during a global pandemic; going up against Stephen Sondheim; writing Pretty Woman before anyone else did (you're welcome Julia Roberts); how to review your own work.
Oregon poet laureate and World Cup Poetry Slam winner Anis Mojgani talks love poems, finding your voice and creating community, how to get the writing muses to show up, and becoming a poet / Miss America.
Anis Mojgani is the current poet laureate of Oregon who is also a two-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam and winner of the International World Cup Poetry Slam. He has done commissions for the Getty Museum and the Peabody Essex Museum; and his work has appeared on HBO, NPR, and in The New York Times.
Some of the things we talk about: how ones actually becomes a poet with Miss America level cred, if one does need to be heartbroken to create good work, Anis reads a lovely poem from his new book, what you need to do to help the writing muses show up, and who will always be the first reader of your work.
Novelist, ghostwriter, and James Patterson co-writer Emily Chenoweth talks ghostwriting for celebrities, the freedom of a pseudonym, her collaborative relationship with Patterson, and how to know when to bail on a book.
Emily Chenoweth is the author of the novel Hello Goodbye, which was an Oregon Book Award Finalist, and ghostwriter of numerous bestselling novels. She has cowritten over a dozen books with James Patterson, and is also the coauthor of the Klawde: Evil Alien Cat middle grade series with Johnny Marciano. She's a former fiction editor at Publisher's Weekly and sends out weekly writing prompts and craft advice via her Substack Good Ideas.
Some of the things we talk about: the freedom of no bylines and the responsibility that comes with putting your name to things; the path to ghostwriting and the feelings generated by watching a celebrity sign your book; the importance of being in the right place at the right time; collaborating with a commercial giant; that one time her hair turned out weird because of James Patterson; and why consulting the guides can help you toss a bad book.