The rallying cry “no topic will be off-limits” is a fairly unctuous way to get people into discussions between writers, who are by nature rather private people. Can you really expect such a discussion to tackle the finer points of Otter Pops, the poisonous nature of nostalgia, or even a mutual critique of that day's dress choices? In A State of the Union Conversation: An Evening With Frank Rich and Fran Lebowitz, the two writers present serious ruminations on the nation — the suckiness of the economy, the agony and ecstasy of gay marriage, and the pitfalls of foreign policy. And yet you go to these things not to have your mind changed but instead expanded, and Rich and Lebowitz are great raconteurs. Rich's previous beat was about theater for the New York press; now he writes for New York magazine about theater of the political variety. Lebowitz got hired by Warhol to write for Interview, so maybe she'll talk about how annoying it is to be touted as “the heir to Dorothy Parker.” This life: such a struggle. Bovard Auditorium at USC, 3607 Trousdale Parkway; Mon., Oct. 15, 7 p.m., free. (213) 740-4211,

Mon., Oct. 15, 7 p.m., 2012

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