Posts Tagged ‘People’

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Being Honored At The Waldorf Astoria

May 19, 2013
John Bathke Honored At Deadline Club, Waldorf Astoria.

John Bathke Honored At Deadline Club, Waldorf Astoria.

There’s no finer place to lose an award the Waldorf Astoria. I can tell you that without fear of contradiction. I have done it, just this past Thursday night, in fact.

I was a finalist for a Deadline Club Award, one of New York’s most esteemed journalism honors bestowed to national and local journalists in television, newspaper, magazine and all forms of online media. The awards dinner is held annually at the glittering, opulent, oh-so New York, Waldorf.

The work singled out by the Deadline Club judges is a piece that means a great deal to me..an emotional, riveting and completely in the moment account of emergency rescues performed following a tidal surge caused by Superstorm Sandy. Three towns in Bergen County, New Jersey suddenly flooded leaving thousands stranded.

I’ll never forget the people who we met that day…being pulled to safety from their homes, others coming to a shelter looking frantically for relatives. It was a crucial story to be told, and I believe we did it justice for all those residents suffering the storm’s wrath.

In the end it was coverage of Sandy by another television station that claimed the award, but to be one of three finalists for an honor as prestigious as the Deadline Club, is an award in itself.

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Joan Rivers, Jewel, Glen Burtnik: ON THE SCENE

April 6, 2013

Tune in this weekend, April 6 & 7, for an all new ON THE SCENE on News 12 New Jersey at 11 AM, 1:30 PM and 3:30 PM each day.

This is one of my all time favorite episodes. I interviewed Joan Rivers at her Manhattan apartment. We had a conversation about complicated mother-daughter relationships, her enduring comedy career and who makes her laugh. This is not an interview of punchlines, but about real emotions and I think everyone watching will discover something new about Rivers…even after all her years in show business.

The interview with Jewel was done backstage at the Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood where she launched her 2013 national tour. Jewel donated items to raise money for a New Jersey charity helping Sandy victims, and she and I talk about her own ordeal with homelessness as a beginning artist…and how that’s helped her to identify with people in New Jersey who lost homes to the storm.

And my Glen Burtnik interview morphed into a profile of a songwriter and his song, and I think it’s fascinating. Glen co-wrote “Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough” with Patty Smythe over 20 years ago. It’s a heartbreaking rock ballad. But the lyrics never meant that much to Glen…till his divorce years later. And suddenly, that song became almost impossible for him to sing.

Watch, and let me know what you think of the show.

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Front Row LIVE! My Christopher O’Riley Interview

February 8, 2013
John Bathke & Christopher O'Riley

John Bathke & Christopher O’Riley

An enthusiastic audience of loyal music fans turned out last night for the debut of “Front Row LIVE!” at the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC).  I interviewed the classical pianist Christopher O’Riley, best known for his arrangements of songs by Radiohead, Tears For Fears, Elliott Smith, Pink Floyd and Nirvana. He also hosts the NPR show, “From The Top.”

SOPAC invited me to conduct the interview following his concert there. Die hard Radiohead and traditional classical music fans gave me the thumbs up after the show so if my questions were interesting to both groups, I’m more than happy.

More shows will be announced at http://www.sopacnow.org and I hope to see you there.

 

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Rockin’ Till The Light Of Day: A Review

January 20, 2013
Darlene Love Performs at Light Of Day, 2013

Darlene Love Performs at Light Of Day, 2013

It’s called the Light Of Day and one wonders if daybreak may come before the last act exits the stage at the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park.

The annual concert organized by the Light Of Day Foundation to benefit Parkinson’s Disease research has grown into a full fledged city wide music festival in the 13 years since its modest start as a birthday party for Parkinson’s patient and music industry insider, Bob Benjamin.

This year’s main stage shows at the Paramount featuring a multitude of rock acts stretched into a more than seven hour music marathon on Saturday night.

The show had sold  out in less than an hour without any of the talent being announced, largely on speculation that Bruce Springsteen would once again close the show as a surprise guest as he had nine of the previous twelve years.

But the Boss did not show this year, giving fans the heads up on his website the day before that he would “be away with family.”  But there was plenty to satisfy a wide range of musical tastes with performances by some of New Jersey’s favorite musicians.

Stand-out sets included  Garland Jeffreys with an impressive cover of “96 Tears” and his rousing closer, “Hail Hail Rock ‘n Roll.”  An on-fire Willie Nile kicked down the doors with his powerhouse “One Guitar” and despite technical difficulties John Easdale and  Dramarama soldiered through one of the most beautifully sung and emotionally delivered short sets of the evening.

But the star status, with Springsteen not on hand, went to headliner Darlene Love. The Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame member took the stage for a nearly 45 minute set backed by a seven piece band and three singers.

Love proved that not only does she possess one of the richest voices in Rock ‘n Roll, she has one of the tightest bodies… poured into a form fitting gleaming black leotard the audience not only heard her thunderous voice, she left no doubt where it was coming from.

Love, who Springsteen once called a “one woman wall of sound”  kicked off her set with the Phil Spector-produced 1960s classics  about young love “A Fine Fine Boy,” “Wait Till My Bobby Gets Home” and the crowd pleasing, much covered “Da Doo Ron Ron.”

Phil Spector records are featured heavily in Love’s concerts. In a 2010 interview for my program “ON THE SCENE,” on News 12 New Jersey (watch this interview on the Credits page of  johnbathke.com) Love told me that without the work she did with Spector, she believes that she would not have been inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. She was under contract to Spector for much of the 1960s, recording lead and  backing vocals on countless records. Most famously, Love’s voice was the lead vocal on the number one 1962 hit, “He’s A Rebel.” But Spector released the song under the name of his more popular girl group “The Crystals” and Love went uncredited for years. This led to lawsuits that Love filed against Spector to obtain credit and compensation.

A tender medley of Marvin Gaye hits including “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “What’s Going On,” also a staple in Love’s performances, was well placed in the center of her set before Love returned to Spector-produced material including the improbable but catchy rock ‘n roll version of “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.”

Love finished with “River Deep-Mountain High,” a record that she had asked Spector to let her record. Instead, he chose Tina Turner for the 1966 recording and Love was relegated to singing back-up, an experience she recalled as “miserable”  in her 1998 memoir, “My Name Is Love.” The session dragged on for hours in a sweltering studio, she said, as Spector demanded that Turner sing the song dozens of times until her voice had the hoarse and weary quality that he wanted. Love said she thought the finished product sounded like “crap” and, in fact, “River Deep-Mountain High” was so poorly received at the time that Spector went into seclusion for years afterward. But the song has become a rock ‘n roll standard and Turner seldom performed a show without it, right through her 50th anniversary tour in 2008-2009. Aside from Turner, Love is now the premiere interpreter of the song that she so badly wanted for her own more 45 years ago.

Love’s performance, as with night’s others, lacked meticulous acoustics which is the most common problem in these multi-act concerts where the stage must be quickly reset between performers without sound checks. But the night was first and foremost for a cause and the Light Of Day Foundation expected to raise 300 thousand dollars.

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Most Viewed of 2012: Randy Harrison; Lewis Black; Jim Norton

January 1, 2013

So before we venture one more day into this new year of 2013, let me say that several interviews that we aired in  “ON THE SCENE” in 2012 got people watching and talking above all others.

My interview Randy Harrison, the actor who starred as “Justin Taylor” on the Showtime series “Queer As Folk”  is the most viewed of my Youtube videos of the past year.  I interviewed Harrison at George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, New Jersey last February when he was appearing in the play, “Red.” He has an international fan base, particularly in Europe. I discovered this when I noticed  the inordinately high number of views to my blog from foreign countries. I heard from a number of fans eager to know how they could see the interview. Two interviews, in fact, about his performance in “Red” and another about his work on “Queer As Folk” are on Youtube.

My interview with comedian Jim Norton was perhaps my favorite of the year. He’s funny in the interview but what I look for most in an interview with a comedian is whether they reveal something of themselves not for laughs. We cover a lot of territory in the interview including career struggles, dating, life disappointments and triumphs.

And Lewis Black. I interviewed him at George Street Playhouse, also, and he was more than generous with his time and thoughts. A play written by Black, “One Slight Hitch” was getting a run there. He took it out of the drawer after many years, it’s about his breakup with a girlfriend nearly 30 years ago. Viewers weren’t used to seeing Black talk about the playwright side of his career and it was an interesting departure. It, too, can be viewed on Youtube.

MUCH more to come in 2013!

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Lewis Black, Jim Norton, Peter Max & MANY More ON THE SCENE

December 22, 2012

Sunday is the last shot to catch ON THE SCENE: The Best Of 2012. It’s a collection of clips from some of our most interesting celebrity interviews of the year including Lewis Black, Jim Norton, Bernadette Peters, Chris Botti, Joe Pantoliano,  Peter Max and more.

Watch News 12 New Jersey Sunday at 11AM, 1:30PM or 3:30PM.

Enjoy the show and here’s to an amazing year of interviews in 2013!

 

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ON THE SCENE Best Of…Ready To Roll

December 18, 2012

Two days, holed up in a dark editing booth and now ON THE SCENE the Best Of 2012 show is ready to see the light of day.

We cut and culled until we made it to seven of our favorite artists featured in our show during 2012. And we took the very best excepts from each of those interviews and put them in this year-end special.

With one exception: Bernadette Peters. A good portion of my original interview with her this fall never aired and so a brand new piece with her is in this show.

So tune in News 12 New Jersey this Saturday and Sunday, December 22nd and 23rd at 11AM, 1:30PM and 3:30PM each day.  The show includes Joe Pantoliano, Peter Max, Chris Botti, Lewis Black, Jim Norton, and Rob McClure who stars at Charlie Chaplin in “Chaplin” the Broadway musical.

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ON THE SCENE: Black, Botti, McClure: All Star Line Up

October 13, 2012

If you’re looking to find ON THE SCENE this weekend on News 12 New Jersey, remember the times are 8:30am, 11:30am and 4:30pm Saturday and Sunday.

The line-up is tremendous with interviews with three very different entertainers. Viewers are seeing a different side of Lewis Black, famous for his rants on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. In my interview he talks about the break up with a girlfriend  that prompted him to write the play, “One Slight Hitch,” now being performed at George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, New Jersey.  And I ask him about the smallest audience he ever played to…one Christmas Eve in Anchorage. Hilarious story.

This is my second interview with musician Chris Botti. We picked up where we left off three years ago during our first interview. He is a driven, intense and hugely talented artist and we talk a lot his very focused life.

And Rob McClure who stars as Charlie Chaplin on Broadway in “Chaplin The Musical” gave me a tour of his dressing room at the Barrymore Theatre which is immersed in everything Chaplin. Critics panned the show but praised McClure’s performance. I agree he is a pleasure to watch and has devoted himself to this role.

 

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Lewis Black, Chris Botti and Chaplin On Broadway..This Weekend

October 9, 2012

A new ON THE SCENE will be on this weekend and it includes my interviews with comedian Lewis Black whose play “One Slight Hitch” just opened at George Street Playhouse.  Along with musician Chris Botti and Rob McClure who plays silent movie legend Charlie Chaplin in the Broadway musical, “Chaplin.”

It’s an eclectic mix of extraordinary talent so tune in News 12 New Jersey this Saturday and Sunday October 13th and 14th at 8:30 am, 11:30 am and 4:30 pm each day.

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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.