Tag Archives: The Millions

Just Talking: My “Conversations with …”

30 Dec

So,

 Looking back to the mid-Eighties when I stumbled unto the opportunity to publish a hip downtown magazine  I am not clear on how I fell into the habit/practice of arranging conversations/interviews with contemporary writers, photographers, film directors, cartoonists, poets, painters and all manner of creative individuals. Though it is not exactly an explanation for ‘why’, I have come to look upon this habit, which has persisted these twenty odd years, as a grand post-graduate education.

Many of these confabulations were first published in Stuff magazine before 1998. In 2000, I found a regular niche at the nascent literary magazine (of sorts) Identitytheory. And, over the fullness of time, I  found myself contributing to cultural news venues such as The Morning News, The Millions, The Virginia Quarterly Review on -line, The Daily Beast, and the LA Review of Books among others.

Along the way, some of these countless ( have lost count on how many I have participated in) dialogues have been anthologized (mostly regularly )in the University Press of Mississippi’s “Conversations with…’ series.  These I am proud to list below (click on the name to go to Publisher’s page for each book):

 9781496808912
9781617032868
9781604739633
1578068878
9781617036071
I expect to continue with these gabfests though I  am ruminating on ways to refresh my methodology. So, let’s see what happens…thanks for reading all the way to the bottom
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AUTOBIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR IN 365 PARTS (12.00)

7 Apr
Stupid 'award' from stupid Boston Magazine

Stupid ‘award’ from stupid Boston Magazine

7 April 2015

Spending various of his formative years in a number of the tribal territories of Chicago Robert Birnbaum’s initial journalistic models were the inestimable Mike Royko and celebrity gossip reporter Irv “Kup” Kupcinet. As Birnbaum encountered the complexities of the tainted Viet Nam era,Izzy IF Stone and Hunter Thompson assumed prominent roles as guide posts. After a number of career missteps,Robert began publishing downtown tabloid Stuff magazine. After 15 years in the enviable role as a publisher in a major metropolis, he encountered a few more career missteps and ultimately began squatting on his own 40 acres of the Internet,Our Man In Boston.Among other publications Robert Birnbaum has contributed to are Stuff Magazine, Boston Magazine,Boston Common, The Improper Bostonian, Bark magazine, The Daily Beast, LA Review of Books, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Morning News, The Millions, Identitytheory.

Ever Hear of the Philippine American War?

20 Oct

I am trying to recall if there is another artist like filmmaker-novelist John Sayles—it may be a failure of cultural literacy, I can’t think of one. Maybe you can answer that. Anyway, my second conversation with Sayles is available over at the Millions.

As befits Sayles’s accomplishments our chat is lengthy including some banter about a whole host of peripheral topics (Robert Altman, Tom Cruise, Howard Zinn, gaps in American history etc). And as one might expect there is a fair share of verbiage about his new novel A Moment in The Sun and his latest feature film Amigo

Making films like Amigo requires both bravery and faith that there is an audience for films without special affects, glorification of blood and gore and superfluous sexual scenes and subtitles (in this case half the film is spoken in one of the Philippines’s 113 languages [Tagalog?]) And then there is the story set in the Philippines in 1900 with American troops garrisoned in the countryside.Fast forward to mid 20th century Vietnam and you see the same story reenacted. But then again who knew?

Currently reading The Train of Small Mercies by David Rowell (Putnam)