Guest host Robert Sean Leonard presents works about living, and not living, in New York City. A passenger and a taxi driver connect in John McNulty’s “The Television Helps, But Not Very Much.” The story was first published in The New Yorker in 1950 and has a little bit of a period feel to it. But its subject–loneliness and what to do about it–still resonates with us today. McNulty worked as a beat reporter for a number of papers before joining The New Yorker. His work there is credited with helping to establish the genre of literary journalism. Reader Jason Biggs appeared in the “American Pie” film series; recent work on television includes “The Good Wife” and “Orange is the New Black.” On stage he’s appeared in “The Graduate” and “The Heidi Chronicles.”
Joan Didion moved to New York City from California when she was in her early 20s, and at first it was a heady love affair, in the city she described as “the mysterious nexus of all love and money and power, the shining and perishable dream itself.” Slowly, however, the dream began to disintegrate. Didion left the city when she was 29, and wrote her imperishable 1967 essay “Goodbye to All That.” Didion’s many published essay collections include Slouching Towards Bethlehem, The White Album, Salvador, and The Year of Magical Thinking, which she also adapted into a play. Her novels include Play it As it Lays, and A Book of Common Prayer. “Goodbye to All That” is read by Mia Dillon Her many theatre credits include “Crimes of the Heart,” “Agnes of God,” “The Corn is Green,” “Hay Fever,” “Come Back, Little Sheba,” and “Three Sisters.” On television Dillon appeared in “Mary and Rhoda,” and the “Law & Order” shows. She is a regular SELECTED SHORTS performer at home and on the road.
We featured selections from Brandon Stanton’s popular book and blog Humans of New York on our recent “City Lives” program, and this show includes more comments from Stanton’s over 10,000 subjects, whom he stopped on the street to photographer and talk to. This time, they are talking about their relationships. The ensemble cast includes Vanessa Aspillaga, Jason Biggs, Tracee Chimo, Lynn Cohen, Brandon J. Dirden and Peter Francis James.