Livin’ Thing: An Oral History of ‘Boogie Nights’

How Paul Thomas Anderson created his Lawrence of Arabia for the San Fernando Valley porn scene.

Source: Grantland
Published: Dec 10, 2014
Length: 65 minutes (16,325 words)

The Sound and the Fury

An oral history of the first all-sports talk station, WFAN, which included Don Imus, Mike Francesca, and Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo:

Jeff Smulyan (founder and CEO, Emmis Broadcasting): Imus was just getting out of rehab when we bought the station. His agent was a friend of mine; we laughed because we had a bad radio station and a bad personality who’s probably going to be a drug addict for the rest of his life and a baseball team [the Mets] with rumors about drugs. It was kind of like the grand slam.

Mike Breen (updates, ‘Imus in the Morning’): He was a bad drunk and a drug addict. You didn’t know what you were gonna get. The first day I started working with Imus at NBC, I asked the program director to bring me back to meet him; it was two o’clock in the afternoon and he was drunk. So the program director says, ‘Can this kid fill in on sports for Don Criqui tomorrow?’ And Imus was like, ‘Sure, now get out of my office.’ He didn’t even look up. When I went in the next day, I sat down and he had no idea who I was. So he shuts his mic off and he looks at me and he says, ‘Who the f— are you?’ I said, ‘I’m filling in for Criqui.’ He turns his mic back on and he says to Charles McCord, ‘Charles, do you know this kid? He claims he’s fillin’ in for Criqui.’ Now this is on the air, this part. So he spent the next 10 minutes interviewing me, asking me how I got to work on his show.”

Source: Grantland
Published: Jul 10, 2012
Length: 62 minutes (15,675 words)

Destroying Detroit (in Order to Save It)

On this June morning, with the heat and humidity rising, residents emerge from their homes one by one: mostly women, mostly older, mostly taking care of their mothers and grandkids. They’ve been calling the city, they say, for years without response and feel as abandoned as the houses that surround them—the foreclosed, devitalized structures that require immediate wrecking. They have questions for Lorenzo. Comprehensive to-do lists for this man who has powerful machines and, so, they figure, actual power. They ask when the dead trees are coming down. They want to know when the drug dealing will stop. Does Lorenzo’s boss have a job for their sons, by any chance? Or for their nephews? Or what about for themselves?

Author: Howie Kahn
Source: GQ
Published: Jun 1, 2011
Length: 18 minutes (4,522 words)