The lanterns have been trimmed, our log pile has been replenished, and there’s a splendid bottle of red glinting in the firelight. Yep, it’s time for another Seriously Entertaining foray into the best of contemporary writing. The House of SpeakEasy’s next show, No Satisfaction, which hits the City Winery stage on Monday, November 17, aims to provide the exact opposite of what it says on the tin. And we couldn’t be more delighted to welcome Philip Gourevitch, Hooman Majd, Graham Moore, Dan Povenmire and Ruby Wax to help us do so. Join us for more laughs, drama, and intellectual stimulation than you might think possible for a Monday. Tickets here.
Philip Gourevitch‘s first book, We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families (1998), which tells the story of the Rwandan genocide, is a masterpiece of reportage (we reviewed it here). His later books A Cold Case (2001) and The Ballad of Abu Ghraib (2008) were published to similar acclaim. In this marvellous interview with Paul Holdengräber, he talks about James Brown, Jonah and the Whale, and the ethics of photography. “We often use these words unthinkable, unspeakable, unimaginable,” he says. “They’re supposed to tell us, these are huge subjects… It’s supposed to make them sound important. But what does it say? It says don’t think, don’t speak, don’t imagine. It basically gets you off the hook.”
Hooman Majd is an Iranian-American journalist and commentator, and the author of three books — The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran; The Ayatollahs’ Democracy: An Iranian Challenge; and The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay: An American Family in Iran (which we reviewed here). Hooman presents a view of Iran from both inside and out. Still, as he told me when I interviewed him, “I’ve always maintained that there are no real ‘experts’ on Iran, for every self-proclaimed or media-proclaimed one has been wrong on so many issues and occasions that one might as well give up trying. I include myself, of course….” Aside from his journalistic and authorial endeavors, he runs an entertaining — and instructive — style blog called The House of Majd. In this great series of short videos via Big Think, Hooman demystifies Iran for Western audiences…
Graham Moore is the youngest SpeakEasy guest to date. His first novel, The Sherlockian, a meta-mystery thriller set in 1900 and 2010 and starring Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself, was published to general acclaim in 2010 — the late, great Christopher Hitchens called it “ingenious and amusing.” (We reviewed it here.) At the end of this month, The Imitation Game, for which Moore wrote the screenplay, will be released by the Weinstein Company. In it, Benedict Cumberbatch plays Alan Turing, the British mathematician whose work on the Enigma Machine is widely credited with turning the tables of the Second World War in favor of the Allies. Dan Jolin in Empire commented that “screenwriter Graham Moore couldn’t have made a more impressive debut,” and he’s had excellent notices also in The Hollywood Reporter and Time Out London. There’s already a sizeable awards-season buzz about this one.
“2D is alive and well and living on TV!” So says Dan Povenmire, co-creator of the Disney Channel smash hit Phineas and Ferb. After years bringing his magic touch — and a penchant for grand musical numbers — to shows including The Simpsons, Family Guy, and Rocko’s Modern Life, and winning an Emmy in the process, Dan and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh launched Phineas and Ferb to great acclaim in 2007. Read our profile and interview with Dan, in which we discussed how not to be a jerk and the five cartoons he’d save from the zombie apocalypse. Then feast your eyes and ears on this episode of Phineas and Ferb, in which the boys’ older sister, Candace, finally succeeds in busting them…
Though born in America, Ruby Wax has spent most of her career working in the UK. She was the script editor on the legendary BBC TV series Absolutely Fabulous, and has had a hugely successful career as a stand-up comedian and celebrity interviewer. Her many subjects include O.J. Simpson, Pamela Anderson, the Ku Klux Klan, and — below — Joan Collins. Her intimate yet outrageous style has brought forth some amazing revelations from her interviewees. In her most recent book, Sane New World: A User’s Guide to the Normal-Crazy Mind, she discusses living with depression and how mindfulness-based cognitive therapy can help. Read our review here.