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Gary Schteyngart and Elissa LeCoque Featured On Podcast SongWriter

Gary Schteyngart and Elissa LeCoque Featured On Podcast SongWriter

SongWriter is a new podcast that explores the connections between written word and lyrical and how all art responds to other art. Hosted by songwriter and novelist, Ben Arthur, the second episode features Gary Shteyngart and Elissa LeCoque, and was also featured on this week's Acoustic Cafe broadcast. Gary Shteyngart is the bestselling author of Absurdistan and Super Sad True Love Story. Elissa LeCoque is a member of the Brooklyn synth band Kodacrome. At a live performance at Barnes and Noble in Union Square, Gary reads a chapter from his recent novel Lake Success about the breakdown of hedge fund manager Barry Cohen. Elissa's song is "Weak Wrists," and is a studio recording. In other news, the paperback of Lake Success is published in June, and the book has just been optioned for a series on HBO starring Jake Gyllenhaal.

Here's the first episode of SongWriter with Susan Orlean and SongWriter creator Ben Arthur.

SongWriter features a dozen episodes with many of Arthur's literary crushes, including Roxane Gay, Joyce Carol Oates, Susan Orlean, Patricia Lockwood, Missy Eaves, Gary Schteyngart, Ted Leo and Jonathan Lethem. "All art responds to other art," Arthur wrote in a New York Times Op-Ed, concerning the fine line between stealing from, and being inspired by, the works of other artists. It's not news that artists take inspiration from numerous sources, even literature, and the serendipitous journey of any piece of artwork can seem profound after the fact. But Arthur takes an especially expansive view of literature as muse, and his wide-ranging forays into storytelling are - like his music - deeply resonant and heartfelt. Each art form has unique ways of captivating its audience, a "secret language to get inside people's chests," Arthur said. "My lifelong passion is to figure out how that works." Another of Arthur's projects, SongCraft Presents, aired three half-hour episodes on PBS and garnered five Emmy Award nominations.

To hear the storytellers and artists in SongWriter is to wonder whether a perpetual-motion art machine isn't just possible, but to some extent inevitable, constituting its own universal law of creation. Art doesn't exist in a vacuum, but draws energy from the things around it and, in turn, provides momentum for subsequent works of art.

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