Cory Doctorow and David Pescovitz engaged a rapt audience with their fast-moving conversation on the state of copyright and creative success in the digital age. Cory eloquently and elegantly discussed the pitfalls and opportunities creative industries are facing today—about how the old models have failed or found new footing, and about what might soon replace them. His new book, Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free, is an essential read for anyone with a stake in the future of the arts.
From his unconventional ‘hidden’ introduction intro of Arts & Ideas Director Barbara Lane to his hysterical ruminations on high fat ice cream, Bob Odenkirk was in brilliant quirky form. Video clips included Breaking Bad’s Saul Goodman, Charles Manson as a dog, and a phantom Abraham Lincoln…and if that doesn’t make sense, well, you just have to listen.
What a wonderful way to start off the 2014 Fall Arts & Ideas season! James Beard award winning writer Rowan Jacobsen captivated an audience of food enthusiasts, home cooks and local farmers with a delightful hour dedicated to apples. Who knew there were over 7,000 varieties in America? Hear Rowan speak and read his beautiful Apples of Uncommon Character and you’ll never eat a mealy Red Delicious again.
Alfie Kohn made many parents feel less guilty about hovering over their children, saying there’s little proof that such parenting hurts kids and even some that say it’s beneficial. Kohn also decried what he perceives as a “right wing conservative” bias against hyper-involved parenting and gave a strong endorsement for progressive education.
Natural perfumer Mandy Aftel kept a crowd riveted with stories about the origins, lore and sensibilities of five key scents (cinnamon, mint, frankincense, ambergris, jasmine), while her friend Daniel Patterson (Coi) brought out wonderful, unexpected connections between them and other aromas. The experience was augmented by scent strips. A fascinating, fun, and sensual evening.
Modern Family show runner Steven Levitan took the audience behind the scenes of his Emmy-award-winning sitcom, showing clips not only from the show but also home movies that inspired several episodes. It was an evening filled with laughter and affection for the multi-generational unconventional gay/straight/Asian/Latino family that has won the hearts of TV watchers everywhere.
Cognitive Scientist Steven Pinker is one of the world’s leading authorities on language, mind, and human nature. His latest book is The Sense of Style, which looks at writing in the 21st Century and why good writing is so difficult. His lecture was witty and irreverent, and included some great examples of classic prose. One explanation for why academic writing is sometimes gobbled is what he calls the Curse of Knowledge, or, when you know something, it’s hard to imagine what it’s like for someone not to know it.
Actor, writer, and Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi took a break from filming his HBO series The Brink to sit down with comedian Rajiv Satyal to discuss his new memoir No Land’s Man and what is was like growing up Indo-British-Muslim-American. From start to finish, they had the audience rolling. Great audience, great rapport, great evening.
David Bezmozgis sat down with Zoetrope: All Story’s editor Michael Ray to talk about his latest book The Betrayers, and offer his insights into contemporary Israel, Zionism, and the nature of the connection between Ashkenazi Jews and the lands of the former Soviet Unions. As The Betrayers completes the trilogy that began with Natasha, it was particularly fitting that Michael Ray conducted the interview, as All Story was the first journal to publish David ten year ago. Definitely a very special, full circle moment.