Archive for July, 2012


Darlene Love Recovers From Heart Attack

July 28, 2012

Rock singer Darlene Love suffered a mild heart attack while performing at an Asbury Park, New Jersey nightclub and is said to be doing well after stent surgery.

If you’re just becoming aware of Love (“He’s A Rebel”, “Christmas Baby Please Come Home”) by catching reports online about her heart surgery, check out this emotional and revealing interview with her conducted just days after she discovered her dream of being inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame was about to come true


Encore with Comedian Jim Norton And The Springsteen Exhibit

July 25, 2012

This weekend there’s an encore ON THE SCENE airing on News 12 New Jersey at 8:30 AM, 11:30 AM and 4:30PM.

Viewers and my colleagues alike were surprised by my interview with comedian Jim Norton, best known for appearing on the Opie And Anthony radio show.  Some of them are loyal Norton fans and they told me they learned about him from this interview than any other they’ve seen.  It’s one of my all time favorite interviews.

And Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band fans have another chance to see our tour of the Springsteen exhibit at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia..”From Asbury Park To The Promised Land: The Life And Music Of Bruce Springsteen.”

I’ll post more about this encore ON THE SCENE as we get closer to the weekend but mark your calendars and tune in this is probably the last time this episode will air.




ON THE SCENE Show Schedule

July 15, 2012

I see viewers of ON THE SCENE have been checking into the blog. Thanks. ON THE SCENE airs on News 12 New Jersey 8:30am, 11:30am and 4:30pm today (Sunday, July 15th.).

The show is a recurring special presentation. It’s not on every weekend.  If you follow me on twitter @JohnBathkeLive you’ll never miss a new show or an encore because info is posted there. Showtimes are always the same (as listed above) when the show does air. 

The next air date will be announced in the coming week. And if you enjoy ON THE SCENE please let me and the station know your feedback.


ON THE SCENE With Joey Pants And The Shakespeare Theatre

July 14, 2012

Some of you will be checking out the blog this weekend or finding it through internet searches after seeing ON THE SCENE. (The show airs on News 12 New Jersey at 8:30am, 11:30am and 4:30pm Saturday and Sunday). So, here’s some back story about my Joey Pants interview and about the other segment in the show, the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey.

The interview with Joe was taped in Hoboken where he lived for most of his childhood and where he’s kept the same apartment for 25 years. (His family home is in Connecticut).  He’s emotionally complicated, vulnerable, ready to unburden himself after decades of depression and destructive compulsive behaviors, a recovering addict and kleptomaniac, and he wants the stigma of mental illness to be lifted for all who are caught in its ravages.  Which is why, he says, he wrote his new memoir, “Asylum.”

I had never met Joe before we came to his apartment for the interview. It was a friend of mine, the playwright and director Charles Messina, who suggested he would be a compelling interview after directing him in a play reading earlier this year.

I believe what makes a riveting story is when someone is willing to tell the truth about the beginnings of their life. In many ways it’s the most fascinating time and certainly it’s what shapes the person who they are today. Joe, as you saw in my interview, put it all out there. To be able to talk about his stepfather being a mobster, growing up in a family of thieves…well, that takes an open spirit.

Let me know what you thought of this interview.

As for the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey which is also featured in this episode, it’s the 50th anniversary season. But I did not want to do a historical piece…something looking back on five decades of plays. And certainly there’s not enough time in the world to parse the nuances of Shakespeare. I wanted this piece to be about the passion the people who work there feel for Shakespeare. Why are they moved by his words, how did Shakespeare change their life, and what keeps Shakespeare fresh and relevant to them.  I hope we achieved that.

Those of us who work on writing, producing, shooting, and editing ON THE SCENE each have a vision for our part in the production. Yes, I am the host and producer of the program but a small team of creatives work with me in the course of putting together each segment one by one till a whole show is built. One thing I’ve learned, what we notice in the finished work is often radically different than the things viewers pick up.

When each new episode airs it’s a fascinating time for me.


New ON THE SCENE This Weekend With Joe Pantoliano

July 13, 2012

Spent the last two days hard at it in and edit suite…with no air conditioning, mind you…putting together this weekend’s new ON THE SCENE. Working with a brilliant editor does help compensate for the suffocating conditions, however.

Tune in to News 12 New Jersey this Saturday and Sunday, July 14th and 15th at 8:30 AM, 11:30 AM or 4:30 PM for the show. The first two segments are my interview with actor Joe Pantoliano in which she shows me the neighborhood where he grew up in Hoboken, New Jersey, opens up about his battle with depression and talks about “The Sopranos” on which he starred for two seasons. These are raw, honest, compelling pieces with Joe and not to be missed.

We also go backstage and into rehearsals at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey which is celebrating its 50th season of the Bard and works by other classic playwrights.

Watch and let me know what you think.



Midnight Screening: The Joe Pantoliano Interview

July 2, 2012

Joe Pantoliano and John Bathke

I was at work till midnight Friday. Holed up in an edit suite. I was by myself but I felt as if I had company. I was watching the interview I taped with Joe Pantoliano the week before.

Can’t wait for you to see this. This is the most intimate interview I’ve ever done. Joe doesn’t hide his feelings, his compulsions, his family history. You’ll be hearing about his wiseguy stepdad…and by that I mean he was in the mob not a smartass…his mother who’d steal money from her own son,  his descent into mental illness and the battle he’s waging to stay relevant in Hollywood.

And if that’s not enough, he washes his dog. And breaks a few stones with the old Italian men hanging out in the neighborhood in Hoboken, NJ.

This is going to be quite the piece for ON THE SCENE in just  two weeks.

Much more to come about it here on the blog.