When did you know that you wanted to be a comedian?
I knew I wanted to be a comedian from a very young age, I’d say about ten or 11 years old. I thought comedy was a very noble and impressive thing to do. I’d watch comics on TV and think to myself, these guys really have a handle on things, they’re on top of it. I finally went on stage for the first time during my sophomore year of college.
And how did things evolve from there?
In 1984, I spent the summer in Boston doing open mics and drinking, it was pretty brutal. After that summer, I was pretty annihilated by the heartbreak of the whole thing—the insanity of the lifestyle—so when I went back to school in 1985, I put comedy on the shelf for a while. And then when I graduated in ’87, I moved to Los Angeles and became a doorman at The Comedy Store in LA. From ’87 on, that was it. The whole point of life was comedy.
Your life has changed profoundly since you started “WTF With Marc Maron,” what has your podcast meant to you?
I've found that this is a medium that affords me a lot of freedom. It allows me to speak my mind and move through feelings and thoughts without anybody monitoring me. The show is also not about getting laughs which adds another element of freedom. It's nice to see the effects that these conversations seem to have on others, the help and company it provides for people. And of course it's raised people's awareness of me and given me a bit of a career.
What are some of your favorite episodes?
I find most of them to be surprising and good. But the ones in which something was really dealt with are always fulfilling. Norm McDonald, Judd Apatow, and Conan O’Brien were all big ones. Mel Brooks was a very exciting one.
Who would you like to have on the show that you haven’t yet?
There’s an ever-evolving list, but, Iggy Pop, Bob Newhart, Will Ferrell, David O’Russell…
Because you’re so forthcoming about your own issues (drug addiction, career anxieties, relationships, etc.), it seems like you can always get to deeper places with your guests than they expect, even if they know you. Have you always been this open and vulnerable?
I have always been sensitive and a bit needy even as a kid. I wanted to be seen and heard. But I used to be a lot more aggravated and bitter. I frame my conversations from a different place now. I’ve grown. I wasn’t always like I am now, but I pretty much always needed attention.
You’ve become a sort of paternal figure in the ever-expanding podcast community, but does it ever annoy you that everybody has a podcast now since you were one of the original guys?
I mean I carved a place out, but I didn’t invent people talking to each other on microphones. It’s just like anything else – there’s a million comics out there and a million podcasts, is it a personal attack on me? No. Do you want to feel special? Yeah. Am I one of many now as opposed to one of a few? Yeah. But just because another podcast shows up doesn’t mean anyone is going to listen to mine less.
Your book of personal essays, Attempting Normal, comes out on April 30th. You reveal so much in your podcast, are there things in the book that your fans will still be surprised to learn about you?
There are some things that people will kind of have an idea about and other things that I haven’t talked about before. But writing is a different animal. The medium changes the way the stories are told.
Your new TV show, Maron, premieres on May 3rd on IFC. What will it be like?
It’s a slightly heightened and fictionalized version of the life I am living now. Every element of my life is involved in the show. Celebrities will be playing themselves as guests on the podcast, there will be stories about my dad, the business, household problems, dating, everything. We got a lot of great people to come on the show. We’re going to have Mark Duplass, Dave Foley, Jeff Garlin, Bobcat Goldthwait, Ken Jeong, Andy Kindler, Dennis Leary, Aubrey Plaza.
How does it feel after all of the ups and downs to be finally getting your own show at 49?
By the time I started the podcast, I’d really given up on the idea of ever having these opportunities. The podcast was a hail mary pass, it was a desperate act to continue working and being viable. I thought I was washed up and that my career was done. The fact that this has all happened and happened in the way that it has feels great and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to act and write in the way that I get to now. I would like to do it more, and continue to make better and better things. It’s all really exciting, who knows what will happen, but I think what we did is pretty astounding and I feel good about it.
What does a typical day look like for you?
It never stops really. I try to interview for the podcast as often as I can. I gotta prep for those, and then I gotta talk to people like you. This morning I went and met with directors, then I went to therapy, I have two interviews later, I am going to look at a new house I might buy, then I have to set aside time for things like Twitter. It never ends.
Photo: Max S. Gerber
Last night, a herd of 30 wonderfully shaggy horses galloped through Grand Central Terminal. It was a private viewing of the artist Nick Cave’s “Heard NY,” a performance that has startled, then engaged and finally enthralled untold numbers of New Yorkers all week long. Presented by Creative Time and MTA Arts for Transit to celebrate Grand Central’s centennial, the twice-daily performances (11:00am and 2:00pm through Sunday, March 31), feature dancers from the Ailey School dressed in Cave’s signature mixed-media Soundsuits, noisemaking costumes that he has been producing since 1993 using raffia, feathers, and even human hair. As they romp about Vanderbilt Hall, the colorful raffia makes a delightful whooshing chime, like wind passing over tall grass. “Originally, we wanted to have the horses sort of grazing all day long,” explained Anne Pasternak, the president of Creative Time. “But the suits are very heavy, and it would’ve been too exhausting to wear them that long.” As a result, each 15-minute performance has been mobbed; Pasternak advises arriving half an hour early to get a good view. “People of all ages have been going out of their minds with excitement,” she said. “It’s hard enough getting New Yorkers to stop and engage. This is just amazing to me.”
What: The Cinema Society's premiere of The Host, the latest science fiction flick from Twilight creator, Stephanie Meyer.
When: Wednesday, March 27th
Who: Cast members Saoirse Ronan (who looked appropriately otherworldly in a Technicolor aquatic-print Proenza Schouler frock), Max Irons, and Diane Kruger were on hand to celebrate. "I am a big big Sci-Fi fan," Kruger confessed. "I have definitely walked the halls of Comic Con in a Darth Vader mask."
From left: Olivier Theyksens and Jamie Bouchert; Diane Kruger and Joshua Jackson
Where: Tribeca Grand hotel's cozy screening room, where Olivier Theyksens and model Jamie Bouchert chatted with friends before taking their seats. Post-screening, the group migrated to The Jimmy on the rooftop of the James Hotel.
Why: The film certainly begs comparisons to Meyer's epic trilogy. "It is similar to Twilight in that it deals with complicated love—almost forbidden love—and people's wants and desires being pushed and pulled from them," explained Ronan. "There's always a problem—it's never simple!" When vampires and aliens are involved, that certainly rings true.
Photos: Patrick McMullan
Sam Gilliam may have fallen into the shadows of the contemporary art world these days, but in the 60s and 70s the African American painter was at the forefront of the Color Field movement, pushing the limits of his medium. He did away with easel stretchers, preferring to drape huge canvases like laundry on a line. Similarly, he freed up the rigid lines of Color Field painting, allowing his colorful abstract shapes to interact more freely. His innovations felt organic, progressive, and open-ended—not unlike the civil rights changes taking place during the era, which other black artists chose to confront in more explicit ways. (The artist David Hammons used chains in his work, for example.) Gilliam’s formalist dialogue with the politics of the times has always resonated with the 35-year old artist Rashid Johnson, whose work often deals directly with issues of black identity. And it was Johnson who curated an exhibition featuring works from Gilliam’s early, fruitful period that opens tonight at David Kordansky Gallery in L.A.
Sam Gilliam: Hard-Edge Paintings is on view at David Kordansky, 3143 S. La Cienaga Blvd., Los Angeles, through May 11.
Image: courtesy of the artist and David Kordansky Gallery
Photo: Adam Katz Sinding
In his new book, Whitewash, photographer Nicholas Alan Cope assembles seven years’ worth of his work documenting the cityscape of L.A.—not that you’d be able to recognize it as such. His black and white photos of modernist buildings around the city zoom in almost to the point of abstraction on structural shapes and details, stripping away the surrounding streetscape until all that’s left is a giant stucco triangle, an expanse of white tile, or a concrete volume that casts cool geometric shadows back down onto the façade below. L.A. enthusiasts will find few clues as to the identities of these anonymous buildings in the book’s captions, which merely list the neighborhood and year of each shot; if Cope’s dayjob working similar magic on perfume boxes and lipstick cases ever hits a lull, he could always consider hosting walking tours. Then again, the book is a testament to the fact that seen through the right lens, what’s likely to be fairly mundane in real life can appear to be monumental.
Since it first opened in 2009 in a rickety old townhouse on Bond Street, the Smile has served as the neighborhood haunt for downtown’s art and fashion crowd—a distinction that has a much to do with the restaurant’s warm, genial vibe, as it does Melia Marden’s cooking. Described by the 32 year-old chef as “Manhattan Mediterranean,” the fare consists of simple, seasonal comfort food, rooted in the flavors of Morocco and Greece, where the Marden family (her parents are the painters Brice Marden and Helen Marden) has spent nearly every summer. On April 2, Marden will release her first cookbook Modern Mediterranean (Abrams-Stewart, Tabori & Chang), an intimate, easy-to-follow guide for making such mouthwatering recipes as minted snap peas, pomegranate and goat cheese pizza, Moroccan meatballs, fish stew (currently, her favorite dish to cook at home), and pears poached in Greek wine. It also includes old family snapshots, fond food memories, and suggested menus, such as “Spring Dinner,” a feast of fava bean crostini, rosemary pork chops, grilled asparagus, and rhubarb crumble that we can’t wait to serve up.
Photo: courtesy of the subject
Zoe Kravitz and Lisa Bonet
On the jewelry collection:
Kravitz: I wanted to make pieces that you could mix with your own jewelry, things like what you might find at a flea market—special and trinket-y. I was inspired by places I want to visit and that feel vibrant to me, like Morocco and India. And also Native American jewelry.
Bonet: I don’t think I could have visualized what she did but when I see it, it makes perfect sense. She remains pretty well adorned, but there’s never a sense of trying. And I think that’s true with this jewelry when you wear it. It will look beautiful, but like you’re not trying too hard. I think there’s a warmth and a soul there and I look at and it feels familiar.
On Kravitz’s childhood style:
Kravitz: I remember when I was a kid I would throw tantrums if I wasn’t wearing what I wanted to wear. But I think dress-up was always my favorite game to play. I would dress up like an elf or like a princess. I was always playing dress-up when I left the house and I think I still kind of do that. And now I’m dressing up like an Alexander Wang model.
Bonet: When she was younger I could put her, of course, in whatever I wanted to and then there was a certain point of rebellion. Personally, I don’t remember her rebelling THAT much against my more whimsical and all vintage choices. [I dressed her] like the Little Rascals.
On Kravitz stealing from Bonet’s closet:
Kravitz: All the time. More now than I did when I was younger. Because I feel like now we really understand each other’s style. Now she gives me awesome pieces from the 80s that she doesn’t wear anymore and I’m like, Score! She’ll give me an old tattered dress and be like, ‘You can wear it once, wear it well, dance in it until it falls apart.’
Bonet: When she comes to Los Angeles, because we live in different parts of the world, it’s very easy for her to go into my closet and borrow whatever she wants.
On Bonet stealing from Kravitz’s closet:
Kravitz: I don’t think that happens very often. She has her thing and she’s set.
Bonet: When I’m here if I need something, for sure. We have very similar tastes, so we’ve walked out of stores with the same thing, for sure.
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Photos: Sherly Rabbani & Josephine Solimene