A Brief Interview with Eleanor Kagan
RS: You work as a producer in traditional radio (NPR's Ask Me Another) and as a podcasting host (Bonnie & Maude). How do the two experiences inform one another, if at all?
EK: The two inform one another a lot, actually: whether it's making something for a venerable institution, or as an independent producer, I think a lot of the goals are the same: to tell good stories, to foster a space for a variety of voices and opinions. A lot of skills that I've learned from Ask Me Another, in terms of booking guests and producing a live show with many moving parts, I've been able to apply to Bonnie & Maude. (Kseniya and I just mounted our third "Bonnie & Maude Presents" variety show called "All of Them Witches." It was about witches in film, TV and pop culture.) But they're also totally separate and distinctive creative ventures in my life that provide very different creative outlets for me.
How did you and Kseniya first come up with the idea for Bonnie & Maude?
We were already friends, and I was recording a one-off podcast with her and her husband Matt about the Brooklyn Zine Fest, which they organize. She said to me, "We both like movies. Let's talk about movies. And record us doing that." So we did. We didn't know how long we'd do it for, or how far we'd get, but it turns out we have a blast doing it. It's also been a great way to feature underappreciated movies, to have an atypical conversation about a massive hit, and feature some of the amazing filmmakers we know, who just also happen to be women.
What can people expect from your reading Saturday night?
I don't want to give too much away, but I'll say that people should be prepared to think deeper than they ever have expected to (or wanted to) about a particular Van Morrison song, and its recurring, pivotal role in romantic comedies.