Archive for April, 2010

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Interviewing Michael Graves

April 30, 2010

The great perq of what I do is meeting people I otherwise would never get to know, and an interview I did earlier this week  for ON THE SCENE took me…and soon our viewers… into the world of an extraordinary artist.

Tuesday I interviewed the architect and designer, Michael Graves. At his home. Exquisite Italian inspired renovated warehouse home.  Home with rare sculptures, paintings, treasured books, and ornate furniture gathered from every corner of the earth. The kind of place that sends fear through a tv crew, that don’t-touch-anything-god-I-hope-the tripod-doesn’t-bang-into-the-wall-please-let-nothing-break fear. It gripped me when we set foot in the door and only left when we pulled out of the driveway.  Could even the gravel be imported?

Graves is a fascinating, deep thinking, learned man. He was generous with his time, we spent nearly four hours there.  I had spent the weekend preparing for his interview…reading reviews of his architecture and previous print interviews he’s given and grateful I did. You have got to be sharp to keep up with him.  He’s also a man who survived a life changing experience seven years ago when a sinus infection spread to his spine leaving him paralyzed from the chest down…almost overnight. We talked about that and how it’s affected his work.

But many of us know Graves best from the housewares line he designs for Target. So during the interview I reached down, pulled a bag from the floor and said, “I went shopping at Target yesterday and here’s some of your stuff.” I took out a colander, meat mallet and can opener, and said, “so tell me, what makes these a Michael Graves design? What do you notice?”

He described the nuances of each piece…its form and function and essence. Who knew a meat tenderizer could spark such inspiration? After seeing this interview you’ll never pound your beef the same.

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A Night To Remember: Emmys 2010

April 24, 2010

First of all, if you go into an awards show with your only interest being winning the award you are nominated for, chances are you’re in for a miserable night. There’s only one winner. And Sunday, we were not in the winner’s circle! The amazing ON THE SCENE team was up for two New York Emmy Awards for creative, inventive, and downright hard work to create some moving and memorable television.

But the Emmys went to….somebody else!

That takes away nothing from the value of our work, its impact and artistic merit. And I congratulate the recipients once again, as I did that night. 

But I have to tell you, and this may sound surprising since we didn’t bring home the gold, but it was one of the best nights, ever. My special guest, choreographer Heidi Latsky of the Emmy nominated piece, “GIMP” from ON THE SCENE, is a remarkable person and we had a blast. It was great to be with my colleagues enjoying a night out in Times Square,  talking and laughing and telling stories. And, of course, seeing the finest work in our industry of the past year being honored.

Television awards are about celebrating the art form and encouraging good work. It’s bigger than an individual nomination. 

Also, once again the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences invited me to be a presenter, so while I didn’t go home with an Emmy, I did get to hand out a few! Thanks to Jacqueline Gonzalez and everyone at the Academy for being such a gracious team and working all year to pull off this show.

So check back, there’ll be some new photos posted from the Emmys in the gallery and homepage, soon.

When I was a college kid, I dreamed of being part of events like this, doing quality work that I believe in, and collaborating with talented people. The dream keeps unfolding.

As the dinner was served I offered a toast at our table of nominees, and if you’re a reader of the blog it’ll sound familar since I’ve written about my feelings about awards before…I raised a glass to say, “tonight is more than the awards. It’s about everything we did in life and in work to get here.”

Cheers.

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A Very Emmy Sunday

April 17, 2010

This is it. Tomorrow winners of the New York Emmys will be announced in Times Square and as you know (if you’ve been following the blog or checking the homepage of the site) the ON THE SCENE team is up for two awards so wish us luck!

NATAS (National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences) has also invited me to be a presenter, so I’ll be reading off the nominees and handing out Emmys to recipients in some of the specialty categories unique to television…make-up, lighting and also music composition for television. I’m really excited about that and it’s an honor. It puts a little more pressure on the evening, but that’s how we roll…

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This Is Why I Don’t Need Drugs

April 13, 2010

Weeks like this get me high. A true, organic, achieving, striving, feel-like-we-accomplished-something-great kind of high.

An all-new episode of ON THE SCENE airs this weekend and we’ve spent the last few days editing the interviews. Yesterday, the last bit of video work was finished when we taped my host introductions for the segments.  Tomorrow, it all takes shape and is edited into a total show. That’s an amazing process to to experience and I love being a part of it all, frame by frame.

This is the episode with Rachel Dratch, guitarist Al DiMeola and Oscar winning screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher of “Precious.” Very diverse line-up of talented artists which is what makes ON THE SCENE so unique.

The best part: knowing that come Saturday and Sunday this show will be on the air hopefully bringing pleasure and interest to everyone watching. That’s the biggest high of all.

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Rachel Dratch…Bad Commute, Good Interview

April 7, 2010

Rachel Dratch was not having a good day. Her train broke down on the way to the theatre, she was late, rushed, aggravated by the incovenience of switching trains I am sure, and still  she was on the spot to tape our interview.

But I suppose all those years of doing  Saturday Night Live was good training. Live shows don’t wait. Believe me, I’ve been running against the clock my whole career in tv.

She and I talked about the play she is starring in, “Sylvia,” at George Street Playhouse in which she plays a dog. It’s a comedy, obviously. And she is hilarious in it. Getting glowing reviews. Of course  her return to SNL for a special appearance May 8th came up and we talked about the type of work she’s hoping to do in the future. 

It’s interesting, you never know what a performer is expecting the interview to be like. Every interviewer is different and that drives the dynamic of the conversation. I seemed to surprise her, though,  when I asked, “what’s in your DNA that makes you good at comedy, what is it about you?”

“Whoa, you ask  Barbara Walters type questions, don’t you? Am I going to start crying?”

I don’t want to be the one who makes Rachel Dratch, of all people, weep, thank you.  But I don’t see Barbara Walters asking that question. Charlie Rose, maybe.

But it’s a tough question to answer, I think,  because it brings to mind your early influences especially family, and really taking a look at what shapes your performance.  (Her dad is a big influence on her humor, in fact, she said.)

It’ll be there next weekend in an all-new ON THE SCENE which includes my interview with Geoffrey Fletcher, who won the Oscar for writing the “Precious” screenplay.