Episode 53 – How Many Threads Bring Strangers Together? – Authors James Grady and Jerry Stahl

How many threads bring strangers together? In this installment of The Artful Periscope, Larry is joined by James Grady, author of This Train. They discuss his debut book Six Days of the Condor and the experience of having it adapted into a Robert Redford movie, as well as methods for keeping thriller plots interesting and the beauty of train ride landscapes.

After the break, Jerry Stahl joins Larry to discuss his latest work Nein, Nein, Nein!, which recounts Jerry’s two-week bus tour of Holocaust sites. Jerry recounts the ethics of touring the locations of tragedies, his friendship with Anthony Bourdain and the origin of the book’s title.

Episode 52 – How Many Threads Need to Align/Connect to Bring Us to a Journey to Freedom – Author David Goodrich and Rory Vecsey

How many threads need to align to take us on a journey to freedom? In this installment of The Artful Periscope, Larry sits down with David Goodrich to discuss his latest book On Freedom Row. Tracing the remaining landmarks of The Underground Railroad, David embarked on a 3,000 mile bike ride to uncover the hidden heroes and stories of abolition. Larry and David discuss the challenges of embarking on such a long journey as well as the history behind some of his most memorable stops- including the route of Harriet Tubman, the unsung hero John Parker’s frequent trips across the Ohio River and the museum dedicated to legendary blues artist Mississippi John Hurt.

After the break, Rory Vecsey hosts another episode of Rory’s Island in which she discusses the New York Times obituary of the Boston Marathon’s official race dog Spencer and the beautiful relationship between humans and animals.  

Episode 51 – How Many Threads Connect Us to the Past and Present? Author Bronwen McShea and Robert Hofler

How many threats connect the past and present? In this week’s episode of The Artful Periscope, Larry sits down with Dr. Bronwen McShea to discuss her latest biography La Duchesse, which chronicles the forgotten life of Marie de Vignerot—Cardinal Richelieu’s niece and heiress. After years of research, Bronwen hopes to bring attention to Marie’s legacy and the enormous political influence she held in 17th century France. Larry and Bronwen discuss Marie’s relationship with Cardinal Richelieu, her inheritance of Richelieu’s web of contacts and wealth, and the extensive search to uncover her history.

After the break, Larry sits down with Robert Hofler to discuss his book The Way They Were, which chronicles the making of the 1973 film The Way We Were starring Barbara Streisand and Robert Redford. Coinciding with the movie’s 50th anniversary, the book recounts the era of McCarthyism, interpersonal issues on set and the mysterious hour of footage cut from the beginning of the film. 

Episode 50 – How Many Threads Lead Us to Discovery Author Guillermo Martinez and Rory Vecsey

How many threads lead us to discovery? In this edition of the Artful Periscope, Larry virtually visits Argentina to have a chat with Guillermo Martinez, the author of The Oxford Brotherhood. This gripping mystery follows the story of a mathematics student who gets caught up in a scandal involving the life of Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll, a secret society and a series of terrifying murders. While discussing the book, Larry and Guillermo recount Guillermo’s early school experiences with mathematics and chess, the challenges of writing crime fiction and his research into the life of Lewis Carroll.

After the break, Rory Vessey returns with another episode of Rory’s Island. Rory reminiscences about her childhood reading experiences, the struggle to find uninterrupted reading time in today’s electronic world and the importance of keeping the art of the written word alive. 

Episode 49 – How Many Threads Connect the Body and the Mind – James Hibbard

How many threads connect the body and the mind? In this episode of The Artful Periscope, Larry sits down with UCI professional road cyclist and US Cycling team member James Hibbard to discuss his latest book, The Art of Cycling. With a background in both competitive sports and philosophy, Hibbard’s book illuminates the important connection between the body and the mind as well as the journeys that  humans undertake to overcome both external and internal challenges. During their enlightening conversation, Larry and Hibbard discuss the changing philosophical and political landscape of California, the flaws of mind-body dualism, the importance of community in competition, the difficulties of living with depression and the benefits of sports and arts in managing mental health. 

In the second segment, Larry ponders how social media effects peoples lives and uses Tom Brady and his decision to return to football and whether his marriage took a “back seat” to his passion and does an athlete need to be self centered because of the level of devotion and sacrifice of their bodies.

Episode 48 – How Many Threads Take Us to Places That Are Foreign? – Authors Nicholas Dawidoff and Mark Ebner

How many threads take us to places that are foreign? Larry has a chat with author Nicholas Dawidoff regarding his most recent book The Other Side of Prospect: A Story of Violence. After eight years of research, over five hundred interviews and many trips to Nicholas’s hometown of New Haven in Connecticut, The Other Side of Prospect recounts the wrongful arrest of Bobby Johnson and illuminates the complicated history of race and financial inequality in the community.

After the break, Larry interviews Mark Ebner, co-author of the book Off the Deep End which recounts the complicated relationship between luxury hotel pool boy Giancarlo Granda and Becki Falwell, wife of evangelical preacher Jerry Falwell Jr. Larry and Ebner discuss the ethics of personal responsibility, the corruption of Liberty University and the interview between The Falwells and Vanity Fair.  The episode wraps up with a new installment of Rory’s Island, in which Rory Vecsey discusses her own experiences with the legal system and the potential barriers that disenfranchised groups face. 

Episode 47 – How Many Threads are Woven to Create and Execute a Play: “Eleanor and Alice”

How many threads are woven to created and execute a Play.  After attending the play Eleanor and Alice, Larry is joined by the playwright Ellen Abrams, Director Frances Hill, Actress Trezana Beverly (who plays Eleanor Roosevelt), and Mary Bacon (who plays Alice Roosevelt).  The play is in 8 acts and follows these two iconic wives through the 20th century.

Larry discusses what it is like to see a person’s written word come to life on the stage, the thought process of the actors, whether there is a rhythm to both writing and acting and why  this play is rather unique (which is based in fact but is written in the spirit of history).

If you are interested in attending this amazing play by visiting https://urbanstages.org/eleanorandalice/.

Episode 46 – How Many Threads Connect Puffs of Smoke? Author and Federal Prosecutor Lis Wiehl

How many threads connect puffs of smoke? In this week’s episode of The Artful Periscope, Larry interviews legal analyst and federal prosecutor Lis Wiehl, who sheds light on the shadowy life of FBI spy Robert Hanssen while discussing her new book A Spy in Plain Sight. Wiehl discusses the experience of growing up as the daughter of an FBI agent and how her career as a lawyer influenced her style as an author.

Then the conversation shifts to Robert Hanssen, who is often referred to as “The Unabomber of the FBI” due to the twenty-year hunt to find him. Wiehl analyzes Hanssen’s convincing cover as a devout Catholic, his relationship with his wife Bonnie, his ability to effectively compartmentalize different facets of his duplicitous life, his narcissistic pursuit for accolades that drove him to sell information to Russia and the ultimate reveal of his spy activity. 



Episode 45 – How does the writer weave the threads to tell their story? Authors Peter Blauner and Vona Groarke

How does the writer weave the threads to tell their story? In this installment of the podcast, Larry sits down with author and friend of the podcast, Peter Blauner.  Peter and Larry discusses his latest book Picture in the Sand. Blauner discusses his research into the political situation of 1950s Egypt (and the surprising connection to the filming of The Ten Commandments), his interview with the remaining relatives of legendary director Cecil B. DeMille and his decision to frame the narrative as a grandfather telling his recollections of his immigration to America to dissuade his grandson from joining an anti-American group. 

After the break, Larry conducts a virtual interview with Irish author Vona Groarke about her book Hereafter: The Telling Life of Ellen O’Hara  , a fictionalized biography of her great grandmother. Groarke goes into detail about the disappointing lack of information about her grandmother and the process of reconstructing her story based on the breadcrumbs of data she did find as well as her research into lives of Irish immigrants in 1880s New York. 

Episode 44 – How Many Threads Are Hidden in the World of Intelligence – Alma Katsu Red London

How many threads are hidden in the world of intelligence.  In this installment of the podcast, Larry has an insightful conversation with the author of Red London, Alma Katsu.  Larry inquires about Alma’s past employment working in the shadow world of United States intelligence gathering, how the war in Ukraine effected her creative process mid stream and the challenge of “self isolation” when writing.  Larry ponders whether there will be further works entitled “Red Moscow” or “Red Square” and if the character Lindsey Duncan could be an interesting character in a movie or television adaptation.  Taking the topic of the book and speculating about current events, Alma and Larry discuss oligarchs and who really controls modern Russa and what role is China attempting to play in the mix.  Larry explores the world of NDAs and how Alma’s role in her previous profession effects  the publishing of her fictional works.

Alma Kastu on Twitter