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Matthew Specktor, one of the founding editors of the Los Angeles Review of Books, joins Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher to discuss his newest book, Always Crashing in the Same Car: On Art, Crisis, and Los Angeles, California. A memoir and cultural history, Always Crashing explores the work and lives of writers, actors, directors, and musicians who straddle the line between success and anonymity, and whose careers, though majestic, still leave questions about what might have been had circumstances or, in many cases, their temperaments, been different. These include the screenwriters Eleanor Perry and Carole Eastman, the novelist Thomas McGuane, the actress Tuesday Weld, and the filmmaker Hal Ashby. The book questions notions of both success and failure, especially as filtered through the distorted prism of Hollywood. It also touches on Matthew’s own experiences growing up and later working in the film industry, his mother’s brief turn as a screenwriter, and his father’s more abiding success as a talent agent. A native of Los Angeles, Matthew draws a vivid portrait of the city, with both love and disdain.

Also, Jeanetta Rich, whose first collection of poems, Black Venus Fly Trap, was released in June, drops by to recommend Federico García Lorca’s play Blood Wedding.