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Blake Butler on Obsession and the Unholy Sacredness of Time
Blake Butler is the author of seven book-length works, including Alice Knott (Riverhead),  300,000,000 (Harper Perennial), Sky Saw (Tyrant Books), There is No Year (Harper Perennial), Scorch Atlas (Featherproof Books), and Ever (Calamari Press), as well as the nonfictional Nothing: A Portrait of Insomnia (Harper Perennial). He is a founding editor of HTMLGIANT We talk about: The Consumer by Michael Gira, insomnia, Penny’s notebook from Inspector Gadget, horror, internet gods and demons, forbidden books, courting insane energy, transcendence, the enduring low cost appeal of text, childhood portals, points of no return, The Bachelor and Blake’s relentless drive to write.  Molly by Blake Butler “A mastermind and visionary.” —Ben Marcus  “Our premier literary shaman.” —Alissa Nutting  “[Butler’s work is] wild but elegant and smart.” —Roxane Gay  Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius  Follow us on social at:  Twitter: @WakeIslandPod    Instagram: @wakeislandpod Blake's Twitter: @blakebutler David's Twitter: @raviddice
December 3, 2021
Rosecrans Baldwin on the City-State of Los Angeles
Rosecrans Baldwin (he/him) is the bestselling author of Everything Now: Lessons From the City-State of Los Angeles. Other books include The Last Kid Left and Paris, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down. His debut novel, You Lost Me There, was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice.  Everything Now: Lessons from the City-State of Los Angeles is a provocative, exhilaratingly new understanding of the United States’ most confounding metropolis—not just a great city, but a full-blown modern city-state. America is obsessed with Los Angeles. And America has been thinking about Los Angeles all wrong, for decades, on repeat. Los Angeles is not just the place where the American dream hits the Pacific. (It has its own dreams.) Not just the vanishing point of America’s western drive. (It has its own compass.) Functionally, aesthetically, mythologically, even technologically, an independent territory, defined less by distinct borders than by an aura of autonomy and a sense of unfurling destiny—this is the city-state of Los Angeles.  Deeply reported and researched, provocatively argued, and eloquently written, Rosecrans Baldwin's Everything Now approaches the metropolis from unexpected angles, nimbly interleaving his own voice with a chorus of others, from canonical L.A. literature to everyday citizens. Here, Octavia E. Butler and Joan Didion are in conversation with activists and astronauts, vampires and veterans. Baldwin records the stories of countless Angelenos, discovering people both upended and reborn: by disasters natural and economic, following gospels of wealth or self-help or personal destiny. The result is a story of a kaleidoscopic, vibrant nation unto itself—vastly more than its many, many parts.  Baldwin’s concept of the city-state allows us, finally, to grasp a place—Los Angeles—whose idiosyncrasies both magnify those of America, and are so fully its own. Here, space and time don’t quite work the same as they do elsewhere, and contradictions are as stark as southern California’s natural environment. Perhaps no better place exists to watch the United States’s past, and its possible futures, play themselves out.  Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius  Follow us on social at:  Twitter: @WakeIslandPod    Instagram: @wakeislandpod
November 19, 2021
Catherine Liu - Virtue Hoarders: The Case Against the Professional Managerial Class
Catherine Liu is the author of Virtue Hoarders: The Case Against the Professional Managerial Class.  We get into the: dynamics of noir, the pseudo superiority and inchoate narcissism of neoliberalism, social dominance, corporate embodiment, the monetization of victimhood, our collective need for catharsis and the Met Gala.  Professional Managerial Class (PMC) elite workers labor in a world of performative identity and virtue signaling, publicizing an ability to do ordinary things in fundamentally superior ways. Author Catherine Liu shows how the PMC stands in the way of social justice and economic redistribution by promoting meritocracy, philanthropy, and other self-serving operations to abet an individualist path to a better world. Virtue Hoarders is an unapologetically polemical call to reject making a virtue out of taste and consumption habits. "Virtue Hoarders amplifies a discussion that still needs to be had."—Spiked "Virtue Hoarders: The Case Against the Professional Managerial Class, argues that the professional-managerial class-working class alliance was doomed from the start for the simple reason that the two classes’ interests are fundamentally opposed. "—The Washington Examiner Catherine Liu is professor of film and media studies at the University of California, Irvine. She is also the author of The American Idyll: Academic Anti-Elitism as Cultural Critique was published by the University of Iowa Press in 2011. She works on Critical Theory of the old fashioned kind and is engaged in a long term critique of Professional Managerial Class driven liberal politics. She has written an unpublished memoir called Panda Gifts. Catherine Liu is professor of film and media studies at the University of California, Irvine. Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod   Instagram: @wakeislandpod
November 5, 2021
A New Gothic Age with Patrick McGrath & David Leo Rice
Patrick McGrath is the author of three collections of short fiction, including Ghost Town: Tales of Manhattan Then and Now, and ten novels, including Asylum, Dr. Haggards Disease, Port Mungo, and most recently Last Days in Cleaver Square. His work has been widely published in translation, and in Italy Asylum, titled Follia, has sold over half a million copies. His screenplay of his novel Spider was filmed by David Cronenberg and premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. Patrick was born in London and grew up near Broadmoor Hospital where his father was Medical Superintendent. Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod   Instagram: @wakeislandpod
September 8, 2021
Inside the Castle roundtable with Megan Jeanne Gette, GermĂĄn Sierra and John Trefry
Inside the Castle is a small press operated from Lawrence, Kansas by John Trefrey. Their books are unique from one another but share a vision, that literature is not representational but incantatory, that books are objects that exist much like other objects in your life and home, only they have additional dimensions, not dimensions separate or distant from the ones you occupy, but involuted dimensions that only become apparent when you reach out to them.  Megan Jeanne Gette is an anthropology PhD student and fellow at UT Austin. She has an MFA in poetry from the University of Minnesota. Her research explores the role of the mineral in renewable energy transitions, sensory ethnography, and subterranean/energy imaginaries. She is a section editor for the Visual and New Media Review and co-creator of con-text-ure at Society for Cultural Anthropology's Fieldsights. In Majority Reef, there are 8 SURFACES. Eight surfaces can form an octahedron, which looks like two triangular prisms put together at their bases, which forms the interior of a sphere, such as the globe. Within each section is a lyric essayistic syntax of "recursive loops of longing" or an "infinite palimpsest of pain or desire," a variety of 8 tones--or perhaps a doubling of the 4 humors--that loop in a style I am calling Weeping Lemon Meringue, or echo-poetics, the ant-I- narcissus.  Germán Sierra got his MD and PhD degrees at the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain) before doing postdoctoral research in Cognitive Neuroscience at the Brain Research Institute in UCLA. He currently works at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain). As a writer, Germán Sierra is deeply interested in contemporary experimental fiction. He has been included among the “Mutantes” or “Afterpop writers”: a group of Spanish writers who are strongly committed with innovative literature. Most of his fictional work deals with metamediatics and the role of science and technology as cultural discourses in post-postmodern and posthuman societies. In the clever [dis]guise of fiction, what The Artifact in fact foists upon its readers (hoisting us up in so doing so that ultimately we can look down on the whole situation from a higher perspective—albeit only to crash like a bluebird into the window through which we bear witness) is a veritable Germáneutic: an intriguing interpretation and lucid elucidation of what it is (and is not) to be human in the era of big data, of computation beyond the bounds of human intellection, and—spiralling-off from the latter—of intelligent machines (indeed ‘A.I.’) that can learn and discern far more than the human, perceiving—and who knows: conceiving?—in the vast void qua bind-spot of our own biological being.  John Trefry is an architect and the author of the books Plats, Thy Decay Thou Seest By Thy Desire, and Apparitions of the Living. Current works-in-progress: Massive (a novel) & Inanimism (a nonfiction poem). More diminutive writings have appeared in various other outlets. Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod   Instagram: @wakeislandpod
September 7, 2021
Matthew Specktor - Always Crashing in the Same Car On Art, Crisis, and Los Angeles, California w/ David Leo Rice
Matthew Specktor is the author of the novels American Dream Machine and That Summertime Sound; a nonfiction book, The Sting; and the forthcoming memoir The Golden Hour (Ecco/HarperCollins). He is a founding editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books. In the intro David and I discuss Michelangelo Antonioni's haunting film The Passenger starring Jack Nicholson and Maria Schneider. In the interview with Matthew we get into the essence of noir, the dream beyond impact, and the vampiric Lost Highway-esque energy of Los Angeles. We also delve into the psychic undercurrents of LA, the nature of portals, Michael Mann’s Heat, Chinatown, and the complex, conflicting drives that compel us to create art.  "A novelist and critic with a sharp eye for Hollywood blends memoir and cultural critique in this study of classic American failure narratives." ― The New York Times Book Review “The sweeping American Dream Machine by Matthew Specktor is . . . one of the best novels about Los Angeles I have ever read." — Bret Easton Ellis  "A haunting memoir-in-criticism exploring a very certain kind of failure―the Hollywood story. Specktor intricately knits his own losses and nostalgias into a larger cultural narrative of writers and filmmakers whose failures left behind a ghostly glamour. I can’t get it out of my mind." ― Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod   Instagram: @wakeislandpod
August 5, 2021
Kate Durbin - Hoarders
Kate Durbin is a visual artist, filmmaker, and writer from Los Angeles, California (USA), whose artworks are nervous, unnerving, and playful explorations of the human condition in a time of constant screens, globalism, and late capitalism. Her work draws on a wide-range of popular culture references: Disneyland, reality TV shows, fast food, horror movie characters, and Hello Kitty are just some of the recurring figures and references that populate her work. In Hoarders, her third book of poetry, Durbin deftly traces the associations between hoarding and collective US traumas rooted in consumerism and the environment. Each poem in the book is a prismatic portrait of a person and the beloved objects they hoard, from Barbies to snowglobes to vintage Las Vegas memorabilia to rotting fruit to plants. Using reality television as a medium, Durbin conjures an uncanny space of attachments that reflects a cultural moment back to the reader in ways that are surreal and tender and surprising.  Like Beckett or Kafka, in the absurdist tradition, Hoarders ultimately embraces with sympathy the difficulty and complexity of the human condition. Order Hoarders directly from Wave Books and enjoy 30% off by using the promo code WAKE_ISLAND Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod   Instagram: @wakeislandpod
July 29, 2021
Jamie Nares on motion, stillness, transition, escape, painting and art in the year of the pandemic
Over the course of a five-decade career, Nares has investigated, challenged, and expanded the boundaries of her multi-media practice that encompasses film, music, painting, photography, and performance. She continues to employ various media to explore physicality, motion, and the unfolding of time. Nares has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, including at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and a career-spanning retrospective at the Milwaukee Art Museum in 2019. Her work is included in several prominent public collections, including the Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. A career-spanning survey of her film and video works were presented in 2008 at Anthology Film Archives, New York; and in 2011 at IFC Center, New York. In 2014, Rizzoli published a comprehensive monograph on Nares's career to date. Nares has lived and worked in New York since 1974. She has been represented by Kasmin since 1991. Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod   Instagram: @wakeislandpod
July 21, 2021
Dr. Stephen C. Finley on African American embodiment, spirituality, esotericism and UFO traditions, featuring David Leo Rice
Dr. Finley is a Religious Studies Professor at Louisiana State University and has been studying African American religious thought, and spirituality. His research expands upon these themes with an emphasis on esotericism, non-material consciousness, African American embodiment and the role of the UFO narrative in the Nation of Islam. In this conversation we get into rethinking and restructuring how we conceive of America and its relation to African American spirituality and notions of transcendence. We also explore traumatic mysticism, African American UFO traditions and their relationship to the Nation of Islam, the origins of black embodiment, the irony of institutionalized diversity, blackness as a portal to the universal, Louis Farrakhan’s encounter with the Mother Wheel, mystical experiences that transcend white supremacy and anti-blackness, black narratives being at the center of consciousness, the expansion of consciousness during an abduction experience, familiarity with the transcendent other, and transcendent blackness as a key locus of American religion and spirituality. Stephen Finley received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Rice University in 2009 shortly after joining the faculty at LSU in 2008. He has a joint appointment to the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies and the Program in African & African American Studies. Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow Wake Island at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod   Instagram: @wakeislandpod Follow David at:  Twitter: @raviddice  Instagram: @raviddice
July 14, 2021
Mikita Brottman - Couple Found Slain
Mikita Brottman is an author and psychoanalyst with particular interests in true crime, forensics, psychoanalysis, animals, abjection, and the unexplained. Her work blends memoir, history, psychoanalysis, and creative speculation. Currently, she is especially interested in reconsidering and interrogating the true crime genre. This interest is at the heart of her two most recent books, An Unexplained Death (Henry Holt, 2018), and Couple Found Slain (Henry Holt, 2021). COUPLE FOUND SLAIN: “In 1992, a young man named Brian Bechtold was judged “not criminally responsible” for the murder of his parents, a crime he had never tried to conceal. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, he was sent to a maximum security psychiatric hospital. Though the book does explore Brian’s life before the killings, when he was abused, Brottman’s real goal here is to shine a light on Brian’s decades-long captivity.” Critically acclaimed author and psychoanalyst Mikita Brottman offers literary true crime writing at its best, taking us into the life of a murderer after his conviction―when most stories end but the defendant’s life goes on. "Brottman has established herself as a leading voice in modern true crime. She finds empathy in the criminal and shows compassion for those whom society wishes to simply forget. This is not just a well-written book, it's an important book. A must-read." --James Renner, author of True Crime Addict Outro song is "Slum Creeper" by Calla off the Scavengers album -- follow Calla on IG for updates!     Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod   Instagram: @wakeislandpod
July 7, 2021
Brian Broome - Punch Me Up to the Gods: A Memoir
Punch Me Up to the Gods is a poetic and raw coming-of-age memoir about Blackness, masculinity, and addiction.  In the conversation we talk about seedy bars and public sex as well as rehab, representation and towards the end I tell a story about the first and possibly only time in my life where I clutched my pearls. We also get into a literary pilgrimage Brian went on and much more!   Punch Me Up to the Gods introduces a powerful new talent in Brian Broome, whose early years growing up in Ohio as a dark-skinned Black boy harboring crushes on other boys propel forward this gorgeous, aching, and unforgettable debut. Brian’s recounting of his experiences—in all their cringe-worthy, hilarious, and heartbreaking glory—reveal a perpetual outsider awkwardly squirming to find his way in. Indiscriminate sex and escalating drug use help to soothe his hurt, young psyche, usually to uproarious and devastating effect. A no-nonsense mother and broken father play crucial roles in our misfit’s origin story. But it is Brian’s voice in the retelling that shows the true depth of vulnerability for young Black boys that is often quietly near to bursting at the seams. “Punch Me Up to the Gods obliterates what we thought were the limitations of not just the American memoir, but the possibilities of the American paragraph. I’m not sure a book has ever had me sobbing, punching the air, dying of laughter, and needing to write as much as Brian Broome’s staggering debut. This sh*t is special.” —Kiese Laymon, New York Times bestselling author of Heavy “Punch Me Up to the Gods is some of the finest writing I have ever encountered and one of the most electrifying, powerful, simply spectacular memoirs I—or you—have ever read. And you will read it; you must read it. It contains everything we all crave so deeply: truth, soul, brilliance, grace. It is a masterpiece of a memoir and Brian Broome should win the Pulitzer Prize for writing it. I am in absolute awe and you will be, too.” —Augusten Burroughs, New York Times bestselling author of Running with Scissors A NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS' PICK • A TODAY SUMMER READING LIST PICK • AN ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY BEST DEBUT OF SUMMER PICK • A PEOPLE BEST BOOK OF SUMMER PICK Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod   Instagram: @wakeislandpod
June 23, 2021
Dennis Cooper - I Wished
Dennis Cooper is on Wake Island! We talk about: Hoarders, escorts & slaves, dark rides, haunted houses, his forthcoming book I Wished, creating a literary monument to George Myles through the medium of devotion, the home as a universe, emotional history, Russian twink porn, Bjork’s meltdown, John Wayne Gacy, disliking objectification, the dying breed of emo escorts, the enduring sadness of Epcot center… Dennis Cooper is best known for The George Miles Cycle, an interconnected sequence of five novels that includes Closer, Frisk, Try, Guide, and Period. His post-George Miles Cycle novels include My Loose Thread, The Sluts and God, Jr. Other works include the short-story collections Wrong and Ugly Man, poetry collections The Dream Police and The Weaklings, as well as the recent Smothered in Hugs: Essays, Interviews, Feedback, and Obituaries. He’s also written for the stage with theater director Gisèle Vienne and directed two films with Zac Farley called: Like Cattle Towards Glow and Permanent Green Light.  Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod   Instagram: @wakeislandpod
May 27, 2021
Gina Frangello - Blow Your House Down: A Story or Family, Feminism, and Treason
Gina Frangello is the author of BLOW YOUR HOUSE DOWN: A Story or Family, Feminism, and Treason, EVERY KIND OF WANTING, & A LIFE IN MEN. Nonfiction editor at LA Review of Books. A Life in Men: A Novel is currently under production with Charlize Theron's production company Denver & Delilah for Netflix which will star Kristen Stewart and Riley Keough. "Compelling, honest, and thought-provoking, Gina Frangello's memoir is an inspired addition to her astounding body of work." —Charlize Theron Gina Frangello spent her early adulthood trying to outrun a youth marked by poverty and violence. Now a long-married wife and devoted mother, the better life she carefully built is emotionally upended by the death of her closest friend. Soon, awakened to fault lines in her troubled marriage, Frangello is caught up in a recklessly passionate affair, leading a double life while continuing to project the image of the perfect family. When her secrets are finally uncovered, both her home and her identity will implode, testing the limits of desire, responsibility, love, and forgiveness. A New York Times Book Review, Editors' Choice • A Good Morning America Recommended Book • A BuzzFeed Most Anticipated Book of the Year • A Lit Hub Most Anticipated Book of the Year • A Rumpus Most Anticipated Book of the Year • A Bustle Most Anticipated Book of the Month GINA FRANGELLO is also the Sunday editor for The Rumpus and the fiction editor for The Nervous Breakdown, and is on faculty at UCR-Palm Desert's low residency MFA program in Creative Writing. The longtime Executive Editor of Other Voices magazine and Other Voices Books, she now runs Other Voices Querétaro, an international writing program. Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod   Instagram: @wakeislandpod
May 20, 2021
Brian Evenson - The Glassy, Burning Floor of Hell
Literary horror icon Brian Evenson is on the show! We talk about: the uncanny psychogeography of Utah, religious text & parables, writing as a replacement for spirituality, Brian’s philosophical approach, the machinations of Dark Properties, Michael Gira’s The Consumer, the trancelike intensity of the Soundtrack for the Blind by the Swans, Sunn O))), and Pierre Guyotat's writing, Deleuze and Guattari, the Evensonesque aesthetic and trajectory, our loss of agency to technology, distortion/blur, the appeal of invoking destabilization, Immobility, the relationship between the mode of horror and mood, being a mentor, comfort listening.... “There is not a more intense, prolific, or apocalyptic writer of fiction in America than Brian Evenson.” —George Saunders “Missing persons, paranoia and psychosis . . . the kind of writer who leads you into the labyrinth, then abandons you there. It’s hard to believe a guy can be so frightening, so consistently.” —New York Times Brian Evenson is the author of over a dozen works of fiction. He has received three O. Henry Prizes for his fiction. His most recent book, Song for the Unraveling of the World, won a Shirley Jackson Award and was a finalist for both the Los Angeles Times Ray Bradbury Prize for Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Speculative Fiction and the Balcones Fiction Prize. He lives in Los Angeles and teaches at CalArts.  THE GLASSY, BURNING FLOOR OF HELL comes out in August 2021 by Coffee House Press - preorder here.   A sentient, murderous prosthetic leg; shadowy creatures lurking behind a shimmering wall; brutal barrow men―of all the terrors that populate The Glassy, Burning Floor of Hell, perhaps the most alarming are the beings who decimated the habitable Earth: humans. In this new short story collection, Brian Evenson envisions a chilling future beyond the Anthropocene that forces excruciating decisions about survival and self-sacrifice in the face of toxic air and a natural world torn between revenge and regeneration. Combining psychological and ecological horror, each tale thrums with Evenson’s award-winning literary craftsmanship, dark humor, and thrilling suspense. Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at:  Twitter: @WakeIslandPod   Instagram: @wakeislandpod
May 12, 2021
Peter Vronsky - American Serial Killers: The Epidemic Years 1950-2000 (featuring David Leo Rice)
David Leo RIce co-hosts this special episode of Wake Island in which we interview historian Peter Vronsky. We discuss serial murderer consciousness and the golden age of serial killers -- we range widely from werewolves to WWII, Bundy to Dahmer, and the latent urges that turned the America of our childhood into a carnival of serial murder.  With books like Serial Killers, Female Serial Killers and Sons of Cain, Peter Vronsky has established himself as the foremost expert on the history of serial killers.  In this first definitive history of the "Golden Age" of American serial murder, when the number and body count of serial killers exploded, Vronsky tells the stories of the most unusual and prominent serial killings from the 1950s to the early twenty-first century. From Ted Bundy to the Golden State Killer, our fascination with these classic serial killers seems to grow by the day. American Serial Killers gives true crime junkies what they crave, with both perennial favorites (Ed Kemper, Jeffrey Dahmer) and lesser-known cases (Melvin Rees, Harvey Glatman).  Peter Vronsky, PhD, is an investigative historian and a former film and television documentary producer. He is the author of Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters; Female Serial Killers: How and Why Women Become Monsters; and Sons of Cain: A History of Serial Killers from the Stone Age to the Present. He is an authority on Canada’s first modern battle, which he has written about in his definitive book, Ridgeway: The American Fenian Invasion and the 1866 Battle That Made Canada.   Peter Vronsky holds a PhD from the University of Toronto in the fields of criminal justice history and the history of espionage in international relations. He teaches history at Ryerson University in Toronto. He divides his time between Toronto, Canada, and Venice, Italy.  Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius  Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod   Instagram: @wakeislandpod
May 5, 2021
Justine Bateman - FACE
Bateman’s directorial feature film debut of her own script, VIOLET, stars Olivia Munn, Luke Bracey, and Justin Theroux, and had its World Premiere at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival. Her best-selling first book, FAME, a non-fiction about the life cycle of Fame and society’s strong need for it, was published in 2018 by Akashic Books. Her second book, FACE, is also a best seller. It’s about women’s faces getting older and why that makes people angry. It was released April 2021 by Akashic. Her writing has been published by Dame Magazine,, and McSweeney’s. An advocate for Net Neutrality, Justine has testified before the Senate Commerce Committee on its behalf in Washington DC and served as an Advisor to Her former acting work includes Family Ties, Satisfaction, Men Behaving Badly, The TV Set, Desperate Housewives, and Californication. Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod  Instagram: @wakeislandpod
April 28, 2021
Elissa Washuta - White Magic
Throughout her life, Elissa Washuta has been surrounded by cheap facsimiles of Native spiritual tools and occult trends, “starter witch kits” of sage, rose quartz, and tarot cards packaged together in paper and plastic. Following a decade of abuse, addiction, PTSD, and heavy-duty drug treatment for a misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder, she felt drawn to the real spirits and powers her dispossessed and discarded ancestors knew, while she undertook necessary work to find love and meaning. In this collection of intertwined essays, she writes about land, heartbreak, and colonization, about life without the escape hatch of intoxication, and about how she became a powerful witch. She interlaces stories from her forebears with cultural artifacts from her own life—Twin Peaks, the Oregon Trail II video game, a Claymation Satan, a YouTube video of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham—to explore questions of cultural inheritance and the particular danger, as a Native woman, of relaxing into romantic love under colonial rule. Elissa Washuta is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and a nonfiction writer. She is the author of White Magic, My Body Is a Book of Rules, and Starvation Mode. With Theresa Warburton, she is co-editor of the anthology Shapes of Native Nonfiction: Collected Essays by Contemporary Writers. She’s a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship recipient, a Creative Capital awardee, and an assistant professor of creative writing at the Ohio State University. Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at:  Twitter: @WakeIslandPod  Instagram: @wakeislandpod
April 21, 2021
Sam Tallent - Running the Light
Sam Tallent is a comedian and author. His debut novel is Running the Lights, and it’s about a road comic named Billy Ray Schafer who embodies the archetype of a tragic road comic – trapped in the wreckage of his wasted career. In this conversation we get into being in punk bands, dealing with hecklers, taking mushrooms in the Poconos, watching magic shows on acid, boat acts, Brody Stevens, Ron White, Carrot Top, Vegas residencies, and the beauty of nihilism.   “Brilliant writing. Astounding. One of the best books I’ve read. Ever. The best fictional representation of comedy in any medium.” - Doug Stanhope, iconoclast   Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius  Follow us on social at:   Twitter: @WakeIslandPod    Instagram: @wakeislandpod
April 14, 2021
Chris Kelso - Burroughs and Scotland: Dethroning the Ancients: The Commitment of Exile
In Burroughs and Scotland, Chris Kelso explores the relationship between William S. Burroughs (author of Naked Lunch, Junkie, and The Soft Machine) and a country very much attuned to the Beat author’s provocative, transgressive sci-fi style of literature. Kelso investigates why Burroughs was drawn to Scotland, why Scotland was drawn to Burroughs, and what exactly the author got up to during his various visits to Edinburgh. Chris Kelso is a British Fantasy Award-nominated genre writer, illustrator, editor, screenwriter, and journalist. His work has been translated into French, Spanish and Swedish. He is the 2 times winner of the Ginger Nuts of Horror Novel of the Year ( in 2016 for Unger House Radicals’ and  2017 for ‘Shrapnel Apartments). Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius   Follow us on social at:  Twitter: @WakeIslandPod   Instagram: @wakeislandpod
April 7, 2021
Chris Zeischegg - Baise-moi + Sauvage
On this episode Chris and I discuss two movies we adore: Baise-moi and Sauvage. Through these films we have an honest and open conversation about: sex work, nihilism, transgression/transformation, subverted expectations, feminism, and porn.    Baise-moi (Virginie Despentes, Coralie Trinh Thi, 2000) — Two young women, marginalized by society, go on a destructive tour of sex and violence. Breaking norms and killing men - and shattering the complacency of polite cinema audiences.   Sauvage (Camille Vidal-Naquet, 2018) — A young street hustler leads a debauched life of turning tricks and taking drugs while longing for love.   Christopher Zeischegg is a writer, musician, and filmmaker who spent eight years working in the adult industry as performer, Danny Wylde. He is the author of four books, Come to my Brother, The Wolves that Live in Skin and Space, Body to Job, and The Magician, and has contributed to The Feminist Porn Book, Best Sex Writing, Coming Out Like a Porn Star, Split Lips, and a variety of digital publications, such as Somesuch and The Nervous Breakdown.  The Broadly interview with Virginie Despentes we reference.   Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius  Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod  Instagram: @wakeislandpod
March 24, 2021
Gina Nutt - Night Rooms
Jump down the rabbit hole with Gina and I - in this episode we talk about: the enchantment of malls, movies like It Follows/Poltergeists/Showgirls, child beauty pageants, synesthesia, pandemic dreams, the final girl archetype, and the lost magic of video stores. Gina's book Night Rooms is an atmospheric dreamscape of memories intertwined with horror movies. Night Rooms is out now from Two Dollar Radio.  "Jumping between past and present with ease, Nutt slashes to the center of issues like motherhood and depression and ultimately emerges as the quintessential final girl of her own film... Nutt has a knack for short, sharp lines that skip the brain and go straight to the heart." —Gabino Iglesias, NPR  “In a horror movie, an infected character may hide a bite or rash, an urge, an unwellness. She might withdraw or act out, or behave as if nothing is the matter, nothing has happened. Any course of action opposite saying how she feels suggests suffering privately is preferable to the anticipated betrayal of being cast out.”  Gina Nutt is the author of the poetry collection Wilderness Champion. She earned her MFA from Syracuse University. Her writing has appeared in Cosmonauts Avenue, Joyland, Ninth Letter, and other publications.  Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius  Follow us on social at:   Twitter: @WakeIslandPod  Instagram: @wakeislandpod
March 22, 2021
David Leo Rice - Drifter: Stories
David and I drill down into the emendation point of Americana’s psychic crisis and investigate its rotten core. We also talk about seediness, the uncanny and drift.   David Leo Rice is the author of ‘A Room in Dodge City’ (Alternating Current, 2017) and ‘A Room in Dodge City 2’ (Alternating Current, 2021), ‘Angel House’ (Kernpunkt, 2019) a Dennis Cooper ‘Book of the Year’ and ‘The PornME Trilogy’ (The Opiate Books, 2020). His short fiction has been been published in Hobart, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, DIAGRAM and The Rupture, among many other venues.  David currently teaches creative writing at The New School.    The article we reference is: On Seediness, Undead Literature, and Reengaging with the American Mythic in the 2020s    Preorder - ‘Drifter: Stories’ (11:11 Press, 2021)    Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius    Follow us on social at:  Twitter: @WakeIslandPod     Instagram: @wakeislandpod
March 17, 2021
Audrey Szasz - Tears of a Komsomol Girl
Audrey Szasz (aka Zutka) is a London-based writer with roots in Central Europe. Her experimental narratives combine vivid prose with exotic imagery and transgressive satire. Tears of a Komsomol Girl (Infinity Land Press, 2020) is her first full-length novel. She has been described alternately as ‘the postmodern heir to the disarranged novels of Anna Kavan and more closely, Ann Quin,’ and ‘a deviant genius of surreal and perverse image-play.’ Audrey’s debut in print, Plan for the Abduction of J.G. Ballard (a collaboration with Jeremy Reed) was published in 2019 via Infinity Land Press. In February 2020, Amphetamine Sulphate issued her first solo novella, Invisibility: A Manifesto. Tears of a Komsomol Girl is an experimental concept novel based on the real-life crimes of Soviet serial killer Andrei Chikatilo, who was finally executed in 1994 having been convicted of murdering 52 people between 1978 and 1990. Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod  Instagram: @wakeislandpod
March 10, 2021
Rose Anderson - The Heart and Other Monsters
In November 2013, Rose Andersen's younger sister Sarah died of an overdose in the bathroom of her boyfriend's home in a small town with one of the highest rates of opioid use in the state. Like too many of her generation, she had become addicted to heroin. Sarah was 24 years old.   To imagine her way into Sarah's life and her choices, Rose revisits their volatile childhood, marked by their stepfather's omnipresent rage. As the dysfunction comes into focus, so does a broader picture of the opioid crisis and the drug rehabilitation industry in small towns across America. And when Rose learns from the coroner that Sarah's cause of death was a methamphetamine overdose, the story takes a wildly unexpected turn.   "The memoir of a sister's death in which the line between overdose and murder becomes blurred, The Heart and Other Monsters is the story of two girls wounded by addiction and simultaneously troubled and sustained by a broken, complex family whose actions frequently fall short of their ideals. With the fierce honesty of Domenica Ruta's With or Without You, this is the most clear sighted depiction I know of what it's like to piece life together after a great, irreparable loss, and a deft navigation of the byways and channels leading up to that loss, through it, and beyond." - Brian Evenson, author of SONG FOR THE UNRAVELING OF THE WORLD  Rose Andersen’s debut memoir, The Heart and Other Monsters is now available from Bloomsbury. She received her MFA in writing at California Institute of the Arts where she was awarded the CalArts Emi Kuriyama Thesis Prize. She writes to the dulcimer snores of her Boston Terrier, Charlotte, and completes her stories despite the endless barrage of puns from her spouse, Josh. She is published in The Cut, Glamour, The California Sunday, Lit Hub, and Crime Reads among others. Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius   Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod   Instagram: @wakeislandpod
March 3, 2021
Eileen Myles - For Now
Eileen Myles (they/them) came to New York from Boston in 1974 to be a poet. Their books include For Now (an essay/talk about writing), I Must Be Living Twice/new and selected poems, and Chelsea Girls. They showed their photographs in 2019 at Bridget Donahue, NYC. Eileen has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and an award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. They live in New York and Marfa, TX. Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod Instagram: @wakeislandpod
February 24, 2021
Elizabeth V. Aldrich - Ruthless Little Things
During this conversation we talk about jail dildos and Los Angeles.  Eris marries starry-eyed feral lust with California decadence and punk poetry in a sensory carnival of bleary abstraction and bubblegum. Meet Madzi, our narrator’s dream girl, Rorschach of the feminine ideal, a hot mess dripping sex appeal and riling you up, making your life magical and sublime before leaving a trail of dirty clothes and synthetic rails into your worst nightmare.   Ruthless Little Things is a tender, sorehearted transmission from a self-made prison, and an earnest flight toward escape. It is manic, sanguine, surreal, sad and revealing. Its lines burn themselves into you. It wreaks havoc and it never lies to you.  Elizabeth Victoria Aldrich speaks more truth in this slim elegant glitterbomb than most writers speak in an entire lifetime. — James Nulick, author of The Moon Down to Earth Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod Instagram: @wakeislandpod
February 17, 2021
Betsy Bonner - The Book of Atlantis Black
A young woman is found dead on the floor of a Tijuana hotel room. An ID in a nearby purse reads “Atlantis Black.” The police report states that the body does not seem to match the identification, yet the body is quickly cremated and the case is considered closed.  So begins Betsy Bonner’s search for her sister, Atlantis, and the unraveling of the mysterious final months before Atlantis’s disappearance, alleged overdose, and death. With access to her sister’s email and social media accounts, Bonner attempts to decipher and construct a narrative: frantic and unintelligible Facebook posts, alarming images of a woman with a handgun, Craigslist companionship ads, DEA agent testimony, video surveillance, police reports, and various phone calls and moments in the flesh conjured from memory. Through a history only she and Atlantis shared—a childhood fraught with abuse and mental illness, Atlantis’s precocious yet short rise in the music world, and through it all an unshakable bond of sisterhood—Bonner finds questions that lead only to more questions and possible clues that seem to point in no particular direction. In this haunting memoir and piercing true crime account, Bonner must decide how far she will go to understand a sister who, like the mythical island she renamed herself for, might prove impossible to find.  “A haunting, mind-bending memoir. . . . riveting.” —New York Times   “A mixture of biography and true crime, this narrative . . . offers more plot twists, shocking revelations and shady characters than most contemporary thrillers.” —NPR   Betsy Bonner is the author of the poetry collection Round Lake. She is a former Director of the 92Y Unterberg Poetry Center, where she now teaches creative writing. She is a fellow of the MacDowell Colony and the T. S. Eliot House.   "Core" Written & performed by Atlantis Black Home demo (2002)   "Core" (cover) Written by Atlantis Black Tara Sullivan on vox, guitars, and bass Stephen Edwards on drums Home demo (2020)  Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius  Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod Instagram: @wakeislandpod
February 10, 2021
Derek McCormack - Castle Faggot
Derek McCormack's latest book is Castle Faggot (Semiotext(e)). His previous books include The Show that Smells, The Well-Dressed Wound, Grab Bag and The Haunted Hillbilly. We talk about: the childhood memories and objects that inform Derek's aesthetic, confronting cancer, American vs Canadian kitsch, what makes camp, crystalizing shit into shit necklaces, lethal coziness, the emotional center of Castle Faggot, ebay shopping on ambien, shopping at Barneys, weird celebrity sightings, theme parks, marshmallowy children's cereal, fashion, and did I mention shit!? Castle Faggot is a dark satire about an amusement park more deranged than anything Disney could imagine: a playland for gay men called Faggotland. Castle Faggot is Derek McCormack's darkest and most delicious book yet, a satire of sugary cereals and Saturday morning cartoons set in an amusement park more deranged than anything Disney dreamed up. At the heart of the park is Faggotland, a playland for gay men, and Castle Faggot, the darkest dark ride in the world. Home to a cartoon Dracula called Count Choc-o-log, the castle is decorated with the corpses of gays—some were killed, some killed themselves, all ended up as décor.  "It is really just one of the best books ever, and maybe the greatest novel ever written." Dennis Cooper Make sure to follow Derek on Instagram at: Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod Instagram: @wakeislandpod The Star of Bethlehem is played by TRG Banks
December 16, 2020
Ryan Shorosky - Trucker/Photographer
Photographer and long haul truck driver Ryan Shorosky is the guest.    Ryan and I spoke while he was driving from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles. Ride shotgun with us as we discuss: how Ryan became a truck driver, stories from the road, what has it been like to work during the pandemic, how Ryan synthesizes his vocation with his aesthetic vision, and the stillness of photography in contrast to the motion of the road.   Ryan's photography has appeared in TIME, The New York Times, The New Yorker, L'Officiel USA, Vogue, and more.   Make sure to follow Ryan on Instagram at:  Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius  Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod  Instagram: @wakeislandpod
December 9, 2020
Elisa Gabbert - The Unreality of Memory
Poet and essayist Elisa Gabbert is the guest. She is the author of The Unreality of Memory: And Other Essays. We get into: soul ravaging poetry, Sassy Magazine, the atmospheric charge of 2016, the unreality of our moment, morbid glee, and more!    The Unreality of Memory collects provocative, searching essays on disaster culture, climate anxiety, and our mounting collective sense of doom. In this new collection, acclaimed poet and essayist Elisa Gabbert explores our obsessions with disasters past and future, from the sinking of the Titanic to Chernobyl, from witch hunts to the plague. These deeply researched, prophetic meditations question how the world will end―if indeed it will―and why we can’t stop fantasizing about it.  Elisa Gabbert is the author of five collections of poetry, essays, and criticism: The Unreality of Memory & Other Essays, out now from FSG Originals and Atlantic UK; The Word Pretty (Black Ocean, 2018); L’Heure Bleue, or the Judy Poems (Black Ocean, 2016); The Self Unstable (Black Ocean, 2013); and The French Exit (Birds LLC, 2010). The Unreality of Memory and The Word Pretty were both named a New York Times Editors’ Choice, and The Self Unstable was chosen by the New Yorker as one of the best books of 2013. She writes a regular poetry column for the New York Times, and her work has appeared in Harper’s, The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine and Book Review, the New York Review of Books, the Guardian Long Read, the London Review of Books, A Public Space, the Paris Review Daily, American Poetry Review, and many other venues.  Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius  Follow us on social at:  Twitter: @WakeIslandPod Instagram: @wakeislandpod
December 3, 2020
Niko Vorobyov - Dopeworld
Niko Vorobyov is a former drug dealer turned author. We talk about what it was like to be incarcerated as a college student, early transformative drug experiences, death squads in the Philippines, meth, the doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo, hanging out at El Chapo's hometown in Mexico, Los Narcos Satanicos, Jesús Malverde, drug movies and more!  In this ground-breaking book, former drug-dealer Niko Vorobyov travels the world attempting to shine a light on the global drug trade. From cocaine farms in South America to the forests of Russia, he speaks to people making the machine work. He meets drug lords, cartel leaders, street dealers and government officials exposing the true scope of the drug industry. Dopeworld is an addictive and intoxicating trip deep into the world of drugs, tracing their emergence and our relationship with them. This is the story of the drug trade as you've never seen before. Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod Instagram: @wakeislandpod
November 11, 2020
Steve Finbow - The Mindshaft
Steve Finbow and I chat about his latest book The Mindshaft which is based on the infamous members-only BDSM gay leather bar and sex club called the Mineshaft.  We get into: William Burroughs, J. G. Ballard, Francis Bacon, transgressive acts/art, noise music, Cruising, Ginsberg, literary pilgrimages, Bruce Chatwin and how illness influences creativity.  “You have visited the bar on a number of occasions, it fascinates you, you find it disgusting, it excites you, you find it dangerous. You are lonely in this city of millions, yet, how do we connect with other people, particularly if we don’t find speaking easy? Is sex a cure for loneliness, and if it is, what happens to if our body or sexuality is considered deviant or damaged, if we are ill or blessed with beauty?” The Mindshaft is out now from Amphetamine Sulphate.   Steve Finbow once worked for Allen Ginsberg. His non-fiction includes Notes From The Sick Room and Grave Desire: A Cultural History of Necrophilia, while his fiction includes Balzac Of The Badlands, Down Among The Dead and Nothing Matters. Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod Instagram: @wakeislandpod
October 28, 2020
Grant Maierhofer - Works
Grant Maierhofer is the author of Works (11:11 Press, 2020),  Peripatet (Inside the Castle, 2019), Postures (Publication Studio, 2015), Grobbing Thistle (2016), and Flamingos (ITNA). His work is available via The Fanzine, Berfrois, 3:AM Magazine, and elsewhere.  “A dauntingly prolific and daring writer, Grant Maierhofer tears his way through the terra firma of received language to roiling realms that writers rarely reach. Bleach will seep into your brainpan and give it the stinging deep-cleanse you know it needs.” — Gari Lutz  "Part Beckett, part Unabomber manifesto, part Laurie Weeks, Grant Maierhofer's Flamingos is singularly alive and wild."  — Maggie Nelson, author of The Argonauts and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod Instagram: @wakeislandpod
October 14, 2020
James Grauerholz - Last Words: The Final Journals of William S. Burroughs.
James Grauerholz is a writer and editor. He is most famous as the bibliographer and literary executor of the estate of William S. Burroughs. He worked as Burroughs’ assistant, and became his friend, business manager and editor until the author's death in 1997. Grauerholz wrote biographical sketches to a Burroughs reader Word Virus, and edited a posthumous release of Burroughs diaries Last Words: The Final Journals of William S. Burroughs. Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod Instagram: @wakeislandpod
September 30, 2020
Karolina Waclawiak - Life Events
Karolina Waclawiak’s breakout novel, Life Events, follows Evelyn, who, at thirty-seven, is on the verge of divorce and anxiously dreading the death of everyone she loves. She combats her existential crisis by avoiding her husband and aimlessly driving along the freeways of California looking for an escape―one that eventually comes when she discovers a collective of “exit guides.” Evelyn enrolls in their training course, where she learns to provide companionship and a final exit for terminally ill patients seeking a conscious departure.  “Every page of this novel is a point of no return; once you’ve read Karolina Waclawiak's Life Events, you will never see life, death, grief, and healing the same way.”―Saeed Jones, author of How We Fight for Our Lives.   Karolina Waclawiak is the author of the novels How to Get into the Twin Palms and The Invaders. Formerly an editor at The Believer, she is the executive editor of culture at BuzzFeed News. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Hazlitt, and elsewhere. Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod Instagram: @wakeislandpod
September 16, 2020
Chris Rush - The Light Years
Chris Rush is an award-winning artist and designer, whose work is held in numerous museum collections. His memoir, The Light Years, was published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux in April 2019.   “As mythic and wild with love, possibility, and danger as the decades it spans, you’ll read The Light Years with your breath held. Brutal, buoyant and wise to the tender terror of growing up, Chris Rush has written a timeless memoir of boyhood in the American wilderness.” ―Emma Cline, author of The Girls  “Brace yourself: To enter The Light Years you must be willing to be changed. It is, in the end, about the one question we all must ask ourselves―How does one live? In the end the answer is, always, love. You could wait until you are ready to read this radiant book, though how will you know when that moment arrives?” ―Nick Flynn, author of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod Instagram: @wakeislandpod
September 2, 2020
Jeff Ferrell - Drift: Illicit Mobility and Uncertain Knowledge
Jeff Ferrell is Visiting Professor of Criminology at the University of Kent, UK, and Professor of Sociology at Texas Christian University, USA. He is author of the books Crimes of Style, Tearing Down the Streets, and Empire of Scrounge. He is co-editor of the books Cultural Criminology, Ethnography at the Edge, Making Trouble, Cultural Criminology Unleashed, and Cultural Criminology: Theories of Crime.  In Drift, Jeff Ferrell shows how dislocation and disorientation can become phenomena in their own right. Examining the history of drifting, he situates contemporary drift within today’s economic, legal, and cultural dynamics. Along the way, Ferrell sheds light on the ephemeral intensity of drifting communities and explores the contested politics of drift: the strategies that legal authorities employ to control drifters in the interest of economic development, the social and spatial dislocations that these strategies ironically exacerbate, and the ways in which drifters create their own slippery forms of resistance.  Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod Instagram: @wakeislandpod
August 30, 2020
Thomas Moore - Alone
A Has Grindr killed psychic gay powers?  Find out on this episode of Wake Island with Thomas Moore, author of Certain Kind of Light, In Their Arms (Rebel Satori), The Night Is An Empire, Skeleton Costumes, When People Die (Kiddiepunk), Alone (Amphetamine Sulphate) “Thomas Moore is one of the best writers the world has in stock, and I always expect a ton from what he writes. But, even so, ALONE is beyond the pale - immaculate, febrile, deadly. A complete stunner.” - Dennis Cooper⁣  Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod Instagram: @wakeislandpod
August 19, 2020
Kent Russell - In the Land of Good Living
In the summer of 2016, Kent Russell–broke, at loose ends, hungry for adventure–set off to walk across Florida. Mythic, superficial, soaked in contradictions, maligned by cultural elites, segregated from the South, and literally vanishing into the sea, Florida (or, as he calls it: “America Concentrate”) seemed to Russell to embody America’s divided soul.  KENT RUSSELL’s essays have appeared in The New Republic, Harper’s Magazine, GQ, n+1, The Believer, and Grantland. He is the author of I Am Sorry to Have Raised A Timid Son.   Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod Instagram: @wakeislandpod
August 5, 2020
Wayne Koestenbaum - Figure it Out
Wayne Koestenbaum is a poet, critic, and artist.  His books include The Queen’s Throat: Opera, Homosexuality, and the Mystery of Desire, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist; Jackie Under My Skin: Interpreting an Icon; My 1980s and Other Essays; Humiliation; Hotel Theory; The Pink Trance Notebooks; Camp Marmalade; and Figure It Out. He lives in New York City, where he is a Distinguished Professor of English at the CUNY Graduate Center.  His website is  Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod Instagram: @wakeislandpod
July 22, 2020
Diarmuid Hester - Wrong
Diarmuid Hester is a radical cultural historian, writer, and performer based in Cambridge, England. Diarmuid grew up in County Kilkenny, Ireland. He studied English and French at University College Dublin, before coming to the UK to study for Master’s degrees in English (University of Sussex) and philosophy (Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy). He received his PhD in English literature from the University of Sussex. Diarmuid has held research fellowships at New York University, the Library of Congress, and the University of Oxford. He is currently a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in English at the University of Cambridge. WRONG: A Critical Biography of Dennis Cooper is Diarmuid’s first book, published by the University of Iowa Press in June 2020. It is the definitive account of a writer once called ‘the last literary outlaw in mainstream American fiction’.  Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod Instagram: @wakeislandpod
July 8, 2020
Nina Renata Aron - Good Morning, Destroyer of Men’s Souls
Nina Renata Aron is the author of GOOD MORNING, DESTROYER OF MEN'S SOULS: A Memoir of Women, Addiction & Love - a scorching memoir of a love affair with an addict, weaving personal reckoning with psychology and history to understand the nature of addiction, codependency, and our appetite for obsessive love.  Nina is also the Editor of the new Playgirl magazine and specializes in writing about girls, books, art, and sex.    Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod Instagram: @wakeislandpod
June 24, 2020
Christopher Zeischegg - The Magician
California brings out the fucking worst in people. Makes them junkies, whores, killers - failed saints, predatory sinners. Must be something in the land or maybe the water. Something old and evil. Waiting. The Magician is an incantatory trip to this cursed heart of darkness. A modern horror tale of sexual violence and deep psychological harm. Unflinchingly narrated in spare, economic prose climaxing in hallucinatory brutality, Christopher Zeischegg has conjured a dark fable of the American dream as it slides into unending nightmare. Christopher Zeischegg is a writer, musician, and filmmaker who spent eight years working in the adult industry as performer, Danny Wylde. He is the author of four books, Come to my Brother, The Wolves that Live in Skin and Space, Body to Job, and The Magician, and has contributed to The Feminist Porn Book, Best Sex Writing, Coming Out Like a Porn Star, Split Lips, and a variety of digital publications, such as Somesuch and The Nervous Breakdown.  Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod Instagram: @wakeislandpod
June 8, 2020
J.J. Anselmi - Doomed to Fail: The Incredibly Loud History of Doom, Sludge, and Post-metal
J.J. Anselmi is the author of Doomed to Fail: The Incredibly Loud History of Doom, Sludge, and Post-metal; and Heavy: A Memoir of Wyoming, BMX, and Heavy Fucking Music. He’s played drums in several heavy bands, including In the Company of Serpents and Former Worlds. He’s currently the drummer of Drainage, a sludgy metalcore band from Long Beach, California.  Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod Instagram: @wakeislandpod
May 19, 2020
B.R. Yeager - Negative Space
BR Yeager‘s debut novel, Amygdalatropolis, is about an incel dissolving into his online world of depravity. And if you want to read something that can push the isolation of quarantine into even darker spaces, where location and body merge into nightmare fuel, you’ll also enjoy BR’s latest novel, Negative Space which is like if the Children of the Corn were connected by message boards into the afterlife.  Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod Instagram: @wakeislandpod
April 24, 2020
Chelsea Hodson - I Could Live Without Speaking
Chelsea Hodson is the author of the book of essays Tonight I'm Someone Else and the chapbook Pity the Animal. She teaches at Bennington College and she co-founded the Mors Tua Vita Mea workshop in Sezze Romano, Italy.  I Could Live Without Speaking is available to read at Hazlitt Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod Instagram: @wakeislandpod
March 30, 2020
Harley Flanagan - Hard-Core: Life of My Own/Cro-Mags
Harley’s memoir, Hard-Core: Life of My Own, is about growing up a feral street kid and coming of age amid the wreckage of old New York City—a now long-gone landscape of gangs, violence, decay, and, of course, the Cro-Mags. Harley’s book is not only a recounting of his story, but a reminder of what pre-gentrified New York City was like at the height of its cultural and artistic zeitgeist. It’s also about betrayal and reinvention without self-pity, told simply and straightforwardly in the author’s own voice.  Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius.  Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod Instagram: @wakeislandpod
March 12, 2020
James Howard Kunstler - The Long Emergency
From the Ted Talk stage to Wake Island, today on the show we have social critic, lecturer, and author, James Howard Kunstler. His books include: The Long Emergency, The Geography of  Nowhere, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology, and the Fate of the Nation. James has lectured at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Princeton, and MIT, to name only a few. His books are widely read and discussed by architectural critics, urban planners, economists and techno sceptics. You can subscribe to his blog, Clusterfuck Nation, at, where he also has a truly thoughtful and engaging podcast called KunstlerCast. ' Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius  Follow us on social at:  Twitter: @WakeIslandPod  Instagram: @wakeislandpod
February 10, 2020
Matthew Stokoe - Cows/High Life/Empty Mile/Colony of Whores
Matthew Stokoe, the king of the neo-noir murder mystery novel, is on Wake Island today. If I had to pick one writers whose new books I’m most excited for and who consistently delivers the page-turners, it’s Stokoe. His perpetually blood-soaked vision of Los Angeles’ underbelly ranks alongside Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye as quintessential. Stokoe’s novel High Life delivers crime, corruption, and power violence as a totally coherent and addictive reading experience.   Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius  Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod Instagram: @wakeislandpod
January 22, 2020
Steve Anwyll - Welfare
Wake Island was on a short hiatus for the holidays but today we’re back at it with author Steve Anwyll. Even though we met for the first time the day before recording this episode Steve feels like someone I’ve known forever. Steve’s debut novel Welfare is about a high school student who escapes his dysfunctional homelife to drift alone with no safety net but the help of government aid. Although the delivery is straight forward there’s an elegance to the way Welfare unfolds. I also found Steve’s prose to be quietly poetic and at times unexpected. If you’re a certain type of degenerate I think you’ll get a kick out of this conversation.  Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius  Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod Instagram: @wakeislandpod
January 8, 2020
Jack Riccobono - The Seventh Fire
Today on Wake Island, we have documentarian Jack Riccobono, who directed one of my all-time favorite documentaries, The Seventh Fire, which was produced by Natalie Portman, Chris Eyre, and Terrence Mallick. The Seventh Fire follows Rob Brown, a Native American gang leader, and his 17-year old protege on the White Earth Indian Reservation in Minnesota. We experience most of the film through Rob, who is the heart and soul of the film. Having bounced from prison to prison throughout his life, Rob is at a crossroad, wrestling with an uncertain future living isolated on a reservation. Theme music by Joseph E. Martinez of Junius Follow us on social at: Twitter: @WakeIslandPod Instagram: @wakeislandpod
December 18, 2019