Since 1980, City Arts & Lectures has presented onstage conversations with outstanding figures in literature, politics, criticism, science, and the performing arts, offering the most diverse perspectives about ideas and values. City Arts & Lectures programs can be heard on more than 130 public radio stations across the country and wherever you get your podcasts. The broadcasts are co-produced with KQED 88.5 FM in San Francisco. Visit CITYARTS.NET for more info.
Our guests this week are Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, the New York Times reporters who first broke the story of Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual misconduct. They’ll talk about the many obstacles Weinstein created to stop women from going public with their stories, and how he prevented reporters from investigating. Their new book, “She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement,” is an in-depth account of Weinstein’s incredibly disturbing treatment of women, and an unflinching look at the people and systems that aided and abetted this behavior.
On October 11, 2019, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk to Bernice Yeung. They were joined by Rowena Chiu, a former assistant to Weinstein who recently went public with her allegations of harassment and attempted rape.
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow talks about the oil and gas industry’s impact on democracy around the world, tying in Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, the impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump, and more. On October 6, 2019, Rachel Maddow came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater to read from her new book “Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth”. Maddow spoke to Dan Pfeiffer, a former advisor to President Barack Obama who now co-hosts “Pod Save America”.
Malcolm Gladwell is a staff writer for the New Yorker and has written numerous books at the intersection of sociology, economics, and behavorial science. Gladwell has now brought his passion for storytelling to the world of podcasting with two projects: the music podcast “Broken Record”, and “Revisionist History”, which reexamines the past and asks whether we got it right the first time. He came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco on September 19, 2019 to talk with Al Letson about the surprising lessons in his newest book “Talking to Strangers”.
Jen Gunter is a physician who's been nicknamed "Twitter's resident gynecologist", whose new
book is "The Vagina Bible". Within the private confines of her examining room, women ask deeply personal questions and share intimate details about their bodies rarely discussed in public. How can it be that so many women can know so little about their own bodies? Dr. Gunter is determined to help them
know more, and frustrated by the dangerous myths and misperceptions perpetuated by online misinformation and wellness gurus. On May 21, 2019, Jen Gunter came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with writer Ayelet Waldman.
This week, a conversation about privacy, ethics, and organizing in the world of technology.Who benefits from the lack of diversity in the tech industry? Does artificial intelligence reflect the biases of those who create it? How can we push for regulation and transparency? These are some of the questions discussed by our guests, Meredith Whittaker, co-founder of AI Now at NYU and the founder of Google’s Open Research Institute; and Kade Crockford, Director of the ACLU Massachusetts’ Technology and Liberty Program. They appeared at the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco on June 7, 2019.
Before Amor Towles became a bestselling writer, he spent two decades working for an investment firm, staying countless nights at luxury hotels. That’s where he had the idea for "A Gentleman in Moscow", the story of a Russian aristocrat who is sentenced by the Bolsheviks to a lifetime of house arrest in Moscow's Metropol Hotel.
Amor Towles came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco on June 4, 2019, to talk with Michael Krasny of KQED.
A longtime staff writer for The New Yorker now writing for The Atlantic, George Packer has reported extensively on global unrest, from Bosnia, to the Iraq War, to the civil war in Syria. In his new book “Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century,” Packer writes about one of America’s greatest diplomats. He compares Holbrooke’s larger than life character, utterly self-absorbed, in turns revered and reviled, to an era of enormous global influence. On May 23, 2019, George Packer came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater talked with Clara Jeffrey about Richard Holbrooke, the slow deterioration of American influence, and the country’s retreat into nationalism.
Jared Diamond, the author of “Guns, Germs, and Steel” discusses his new book about the rise and fall of civilizations around the globe. "Upheaval: How Nations Cope with Crisis and Change" combines history, geography, economic, and cultural analysis. Its broad scope and vast historical sweep are what fans of Diamond have come to appreciate. On May 15, 2019, Jared Diamond came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with Roy Eisenhardt.
Maker Adam Savage, best known as the host of Mythbusters, and artist Tom Sachs have long been obsessed with outer space - from the engineering and aesthetics of NASA to the immensity of interstellar exploration. The gear, architecture, fashion, and dreams are all part of an exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art through January 2020, “Far Out: Suits, Habs, and Labs for Outer Space”. Sachs and Savage, and exhibition curator Joseph Becker, talked at the Fog Design and Art Fair.
In 2015, Anand Giridharadas delivered a speech at the Aspen Institute that took direct aim at the philanthropists and thought leaders in attendance. Giridharadas argued that the corporate world’s attempts at doing good, and many of the goals and deeds of philanthropy, actually do great harm by preserving a corrupt and unfair system of capitalism. The speech made waves, and inspired the book “Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World.”
On May 7, 2019, Anand Giridharadas came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with Courtney Martin.
David Brooks is a columnist for the New York Times, and a regular on PBS News Hour and Meet The
Press. In his new book, “The Second Mountain,” Brooks writes about his religious and spiritual journey, our country’s current political state of detachment, and how he learned to move from a state of disengagement to one of fulfilling connection in his personal life.
On May 1, 2019, David Brooks came to The Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco, to talk with Rabbi Ryan Bauer of Congregation Emanu-El.
In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a report that served as a stark wake up call for many in the movement to combat climate change. Its key takeaway -- we only have about 12 years for aggressive action to keep global warming below one and a half degrees Celsius. Since then, the climate movement has experienced a surge of action, from school strikes in cities across the world, to the Sunrise Movement with Alexandria Ocasio Cortez leading the charge for a Green New Deal. On April 30, 2019, Bill McKibben and Mustafa Santiago Ali came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco, to talk to May Boeve of 350.org about the future of the climate change movement.
Samin Nosrat and Lindy West join us this week to talk about how they developed their individual
voices, the process of adapting their work for television, and how to make delicious food. Samin Nosrat is author of the cookbook “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” and the executive producer of the Netflix series of the same name. Lindy West is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. Her essay collection “Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman,” is now a critically acclaimed television series starring Saturday Night Live’s Aidy Bryant. On April 29, 2019, Samin Nosrat and Lindy West came to The Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco, to talk with Allison P. Davis, senior culture writer for New York Magazine’s The Cut.
A staff writer for The New Yorker magazine, Jelani Cobb writes with eloquence and urgency on topics of race, politics, history, and culture. He is a professor of journalism at Columbia University, and the author of several books including “The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress” and “To the Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip Hop Aesthetic.”
On April 16, 2019, Jelani Cobb came to The Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco, to talk with New Yorker colleague Hilton Als.
Whether writing about the business of baseball, or the strange and surprising subcultures of the financial world, Michael Lewis has a penchant for iconoclasts of industry, and characters so fascinating they seem imagined. Several of his bestselling books, including “Moneyball” and “The Big Short,” have been made into movies.
On April 11, 2019, Michael Lewis came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater to talk with Jacob Weisberg about his career in journalism, from reading Tom Wolfe on the floor of his childhood home to the overnight success of his debut publication “Liars Poker.” The conversation was interspersed with clips from Lewis’ new podcast “Against
Our guests are Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris, hosts of “Still Processing”... a culture podcast
from the New York Times. Each week, Wesley, a critic-at-large, and Wortham, a staff writer for the New York Times Magazine, lovingly debate pop-culture products and people, from queerness to unpacking black male privilege, Michael Jackson to Marie Kondo.
On April 10, 2019, Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris came to The Sydney Goldstein Theater in San
Francisco. The event was a co-presentation with The New York Times.
In 2018, Stacey Abrams made United States history when she became the first black woman to be nominated by a major party for governor. Despite winning more votes than any other Democrat in Georgia’s history, Abrams lost the hotly contested election. But her impact can’t be understated. Abrams continues to work against voter suppression, and her plans to run for future office are a major source of curiosity among media and electorate alike.
On May 19, 2019, Stacey Abrams came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk to Alexis Madrigal about her family, her desire to build a template for future Democratic campaigns, and the question of whether or not she will run for president.
Ruth Reichl served as restaurant critic for the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, before becoming Editor in Chief of Gourmet Magazine during the Golden Era of print journalism. In her latest memoir, “Save Me The Plums,” Reichl reveals the realities of her time at Gourmet, and the lasting ways in which she innovated
food journalism as we know it.
On April 9, 2019, Ruth Reichl came to The Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with arts journalist and fiction writer Steven Winn.
Dr. Michio Kaku is a theoretical physicist and futurist, and the co-founder of string field theory, a branch of string theory. Thanks to his many books, regular television appearances, and robust Twitter presence, Dr. Kaku is one of the rare scientists with an enormous public following, particularly among young people. In his newest book, “Our Destiny Beyond Earth,” Kaku argues that human civilization can and will move to outer space.
On April 8, 2019, Dr. Michio Kaku came to The Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with
Alexis Madrigal, a staff writer at the Atlantic.
Rachel Cusk is a writer of considerable range and depth, and her most recent works — dubbed the
“Outline” trilogy -- embody a new and distinctive style. The novels take the form of a succession of monologues delivered not by the protagonist, but by the people she encounters. Little is revealed about a central character who serves principally as a conduit for others. The themes and questions that arise from those stories are weighty, as is Cusk’s choice to subvert traditional positions and form. On April 8, 2019, Rachel Cusk came to The Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with Steven Winn about her unconventional work and its reception.
Started three years ago in the media lab of California’s San Quentin Prison, the podcast Ear Hustle tells the daily realities of life inside prison, shared by those living it. On March 29, 2019, two of the podcast’s creators, visual artist Nigel Poor and former inmate Earlonne Woods, came to The Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk to Al Letson. After twenty-one years of incarceration, Earlonne Woods’ sentence had recently been commuted by Governor Jerry Brown. This was his first major public appearance since his release.
Dr. Daniel Siegel is a clinical professor of psychiatry, and the author of multiple books on child-rearing, including “The Whole Brain Child” and “No Drama Discipline.” Siegel’s books are popular with parents and and teachers alike, with their strategies for cultivating calmer, happier children. While mindfulness techniques -- and patience -- help foster healthy brain development, Siegel also suggests that improving children’s health and well-being requires addressing our own problems.
On March 4, 2019, Dr. Daniel Siegel came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with Steven Winn.
Rebecca Solnit is a writer and activist whose work addresses a wide range of issues, from climate change
to feminism, and literary criticism to police brutality. She is the author of over twenty books, including Hope in the Dark and Men Explain Things to Me. On February 27, 2019, Rebecca Solnit came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco, to talk with Astra Taylor, a filmmaker and political organizer*. *
Among this year’s most acclaimed books is Tommy Orange’s debut novel “There, There”. The book begins with a poignant prologue describing the devastating history of genocide and violent removal of Native Americans from their lands, setting the stage for a contemporary story about the urban Native American experience in the city of Oakland. The characters’ lives are informed by their ancestors’ suffering, as well as the continued systematic discrimination against Native people.
On February 25, 2019, Tommy Orange came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater to be interviewed by Jeff Chang, author of “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop” and the Vice President of Narrative, Arts, and Culture at Race Forward.
Preet Bharara served as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of
New York from 2009 to 2017, before being fired by President Trump within a few
weeks of his inauguration. Bharara is the host of the podcast Stay Tuned
with Preet, and author of the book Doing Justice: A Prosecutor’s
Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law. On March 26, 2019,
Preet Bharara came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk
with Jeffrey Toobin, a staff writer at The New Yorker and a senior legal
analyst at CNN.
Marlon James is best known for “A Brief History of Seven Killings”, a sweeping, violent novel about the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in 1976, which won the Man Booker Prize in 2015. His new novel “Black Leopard, Red Wolf” is the first in the “Dark Star Trilogy,” a fantasy series which James describes as an African Game of Thrones.
On February 19, 2019, Marlon James came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with fellow author Jeff Chang.
Michael Tubbs has devoted his political life to fighting economic inequality in Stockton -- the Northern California city where he was born and raised. Elected Mayor in 2016, Tubbs has worked to reinvent the formerly bankrupt city. This past year, he spearheaded a universal basic income pilot program. Already identified as a rising figure in the progressive movement, Tubbs isn’t even thirty years old yet, making him the youngest mayor of an American city of more than 100,000 people.
On February 13, 2019, Mayor Tubbs came to The Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk
with Dan Pfeiffer, co-host of Pod Save America and a former senior advisor to President Obama. Join me now for a conversation with Mayor Michael Tubbs.
Jad Abumrad is the creator and co-host of Radiolab, a program with a unique brand of storytelling that explores science, philosophy, and the human experience. Abumrad is also the creator of “More Perfect,” a podcast about how the Supreme Court shapes everything from marriage and money to public safety and sex.
On February 8, 2019, Jad Abumrad came to The Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to
talk with Alexis Madrigal, staff writer at “The Atlantic”.
Rebecca Traister has spent her career writing about politics, media, and entertainment from a
feminist perspective. In her most recent book, “Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of
Women’s Anger,” Traister tracks the history of female anger as political fuel - from suffragists protesting outside the White House during the First World War, to office workers vacating their building after Clarence Thomas was confirmed to the Supreme Court.
On February 4, 2019, Rebecca Traister came to The Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco, to
talk with Lara Bazelon, a professor of law at the University of San Francisco.
Author Meg Wolitzer brings readers deep into the lives of others. A feminist thread
runs through all of her work, including novels like “The Interestings” and “The
Wife,” but nowhere is the subject of power more deeply investigated than in her
newest book, “The Female Persuasion.” Campus assault, intergenerational feminism,
debate, mentorship and ambition make it an especially timely story. On January 24
2019, Wolitzer came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater to be interviewed by The
New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik.
Dr. BJ Miller is a palliative care expert who has spearheaded a nationwide effort to change the way we approach death and dying. Rather than hospitalization and endless attempts at sustaining life, Miller advocates for a
mindful, human-centered model of care that embraces dying not as a medical event, but a universally shared life experience. On January 22, 2019, BJ Miller came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater to talk with author Pico Iyer.
It has been twenty-five years since Jeff Tweedy founded the seminal alt-country band Wilco. The band still performs together, while Tweedy contributes his talents to other projects too - musical, and now literary, with the
publication of a 2018 memoir, “Let's Go (So We Can Get Back): A Memoir of Recording and Discording with Wilco, Etc.” Tweedy’s newest solo album, “Warm,” is his most personal to date.
On January 11, 2019, Jeff Tweedy came to The Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk
with the writer George Saunders, author of “Lincoln in the Bardo.”
Our guests are activist and scholar Angela Davis, and historian Ibram X. Kendi.
Throughout her lifetime, Angela Davis has been a passionate voice for human rights, working from the position that the battles for African American rights, women’s rights, gay rights, and prisoners’ rights, are interconnected. Dr. Kendi profiled Dr. Davis in his book “Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.”
On January 10, 2019, Angela Davis and Ibram X. Kendi came to the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco, to talk with Jeff Chang about the connections between capitalism, racism and sexism, and ways that activists, and all citizens, can move forward.
James Forman Jr., a legal scholar and author, has devoted his life to fighting institutionalized racism. In his book, “Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America,” Forman writes about the war on crime that began in the 1970s, examining the role that African American judges, prosecutors, and leaders played and how it contributed to the mass incarceration of people of color.
On December 13, 2018, Forman came to The Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to talk with Lara Bazelon, a professor of law at the University of California San Francisco. Join me now for a conversation with James Forman Jr.
This week on City Arts & Lectures, pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris talks about how exposure to violence and stress affects the developing brains and bodies of children - resulting in increased instances of substance dependence, and even heart disease or cancer. Harris is the founder of the Center for Youth Wellness and author of The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity. On December 3, 2018, Nadine Burke Harris came to the Nourse Theater in San Francisco to talk with Indre Viskontas.
Kirsten Gillibrand has represented New York in the US Senate since 2009, where her major accomplishments include leading the effort to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and providing permanent health care and compensation to 9/11 first responders. She talks with KQED’s Marisa Lagos about her time in the Senate, being a mother and a legislator, the MeToo movement, and her new childrens’ book “Bold and Brave” profiling women suffragists.
Our guest is Jonathan Franzen, the author of celebrated novels including “The Corrections” and “Freedom.” On November 27, 2018, Franzen came to the Nourse Theater in San Francisco to read from his new essay collection, “The End of The End of The Earth.” Part social criticism, part personal examination, the essays consider Franzen’s love of birding, his writings and ruminations on climate change, and the underpinnings of family and friendship.
Our guest is comedian Al Madrigal, best known for his role as the "Senior Latino Correspondent" for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, where he helped shed light on racism and anti-immigrant sentiment. The veteran of stand-up comedy has gone on to co-found the podcast network "All Things Comedy". Madrigal currently stars in Showtime’s “I’m Dying Up Here”. He was interviewed at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco by Adam Savage on November 10, 2018.
Peter Sagal, host of NPR’s “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!”, is an accomplished playwright, actor, and now - marathoner, and author of the new book “The Incomplete Book of Running”. Sagal came to the Nourse Theater on November 9, 2018. He talked to Michael Krasny about the work of putting together one of public radio’s most popular humor news programs, as well as his dedication to running.
Eileen Myles is the author of more than twenty books of essays, fiction, and poetry including “Chelsea Girls” and “I Must Be Living Twice.” On November eighth, 2018, Myles came to the Nourse Theater in San Francisco to read from the new poetry collection, “Evolution,”and to talk with Stephen Best about struggling to be a writer in 1970s New York, running for president, and the experimental writing movement New Narrative.
Our guest is Abbi Jacobson, a comedian and author who’s best-known as half of the creative duo behind the series “Broad City” On November 3, 2018, Jacobson came to the Nourse Theater for a conversation with her longtime friend and fellow comedian, D’Arcy Carden. The two talked about friendship, collaboration, and Jacobson’s solo cross-country road trip last year on the heels of a devastating break-up - which forms the basis for her new book “I Might Regret This”.
Does artificial intelligence reflect the biases of those who create it? Can discrimination live on digital platforms and become part of the logic of everyday algorithmic systems? Kate Crawford, co-founder of the AI Now Institute at New York University and an expert on the social impacts of big data, discusses bias in artificial intelligence with Indre Viskontas.
This program presents a gathering of feminist thought leaders to celebrate the publication of Jill Soloway’s book “She Wants It: Desire, Power, and Toppling the Patriarchy.” Soloway is the creator and showrunner of “Transparent” and “I Love Dick”. On October twenty-fifth, 2018, City Arts & Lectures hosted Hannah Gadsby, best-known for her comedy performance “Nanette”, Lili Loofbourow, Susan Stryker, and Faith Soloway, for an evening of comedy, music, debate and conversation, hosted by Jill Soloway, Favianna Rodriguez, and Cara Rose deFabio.
Director, producer, and writer *Barry Jenkins *has received sweeping critical acclaim for his films, which notably depict black and queer experience through a nuanced and expressive lens. His 2016 film Moonlight received the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as the Golden Globe Award for Best Picture — Drama. Jenkins is currently in production on The Underground Railroad, a series based on Colson Whitehead’s novel of the same name, and his forthcoming film, an adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel If Beale Street Could Talk, will be released in late November.
A staff writer for The New Yorker since 1992, Susan Orlean has written with wit and endless curiosity about subjects ranging from umbrella inventors to origami artists, from the figure skater Tonya Harding to treadmill desks, gospel choirs, and taxidermy. She is the author of Rin Tin Tin and The Orchid Thief, which was the basis for the feature film adaptation starring Meryl Streep. In her newest work, The Library Book, Orlean reopens the unsolved mystery of the most catastrophic library fire in American history. Weaving her life-long love of reading with the fascinating history of libraries and the sometimes-eccentric characters who run them, Orlean presents a uniquely compelling story of the legendary Los Angeles Public Library fire, to showcase the crucial role that libraries play in our lives.
Doris Kearns Goodwin’s new book, Leadership in Turbulent Times, is a culmination of five decades of studying American Presidents. Combining her signature storytelling with essential lessons from four of our nation’s presidents—Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson—Goodwin explores their unique journeys to recognize themselves as leaders, the ways in which they navigated adversity, and how they emerged to confront the challenges and contours of their times.
This week, City Arts & Lectures features Michelle Goldberg, Jennine Capó Crucet, and Roxane Gay, all of whom are contributors to the New York Times Op-Ed section. The program includes stand-up comedy, conversation, and a live version of Roxane Gay’s advice column. This co-presentation with The New York
Times was recorded at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco on October 19, 2018, and hosted by Rachel Dry, editor of the Times’ Sunday Review.
In a cultural landscape filled with endless pundits and talking heads, Fran Lebowitz stands out as one of our most insightful social commentators. Often considered heir to the crown of Dorothy Parker, her essays and interviews have been featured in Interview and Mademoiselle. Her books include Metropolitan Life, Social Studies, the children’s book Mr. Chas and Lisa Sue Meets the Pandas, and the novel Exterior Signs of Wealth. Lebowitz has long been a talk show regular, appearing on those hosted by Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, and Bill Maher, among others. Lebowitz lives in New York City. She’s interviewed by Lawrence Rinder, Director and Chief Curator of the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.
Our guest is Sally Field. She got her start acting on TV in situation comedies like “Gidget" and “The Flying Nun”, before doggedly pursuing a career in film at a time when television talent was not always welcome in Hollywood. Against those odds, Field went on to portray dozens of iconic characters, in films including “Steel Magnolias,” “Norma Rae,” and “Lincoln.” Her new memoir is “In Pieces”. On September twenty-eighth, 2018, Sally Field came to the Nourse Theater in San Francisco and talked with Steven Winn about her life and career, and how her love of acting helped her find her way out of a difficult childhood.
This week, Questlove and Boots Riley join us for a conversation about art, activism, and the creative process. Questlove is a founding member of The Roots, a seminal hip hop band out of Philadelphia. Boots Riley is the writer and director of the film Sorry to Bother You and frontman of The Coup, a radical hip-hop band from Oakland. On April twenty-first, 2018, Questlove and Boots Riley were interviewed by Carvell Wallace at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco.