The Last We Fake

The Last We Fake

An LA novel-in-stories each season, along with selected short fiction from exceptional authors, both new and established, whose works take place at the shifting borders of the American Dream. Each season, the podcast debuts an original novel in serialized episodes. Separately, the episodes stand alone, but together they comprise a novel-length journey, with a cast of recurring characters.

Episodes

June 7, 2024 32 mins

This week's episode:  "The Playwright,” a remarkable new short story by first-year talent Natalie Goss, about the subdued heart of a young Los Angeles theater reviewer-turned-dramatist who's losing the script.  

Goss is a Child Development and Family Studies major now contemplating a minor or possible double major in English. She dreams of publishing a collection of both fiction and nonfiction, enjoys painti...

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It's production as usual in Hotchkiss's office, despite the fact Sparks has landed in Good Samaritan, Wally Cleaver is sneaking cigarettes in fear of his dad, and Wanda's fixations lurch from suicide by graham crackers to the long-ago memory of a then-dark-haired actor at Sardi's (so she HAD slept with Chase McSteve!) to the sweaty three-way inside June's wardrobe trailer that Wanda badly doesn't want ...

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Somehow surviving an equestrian gauntlet of obstacles capped by an AWOL 14-year-old Wally Cleaver (“Will you go out with me when I get my license?”), Wanda has finally managed to dial out and hear the terrifying news about her grandmother. But her stage presence is nearly shot when the rotund, legendary fright maestro who directed The Crows and 57 Stairs finds her sitting in his office chair.

In what one listener describes...

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This was nothing like being a lamp ray glued to the back of Chase McSteve. Still, the weird-looking horse seems safe, until an explosion on the set of Abilene sends both Wanda and panicked beast off course--close enough to the home of television's Cleaver family that she could practically raid the fridge, while no closer to a word from grandmother than when she threw a jealous tantrum at Howard that same morning.

In ...

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"In a couple days, either this would all prove to be a huge comedy of errors, or nothing would ever be the same...."

It's existential overload for Wanda, as sex life, pet care, family catastrophe and unanswered phones collide with an all-powerful tub of vanilla ice cream.

In what one listener describes as "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" if it were written by a woman, Catherine Hein's ...

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[UPDATE TO LISTENERS: Recordings for Catherine Hein's The Celebrity are on pause for a few weeks while she gets through some health procedures and related tsuris. Wanda will be back! Correspondence and well wishes may be sent via info@alanrifkin.com. Thanks for your understanding.]

This week: Some people are the type to jump on a message marked "Urgent." For Wanda, it's complicated.

In what on...

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Half-buzzed from a night of more sex than rest with Howard the Ex, and done dirty by Dexatrim, Wanda is about to get even higher when the après le bain interview with Chase McSteve leads to deep kissing and a motorcycle date in the works.

In what one listener describes as "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" if it were written by a woman, Catherine Hein's historical novel  traces the journey of Wanda Fleming, the...

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Wanda's moonlit drive on Mulholland turns into a hillside sleep-it-off, causing her to miss a big production meeting;  then Howard somehow gets a foot in her door on the eve of her location swim with Chase McSteve.

In what one listener describes as "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" if it were written by a woman, Catherine Hein's historical novel of early '60s Hollywood traces the journey of Wanda Fle...

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Wanda survives her first appearance on the new show, but careful what song you perform afterward with a broken heart.

In what one listener describes as "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" if it were written by a woman, Catherine Hein's historical novel of early '60s Hollywood traces the journey of Wanda Fleming, the tenacious, calamity-prone co-host fatale of TV's Daytalk in the spring of 1962. Called ...

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There goes Wanda's diet after encountering ex-boyfriend Howard on the eve of her Daytalk debut.

Catherine Hein's historical novel of early '60s Hollywood traces the journey of Wanda Fleming, the tenacious, calamity-prone co-host fatale of TV's Daytalk in the spring of 1962. Called to her grandmother's funeral in Orange County, the heroine must face life without her closest ally, settle on one love...

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Season 3's novel, THE CELEBRITY, by Catherine Hein, traces the Hollywood journey of Wanda Fleming, the tenacious, calamity-prone co-host fatale of TV's Daytalk in the spring of 1962. Called to her grandmother's funeral in Orange County, the heroine must face life without her closest ally, settle on one lover, conquer her eating disorder, and ace a round of Password in order to secure a coveted game-show gig—if the wo...

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April 2, 2023 3 mins

Season 3's original novel, THE CELEBRITY, by Catherine Hein, traces the Hollywood journey of Wanda Fleming, the tenacious, calamity-prone co-host fatale of TV's "Daytalk" in the spring of 1962. Called to her grandmother's funeral, the heroine must face life without her closest ally, settle on one lover, conquer her eating disorder, and ace a round of Password in order to secure a coveted game-show gig—if th...

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For this Season 2 finale, Lisa Cupolo reads her story "Whisper Screaming," about a Long Beach mother and actor whose inner question won't let her go, then talks with Alan Rifkin about the ghostly buffalo of Catalina Island. Cupolo's debut volume, HAVE MERCY ON US, recently won the W.S. Porter Prize for short-story collections. Her work has appeared in The Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Narrative, The I...

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Richard Bausch (“A master of the novel as well as the story ” —Sven Birkerts, The New York Times)  previews a chapter of his 13th novel, PLAYHOUSE, scheduled for release by Alfred A. Knopf on February 14, then talks with Alan Rifkin about the book and his craft. Bausch’s works have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Harper’s, The New Yorker, Narrative, Gentleman’s Quarterly. Playboy, The Southern Review, New Stories From th...

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Retired Episcopal priest Gary Commins shares a new short story, "Priest and Victim," in which a pastoral meeting with a childhood rape victim turns over secrets both buried and not. Commins is the author of Spiritual People, Radical Lives as well as Becoming Bridges: The Spirit and Practice of Diversity and If Only We Could See: Mystical Vision and Social Transformation.  His newest book, Evil and the Problem of Jesus, is...

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Four-time TEXTE.WIEN https://texte.wien/ Junge Literatur competition finalist Fanny Koelbl reads and discusses her new story, “Le Weekend,” then talks with Alan Rifkin about the fathomless collusion between love, biology, and the willingness to drown.  

Koelbl has previously studied in Vienna and Paris. 

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Cameron Gomez reads his vision-filled but deeply human short story "Volcanoes, from Above: Oil on Canvas," then talks with Alan Rifkin about amusement parks out of season, risky career choices, and stories that decide not to be snarky and ironic. Gomez is a third-year English major at California State University, Long Beach, who dreams of glory, riches, and a better haircut. "Volcanoes..." is his second publishe...

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Writer Brooke Prado reads her macabre, symbolically rich but never quite implausible modern parable, "The Hollow Book," developed this fall in an upper-division fiction workshop at California State University, Long Beach, then talks with Alan Rifkin about the perils of reading in the dark.  Prado's work has been published in multiple journals, including Chaffey Review and Queer Sci Fi Anthology, as well as various co...

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Long Beach's Rafael Zepeda (Horse Medicine & Other Stories, The Yellow Ford of Texas, Can This Wolf Survive, Tao Driver), whose deadpan prose style across many books has earned praise from authors like Jim Harrison and Edward Field, reads from his 2012 novel Desperados and his narrative poem "A Descent into Baja," then chats with host Alan Rifkin about poetry, Picasso, cave paintings and Pekinpah. Zepeda is a Nat...

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The finale of SUNLAND, by screenwriter, journalist and novelist Charlie Haas, about the brief desert flowering of a group of German artists, musicians, and free spirits who voyage to Southern California, “the America of America,” in 1914 to start the world over. They’re fleeing cops, city life, sexual norms, the oncoming world war, and the Internet of their time--the  telegraph, telephone, and movies--in favor of naked farming, alt...

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