West Hollywood nightspot DBA — which is currently home to the popular musical show For the Record: Tarantino — will soon make way for another series: The Writers’ Room with Reza Aslan. Host Aslan, an associate professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside, lit up website comment sections worldwide last July after an interview with Fox News, in which anchor Lauren Green attacked him — and promptly was widely ridiculed — for writing a book about Jesus when he is a Muslim. His book,Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, which has been translated into 27 languages since it came out in 2013, looks at the life of Jesus from a historical perspective.
Starting June 4, and then the first Wednesday of each month through the end of the year, The Writer’s Room will present discussions with authors in an evening dressed up with cocktails and a live house band. “It’s a great venue,” says Aslan of DBA, a minimalist space that functions alternately as a dance club, theater, concert hall and gallery space. “The way they set the tables and the booths around are really fantastic. The bar is amazing. What better way to talk about books than with a drink in your hand. This is a place where people understand the value of the word because it’s what gives life to the entire industry. It’s the perfect city for something like this.”
The premiere guest is author and actor B.J. Novak of The Office fame. He’s also author of The New York Times best-sellerOne More Thing: Stories and Other Stories, a work of fiction.
“In a sense, B.J. represents the perfect guest for this house,” Aslan says. “He’s a screenwriter, television writer, he writes books. He’s somebody who’s comfortable in multiple genres. He understands the writing life and can talk about it in both an intelligent but also an interesting way. He basically sets the tenor for what we want to do with the program.”
Technically the writers of “The Mindy Project” will have a month off after they finish production on the FOX comedy’s second season before they congregate to start breaking Season 3, but Ike Barinholtz tells Zap2it on a recent visit to the set — where they were shooting the Season 2 finale — that he’s constantly thinking about ideas for new episodes.
“My [writing] partner and I were just talking about an idea for a story a little bit ago,” he says “It’s so funny, you get a few weeks’ break and you’re like ‘OK, well I’m going to go shut it down and think about other stuff,’ but you do think about the show. It’s such a big part of our lives, so you’ll be in an argument with your wife one day and you’ll be like ‘Oh, this’ll be a great episode.'”
The writers are “just starting to” think about Season 3. “It’s kind of starting to trickle in ideas and then we’ll really get into it in about a month,” Barinholtz says.
As for what we’ll see on the just-renewed sitcom’s third season, showrunner Mindy Kaling says she’s thinking very broadly. “Thinking of Season 3, it’s just like what are … things that are going on with people now in real life, what’s happening with my friends now, and trying to think of things that resonate with people,” she says.
She’s also looking for more stories to expand the characters’ worlds and histories. “You know what’s funny, I think of the characters — and I feel like maybe some other showrunners think of it this way — instead of thinking of seasons. I think of, ‘Outside of the world here, what are more things we can do?'”