Episode Archives

The Hank Show (when computers are right)

Today we live inside data systems that contain, surveil, and judge us. In his new book, the Hank Show, author and journalist McKenzie Funk provides us with a totally unique origin story of our world: A guy named Hank Asher. We talk with McKenzie Funk about the  former Florida conto painter, drug-running pilot, alleged CIA asset, and  pioneering computer programmer known as the father of data fusion.

McKenzie Funk has written many stories about the dangers of computer systems that can get us wrong, but the story of Hank Asher has turned him on to a danger even more alarming. What chance do we have when the computers know everything about us?

Note: The TOE limited series “Not all Art is Propaganda” will be debuting January 2024! I know its been a long wait, but we are nearing the finish line and I can’t wait to share it with you.

Outsider Studies: Connie Converse

The life of musician Connie Converse easily reduces down to one of those Hemingway length sad stories: Before Dylan there was Connie Converse and then she disappeared.

In his new book “To Anyone Who Ever Asks: The Life, Music, and Mystery of Connie Converse” Howard Fishman gives us the complete tale. We meet up with Howard and learn why this incredible musician just couldn’t catch a break in 1950s New York City, and why he is devoted to her life and art.

Lives of the Wives

Some books have titles that jump out right out at you, Carmela Ciuraru’s new group biography Lives of the Wives is definitely one of those books. She tells us about her five wives and the hazards of literary relationships.

Too good to be true

Two very different tales about making stuff up about the CIA. Your host shares the story of Sylvia Press, who in the 1950s, wrote a revenge novel after she was fired during the McCarthy purges. And author Jefferson Morley tells us about the time CIA director Richard Helms tried to create an American James Bond with the help of future Watergate burglar E Howard Hunt.

Get Jefferson Morley’s amazing new book: Scorpion’s Dance . Sylvia Press’s novel The Care of Devils is harder to find.


Not going back to normal (a conversation with Jeremiah Moss author of Feral City)

Jeremiah Moss’s Feral City is much much more than a Covid memoir. In many ways it is a continuation of his desire to understand how and why New York city has changed,  and if there is still a place for outsiders or if it now belongs to what he calls “the new people.” We walked around our Neighborhood together to talk about what the city was like during Covid time and what the phrase “go back to normal” really means.




Risky Business: Hollywood and Israel

In their new book  Hollywood and Israel, film scholars Tony Shaw and Giora Goodman take us behind and beyond the screen to show how the world’s entertainment capital is an important player in international affairs and how profit always trumps propaganda.




Trouble and Travel with James Campbell

Growing up in Glasgow in the 1960s James Campbell got into loads of trouble. At the age of 15 he left school and started work at a printing factory. But then he discovered the magic of the road and the wonderful world of “away” We talk with the author about his new memoir, “Just go down to the road”




Second time as forced

Citizens armed only with Molotov cocktails battle with Russian tanks on the streets of… Budapest.  In November of 1956 Russian troops invaded Hungary. The revolution was crushed and thousands of Hungarians fled. Will history repeat itself? We talk with Réka Pigniczky about her memory project, a film series dedicated to the Hungarian revolution. Also: Branko Marcetic compares America’s response to the events of 1956 with our current posturing over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.




Does art have anything to offer us in these trying times? Your host visits the 59th International Art Biennale in Venice, the world’s most important art fair and the first since the Global pandemic. Plus Digital Ukranians, Sound Art, and NFT parties.



How to tell the truth about lies (part ii of ii)

We conclude our investigation into Hollywood’s retelling of the secret crimes, conspiracies and lies that rocked America in the first half of the 1970s. Plus a reporter from the Washington Post newsroom who never made it into All the President’s Men yet did more to safeguard the free press and American democracy than Woodstein ever did.