Do you ever get the feeling that everyone's reading all the same books and listening to all the same music, and seeing all the same films? Maybe there's a reason why. New York and Los Angeles account for only a fraction of landmass when it comes to the continental United States. But together, they drive the culture consumption of the nation. But what about the rest of the country, the fold in the map? This hour, artists and critics speak out about creating in the fly-over zone.
As the Books Editor of Paste Magazine, Charles McNair cares deeply about what we read. But McNair is concerned that we're only reading a handful of the artists available to us, thanks to what he calls a kind of geographic hegemony of taste-making. In other words - we're all reading the same books because a handful of respected critics on the East and West coasts tell us to.
Lesley Kagen was a Milwaukee girl. But she blew off Wisconsin for the bright lights of LA, where she lived for 10 years. But despite the lures of California, something about Milwaukee kept calling her home.
Stephen Thompson is the founder of the A.V. Club, the arts section of the satirical newspaper, "The Onion," originally based in Madison, Wisconsin. Thompson eventually left Madison for Washington DC, to work at NPR as an editor and reviewer at NPR Music. In this interview, Thompson tells Steve Paulson about the forces that drew "The Onion" staff to New York, and what it means to be an artist in the Heartland.
Michael Perry is proud to be a Wisconsin writer. He writes with humor and grace about his life there in the books, "Population: 485," and "Truck: A Love Story." So, what's life like, as a writer from the Midwest?
Marilynne Robinson is from Idaho, although she's spent years of her life on the East Coast. The Western character is something Robinson has never let go of, it still informs her life and her writing today.