Streams

Questions for Akhil Sharma

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What are some of your favorite books/who are some of your favorite authors?

The writer who has been most important to me is Ernest Hemingway, in particular his short stories and the two masterpieces: The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms. At one point I had read him so closely that he was my ideal of what writing has to be to be good.

The current writers I am reading avidly to see what I can learn are Lorrie Moore and Tobias Wolff. They are both extraordinary writers. Also, when you read them, you begin to get a sense of the writer's personality and in their personalities, in how they respond to situations with both laughter and seriousness, there appear to be solutions as to how to live one's life.

The writer that I think everybody should read is Joseph Roth. This great Austro Hungarian writer has a style that is ironic like Flaubert and yet with a direct moral engagement like Tolstoy. I especially recommend Radetzky March and The Tale of the 1102nd Night

What have you read or watched lately that you were moved or inspired by?

I am reading Eugene Oenegin by Pushkin again and his language is both plain and plastic and this is infecting my writing to a tremendous extent. Reading him I begin to see that what we mean by consistency of style can sometimes be a lack of conviction that the reader will follow along.

Do you have favorite words? Least favorite words? What are they and why?

There are words that I feel my characters overuse: shame, belly, sadness. I say that they overuse them, but their lives are difficult and they are working through things.

The words that I wished I had more often in my writing are: cheerful, laughing, kind, teased. 

 I want to have more of these words in my writing because I think these words would add to the complications and richness of the worlds that I create.

Do you have writing rituals? Where and when and how do you write?

I write with a stopwatch. If a phone call comes I stop my stopwatch. If I check my email I stop my stopwatch. The idea is to keep myself honest so that I know how much work I actually did in any single day.

I have a desk in my apartment which is crowded with all sorts of books and scraps of paper. When I was working on my novel, drafts of my novel sat on the floor around me.

Every time a project is over I clean my desk and the relief is like getting a very short haircut in the summer. 

 

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Guest Picks: Ken Griffey, Sr.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ken Griffey, Sr. was on the Lopate Show to talk about his new memoir Big Red: Baseball, Fatherhood, and My Life in the Big Red Machine. When he's not writing or talking about baseball, he's reading the Bourne series. Find out what else he's a fan of!

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A New Play on Family, Politics, and Writing a Novel as a Pakistani-American Woman

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar talks about his new play, "The Who & the What." He's joined by Nadine Malouf and Bernard White, who star in the play, which tells the story of Zarina, a brilliant and outspoken Pakistani-American writer, who goes to great lengths to please her family. But when her father and sister read the manuscript of a novel Zarina is writing about women and Islam, a confrontation threatens to tear their family apart. "The Who and the What" is playing at Lincoln Center Theater through July 27.

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Ken Griffey, Sr., and the Big Red Machine

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ken Griffey, Sr., reflects on his 19-year major league career, which began just after high school. He was an outfielder, scout, coach, and manager, and raised two professional ballplayers. His memoir is Big Red: Baseball, Fatherhood, and My Life in the Big Red Machine

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Looking for Riches in All the Wrong Places

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Gus Kaikkonen discusses translating and directing Jules Romains' comedy "Donogoo" at the Mint. He's joined by scenic designer Roger Hanna. "Donogoo" tells the story of Le Trouhadec, a professor of geography who unwittingly sets in motion a stock market swindle of global proportions. Investors, pioneers and prospectors alike are driven to seek their fortune in Donogoo, a place that doesn't exist—or does it? "Donogoo" is playing at the Mint Theater through July 27.

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The Miami Clinic Behind the Alex Rodriguez Steroid Scandal

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Investigative reporters Tim Elfrink and Gus Garcia-Roberts uncover the darker side of competitive sports—the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs. Elfrink raised the alarm when he broke the story that a Miami clinic called Biogenesis had been supplying performance enhancing drugs to players, including Alex Rodriguez, the highest-earning player in the game. In Blood Sport: Alex Rodriguez, Biogenesis, and the Quest to End Baseball's Steroid Era, Elfrink and Roberts give an account of unraveling the story, with incredible details about tanning salon robberies, coded text messages, and furtive steroid injections in the men’s room.

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Baseball’s Heroes and Villains

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ken Griffey, Sr., reflects on his 19-year major league career as player, scout, coach, manager…and the father of two professional ballplayers. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar on his latest work, “The Who & the What.” He’ll be joined by Nadine Malouf and Bernard White, who star in it. We’ll discuss a new production of Jules Romains’ dark comedy “Donogoo” with the director and translator Gus Kaikkonen and scenic designer Roger Hanna. Investigative reporters Tim Elfrink and Gus Garcia-Roberts discuss the scandals, hearings, suspensions, and repercussions of the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in baseball.

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The Noise from a Secret Navy Program Was So Awful, Whales Beached Themselves

Monday, July 14, 2014

Joshua Horwitz tells the story of a crusading attorney who stumbles on one of the US Navy’s best-kept secrets: a submarine detection system that floods entire ocean basins with high-intensity sound—and drives whales to strand themselves on beaches. The attorney launches a legal battle to expose and stop the Navy program. In his book War of the Whales: A True Story, Horwitz writes about how underwater noise is affecting whales and other sea life, and the confrontation over the Navy program that harms whales.

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Why a 'Rich Man’s Game' Is Catching on in China

Monday, July 14, 2014

Statistically, zero percent of the Chinese population plays golf, which is known as the "rich man’s game" and is considered taboo. Yet China is in the midst of a golf boom — hundreds of new courses have opened in the past decade, despite it being illegal to build them. Dan Washburn charts the growing popularity of the sport in China and how it's shaping Chinese culture. He follows three men intimately involved in China's bizarre golf scene in The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream.

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Tribute: Lorin Maazel

Monday, July 14, 2014

The internationally renowned Lorin Maazel started at the podium quite young: he had been invited by Arturo Toscanini to conduct the NBC Symphony at the age of seven, and by 15, was leading several of the most important American orchestras. During his career, he conducted over 150 orchestras (including the New York Philharmonic and the Cleveland Orchestra), and at least 5,000 opera and concert performances. He died at the age of 84 in Virginia, where he had been rehearsing the annual Castleton Festival, which he had founded. You can hear his interview with Leonard from 2009 about his rich, musical career.

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Tribute: Charlie Haden

Monday, July 14, 2014

Time magazine described Charlie Haden as "one of the most restless, gifted and intrepid players in all of jazz." The multiple Grammy-winning bassist was a member of the revolutionary Ornette Coleman Quartet, and he continued to push the boundaries of jazz for over 5 decades. He contracted polio at the age of 15, and in 2010 developed post-polio syndrome. He was on the Leonard Lopate Show in 2004, when his album “Land of the Sun” had been released. 

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Tribute: Nadine Gordimer

Monday, July 14, 2014

Nadine Gordimer would say, “I am not a political person by nature. I don’t suppose if I had lived elsewhere, my writing would have reflected politics much, if at all.” But the South African novelist could not ignore the fabric of apartheid in her fiction. And the daughter of a watchmaker would come to win a Nobel Prize, in honor of her work. She died at the age of 90 in Johannesburg. And you can hear her interview with Leonard from 2002.

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Clare Boothe Luce, Mover and Shaker

Monday, July 14, 2014

Clare Boothe Luce arrived on Capitol Hill in January 1943 as a newly elected Republican from Connecticut. She was also a prolific journalist and magnetic public speaker, as well as a playwright, screenwriter, scuba diver, early experimenter in psychedelic drugs, and grande dame of the GOP in the Reagan era. Sylvia Jukes Morris discusses the final volume of her biography of Luce, which looks at her roles in the Nixon, Ford, and Reagan administrations. Price of Fame: The Honorable Clare Boothe Luce reveals Luce's wide sphere of influence, and looks at her friendships with Winston Churchill, Somerset Maugham, John F. Kennedy, Salvador Dalí, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and others.

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Race, Class and Schools

Monday, July 14, 2014

On today’s show we’ll explore the re-emergence of school segregation 60 years after the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. Sylvia Jukes Morris talks about the influence of politician and playwright Clare Boothe Luce. We'll find out about a legal battle over a Navy submarine detection system that uses high-intensity underwater sound—and drives whales to strand themselves on beaches. And, why golf is catching on in China and how it’s changing Chinese culture.

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Race, Class, and School Segregation 60 years after Brown v. Board of Education

Monday, July 14, 2014

Frontline co-producers Mary Robertson and Kyle Spencer discuss education, race and class 60 years after the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that racial segregation in the education system was unconstitutional. Their two-part Frontline series includes "Separate but Equal" and "Omarina's Story" looks at the reemergence of school segregation across the country and airs July 15 on PBS.

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Rob Reiner: ‘I Tell the Same Story Over and Over’

Friday, July 11, 2014

Rob Reiner discusses his new film "And So It Goes," which stars Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton. Douglas plays a realtor who’s willfully obnoxious to anyone who might cross his path. He just wants to sell one last house and retire in peace and quiet—but his estranged son suddenly drops off a granddaughter he never knew existed and she turns his life upside-down. “And So It Goes” opens July 25.

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After 12 Years of Filming, an Entire Childhood on Screen

Friday, July 11, 2014

Director Richard Linklater talks about his varied career, and his new film "Boyhood," with star Ellar Coltrane. The film was shot intermittently over a 12-year period with the same cast—which includes Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette—and tells the story of growing up through the eyes of a child named Mason. “Boyhood” opens July 11 in New York and Los Angeles.

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'Land Ho!' Searching for Lobster, Vodka, and Long-Legged Women in Iceland

Friday, July 11, 2014

Director Aaron Katz talks about his film “Land Ho!” along with stars Paul Eenhoorn and Earl Lynn Nelson. Feeling disenchanted with life after retirement, a brassy former surgeon convinces his mild-mannered ex-brother-in-law to take a trip with him to Iceland. The 60-something pair set off in an attempt to reclaim their youth in Reykjavík, but they discover that you can’t escape yourself, no matter how far you travel. “Land Ho” opens July 11 at the Lincoln Plaza and Angelika theaters.

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How to Use Airbnb Without Getting Evicted

Friday, July 11, 2014

Airbnb, which allows people to rent out a room or home online, has turned into a worldwide hospitality industry, with 600,000 listings in 34,000 cities and 190 countries. It’s a growing presence in New York City, but many politicians claim that the majority of Airbnb’s business here is illegal. New York State Senator Liz Krueger explains what is legal—and illegal—about using Airbnb in NYC, what the company is doing to try to change laws in Albany, and how that will affect landlords and tenants in the future.

When is hosting on Airbnb illegal? It is not illegal to host on Airbnb if you own a single family home or two family home, or rent out a room in your apartment while you stay there. But if you live in a permanent residential apartment building and rent out your entire apartment for less than thirty days, you are breaking the law. "And that’s the vast majority, we think, of listers on Airbnb,” Krueger said. “I can’t find a lease or bylaw in the city of New York that allows you to do short term subletting without permission from your board or your landlord. It violates state law… it violates zoning ordinances, it violates tax law.”

“Thousands of models” are removed from residential use as a result of short term rentals, Krueger said. “People go and rent [up to] 25 units, and just become entrepreneurial illegal hotellers,… Every single one of those units is being taken off the market for people desperately trying to find affordable housing.”

Hosting on Airbnb could lead to a rise in evictions for renters who might not know that they are breaking the law and their lease. “We have begged AirBNB and the other companies: put the laws up on the website,” Krueger said. “You have a legal obligation to let people know what they might be walking into.”

Neighbors are also affected. Krueger gives an example of a typical complaint: an elderly woman who knows everyone in the building, who tells Krueger: “now people I don’t know have keys to the building. They’re in my elevators. They’re partying late at night. I’m scared. There’s no one to complain to when things go wrong, because the person who’s supposed to be in that apartment isn’t.”

What are other affordable options for people who want to visit New York City? “I am hoping that the city, and this administration, will take seriously the proposal to create for-profit hostels,” Krueger said. “We actually have a law that doesn’t allow hostels, which are all over Europe and all over the country, which offer a safe hotel model at a lower cost.”

But some listeners were skeptical that housing laws are being enforced equally. Andrew from Brooklyn called in to say that landlords violate city law all the time and rarely get penalized, but the city is cracking down on Airbnb hosts. “I’m very suspicious how much this is being driven by the hotel industry, and politicians are taking the hotel money and doing their bidding.”

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Guest Picks: Lee Grant

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Actress Lee Grant was on the Lopate Show on July 10, 2014, to discuss her life and her memoir, I Said Yes to Everything. She shared a few of her favorite things with us.

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