Beyond books: Celebrate the future of storytelling at Newstory

Moby is one of the guests probing the future of storytelling with Newstory at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Something new is coming to the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

L.A. is the world capital of storytelling, and books are just the beginning. With virtual reality, video games, podcasts, TV and movies, there are more ways to tell a story than ever before.

At this year’s Festival of Books, the Los Angeles Times is celebrating new forms of storytelling with Newstory. Five stages will host immersive experiences like a VR dome, interactive video games, and panels with creative storytellers including Moby, Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest, and March for Our Lives students.


Newstory will be at the 23rd Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on April 21 and 22 at the USC campus. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 21 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 22. Admission to the festival is free; tickets for specific panels can be purchased at

You can see the full schedule for the Festival of Books here.

Some of the Newstory highlights:


  • 10:55 a.m.: “How Blockchain is Empowering Songwriters & Creators, with Classical Musicians Leading the Way” – Film composer and songwriter Hélène Muddiman (“Happy Feet Two,” “Ice Age 4”) will talk about how blockchain is bringing greater transparency to the music industry, and to individual songwriters. (Newstory stage)
  • 11:30 a.m.: “Seeing the Unseen” – NASA Jet Propulsion Lab’s lead creative Dan Goods discusses how his team transforms complicated concepts into meaningful stories. Highlights will include the Voyager Golden Record and Goods’ own “Museum of Awe.” (Newstory stage)
  • 12 p.m.: “Spotify’s Secret Genius Showcase” – Grammy-winning music producers who’ve worked with Bruno Mars, Rihanna, Justin Timberlake and other superstars give a behind-the-scenes look at how music production works. During the panel, they’ll create a new song with audience participation. (Norris Theater)
  • 12:30 p.m.: “The Bob Lefsetz Podcast With Special Guest Moby” – Moby will be in conversation with Bob Lefsetz, host of “The Bob Lefsetz Podcast” and creator of the Lefsetz Letter, a blog and newsletter about music news and analysis. (Annenberg Auditorium)
  • 1:30 p.m.: “Rebel Radio Podcast” – A Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad in conversations with Rebel Industries CEO Josh Levine. (Annenberg Auditorium)


  • 10:30 a.m. “The Second City Presents Improvisation: Decoding Creative Practices” – Second City’s Kelly Leonard discusses the history of improv and leads the audience through improvisational exercises used by behavioral scientists to treat conditions like social anxiety, autism and Parkinson’s. (Norris Theater)
  • 12 p.m.: “Young Leaders Rising”: bigSTORY’s Mike Bonifer hosts a discussion including students from March for Our Lives, Calabasas alternative school Muse High School and the organization Rock Your World to discuss the youth-driven movement to change the politics of gun control in the United States. (Norris Theater)
  • 3 p.m.: “Story Smash: The Storytelling Gameshow! Live at L.A. Times Newstory!” – Panelists will spin the Wheel of Stories and tell a true story based on the subject they land on. Judges will decide on their favorites. (Warning: Parental guidance suggested) (Annenberg Auditorium)

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