Posts Tagged ‘Joe Pantoliano’


ON THE SCENE: Evolving Like An Artist

August 15, 2012

The other day I tweeted how I hoped people watching would take special note of my interview with the actor Joe Pantoliano in this weekend’s ON THE SCENE encore. (News 12 New Jersey, 8:30am, 11:30am, 4:30pm August 18th, 19th).

This is an uncommonly personal, revealing and at times hilarious  interview about his battles with mental illness and growing up in a (highly) dysfunctional mob family. Our walk through his neighborhood in Hoboken, New Jersey opened everyone watching to Joe’s world in a most unique way.

I also learned a lot from doing this interview. And I’ve made a decision that ON THE SCENE will again evolve as it has numerous times over its seven incredible years. We will be going even deeper into the experiences and pivotal moments of the artists we interview. Because I see how so many people watching will benefit.

Actually, the change began a year and a half ago with my interview with Darlene Love, then at a pivotal moment in her life. She found out just a couple of days before the interview that she would be inducted into  the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. In that interview, producer Ivy Charmatz and I came up with a list of questions…and a structure…that would take Darlene back over several other pivotal moments in her life  (falling on hard times and working as a maid, getting ripped off by producer Phil Spector)  that led her to where she was on the day we met.  Watch it on the credits page of my website.

So in the coming episodes look for more of this pov and let me know what artists you’d like to see me interview.


Joey Pants ON THE SCENE Encore

August 12, 2012

I heard from many people who saw my profile of actor Joe Pantoliano for ON THE SCENE. The feedback was so positive that News 12 New Jersey is replaying the episode August 18th and 19th at 8:30 am, 11:30 am and 4:30 pm both Saturday and Sunday.

Viewers were struck by Pantoliano’s candidness in describing his troubled family life and years of depression and other mental illnesses. And our walk through his neighborhood in Hoboken, New Jersey and seeing him engage with people he’s known for decades is a unique, memorable experience.

This show also includes the  popular segment on the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey which is marking its 50th anniversary season of performances.



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.