The toast of the literary season is Portland’s book festival, Wordstock. This week we bring you the first of several shows we taped: a bang-up time with three exceptional authors and one song — recorded in front of a packed audience at the Winningstad Theater — that left us starry-eyed.
Peter Ames Carlin on Paul Simon - 1:00
Peter Ames Carlin has written about some of the most iconic musicians of the 20th century: Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson. His new book taps into one of the most complex characters in pop history.
Paul Simon soundtracked the 1960s, together with his soul mate, frenemy and long-time musical partner, Art Garfunkel. But as Carlin’s book “Homeward Bound” shows, Simon’s path is piled with contradictions.
The road to Graceland was strewn with misunderstandings, and the man who gave us some of the sweetest harmonies of the 20th century was not the guy you would want to cross over song royalties.
We also invited Portland singer-songwriter Luz Elena Mendoza, the incredible voice behind the bands Y La Bamba and Tiburones, to interpret Simon’s iconic hits “The Sound of Silence” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” with bandmate Philip Rogers, as well as play an original of her own.
Lindy West - 22:38
How exactly is it Lindy West ended up at the center of so many white-hot flash points in pop culture? She has thought through difficult subjects with rigor, creativity and brio: misogyny in comedy, fat acceptance, trolling on Twitter and more. The celebrated columnist for The Guardian talks to us about her memoir, “Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman,” her roots at Seattle’s alt-weekly The Stranger and how her parents contributed to the fireproofing that lets her fight her battles.
Rivka Galchen - 36:12
The exquisite essays and stories of Rivka Galchen delight readers of the New Yorker magazine, the New York Times and other hot spots. All great writers meet their match, and Galchen nearly hit her own wall four years ago. Her elegantly constructed idea for a book comparing two medieval Japanese women writers was neatly derailed by the birth of her daughter. Onstage at Wordstock, Galchen tells us how she learned to embrace the kind of thoughts she was having in the throes of baby inebriation. The resulting book, “Little Labors,” is a series of short, splendid essays that both speak to and perfectly describe the altered state of maternity.