Virtual Memories Show 289:
Nora Krug

“The decision to make this book was the excuse to finally ask questions of my family.”

With the brand-new visual memoir Belonging: A German Reckons with History and Home (Scribner), writer/illustrator Nora Krug explores her family’s history in World War II and her own struggles with her identity as a German expat in America. We get into the meaning of Heimat and why her questions arose when she was living outside of Germany, the challenges of telling the story without devaluing the Holocaust itself (thanks, Jewish beta-readers, incl. Nora’s husband!), the pendulum swing of collective guilt, the failings of German’s education system to address the war, and whether certain books should be banned (and what happened the time she tried reading Mein Kampf on the subway). We also get into the process of editing her life and her discoveries into a narrative without eliding the truth, how Belonging/Heimat has been received in Germany, writing it in English, and the detective work that went into making the book. Plus, we talk about her visual storytelling style, teaching art at Parsons, why she doesn’t keep a sketchbook (but doesn’t tell her students that), and the German stereotypes she does and doesn’t live up to (she’s getting better at small talk!). Give it a listen! And go buy Belonging: A German Reckons with History and Home!

“A lot of Germans in my generation feel like everything has already been said about the war. But in reality the war is so embedded in their consciousness.”

“The whole research process was an internal struggle of trying to test the limits of my empathy for the decisions that my grandfather made.”

Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes!

Lots of ways to follow The Virtual Memories Show! iTunes, Spotify, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and RSS!

About our Guest

Nora Krug is a German-American author and illustrator whose drawings and visual narratives have appeared in publications including The New York Times, The Guardian, Le Monde diplomatique and A Public Space, and in anthologies published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Simon and Schuster and Chronicle Books. She is a recipient of fellowships from Fulbright, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the Maurice Sendak Foundation, and the German Academic Exchange Service. Her books are included in the Library of Congress and the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University. Her illustrations have been recognized with three gold medals from the Society of Illustrators and a silver cube from the New York Art Directors Club, while her visual biography, Kamikaze, about a surviving Japanese WWII pilot, was included in Houghton Mifflin’s Best American Comics and Best Non-Required Reading. Nora’s work has been exhibited internationally, and her animations were shown at the Sundance Film Festival. She is the author of the visual memoir Belonging: A German Reckons with History and Home (foreign edition title Heimat), about WWII and her own German family history. She is an associate professor in the Illustration Program at the Parsons School of Design in New York City.

Credits: This episode’s music is Fella by Hal Mayforth, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded at Ms. Krug’s home on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 Microphones feeding into a Zoom H5 digital recorder. But we had an equipment failure, so I used the backup Zoom H2n recorder. I recorded the intro and outro on a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Cloudlifter CL-1 and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Photos of Ms. Krug by me. It’s on my instagram.

Virtual Memories Show 286: Moby

“I love making music, but I don’t think of it as a job anymore.”

Electronic dance musician Moby joins the show to talk about what he learned from writing his memoirs and what he learned from reading bad ones. We get into the toughest/most embarrassing story he had to tell, the banality of turning 50, the benefits of public failure, the pros and cons of the infinite jukebox, his take on contemporary pop music, his decision to sell off most of his recording equipment and his records, the two things he would save if he had a house fire, his favorite Star Trek captain, and a lot more! Give it a listen! And go buy Porcelain: A Memoir and Moby’s new record, Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt!

“My assumptions have always been that things are not great and there’s nothing to indicate they’re going to get better. So even when things are good, I still assume that it’s a fluke or a delusion on my part.”

“The oddest thing about aging is becoming who you never thought you’d become.”

“What combination of free time and narcissism compels someone to write two memoirs when they haven’t done that much?”

Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes!

Lots of ways to follow The Virtual Memories Show! iTunes, Spotify, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and RSS!

About our Guest

Moby is a singer-songwriter, musician, DJ, and photographer. His records have sold 20 million records worldwide. AllMusic called him “one of the most important dance music figures of the early ’90s.” He lives in Los Angeles.

Credits: This episode’s music is Fella by Hal Mayforth, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded at Moby’s home on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 Microphones feeding into a Zoom H5 digital recorder. I recorded the intro and outro on a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Cloudlifter CL-1 and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Photos of Moby by me. It’s on my instagram.

Virtual Memories Show 283:
Robert Andrew Parker

“In recent years I’ve been intrigued by the idea of what Gregor Samsa’s dreams were like, before he woke up as an insect.”

At 91 years old, Robert Andrew Parker can’t stop making art. We sat down in his studio to talk about his 7-decade career in painting, illustration and printmaking. We talk about how a childhood bout of TB led to his becoming an artist, how he studied under German refugees at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, the challenges of keeping his fine art career running parallel with his commercial illustration career all these decades, how he got hired as Kirk Douglas’ hands in the Vincent Van Gogh biopic Lust for Life, his fascination with Kafka and the Metamorphosis, how he got started playing drums and how he felt about 4 of his 5 sons growing up to be drummers. We also talk about the worst part of his macular degeneration (hint: it involves books), why he prefers watercolors to oils, his favorite places when he traveled the world on magazine assignments, his profane correspondence with Thomas Berger (and a funny exchange with Nabokov), his astonishing “German Humor” series and why it had to be etched and not painted, how he nearly burned down a barn with nitric acid while prepping plates, why art agents and dealers need to be realists (but have a sense of humor), touring the Dardanelles with Edward Herrmann, and much more. Give it a listen!

And check out a bunch of pix in my Instagram feed:

“In Africa I saw everything I ever wanted to see, in terms of animals and landscapes. And the aromas, the smells, and the thousands of miles of fields: it was heavenly.”

“My wife has a computer, but I’m literally not welcome in that room.”

Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes!

Lots of ways to follow The Virtual Memories Show! iTunes, Spotify, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and RSS!

About our Guest

Robert Andrew Parker is an American artist known for both his paintings and prints of figures, landscapes, and animals. Parker has produced set designs for operas and films, as well as illustrations for many children’s books during the course of his career. “Robert Andrew Parker is one of the most accurate and at the same time most unliteral of painters,” the poet Marianne Moore wrote of him, adding, “He combines the mystical and the actual, working both in an abstract and a realistic way.” Born in Norfolk, VA in 1927, he went on to study at the Art Institute of Chicago during the late 1950s. After finishing school, he was recruited to play the role of Vincent van Gogh’s hands in the 1956 MGM film Lust for Life, though his hands never ended up in the finished film, he was able to live lavishly in the South of France during the production.Parker lives and works in Connecticut. Today, the artist’s works are held in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago, among others.

Credits: This episode’s music is Fella by Hal Mayforth, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded at Mr. Parker’s studio on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 Microphones feeding into a Zoom H5 digital recorder. I recorded the intro and outro on a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Cloudlifter CL-1 and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Photos of Mr. Parker and his studio by me. It’s on my instagram.

Virtual Memories Show 282:
Lance Richardson

“We focus so much on the people on the stage, we forget about the people in the wings who help them get there. I wanted to write a book about the people in the wings.”

House of Nutter: The Rebel Tailor of Savile Row tells the story of two brothers who grew up above a trucker cafe in Wales and managed to achieve glamorous heights in London and New York. Author Lance Richardson joins the show to talk about telling a queer history in Nutters’ clothing, the realization that he’d struck gold with Tommy and David Nutter’s lives, his education in tailoring, Savile Row culture and the transformation on London in the ’60s, the impact of AIDS and survivor’s guilt, the professionalization of celebrity, and the joy of getting a bespoke jacket from Tommy’s cutter. We also talk about Lance’s upbringing in rural Australia, his culture shock about America’s bureaucracy and healthcare system, the blessing and curse of being a generalist of a writer, scaling up his reporting skills for full-length non-fiction writing, his next project (a big bio of Peter Matthiessen), the time he accidentally stalked Julianne Moore, the question of whether The Paris Review was a crutch for George Plimpton, and the reading list he had to build for himself as a youth, and more! Give it a listen! And go buy House of Nutter: The Rebel Tailor of Savile Row!

“There are so many stories that were lost because of the AIDS epidemic, and I saw an opportunity to restore at least one of them.”

“The ‘I’ in a book isn’t about the writer; it’s about creating a space for the reader to inhabit.”

Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes!

Lots of ways to follow The Virtual Memories Show! iTunes, Spotify, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and RSS!

About our Guest

Lance Richardson has written for numerous publications, including The Guardian, New York, The Atlantic, Slate, The New Yorker (online), The Sydney Morning Herald, and several international iterations of GQ. He holds a masters degree in longform journalism from the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, NYU. Originally from Australia, he now lives in New York. His first book is House of Nutter: The Rebel Tailor of Savile Row.

Credits: This episode’s music is Fella by Hal Mayforth, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded at Mr. Richardson’s home on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 Microphones feeding into a Zoom H5 digital recorder. I recorded the intro and outro on a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Cloudlifter CL-1 and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Photos of Mr. Richardson by me. It’s on my instagram.

Virtual Memories Show 281:
Bill Plympton

“I wish I could make more money on my films, but I love having complete control.”

Indie animation legend Bill Plympton joins the show to talk about his first short (the Oscar-nominated Your Face), his latest feature (Revengeance), and everything in between! We talk about his indie ethos, the economics of animation and the benefits of Kickstarter, collaborating for the first time, launching the Trump Bites series of animated shorts and how they dovetail with his early career as a political cartoonist, his dream project (it involves Beatles music), his influence on generations of animators and artists, and how he discovered his hatching-sketchy style. Bill also gets into sticking with pencil and paper, falling in love with NYC 50 years ago and taking inspiration from it ever since, starting a family a little late and changing the work-life balance, giving career advice to young animators, and ripping off his idols. Give it a listen! And go catch Revengeance!

“For Revengeance, the first project I ever did with someone else, it was a holiday, a lot of fun.”

“Yellow Submarine showed me you didn’t have to do Disney to make a feature film.”

Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes!

Lots of ways to follow The Virtual Memories Show! iTunes, Spotify, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and RSS!

About our Guest

Bill Plympton is considered the “King of Indie Animation,” and is the first person to hand draw an entire animated feature film. Bill moved to New York City in 1968 and began his career creating cartoons for publications such as The New York Times, National Lampoon, Playboy and Screw.

In 1987, he was nominated for an Oscar® for his animated short, “Your Face“. In 2005, Bill received another Oscar® nomination, this time for his short film “Guard Dog. “Push Comes To Shove” won the prestigious Cannes 1991 Palme d’Or; and in 2001, another short film, “Eat”, won the Grand Prize for Short Films in Cannes Critics’ Week.

After producing many shorts that appeared on MTV and Spike and Mike’s, he turned his talent to feature films. Since 1991, he’s made eleven feature films. Eight of them, “The Tune”, “Mondo Plympton”, “I Married A Strange Person”, “Mutant Aliens”, “Hair High”, “Idiots and Angels”, “Cheatin’” and the new “Revengeance” are animated features.

Bill Plympton has also collaborated with Madonna, Kanye West, and Weird Al Yankovic in a number of music videos and book projects. In 2006, he received the Winsor McCay Lifetime Achievement Award from The Annie Awards.

Credits: This episode’s music is Fella by Hal Mayforth, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded at Plymptoon Studios on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 Microphones feeding into a Zoom H5 digital recorder. I recorded the intro and outro on a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Cloudlifter CL-1 and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Photos of Mr. Plympton by me. On my instagram.