Norman Mailer Society/Podcast

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Begun in 2015, the Norman Mailer Society Podcast is the brainchild of host and creator Justin Bozung. It features audio, interviews, commentary, discussions, and other rare content by Norman Mailer and the people who knew him best. This archive currently runs from 2015 though 2018. New episodes will be coming soon.

# Date Title Description Archive Listen
01 2015-02-25 Podcast Premiere: J. Michael Lennon In this inaugural episode of the Norman Mailer Society Podcast, host Justin Bozung speaks with Norman Mailer’s archivist and official biographer / NMS Society President J. Michael Lennon about his book The Selected Letters of Norman Mailer, Mailer’s ’60s ambitions, The Deer Park, Picasso, and The Naked and the Dead. Archive MP3
02 2015-03-18 Paul Krassner Justin Bozung talks with ’60s iconoclast, journalist, author, and comedian Paul Krassner about his friendship with Norman Mailer as documented in Krassner’s memoir Confessions of a Raving, Unconfined Nut: Misadventures in the Counterculture [Touchstone, 1994]. This episodes features an audio clip of Mailer’s 1965 speech at the Berkeley Vietnam Teach-In. Archive MP3
03 2015-03-30 Mailer on Picasso This episode showcases a feature-length, never-aired in the United States interview with Norman Mailer on Portrait of Picasso as a Young Man: An Interpretive Biography [Atlantic Monthly Press, 1995]. The interview was conducted in Provincetown for the BBC television series Southbank. Archive MP3
04 2015-04-16 Wings Hauser Justin talks with Writer/Director/Actor Wings Hauser about working with Norman Mailer via his portrayal of “Alvin Luther Regency” in Norman Mailer’s film adaptation of his 1984 novel, Tough Guys Don’t Dance. Archive MP3
05 2015-05-01 Mailer Reads Mailer This episode showcases the full audio of Norman Mailer’s 1962/63 Prestige LP Mailer Reads Mailer. With little known today about the origins of the Mailer’s recording, it is introduced via a brief background by Mailer’s official biographer, archivist/NM Society President, J. Michael Lennon. Archive MP3
06 2015-05-15 Gerald Lucas Justin talks with Jerry Lucas about the Project Mailer, an online portal which will be soon be coming to fruition with the aim of providing Norman Mailer’s vast body of work accessibility in the digital realm. Lucas is a Professor of English at Middle Georgia State University, an Executive Board member of the Norman Mailer Society, and the Deputy Editor of The Mailer Review. Archive MP3
07 2015-06-01 Maggie McKinley Justin talks with Maggie McKinley of Harper College. McKinley is a board member of the Mailer Society and in this episode she discusses Mailer’s The Prisoner of Sex as well as her own Mailer book project Understanding Norman Mailer which is slated for release in late 2016. Archive MP3
08 2015-06-15 Iowa Writers Symposium, 1959 This episode features a selection of rare audio associated with Norman Mailer. From a writer’s symposium which occurred at the University of Iowa in 1959, Norman Mailer discusses the writer’s role in the culture of the late ’50s with Ralph Ellison and Dwight Macdonald. Archive MP3
09 2015-07-01 Robert Solotaroff Justin speaks with scholar Robert Solotaroff about his 1974 examination of Norman Mailer, Down Mailer’s Way, a significant contribution to Mailer Studies. Archive MP3
10 2015-07-15 Democracy ’68 (Part 1) In this two-part episode, Norman Mailer is joined on stage in New York City by Herbert Marcuse and Arthur Schlesinger to discuss democracy in America as well as the then recent Columbia University student uprisings. Archive MP3
11 2015-07-15 Democracy ’68 (Part 2) Archive MP3
12 2015-08-01 Studs Turkel & Norman Mailer Originally broadcast on January 9th, 1971, this episode presents a 45-minute conversation between WFKW-Chicago radio host Studs Turkel and Norman Mailer. It features Mailer speaking candidly with Turkel about his recently published book Of A Fire On The Moon as well as God, the Devil, and death. Archive MP3
13 2015-08-15 Kevin Schultz Justin chats with Kevin Schultz, author of Buckley and Mailer: The Difficult Friendship That Shaped the Sixties, about Mailer and Buckley as metaphors for the turbulent 1960’s, Buckley’s views on civil rights, as well as the author’s own introduction to Mailer’s work itself. Bonus: Norman Mailer and William F. Buckley discuss Mailer’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1980 novel The Executioner's Song. Archive ZIP
14 2015-09-01 Lawrence Schiller Justin speaks with author/filmmaker Lawrence Schiller under very unusual circumstances about his collaboration with Norman Mailer on The Executioner’s Song book and film. Bonus: Read Norman Mailer’s second draft (dated 4/1981) of his screenplay for The Executioner’s Song. The screenplay features many scenes not included in later drafts or in the final film as aired on NBC television in early November of 1982. Archive MP3
15 2015-09-15 Norman Mailer Interview (1970) In this episode: a never-before-published interview with Norman Mailer from April of 1970 in London, England. This interview, part of Justin’s book-in-progress, Norman Mailer: Film Is Like Death finds Mailer very exhausted and at times, oddly, at a loss for words as he discusses his upcoming film Maidstone (1971). Archive MP3
16 2015-09-29 Norman Mailer on Existentialism “Norman Mailer on Existentialism” was recorded in Chicago on May 11th, 1963. This 30-minute extract, thought to be the only surviving artifact of Mailer’s lecture from Chicago of that year, was part of a longer evening that included a Q&A session between Mailer and students from the University of Chicago. Archive MP3
17 2015-10-15 The Bullfight Featuring Norman Mailer reading his essay on bull fighting, “The Crazy One,” which was also published in Playboy. The Bullfight LP also features a hodge-podge of Spanish music and a reading of poetry by Federico García Lorca which Mailer and his daughter Susan translated from Spanish. Archive MP3
18 2015-10-30 Mailer Attic Chicago 8 conspiracy trial testimony. Archive MP3
19 2015-11-16 Ancient Evenings This episode features two recordings of Norman Mailer reading and discussing his 1983 novel Ancient Evenings. This audio was generously donated to the Mailer Podcast Project by Mailer Archivist / Mailer Society President J. Michael Lennon. Lennon introduces the recording in this double-length episode. Archive ZIP
20 2015-12-01 Ancient Evenings Interview Ancient Evenings month continues with a rare and lengthy discussion about the Egyptian novel between Norman Mailer and U.K. journalist Melvyn Bragg from 1983. Archive MP3
21 2015-12-15 Mailer at Wilkes In this episode: Norman Mailer’s 1992 visit to Wilkes University, introduced by J. Michael Lennon. This recording was generously donated to the Mailer Podcast Project by Mailer Archivist / Mailer Society President J. Michael Lennon. Archive MP3
22 2015-12-30 Mailer Retrospective In the final episode of the Norman Mailer Society Podcast for 2015, Justin presents a retrospective look at the life and works of Norman Mailer in Mailer’s own words. Archive MP3
23 2016-02-15 Mailer / Leeds 1987 In this return of the NMS Podcast in 2016, Justin pays tribute to Mailer scholar and one of the co-founders of the Mailer Society, Barry Leeds, who passed away in 2015. Via archival audio, Mailer and Leeds discuss a variety of topics in the mid 80s such as: Ernest Hemingway, Gary Gilmore, Joan Didion, Harry Crews, film-making, antibiotics, and the AIDS crisis. Archive MP3
24 2016-03-07 Playwright Timothy Nolan Playwright Timothy Nolan stops by the NMS Podcast this week to discuss Mailer and writing from the unconscious as presented in Mailer’s 2004 book The Spooky Art. Additionally, Justin and Nolan discuss the premise that Mailer may or may not have been influenced by the theater work of Samuel Beckett during his writing years of 1965-1967, which produced polarizing works like: Wild 90 and The Deer Park: A Play. Archive MP3
25 2016-03-30 Mailer v. Jones In this episode, Mailer discusses with author Leroi Jones and television host David Susskind the state of racial divide in the mid 1960s. Mailer and Jones consider the Watts Riot, the right/wrong of blacks in Vietnam, and the cancers of an absurd time. Archive MP3
26 2016-04-15 Mailer Reads The Naked and the Dead In this episode, Mailer reads excerpts from The Naked and the Dead. This recording was first released in 1983 via the New York-based record label Cademon, and features Mailer acting the various roles. Archive MP3
27 2016-05-01 Mailer on An American Dream This week's episode features a recently unearthed interview with Norman Mailer from late April / early June 1965 about a year after the serialization of An American Dream in Esquire. Mailer discusses early character ideas and the point when he realized that a murder had to take place. He discusses the existential aspects of the novel, and of sex and murder as the last great frontier in need of conquering in America. Archive MP3
28–37 2016-07-15; 2016-08-01 Death Is A Celebration: An Audio Documentary about Tough Guys Don't Dance In this 10-hour re-broadcast, Justin, alongside his co-host Aaron Graham, offer up a exhaustive scene-by-scene examination of Norman Mailer’s 1987 film Tough Guys Don’t Dance. In addition to exploring several of the key themes in both Mailer’s film and 1984 novel of the same name, this detailed audio essay on Mailer’s aesthetic approach to cinema, Reaganism, hedonism, and existential dread also features commentaries by Mailer Archivist/Biographer J. Michael Lennon and Mailer’s son John Buffalo Mailer. Additionally, further insights in this special are provided by Tough Guys Don’t Dance film actors: Frances Fisher, Stephan Morrow, John Synder, John Bedford-Lloyd, Wings Hauser, and several of the crew members that worked under Mailer to produce this ever-polarizing work of cinematic art that blends Shakespeare with Film Noir and The Theatre of the Absurd on the big screen. Archive ZIP
38 2016-08-15 TGDD Press Conference In this final look back at Norman Mailer's 1987 polarizing film Tough Guys Don’t Dance, this episode is a rarely-heard recording of the Mailer’s 1987 Cannes Film Festival Press Conference. Mailer encapsulates all of his views on cinema relating them to his own film. Alongside him are actress Deborah Sandlund, TGDD Producer Tom Luddy, and Cannon Films Exec Menahem Golan. Archive MP3
39 2016-08-30 Mailer for Mayor In this special episode, Justin presents a never before heard interview with Norman Mailer. Mailer sits down with Howard Smith from the Village Voice and his mayoral running mate Jimmy Breslin on the eve of their announcement to run in New York, to discuss with Smith their notion of the 51st State. Archive MP3
40 2016-09-15 Mailer on Frost This episode features a retrospective interview from 1992 between journalist David Frost and Norman Mailer. Conducted in New York City, Frost revisits Mailer’s ideas about sex and violence from the 1950s to see if they hold relevance for him in the 1990s. Archive MP3
41 2016-09-30 Mailer Visits U-Penn Mailer and Bob Lucid, his friend and first biographer, talk with students at U-Penn about the nature of writing, Mailer’s latest book The Spooky Art, boxing, and his 1965 novel An American Dream. Archive MP3
42 2017-04-01 Jerome Loving Author Jerome Loving talks with Justin about his latest book, Jack & Norman (St. Martin's Press, 2016). The book explores the relationship of Norman Mailer and prison convict Jack Henry Abbott during the late 70s when Mailer was writing his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Executioner’s Song. Archive MP3
43 2017-04-15 Mary Dearborn Mailer biographer Mary Dearborn talks about Norman Mailer and his life in this archival piece of audio from 2000. Archive MP3
44 2017-05-01 Norman Mailer, Radio D.J. This piece of wonderful archival audio features Norman Mailer's 1979 appearance on BBC radio as guest DJ. Mailer plays some of his favorite jazz and standards and discusses his early days as a writer, his early novels No Percentage and Transit to Narcissus, and his current work, The Executioner’s Song. Archive MP3
45 2017-05-15 Mailer on The Spooky Art This 2003 lecture series from Writers’ Block features Norman Mailer talking about his latest book, The Spooky Art. Mailer discusses writing, writers, his favorite television series, and George W. Bush. Archive MP3
46 2017-09-17 Dwight Macdonald Justin and Mike Lennon discuss Norman Mailer’s friendship with literary critic and essayist Dwight Macdonald. In 1974, Mailer wrote the preface for Macdonald’s Discriminations: Essays & Afterthoughts. This brief consideration not only reads as an affectionate honorarium to Macdonald, whom Mailer first met in 1949, but also tells of the influence the former editor of Partisan Review had on Mailer. Both men share a varied attack on style, but also focus, in the vein of Hemingway, on a means in which one can explore the “feel” of phenomenon. Archive MP3
47 2018-01-26 Lennon on Mailer & Malaquais Justin talks with J. Michael Lennon about Norman Mailer’s friendship with French writer Jean Malaquais, who was one of the writer’s greatest influences. Often Mailer’s harshest critic, Malaquais served up a partial inspiration for Mailer’s landmark essay, “The White Negro.” The pair had a falling out in 1994 following a joint appearance on a French television series — which is also excerpted in this special episode. Read “My Friend, Jean Malaquais,” Mailer’s introduction to The Joker by Jean Malaquais. Archive MP3
48 2018-02-01 St. George Meets The Ramones Justin talks with Mailer assistant Martha Thomases about The Executioner’s Song and Mailer’s run-in with the 1970s punk rock band The Ramones. Also, featured is Mailer’s 1972 lecture to the Student Apocalypse Society at the University of Texas at Austin on the Republican and Democratic national conventions held earlier in the year. Archive MP3
49 2018-02-15 Talk Show Advertisements This episode features a late-60’s TV appearance where Mailer discusses Miami and the Siege of Chicago, Armies of the Night, and his most recent film-making ventures. Also featured is a 1960 BBC review of Advertisements for Myself featuring excerpts from “The White Negro.” Archive MP3
50 2018-03-01 The Big Empty Mailer and son John Buffalo Mailer in 2006, along with host Dotson Rader, discuss The Big Empty, a series of conversations between father and son. Archive MP3
51 2018-06-04 John Bailey on Norman Mailer’s Provincetown Justin talks with director of photography John Bailey A.S.C about his time working with Norman Mailer on the writer’s 1987 film noir, Tough Guys Don't Dance and Mailer’s supernatural believes about Provincetown. Archive MP3
52 2018-06-15 A Ticket to the Circus In New York, Norris Church Mailer reads from A Ticket to the Circus, her memoir about her life with Norman Mailer. Archive MP3
53 2018-07-01 Norman Mailer: Live from Philly 2007 In this piece of archival audio from 2007, Norman Mailer visits with an audience at the Central Library in Philadelphia, PA. For 60 minutes, Mailer chats about Hitler, television culture (his watching of American Idol), the Iraq War, Ernest Hemingway, and Bullshit Mountain. Mailer takes the audience through quite a range of contemporary discussion. Archive MP3
54 2018-07-15 1967: Norman Mailer Talks At Harvard Recorded on May 10th, 1967, Norman Mailer speaks out with a humorous candor against the Vietnam War and Lyndon Johnson; he lampoons the Harvard Crimson asking the question: “Where is America going?” He also reads excerpts from “In The Red Light,” and “Superman Comes to the Supermarket.” Archive MP3
55 2018-08-01 Mailer at Michigan State University 1990 Norman Mailer reads from Tough Guys Don’t Dance and answers questions at Michigan State University in March 1990. Mailer also reads some of his poetry and discusses the current American zeitgeist — he’s at his best of the era. Archive MP3