Saturday, May 31, 2008

with Vin Scelsa on Idiot's Delight

Had a fabulous time with Vin Scelsa on Saturday. And got to check another box on my Legends of Radio fantasy list. In usual Vin fashion, the conversation was freeflowing and all over the map...we both read from all three of my novels, played some good music, pontificated on matters profound, and Vin tried to pry out of me the real identity of every character I've ever written.
The broadcast is available streaming here at the WFUV site, although only for two weeks or so because they don't permanently archive. But if you've got a speedy connection and/or some time to download, you can pull the entire broadcast as an mp3 (wrapped in a zip file) from the Idiot's Delight fan site. The whole show is 4 hours segment is first in the broadcast, and lasts 2 hours.
Here is how WFUV introduced the show:
Christian Bauman, writer and public radio commentator ("All Things Considered"), will talk with Vin about his latest novel, "In Hoboken", which chronicles the acoustic folk scene in that unique city across the Hudson River during the mid-90s. Bauman, whose experience as a soldier in Somalia and Haiti earlier in that decade informed his novels "The Ice Beneath You" and "Voodoo Lounge," is not only a novelust but a songwriter and guitarist who was part of the "Camp Hoboken" collective of musicians and artists that thrived at Maxwell's and other clubs in NJ and NYC in the mid-to-late 90s. His new novel throbs with a hands-on accurate portrait of the city and its inhabitants, a city going through enormous changes and a group of people trying hard to cling to a musical chain that links back to Woody Guthrie. Readers and listeners will recognize very real people in Christian Bauman's fictional characters, notably the late Don Brody of The Marys, and even a radio station called WFUV that figures occasionally in the tale.
Inbetween all of our jawing we spun discs. Here's the playlist, scattered around the 2-hour conversation:
1. "The Past Didn't Go Anywhere" / Utah Phillips & Ani DiFranco
2. "God Damn Everything But the Circus" / The Story
3. "The Day Roy Orbison Died" / The Marys
4. "The Grind" / Gregg Cagno
5. "The Places You Will Go" / Christian Bauman
6. "Give Me Some Truth" / John Lennon
7. "The Queen of Ohio" / Christian Bauman
8. "Gone" / Big Happy Crowd

Friday, May 23, 2008

That whole folk novel thing

So, next time you have 36 minutes to kill, why not listen to me and Ed Champion talk books and writing and such (well, I could think of reasons why not, but...)

It's at the Bat Segundo link here...or straight to the mp3 here.

An excerpt:

Ed Champion: You have this particular rock ‘n’ roll novel dwelling upon Hoboken, as well as Mona Smith, who is this Erica Jong-like figure, who is the mother of Thatcher. But I wanted to ask you about this. Because it’s very fascinating to me. I have the belief that if you write a rock ‘n’ roll novel, there needs to be some additional element. Some additional hook. Because if you dwell too much on rock ‘n’ roll music, well, it’s going to possibly be something of a circlejerk. So I wanted to ask you. Was this a consideration in setting this book in Hoboken? The Hoboken aspect came first? What happened here?

Bauman: Yeah, I think the Hoboken aspect came first. Well, first of all, I should point out that everyone keeps calling it a rock ‘n’ roll novel. It is actually a folk novel. So we should just be clear here. There’s a lot more Woody Guthrie here than anything else. But it’s a good point. You know, the whole thing I wanted to do, in as far as I wanted to anything and it didn’t just happen the way it happened — I was trying very hard this time to do two things. One was to write about a place. A very specific place to the point where the place became one of the characters in the book. And of those places where I’ve either lived or been alive in my life, Hoboken was one of them that stood out as a good place to go. And the other one was that I really wanted to try and write an ensemble novel to the best of my ability. And I kind of failed in that aspect.

How's that for a good time? Hot, hot, hot.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Crazier than a shithouse rat

There is no deeper meaning to that subject line just aptly describes a few people in my life right now. And probably describes me, too. And mostly, I just wanted to write that as a subject line.

What I really want to talk about is chatting. So much jawing, with a new book. We begin with Ed Champion, one of the two best long-form lit interviewers online (and the only one doing it audio; the other is Birnbaum, of course...we had coffee in Boston a few months back, he and Rosie are resting). Me and Ed attacked blue cheese burgers at the Moonstruck Diner on 37th and Madison in NYC the other day, then blathered into the microphone awhile. I'll post it when the link goes up.

And then there's Vin Scelsa. Respect the elders. Embrace the new. Encourage the impractical and improbable, without bias. I'll do some blathering about In Hoboken on Idiot's Delight, probably Saturday May 31, I'll let you know airdate for sure when I know. There is no one living cooler than Vin Scelsa. No one.