She's his number one fan. The hilarious and well-read Mark Rennie (TWO OLD QUEENS podcast) joins a reduced BTTM crew to discuss MISERY, the Stephen King novel and the Oscar-winning film from screenwriter William Goldman and director Rob Reiner. (And cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld!!) With a new documentary about King adaptations out in theaters, KING ON SCREEN, the fellas also discuss some other King faves on page and screen. Produced by Justin Remer and Mick Kowaleski. Opening music: "Optimism (Instrumental)" by Duck the Piano Wire Closing music: "Rule of 3s (Solemnity Child)" by Elastic No-No Band
Hello listeners! In this episode, Tyler chats with Elliott Kalan, co-host of wildly successful bad movie podcast The Flop House, Emmy Award winning head writer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and the creative force behind the comics MANIAC OF NEW YORK and MANIAC OF NEW YORK: THE BRONX IS BURNING. Elliott discusses his earliest inspirations for Maniac Harry, a masked and immortal killer, whose murderous rampages become a semi-regular occurrence/nuisance to New Yorkers, his rules of satire and thoughts on storytelling as a vehicle for social messaging, plus why THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123 is his favorite film and a glorious portrait of '70s New York. Lastly, Elliott gives some insight into the ongoing writer's strike and how to support those most impacted by it. Links to MANIAC OF NEW YORK and MANIAC OF NEW YORK: THE BRONX IS BURNING https://www.skylightbooks.com/book/9781949028713 https://www.skylightbooks.com/book/9781956731040 Link to the Entertainment Community Relief Fund: https://entertainmentcommunity.org/ Produced by Tyler Austin, Mick Kowaleski, & Alena Saunders Opening music: "Optimism (Instrumental)" by Duck the Piano Wire Closing music: "Rule of 3s (Solemnity Child)" by Elastic No-No Band The Better Than the Movie guys will be at the American Cinematheque's FRIEND OF THE FEST! They'll be hosting a screening of Sally Potter's ORLANDO (1992) on Sunday, August 27th, at the Los Feliz 3. It's right next door to Skylight, come hang out and watch a movie with the BTTM gang! Tickets found here: https://www.americancinematheque.com/now-showing/the-skylight-books-podcast-presents-orlando-8-27-23/
Calling all fans of The Boss! In this episode, Tyler Austin sits down with Warren Zanes, writer of Petty: The Biography, Dusty Springfield’s Dusty in Memphis (33 1/3), and, most recently, Deliver Me from Nowhere: The Making of Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska. Tyler and Warren talk about Bruce’s seminal album, the singular vision necessary to create its distinct sound, and the lead up to/aftermath of the release. Warren goes into detail about why most albums don’t deserve a full book, what it’s like spending the day at Springsteen’s house in New Jersey, and how Nebraska changed his life. So, hit that play button ‘cause tramps like us, baby, we were born to pod! Produced by Tyler Austin and Mick Kowaleski Music by Duck the Piano Wire
Just when you thought it was safe to download a podcast... The BTTM fellas are back to talk JAWS with film writer and podcaster Kristen Lopez (who discussed her book about 52 classic film adaptations BUT HAVE YOU READ THE BOOK? on a recent Skylit episode). Steven Spielberg's film has become an American classic, but what about Peter Benchley's original novel? It's got more sex, more mafia enforcers, and more small town economic hardship -- but is it better than the movie? Produced by Justin Remer, Allan Traylor, and Mick Kowaleski Opening music: "Optimism (Instrumental)" by Duck the Piano Wire Closing music: "Rule of 3s (Solemnity Child)" by Elastic No-No Band
Artem Mozgovoy discusses his debut novel, Spring in Siberia, with the managing editor of Red Hen Press, Dr. Kate Gale. The work has been praised by Publishers Weekly as a "superb debut", "touching and well written, genuinely compelling and convincing" by Sir Stephen Fry, and "a capacious work of vision, courage, and thoroughness" by Ocean Vuong. Artem takes Kate through his childhood in central Siberia, his career starting as a cadet reporter at 16 and the editor-in-chief by 26, and, eventually, his shift into creative writing. Produced by Tyler Austin and Mick Kowaleski Music by Duck the Piano Wire
Cinephiles, tune in! In this episode, Tyler Austin hosts Millie De Chirico and Quatoyiah Murray, co-writers of TCM Underground, a movie-lover's guide to 50 of the most campy, kitschy, shocking, and weirdly wonderful cult films you need to see. Millie and Quatoyiah take the Ty-Guy through the cult classics of the Turner Classic Movie series, and discuss everything from writing with a partner to buying Salo DVDs from the Italian Dark Web. Produced by Tyler Austin and Mick Kowaleski Music by Duck the Piano Wire.
Listen here, gumshoes and femme fatales, we’re gonna give you the straight story on the QT and very hush hush. Skylight’s own torpedo, Tyler, tangles with Charles Ardai, mystery writer and founder of Hard Case Crime, a publishing imprint re-releasing classics of the pulp underworld and modern takes on the time-tested genre. Charles spills the beans about his journey into the publishing world, what it’s like to meet and work with your literary heroes, how he writes his own fiction, and when he knew the whole endeavor would not only survive but thrive. Over nearly two decades, the beautifully hand-painted covers of Hard Case Crime paperbacks have become synonymous with a mark of quality and a stamp of approval for readers around the world. This is the inside scoop on how it all came to be. ____________________________________________________________________ Produced by Mick Kowaleski and Tyler Austin Music by Duck, the Piano Wire
Fire in the hole! Any major dude will tell you that this podcast is a hit. Were you thinking of skipping? Only a fool would say that! That's pretzel logic. On this episode, we host king of the world Alex Pappademas as he discusses his new Steely Dan book QUANTUM CRIMINALS with the razor boy himself, Tyler Austin. Hop in your midnite cruiser, turn that heartbeat over again, and hang with Alex as he discusses doing the dirty work with illustrator Joan Lemay and everything and anything Steely! Then do it again, night by night. If you like this episode, make sure you stop by Skylight Books on May 31st to see Alex live and in person! Produced by Mick Kowaleski. Music by Duck the Piano Wire.
It's Three Men and a Little Lady! Allan, Justin, and Tyler tackle the long-delayed feature film adaptation of the iconic "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" by legendary children's author Judy Blume. The flick has got a great creative team, including director Kelly Fremon Craig ("The Edge of Seventeen") and Oscar-winning producer James L. Brooks ("Terms of Endearment"). The BTTM fellas talk coming-of-age stories, Rachel McAdams's Oscar chances, Benny Safdie's unexpected suavity, Kathy Bates's Jewish grandmother qualities, and much more. (BTW the movie Justin can't remember around the 10-minute mark is a French-Canadian film called "Slut in a Good Way." Check it out, it's fun!) ______________________________________________________________________ Produced by Justin Remer and Mick Kowaleski Opening music: "Optimism (Instrumental)" by Duck the Piano Wire Closing music: "Rule of 3s (Solemnity Child)" by Elastic No-No Band
One-third of the Better Than the Movie gang, Tyler Austin, sits down with Kristen Lopez to talk about her book of 52 essential page-to-film adaptations. In But Have You Read the Book?, presented by Turner Classic Movies, Lopez explores just what makes these works classics of both the page and screen, and why each made for an exceptional adaptation—whether faithful to the book or exemplifying cinematic creative license. Produced by Mick Kowaleski and Tyler Austin Music by Duck the Piano Wire.
It's Guest O'Clock, pardners! Skylight's own Alena Saunders (of LIT ANGELES fame) drops in to the back room to talk about one of her favorite books, The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt, and its 2018 film adaptation directed by Jacques Audiard. The conversation gets heated in this one...Conflict between the BTTM Boys?? Say it ain't so! ______________________________________________________________________ Produced by Mick Kowaleski and Justin Remer Music by Duck, the Piano Wire.
The boys are back! Justin, Allan, and Tyler return for the second episode of Better Than the Movie. This time, they're going over not one, but TWO adaptations of Erich Maria Remarque's war classic All Quiet on the Western Front: the 1930 Best Picture winner, directed by Lewis Milestone, and the 2022 German-language version directed by Edward Berger. What are the gang's takes on the war movie canon? Does either adaptation stack up to the original novel? What did you, the fans decide? The anticipation is killing me! __________________________________________________________________ Produced by Mick Kowaleski and Justin Remer Music by Duck the Piano Wire
It's Oscar season! Join us for a deep dive into the Academy Awards as Michael Schulman discusses his new book, Oscar Wars, with fellow New Yorker writer Alex Ross. They discuss the Academy's dark history with union busting, its philosophical struggles in awarding spectacle vs. intimacy, and the lessons Michael learned while writing this book that he's excited to apply before this year's ceremony. This episode is well worth the listen before your Oscar party! Produced by Mick Kowaleski Order a signed copy of Oscar Wars here: https://www.skylightbooks.com/book/9780062859013
This episode contains spoilers of both Paul Tremblay's book The Cabin at the End of the World and its 2023 film adaptation, Knock at the Cabin. Proceed with caution! Welcome to our first new Bookseller Special Series of 2023! Three of Skylight's biggest CinemaHeads, Justin, Tyler, and Allan, will get together once a month to discuss their favorite adaptations from page to screen. For the first episode, they're tackling Paul Tremblay's 2019 insta-classic horror novel Cabin at the End of the World https://www.skylightbooks.com/book/9780062679116, and M. Night Shyamalan's 2023 adaption, Knock at the Cabin. In this episode, they talk about the substantial philosophical and narrative differences in the two projects, the difficulties of communicating interiority on film, and the faithful commitment of Rupert Grint's Boston accent. Produced and edited by Mick Kowaleski Music by Duck the Piano Wire
We welcome the incomparable Karen Han to the podcast to chat with Justin Remer about her new book Bong Joon-Ho: Dissident Cinema https://www.skylightbooks.com/book/9781419758126. She discusses how she examined the career of the South Korean writer/director and chats about coining "#BongHive" on Twitter. She's a delight and so is this ep! _______________________________________________ Produced and edited by Mick Kowaleski. Music by Duck the Piano Wire
It's our first episode in the New Year! Did you miss us? In our 2023 debut episode, Nat Freeman talks to Jessica Johns about her debut novel Bad Cree https://www.skylightbooks.com/book/9780385548694, hailed by Paul Tremblay as "a mystery and a horror story about grief, but one with defiant hope in its beating heart." _______________________________________________ Produced by Nat Freeman & Mick Kowaleski. Music by Duck the Piano Wire
Join us for the final Skylight episode of 2022! In this MONSTER of a finale, Skylight's Nat Freeman talks to the editors and contributors to Where Monsters Lurk & Magic Hides, an anthology of Latine/x genre fiction from both new and established young adult authors. The stories in this anthology span the genre categories of romance, sci-fi & fantasy, and gothic horror. They take place in this world, other worlds, or maybe somewhere in between. Most importantly, the characters on these pages are not stereotypical Latine characters. Rather, they are fleshed-out characters, embarking on amazing adventures, who are unabashedly Latine. Joining Nat in readings and conversation is editor Lauren Davila and contributors K. Victoria Hernandez, Jarrard Raju, Ashley Jean Granillo, Taylor Ramage, and Kai Adia. _______________________________________________ Produced by Nat Freeman & Michael Kowaleski. Theme: "I Love All My Friends," an unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.
In Twenty Dollars and Change, political scientist Clarence Lusane, author of the acclaimed The Black History of the White House, writes from a basic premise: Racist historical narratives and pervasive social inequities are inextricably linked--changing one can transform the other. Taking up the debate over the future of the twenty-dollar bill, Lusane uses the question of Harriet Tubman vs. Andrew Jackson as a lens through which to view the current state of our nation's ongoing reckoning with the legacies of slavery and foundational white supremacy. He places the struggle to confront unjust social conditions in direct connection with the push to transform our public symbols, making it plain that any choice of whose life deserves to be remembered and honored is a direct reflection of whose basic rights are deemed worthy of protection, and whose are not. Join us for a conversation on reparations and legacy with Dr. Lusane and Janell Hobson, hosted by Skylight's Tyler Austin.
Fables and Spells is a vibrant selection of visionary works, both previously published and brand new. Included here is adrienne maree brown's most beloved story, "The River," as well as the two sequel tales of her Water Trio. The remaining sixty-seven pieces explore moments of beauty, conflict, and transformation that also weave deep, radical lessons. With narrative "fables" of speculative fiction and "spells" that play with the lines between poetry, instruction, song, and chant, Fables and Spells demonstrates how good writing can engage the present while providing expansive visions of the possible worlds humans can build. Join us for a wonderful conversation between Brown and Skylight's Nat Freeman. _______________________________________________ Produced by Nat Freeman & Michael Kowaleski. Theme: "I Love All My Friends," an unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.
The post-recession Bay Area is a land fertile for world-changers and dreamers. This is the setting for Emil DeAndreis's Tell Us When To Go https://www.skylightbooks.com/book/9781736403389, a millennial coming-of-age story, part Silicon Valley satire and part urgent glimpse into the darker sides of privilege, troll culture, and class disparity. It asks the question, what comes of a friendship, or a city, with so much splitting it apart? Can it be saved? Cole Gallegos is the ace of his college pitching staff, projected to make millions in the big leagues. But a ruthless case of "yips" leads him to break down and drop out of college. Cole's teammate Isaac Moss is a wallflower who lacks direction and independence, so he follows Cole to San Francisco, where they rent a dingy apartment and attempt adult lives. Desperate for a job, Cole is hired by Seaside High to work one-on-one with foster youth Dizzy Benson, who is one strike from getting expelled. The two do not vibe, to say the least. Days are turbulent with standoffs and threats. But their disconnect is not without humor, and with time their grudges against the world clumsily unite them. Meanwhile Isaac is hired as a temp at a growing startup in Silicon Valley, where he enjoys breakrooms with hammocks, and teambuilding beer-tastings. Through this, he begins to gel with this fast paced and vibrant workforce that's begun to sweep through San Francisco. For once, he feels confident, even cool. With such different days and perspectives, Cole and Isaac begin to diverge, much like the city itself. Told across one semester, Tell Us When To Go explores a city amid change, and the people and friendships that are liable to change with it. Join us for a conversation between DeAndreis and Joseph Bien Kahn, moderated by Skylight's Tyler Austin. _______________________________________________ Produced by Nat Freeman & Michael Kowaleski. Theme: "I Love All My Friends," an unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.
In the latest novel from Anna Moschovakis, two reading groups, unofficially called Love and Anti-Love, falter amidst political friction and signs of environmental collapse. Participation https://www.skylightbooks.com/book/9781566896573 offers a prescient look at communication in a time of rupture: anonymous participants exchange fantasies and ruminations, and relationships develop and unravel. As the groups consider--or neglect--their syllabi, and connections between members deepen, a mentor disappears, a translator questions his role, a colleague known as "the capitalist" becomes a point of fixation, and "the news reports" filter through in fragments. With incisive prose and surprising structural shifts, Participation forms an alluring vision of community, and a love story like no other. Join us for a conversation between Moschovakis and Amina Cain, moderated by Skylight's Halley Parry. _______________________________________________ Produced by Nat Freeman & Michael Kowaleski. Theme: "I Love All My Friends," an unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.
Join us for a tremendous conversation and group reading with LA-based writers and poets. Colette Sartor https://www.skylightbooks.com/book/9780820355696, Gerda Govine Ituarte https://www.skylightbooks.com/book/9781737711346, Cassandra Lane https://www.skylightbooks.com/book/9781952177927 and Carla Rachel Sameth https://carlasameth.com convene to read their works and discuss their admirations, fears, and perspectives on writing as women. Moderated by Skylight's Tyler Austin. _______________________________________________ Produced by Nat Freeman & Michael Kowaleski. Theme: "I Love All My Friends," an unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.
Hussam and Wassim are teenage boys living in Syria during America's 2003 invasion of Iraq. When a surprise discovery results in tragedy, their lives, and those of their families, are shattered. Wassim promises Hussam his protection, but ten years into the future, he has failed to keep his promise. Wassim is on the streets, seeking shelter from both the city and the civil war storming his country. Meanwhile Hussam, now on the other side of the world, remains haunted by his own ghosts, doing his utmost to drown them out with every vice imaginable. Split between war-torn Damascus and Vancouver, The Foghorn Echoes https://www.skylightbooks.com/book/9781838854652 is a tragic love story about coping with shared traumatic experience and devastating separation. As Hussam and Wassim come to terms with the past, they begin to realise the secret that haunts them is not the only secret that formed them. Join us for a conversation between author Danny Ramadan and Skylight's Lance Morgan. _______________________________________________ Produced by Nat Freeman & Michael Kowaleski. Theme: "I Love All My Friends," an unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.
Kyra Simone, Palace of Rubble https://www.skylightbooks.com/book/9781838020071 A collection of stories composed primarily of single words culled each day from the New York Times, among other news sources. Written under constraint in the tradition of Oulipo, these hybrid works of prose are reconstructions that no longer resemble the original texts, yet draw from the same reservoir of vocabulary, conveying new images and ideas, while preserving some distant ember of the universe from which they were first generated. Emmalea Russo, Confetti https://www.skylightbooks.com/book/9781916376762 By turns cinematic, cosmic, alchemical, and geometric, Confetti uses language to alter the boundaries between film and daily life. Against a backdrop of screens, personal relationships extend into a play of light to create a meditation on disposability and permanence. Confetti soaks up dirt, shimmers, and gets thrown up into the air, landing on the ground in strange piles. Join Simone and Russo as they discuss their work with episode host Halley Perry. _______________________________________________ Produced by Nat Freeman & Michael Kowaleski. Theme: "I Love All My Friends," an unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.
At Heaven https://www.skylightbooks.com/book/9781952119545's center, Emerson Whitney seeks to understand their relationship to their mother and grandmother, those first windows into womanhood and all its consequences. Whitney retraces a roving youth in deeply observant, psychedelic prose-all the while folding in the work of thinkers like Judith Butler, Donna Haraway, and C. Riley Snorton-to engage transness and the breathing, morphing nature of selfhood. Join Whitney for a conversation with Claire Boyle _______________________________________________ Produced by Nat Freeman & Michael Kowaleski. Theme: "I Love All My Friends," an unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.
Horror movies hold a complicated space in the hearts of the queer community: historically misogynist, and often homo- and transphobic, the genre has also been inadvertently feminist and open to subversive readings. Common tropes--such as the circumspect and resilient "final girl," body possession, costumed villains, secret identities, and things that lurk in the closet--spark moments of eerie familiarity and affective connection. Still, viewers often remain tasked with reading themselves into beloved films, seeking out characters and set pieces that speak to, mirror, and parallel the unique ways queerness encounters the world. It Came from the Closet features twenty-five essays by writers speaking to this relationship, through connections both empowering and oppressive. Join us for a round-table conversation between editor Joe Vallese and contributors Carrow Narby, Grant Sutton, Laura Maw, Prince Shakur, Sachiko Ragosta, and Tucker Lieberman. It's the perfect queer spooky-conversation that ranges from each writer's initial foray into horror, who the most queer horror character is, and the minute differences between Basket Case and Brain Damage. This conversation is moderated by Nat Freeman. _______________________________________________ Produced by Nat Freeman & Michael Kowaleski. Theme: "I Love All My Friends," an unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.
Ama Codjoe's poems explore how the archetype of the artist complicates the typical expectations of women: be gazed upon, be silent, be selfless, reproduce. Dialoguing with and through art, Bluest Nude https://www.skylightbooks.com/book/9781571315427considers alternative ways of holding and constructing the self. From Lorna Simpson to Gwendolyn Brooks to Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, contemporary and ancestral artists populate Bluest Nude in a choreography of Codjoe's making. Precise and halting, this finely wrought, riveting collection is marked by an acute rendering of highly charged emotional spaces. Purposefully shifting between the role of artist and subject, seer and seen, Codjoe's poems ask what the act of looking does to a person--public looking, private looking, and that most intimate, singular spectacle of looking at one's self. What does it mean to see while being seen? Join us for a conversation with Codjoe and Aleshea Harris & Ashaki Jackson. _______________________________________________ Produced by Nat Freeman & Michael Kowaleski. Theme: "I Love All My Friends," an unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.
In the stark expanse of Northern Alberta, a queer Indigenous doctoral student steps away from his dissertation to write a novel, informed by a series of poignant encounters: a heart-to-heart with fellow doctoral student River over the mounting pressure placed on marginalized scholars; a meeting with Michael, a closeted man from his hometown whose vulnerability and loneliness punctuate the realities of queer life on the fringe. Woven throughout these conversations are memories of Jack, a cousin caught in the cycle of police violence, drugs, and survival. Jack’s life parallels the narrator’s own; the possibilities of escape and imprisonment are left to chance with colonialism stacking the odds. A Minor Chorus, Billy-Ray Belcourt's debut novel, introduces a dazzling new literary voice whose vision and fearlessness shine much-needed light on the realities of Indigenous survival. The event is moderated by Nat Freeman, recorded live on our Crowdcast channel on October 13, 2022. _______________________________________________ Produced by Nat Freeman, Lance Morgan, & Michael Kowaleski. Theme: "I Love All My Friends," an unreleased demo by Fragile Gang. Visit https://www.skylightbooks.com/event for future offerings from the Skylight Books Events team.
In powerful, formally inventive essays, The Visible Unseen https://www.skylightbooks.com/book/9781632063526 disrupts the purported cultural divide between arts and science. As both a chemist and an award-winning author, Andrea Chapela zeros in on the literary metaphors buried in the facts and figures of her scientific observations. Through questioning scientific conundrums that lie beyond the limits of human perception, she winds up putting herself under the microscope as well. While considering the technical definition of glass as a liquid or a solid, Chapela stumbles upon a framework for understanding the in-between-ness of her own life. Turning her focus toward mirrors, she finds metaphors for our cultural obsessions with self-image in the physics and chemistry of reflection. And as she compiles a history of the scientific study of light, she comes to her final conclusion: that the purpose of description--be it scientific or literary--can never be to define reality, only to confirm our perception of it. Lyrical, introspective, and methodical, The Visible Unseen constructs a startling new perspective from which to examine ourselves and the ways we create meaning. Join us for a special bilingual reading and a conversation between Chapela and translator Kelsi Vanada. _______________________________________________ Produced by Nat Freeman & Michael Kowaleski. Theme: "I Love All My Friends," an unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.
Long before the pandemic, Ruha Benjamin was doing groundbreaking research on race, technology, and justice, focusing on big, structural changes. But the twin plagues of COVID-19 and anti-Black police violence inspired her to rethink the importance of small, individual actions. Part memoir, part manifesto, Viral Justice https://www.skylightbooks.com/book/9780691222882is a sweeping and deeply personal exploration of how we can transform society through the choices we make every day. Join us for a conversation between Benjamin and Lance Morgan. _______________________________________________ Produced by Nat Freeman, Lance Morgan, & Michael Kowaleski. Theme: "I Love All My Friends," an unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.