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Now What? With Carole Zimmer

Conversations with extraordinary people about their lives and how they navigate all the bumps in the road.
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Now displaying: Page 1
Jun 11, 2024

Gail Godwin has written 18 books. Many of her novels were best sellers including Evensong. Three of them were finalists for the National Book Award. Her book Grief Cottage features a boy who has a relationship with a ghost. Godwin says she herself has seen ghosts. When she was a reporter, an apparition dressed in a medical uniform used to visit her in the middle of the night. Godwin’s new book is a memoir. It opens with the story of how the writer, who’s 87, went into her back yard to water her dogwood tree, wound up falling on her face and breaking her neck. We talk about how curiosity saved her in her darkest moments. “Now What?” is produced with help from Steve Zimmer, Lucy Little and Jackie Schwartz. Audio production is by Nick Ciavatta.

May 28, 2024

Writer Jhumpa Lahiri grew up in Rhode Island after her family emigrated from India when she was a toddler. Her first language was Bengali and she spoke English in school. When she was 32, Lahiri won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her first book Interpreter of Maladies. It was an honor but it also put a lot of pressure on her as a writer. Then Lahiri fell in love with the Italian language and when she moved to Rome, she discovered a kind of freedom. Now, Lahiri writes her books in Italian. Her latest work of fiction is called Roman Stories. We talk about identity, culture and what it’s like to live between 2 different worlds. “Now What?” is produced with the help of Steve Zimmer, Lucy Little and Jackie Schwartz. Audio production is by Nick Ciavatta.

May 14, 2024

What’s it like to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars a year working as the personal assistant to the billionaire founder of a famous hedge fund? Pretty tough according to writer Carrie Sun. Sun’s memoir Private Equity tells the story of working 24/7, being at the beck and call of a demanding boss and feeling so stressed that she developed an eating disorder. There are also the perks like a $2500 gift certificate to Soul Cycle, a Derek Lam coat worth $6,000, surfing trips to Montauk and a bird’s eye view of the world of the ultra-rich. We talk about what you owe your job, how that fits with your personal values and what to do when you feel you’re wasting your life. “Now What?” is produced with the help of Steve Zimmer, Lucy Little and Jackie Schwartz. Audio production is by Nick Ciavatta.

Apr 30, 2024

Frank Bruni used to be a restaurant critic for the New York Times. Now, he’s a Contributing  Opinion writer for the paper and a Professor of Journalism and Public Policy at Duke University. Bruni has written a book called The Age of Grievance about what’s going on in Trump World and the MAGA Universe. One of his theories is that the people who are the most furious feel they’re losing because someone else is winning. We talk about the erosion of democracy in our country and why so many people seem to be so ticked off. “Now What?” is produced with the help of Steve Zimmer, Lucy Little and Jackie Schwartz. Audio production is by Nick Ciavatta.

Apr 16, 2024

You may know him from his role as Murray Bauman in Stranger Things and as Martin in the BBC comedy Fleabag. Brett Gelman has dreamed of being a famous actor since he was a child growing up in Highland Park, Illinois, where he wanted to make the other kids laugh and wound up feeling like an outcast. Gelman has written about his childhood and his neuroses in a book called The Terrifying Realm of the Possible. He’s run into problems publicizing the book after making impassioned speeches about his support for Israel in the conflict with Gaza.  Get ready for a heated discussion (and laughs). “Now What?” is produced with the help of Steve Zimmer, Lucy Little and Jackie Schwartz. Audio production is by Nick Ciavatta.

Apr 2, 2024

Bill Bradley is one of those wildly talented people, a star athlete with a brilliant mind. He went to Princeton University where he was the 1965 NCAA champion of the year. Then it was on to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. But basketball still called to him and he joined the New York Knicks, playing on the dream team which won two NBA championships. After life on the court, Bradley decided to try politics and was elected to the U.S. Senate from New Jersey where he served three terms. Bradley has made a film about the many chapters of his life called Rolling Along.  “Now What? is produced with help from Steve Zimmer, Lucy Little and Jackie Schwartz. Audio production is by Nick Ciavatta.

Mar 19, 2024

As a child, Ed Begley Jr. watched his dad act in films like Sweet Bird of Youth, a role that earned him an Oscar. His father’s career inspired the younger Begley to go into acting where he has appeared in hundreds of films and TV shows including Better Call Saul and Young Sheldon. In his twenties. Ed Begley, Jr. drank too much and abused drugs. Addiction is now in his past. Begley is also a passionate environmentalist. He took public transportation to the Oscars ceremony which his daughter Hayden filmed and posted on Tik Tok where it’s gotten more than 6 million views. “Now What?” is produced with the help of Steve Zimmer, Lucy Little and Jackie Schwartz. Audio production is by Nick Ciavatta.

Mar 5, 2024

Lucy Sante is a well-known author and critic who has written more than 10 books. Her latest is the memoir l Heard Her Call My Name. It’s the first book she’s written under the name Lucy. Lucy started out life with the name Luke. At the age of 67, she decided to fulfill a long-held desire to transition to a woman. It’s now been three years since Lucy came out. We talk about the challenges of changing her gender, whether she thinks about things differently now that she’s a woman and what kind of clothes she likes to wear. “Now What?” is produced with the help of Steve Zimmer, Lucy Little and Jackie Schwartz. Audio production is by Nick Ciavatta.

Feb 20, 2024

Who faces death at the age of 22? Suleika Jaouad did. After Suleika was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer, she had a bone marrow transplant. At the age of 26 Suleika was declared cancer free. Suleika is the author of the best-selling memoir Between Two Kingdoms. She’s married to Jon Batiste, the former band leader for the Late Show with Stephen Colbert and a 5-time Grammy award winner. Two years ago, Suleika’s cancer came back and she had a second bone marrow transplant. She has thought a lot about life and death and all the moments in between. Our conversation made me cry. You won’t want to miss it. “Now What?” is produced with the help of Steve Zimmer, Lucy Little and Jackie Schwartz. Audio production is by Nick Ciavatta.

Feb 6, 2024

No one embodies the concept of change and durability in one lifetime like Jane Fonda. She started out as what some might call a Nepo Baby, the daughter of Henry Fonda, an actor who was considered Hollywood royalty. During her long career, Jane Fonda has appeared in more than 50 films, earning Oscars for Best Actress for her roles in Klute and Coming Home. Fonda became as famous for her politics as she did for her acting roles. Her anti-Vietnam war activities earned her the nick name of Hanoi Jane. She also became a fitness guru. Now that her  successful Netflix series Grace and Frankie has ended, Fonda says she’s devoting herself to combating the climate crisis. And as an 86-year three-time divorcee, Fonda says she’s no longer interested in romance or sex. She just wants to make the world a better place.  

”Now What?” is produced with the help of Steve Zimmer, Lucy Little and Jackie Schwartz. Audio production is by Nick Ciavatta.

Jan 9, 2024

In 2023, 83-year old Dr. Anthony Fauci retired as the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a job he’d held for 38 years. Once called “America’s Doctor,” Dr. Fauci had often been vilified for his role on the White House Coronavirus Task Force under President Donald Trump. In the past year, Dr. Fauci’s critics have only gotten louder. In his book on the scientist, Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., a staunch anti-vaxxer, wrote, “I think he is a genuinely bad human being.”  I caught up with Dr. Fauci to find out why he thinks he’s the target of right-wing conspiracy theories, anger and even hatred. ”Now What?” is produced with the help of Steve Zimmer, Lucy Little and Jackie Schwartz. Audio production is by Nick Ciavatta.

Dec 26, 2023

Filmmaker Lisa Cortes brought a 1950s rock ‘n’ roll legend to life again in her rollicking new documentary Little Richard: I Am Everything. Richard, who was known for hits like Long Tall Sally and Tutti Frutti, was a complicated personality who felt he never got the kind of recognition that he deserved. But in Cortes’ film, celebrated musicians talk about how Richard influenced their work. Mick Jagger says he studied Richard’s dance moves and Paul McCartney credits Richard with teaching him how to shriek. I talk to Lisa Cortes about making films that set the record straight when it comes to artists who are overlooked and misunderstood. “Now What?” is produced with help from Steve Zimmer, Lucy Little and Jackie Schwartz. Audio production is by Nick Ciavatta.

 

Photo by Paul Morejón 

Dec 12, 2023

I was so lucky to have spent a few hours with Norman Lear who recently died at the age of 101. Lear was 95 at the time we talked. In the 1970s he created a television empire with shows that dominated the network ratings like All in the Family, Sanford and SonThe Jeffersons and Maude. These series changed television forever by tackling subjects like racism and social inequality. Lear was also an outspoken liberal. In 2001 he bought a rare copy of the Declaration of Independence for more than $8 million and arranged for it to tour around the U.S. as a way to encourage people to take pride in their country. “Now What?” is produced with the help of Steve Zimmer, Lucy Little and Jackie Schwartz. Audio production is by Nick Ciavatta.

Nov 28, 2023

Charles Busch made a name for himself as a playwright and a leading lady in drag with productions like the off-Broadway cult classic Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. That campy theatrical spoof was followed by Psycho Beach Party and Pardon My Inquisition, or, Kiss the Blood off My Castanets. Busch also appeared in the TV show Oz where he plays a cross- dressing homosexual who smothers his Mafia cellmate. When it comes to playing male roles, Busch says he’s nothing great. It’s when he puts on gowns and wigs that his imagination really takes flight. We talk about glamorous wigs and how Busch made money as a sex worker before he became an overnight sensation on stage. “Now What?” is produced with help from Steve Zimmer, Lucy Little and Jackie Schwartz. Audio production is by Nick Ciavatta.

Nov 13, 2023

Paulina Porizkova, who was a supermodel in the 80s, has one of those rags to riches stories which she talked with me about on “Now What?” in December 2022. That conversation has just been honored with a Clarion award for Best Podcast given by the Association of Women in Communications. Life has not always been star turns for Paulina who was born in Eastern Europe. She began modeling in Paris at the age of 15. When she was 19, she met her future husband Ric Ocasek, lead singer of the Cars. We talk about Paulina’s memoir Unfiltered: The Good, the Bad and the Beautiful and what it takes to reinvent yourself when you’re in your 50s. “Now What?” is produced with the help of Steve Zimmer, Lucy Little and Jackie Schwartz. Audio production is by Nick Ciavatta.

*Photo By David Sedlecký

 

Oct 31, 2023

When it comes to the word prolific, Walter Mosley fits right in. He’s written about 60 books. His latest is the sci-fi novella Touched. Mosley’s first work of crime fiction, Devil in a Blue Dress, features the character of a black private detective named Easy Rawlins who lives in the Watts neighborhood of LA. It was made into a film starring Denzel Washington. Mosley was also brought up in LA with a Jewish mother and an African American father. Growing up as an only child, Mosley has said his writing imagination might come from an emptiness in his childhood that he filled up with fantasies. It's a question we explore in this episode of “Now What?” which is produced with the help of Steve Zimmer, Lucy Little and Patrick McAndrew. Audio production is by Nick Ciavatta.

Oct 16, 2023

Roz Chast is an award-winning cartoonist who started working for the New Yorker 45 years ago. Her comics examine our everyday neuroses and anxieties. As an only child growing up in Brooklyn, Chast worried that a fire could break out in the wall and burn up her family. Or that she’d suddenly have an appendicitis attack and wind up in the hospital like Madeleine in that children’s story. Chast hates to drive and is terrified of changing lanes. Now, she’s written a book called I Must be Dreaming about her nightmares and all the wacky things that go on in our heads while we’re asleep. “Now What?” is produced with the help of Steve Zimmer, Lucy Little and Patrick McAndrew. Audio production is by Nick Ciavatta.

Oct 3, 2023

Avi Loeb is probably the most famous practicing astronomer in the country. He’s the founding director of Harvard University’s Black Hole Initiative and was the longest-serving chair of Harvard’s Department of Astronomy. Now, Loeb is also one of the most controversial astronomers in the country. In 2018, he proposed that an object named Oumuamua that had been detected by a telescope in Maui may have been a probe from an alien civilization. Earlier this year, Loeb claimed to have recovered material from an interstellar meteor that could be evidence of an alien starship. Some of Loeb’s colleagues accuse him of making wild and sensational claims. So, what do you think? “Now What?” is produced with help from Steve Zimmer, Lucy Little and Patrick McAndrew. Audio production is by Nick Ciavatta.  

Sep 19, 2023

Gay Talese is known for his dapper wardrobe and distinctive writing style. He became famous as a writer who helped to define the New Journalism in the 1960s. He wrote block buster best sellers like Honor Thy Father about the Bonanno crime family. The Voyeur’s Motel focuses on a motel owner who spied on his guests. Talese also calls himself a voyeur. He spent 8 years researching Thy Neighbor’s Wife, his book about sex in America. That research included managing a massage parlor and living in a nudist colony. Now, 91-year old Gay Talese has written a new book called Bartleby and Me.  Sitting on his elegant leather sofa in his Manhattan townhouse, I asked Gay Talese to tell me about all the outrageous things he’s done in his life. “Now What?” is produced with the help of Steve Zimmer, Lucy Little and Patrick McAndrew. Audio production is by Nick Ciavatta.

Sep 5, 2023

She used to make her living standing in Harvard Square as a statue known as the Eight Foot Bride. Now, Amanda Palmer is the leader of the punk cabaret band The Dresden Dolls. And she’s not afraid to tell you what’s on her mind. Her fans are passionate about her. Palmer has 1 million followers on X (formerly Twitter) and 10,000 patrons on Patreon who support her work. She’s open, honest and outrageous. “Now What?” is produced with the help of Steve Zimmer, Lucy little and Patrick McAndrew. Audio production is by Nick CIavatta.

Aug 22, 2023

Ben Smith had a front row seat to momentous shifts in the media that changed newspapers and magazines forever. In the early 2000s, readers began flocking to websites like Gawker and the Huffington Post for gossip, news and information. After Smith became the founding editor of BuzzFeed News, he decided to publish the Steele Dossier, the controversial report containing allegations about a conspiracy between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russian government. We talk about Traffic, Smith’s book about the media revolution and the race to go viral. “Now What?” is produced with help from Steve Zimmer, Lucy Little and Patrick McAndrew. Audio production is by Nick Ciavatta.

Aug 8, 2023

John Waters is having a moment. The filmmaker, who's also known as the Prince of Puke and the Duke of Dirt, is getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He says he hopes it will be near the one celebrating Alvin and the Chipmunks. Plus, LA’s Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is honoring Waters with an exhibit that features some of his old cameras and props like the exploding wig worn by Debbie Harry in Hairspray, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary. And Waters will be making another movie, his first in more than 18 years. It’s based on his book Liarmouth, a novel that includes stories of satanic babies and tickle fetishism. We talked about why John Waters paints on his mustache and what it means to be weird in this conversation from May 2022. “Now What?” is produced with the help of Steve Zimmer, Lucy Little and Patrick McAndrew. Audio production is by Nick Ciavatta.

Jul 24, 2023

At 6 feet 8 inches tall, people say Jim Comey could have been a basketball player. Instead, he became the top law enforcement official when President Barack Obama appointed him FBI Director and he led an investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. After concluding that there was no national security breach, less than two weeks before the Presidential election, Comey said the case had been reopened. Many people blame him for Clinton’s election loss. Then his new boss, Donald Trump, fired him. Now Jim Comey is a novelist. He tells all on “Now What?” which is produced with the help of Steve Zimmer, Lucy Little and Cameryn Yarber. Audio production is by Nick Ciavatta.

Jul 11, 2023

Dave Barry wrote a humor column in the Miami Herald for more than 20 years that earned him a Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. He also writes books. His latest is called Swamp Story. It’s very funny with a totally ridiculous plot that takes place in the Everglades. There's a character who runs around pretending to be a creature called the Melon Monster and a support boar, as in wild pig, who pees on a politician during a press conference. Barry has also played lead guitar in a band called the Rock Bottom Remainders. His band mates include other writers such as Stephen King and Scott Turow. A man of many talents, Barry and I share a lot of laughs in this conversation. “Now What?” is produced with the help of Steve Zimmer, Lucy Little and Cameryn Yarber. Audio production is by Nick Ciavatta.

Jun 27, 2023

In June 2023, something shocking happened to Nicole Daedone, founder of OneTaste, which was once one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. OneTaste defined itself as a sexuality-focused wellness company dedicated to spreading the word about OMing or orgasmic meditation. That’s a practice that involves an individual methodically stroking a partner’s clitoris. Federal prosecutors indicted Daedone on charges of forced labor conspiracy. The government alleges that she “intentionally recruited individuals who had suffered prior trauma.” Daedone pleaded not guilty and faces up to 20 years in prison. I spoke to Daedone in November 2022 in a wide-ranging discussion of women’s sexuality and the claims leveled against her involving sexual abuse. You won’t want to miss what she has to say. “Now What?” is produced with the help of Steve Zimmer, Lucy Little and Cameryn Yarber. Audio production is by Nick Ciavatta.

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