Episode 51: Mari Ness

Mari Ness is a speculative fiction writer and poet based in central Florida. I was recently turned on to Mari's work by a mutual acquaintance of ours, and I really enjoyed digging through her short stories and poetry. In our conversation we talked about her new book Through Immortal Shadows Singing, her experience working in the speculative poetry genre, and what she loves about revising fairy tales. For the second segment, Mari chose Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery as her topic.

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Episode 50: Alexander Chee

Alexander Chee is the author of two novels, Edinburgh and The Queen of the Night. I read the latter of the two last year and it was one of my favorite books of the year. I was pleased to get a chance to talk with Alexander about that book, as well as his essay "How to Write an Autobiographical Novel," which will be included in his forthcoming collection of the same name. In our wide-ranging conversation we also talked about the work of Joan Didion, as well as a surprising influence on the structure of The Queen of the Night. For the second segment, Alexander chose our current political moment as his topic, as well as Ta-Nehisi Coates' recent essay "The First White President."

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Episode 49: Maggie Smith

Maggie Smith is a poet living and working in Bexley, Ohio. In 2016 Maggie's poem "Good Bones" became a viral hit—it's since been translated into nearly a dozen languages and was named by PRI as "the official poem of 2016." That poem is now the title poem of her latest collection, a book that I found deeply moving. I was pleased to talk with Maggie about her new book and her writing process. Then for the second segment we talked about the idea of place, and raising our kids in a different century from the one we grew up in.

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Michael SakasegawaWriting, Poetry
Episode 48: Celeste Ng

Celeste Ng is a writer based in Cambridge, MA. Celeste's first novel, 2014's Everything I Never Told You, is, without exaggeration, one of the most important books of my life. When I read it in 2016, it gave me my first real glimpse at what representation in fiction could mean, and it was revelatory. Celeste's newest novel, which was just released this week, is called Little Fires Everywhere, and I was thrilled to get the chance to talk with her about it. In our conversation we talked about both books, about the importance of representation in media and culture, our shared obsession with Hamilton, and about Celeste's fascination with family roles. For the second segment, Celeste talked about how she got over her phobia of octopuses.

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Episode 47: Kevin Miyazaki

Kevin Miyazaki is an editorial and fine art photographer based in Milwaukee, WI. I've been a fan of Kevin's for some time now, both for his own work as well as his work highlighting and supporting the photographic community. We had a great conversation about his work and process, particularly about his use of image pairings and how effectively his photographs suggest a narrative, but with a sense of mystery as well. We also talked a lot about our common experiences as Japanese-Americans, and how our family histories inform our loves and our work. For the second segment, Kevin chose aging and ageism in creativity as his topic.

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Episode 46: Rizzhel Mae Javier

Rizzhel Mae Javier is a photographer and installation artist based in San Diego, CA. I first met Rizzhel when we were both participating in the portfolio reviews at the Medium Festival a few years ago, and her stop-motion, flipbook-style pieces immediately caught my attention. More recently, Rizzhel was named one of the 2017 emerging artists by the SD Art Prize for her "Unmentionables" project, creating new art out of old mementos. We had a great conversation for the show about her artistic process, what she loves about making mistakes, and her experience as a teacher. For the second segment, Rizzhel chose the Philippines as her topic.

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Episode 45: Jennifer DeCarlo

Jennifer DeCarlo is the director of jdc Fine Art, which was one of my favorite galleries in San Diego. Today, Jennifer splits time between San Diego and Chicago, and still works constantly championing the artists she represents. I've appreciated Jennifer's insight and eye for years, so I was pleased to have a chance to sit down and talk with her. We talked about her background and how she came to start her own gallery, how she views her role as a gallerist, and also her experiences as a portfolio reviewer. For the second segment, Jennifer chose art collecting as her topic.

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Episode 44: scott b davis

As a photographer, scott b davis is known for his stunning, shadowy platinum prints, which you really have to see in person to get the full effect. He's also the founder and executive director of the Medium Festival of Photography, which is not only one of my favorite events of the entire year, but also directly contributed to the genesis of this very podcast. In our conversation, scott and I discussed his work, what drew him to the platinum process, and how discovery plays a central role in his art and artmaking. In the second segment, scott chose Mexico as his topic, a place that's geographically close to us here in San Diego, even if it sometimes feels psychologically far away.

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Episode 43: Susan Rosenberg Jones

Susan Rosenberg Jones is a photographer based in New York City. I've been a fan of Susan's for several years, starting with her series "Second Time Around," about her experience of being a newlywed in her 60's. We had a great conversation about that series as well as her series "Building 1," about the community in her apartment building. For the second segment, Susan and I talked about Neal Rantoul's article in PetaPixel, "A Disturbing Trend in Photography."

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Episode 42: Jess T. Dugan

Photographer Jess T. Dugan is one of my favorite contemporary portrait artists, whose work explores issues of gender, sexuality, identity, and community. Jess's 2015 book Every Breath We Drew is a favorite of mine, and I was pleased to be able to discuss that book with her, as well as her recent series To Survive On This Shore, photographs and interviews with transgender and gender non-conforming people over the age of fifty. We had a great conversation about her artistic process, how she approaches making a portrait, and how her tools inform her work. For the second segment, Jess chose "golden hour" as her subject, the time just before sunset when the light is both striking and rapidly changing.

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Episode 41: Kinsee Morlan

Kinsee Morlan is the engagement editor at Voice of San Diego, author of the Culture Report, and host of the San Diego Culturecast. As one of the main arts and culture writers in the region, Kinsee has a great view of the breadth of the arts scene here in San Diego, so I was excited to get a chance to talk with her. In our conversation we talked about her work with Voice of San Diego, what's great about the arts in San Diego and what gets overlooked, public art in the city, and the diversity of the city's various neighborhoods. For the second segment, we talked about getting kids exposed to the arts, and staying engaged with the arts community as a parent.

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Episode 40: Rachel Hulin

Rachel Hulin is a photographer and writer based in Providence, Rhode Island. I first came to know Rachel's photographic work several years ago, and when I saw that she'd recently published her first novel, I snapped up a copy as quickly as I could. In our conversation we talked about her book, Hey Harry Hey Matilda, about working in multiple creative disciplines, and the differences between photography and writing. For the second segment, Rachel chose creative flow as her topic.

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Episode 39: Becky Senf

Dr. Becky Senf is the Chief Curator at the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona, and the Norton Family Curator of Photography, a joint appointment between the Center and the Phoenix Art Museum. In our conversation, Dr. Senf and I talked about her work at the Center, and what the breadth and depth of the Center's archival collection enables in terms of researching and understanding the artists whose work is housed there. We also talked about a deeply personal exhibition she curated for Art Photo Index, entitled "Not MY Family Values," which is a favorite of mine. For the second segment, we talked about the #BuyArtFriday hashtag that she started, and what her hopes are for the initiative in the future.

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Episode 38: Brandon Taylor

Brandon Taylor is a writer and a Ph.D. candidate in biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. One of my favorite contemporary writers, Brandon's short stories are marvelously crafted, understated and emotionally charged, while his personal essays and cultural critique are insightful and often lyrical—all of it is just a joy to read. In today's conversation, Brandon and I talked about his work and his process, how he often finds himself inventing around the margins of the stories he takes in, and how and why he always resists the reductive take. For the second segment, Brandon chose expectation as his topic, both the excitement and terror of one's own anticipation of the future, but also the expectations others can put on us.

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Episode 37: Jonas Yip

Jonas Yip is a photographer and musician in the Los Angeles area, not to mention a friend of mine. I first met Jonas several years ago at the first Medium Festival of Photography, where we immediately hit it off. As he puts it in his bio, Jonas is "more interested in capturing feeling than in capturing detail," something that I've always found to be true about his work. For today's show we talked about several of his bodies of work, including his "Somewhere Between" series and his "Paris: Dialogue" series. For the second segment, we talked about the idea of the Internet as an archive, and what that might mean for our culture as we move into the future.

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Episode 36: Barbarella Fokos

Barbarella Fokos is a writer and filmmaker based in San Diego, CA. I came to know Barbarella's work through The Artist Odyssey where, as one of the executive producers, she creates documentary films about artists and their processes and motivations. In our conversation, we talked about her work with The Artist Odyssey as well as her previous work, including her Emmy-winning show Art Pulse TV. I was also pleased to get her perspective on San Diego's burgeoning art scene. Finally, in the second segment, Barbarella chose as her topic the distinction between art and craft.

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Episode 35: Paul Turounet

Paul Turounet is a photographer who lives and works in the San Diego area. Paul's work focuses on the border region between the United States and Mexico, which is a topic that is always relevant here in San Diego, but which has taken on even greater import over the past few months. Using forms from traditional darkroom prints to artist books to site-specific installations, Paul's photography encompasses a wide range of experiences, and I was happy to get the chance to talk with him for today's show. We talked about three of his series, "Tierra Brava," "Bajo La Luna Verde," and "Estamos Buscando A," all of which deal with various psychological aspects of the border region. For the second segment, we talked about the idea of artistic commitment.

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Episode 34: Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib

Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib is a poet from Columbus, Ohio. For today's episode I was pleased to talk to Hanif about his 2016 book The Crown Ain't Worth Much, one of my favorite reads of 2016. The poems in this book are an intensely personal account of his experiences growing up in Columbus, and in our conversation we talked about Hanif's approach to writing from experience, and how art can engender empathy. We also talked about music, a subject he's very familiar with as a music and culture writer for MTV News. For the second segment, we talked about a subject near and dear to Hanif's heart: the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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Episode 33: José Olivarez

José Olivarez is a poet living and working in Chicago, Illinois, and is also co-host of one of my all-time favorite podcasts, The Poetry Gods. In our wide-ranging conversation we talked about how The Poetry Gods came to be, toxic masculinity in the poetry world, and how discovering poetry allowed José to find his artistic voice. In the second segment, we talked about beginnings and endings.

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Michael SakasegawaWriting, Poetry
Episode 32: Ginger Shulick Porcella

Ginger Shulick Porcella is the Executive Director of the San Diego Art Institute, an experimental, bi-national contemporary arts center in San Diego, CA. In the three years since Ginger has been leading SDAI, it has grown to become one of most vibrant, innovative art spaces in San Diego, something that has been exciting for art-minded folks in San Diego, like me. In our conversation, Ginger and I talked her curatorial background, the changes she's made at SDAI, how it's grown, what's to come, and how she engages with the San Diego arts community. In the second segment, we talked about one of Ginger's favorite topics: conspiracy theories.

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