November 25 – Jay Parini on Gore Vidal


Wednesday night at 8 on KPFK 90.7 FM I welcome the author of a new biography of Gore Vidal.  It’s a happy circumstance hearing Jay Parini on the radio, for any number of reasons.  As many KPFK listeners I am a big fan of the late Gore Vidal, and also a faithful listener to Ian Masters’ excellent public affairs show Background Briefing.  In conversation with Parini about Bernie Sanders, one of them mentioned the upcoming biography of Vidal written by his friend Parini, who could easily have also mentioned his own novels, poetry, nonfiction and criticism.  Yes, author Jay Parini, who also edited two collections of Vidal’s work, should be my guest regardless but I am happy on this occasion to indeed host him to talk about Empire of Self:  A Life of Gore Vidal.  It’s a particularly honest, affectionate, celebratory yet also obviously sad telling of the story of the long, productive, provocative  life of Vidal the writer, personality and public figure, who appeared frequently on Pacifica Radio and on this station, offering his political and cultural analysis, strong anti-war positions, Wildean digs, historical analysis and generally being funny and mean and smart and entertaining.  Author Jay Parini was Vidal’s friend, and appears in the Gore Vidal documentary The United States of Amnesia and, more formally, interviewed Vidal or moderated forums and appearances in his role as journalist and friend. I wish I’d had an hour to chat with Parini about one of our favorite people.