The Miracle Of Showing Up

August 15th, 2008

resizedWe rarely do much of anything in Nantucket, and I like it that way.

A typical day might involve a good run, a real breakfast (eggs, pancakes, etc), a trip to the beach, magazines, books, puzzles, and the ever-essential mid-day nap.

We rarely leave our little corner of the island save for trip to Cisco Brewers (for pints of Whale's Tale Pale Ale), Bartlett Farms (for fresh corn, tomatoes, and blueberry pie), and 167 (aka East Coast Seafood, for whatever Bill's caught that day).

Whatever we do, and wherever we go, the one constant is ...

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Saving Mister Rogers

August 1st, 2008

resizedI'm blessed and lucky for my brief but meaningful time with Mister Rogers, and the wheels those few moments set in motion.

When I need a dose of calm, or insight on managing my anger, sadness, or fear in the face of this crazy, crazy world, I don't have to go anywhere or do anything. I just pause, and I hear him in my head.

What's more, he's rarely out of eyeshot. At my office, a photo of us in the living room of his Crooked House rests on a shelf above my desk, and a postcard reading, "I'm so glad we're friends" is tacked to my ...

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Tim Russert (1950-2008)

June 13th, 2008

resizedThe New York Times just confirmed some sad news: Tim Russert has died of a heart attack.

You'll recall that Chris and I visited Tim in his NBC offices in November, 2006 to interview him for our documentary, "Mister Rogers & Me."

We scored the interview courtesy of my uncle, with whom Tim had worked for years, after I read Tim's wife, Maureen Orth, remembrance of Mister Rogers in The Nantucket Inquirer-Mirror some months earlier.

It was a cold, drizzly Monday morning as we pulled into NBC's Washington, DC, bureau. Despite a fair dose ...

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“Mister Rogers & Me” Applies To Independent Film Week!

May 23rd, 2008

resizedI don't know much about gambling, or numbers, but I like to think that submitting our Independent Film Week online application at precisely 7:11 is somehow fortuitous; these two seem pretty good together.

In addition to two DVD screeners, and a $60 entree fee, the application called for a 25 word logline, 60 word synopsis, 500 word summary, and 500 word artistic statement. Here's what I came up with.

LOGLINE: American's Favorite Neighbor, PBS icon, Fred Rogers, sends a young MTV producer on a quest for depth and simplicity amidst a ...

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The Miracle Of Suffering

May 22nd, 2008

resized"I think you're gonna' have to throw up to feel better," he said matter-of-factly.

The morning began at the iTunes music store. Such is my voracious appetite for substantive public radio podcasts that I'd already burned through "This American Life," "Studio 360," and two episodes of "Fresh Air" on my twice-daily, fifteen-minute commute -- and it was only Wednesday.

Browsing the options -- "A Prairie Home Companion," "Bill Moyer's Journal," "Radio Lab" -- left me cold (maybe because two of the three denied my "Mister Rogers & Me" ...

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“Mister Rogers & Me” In 25 Words Or Less?

May 20th, 2008

resizedI've been drafting our Independent Film Week application as Chris fine tunes our submission.

We've made some elegant revisions tonight, including the addition of a cute piece of footage of Ethan and me, some evocative driving b-roll, and a song by Davy Rothbart's brother's band, The Poem Adept, "Bear & Raccoon" (though we haven't officially asked Peter's permission yet).

Thing about non-linear editing is that there's no track record of what was, only what is. The project evolves before our eyes. That is, when my eyes aren't on this ...

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Extra Pickles, As Always

May 14th, 2008

resizedYears ago, when I was recording the first of two albums ("Almost Home" and "Love & Other Indoor Games") at my pal Kevin Anthony's Control One Studios, I began most sessions with a delicious, toasty Turkey Ranch Sub from Quiznos on 23d Street.

Tonight, Chris and I are editing just a few blocks from there, so I reprised the ritual... with extra pickles, as always.

The neighborhood feels a little different. Madison Square Park (where I recorded the city sounds you hear throughout my cover of John Denver's "Leaving on a Jet Plane"), for ...

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Dear Mister Rogers

March 20th, 2008

Dear Mister Rogers,

My memory isn't the best, but one moment I'll never forget is meeting you.

It was September 4, 2001. I'd arrived on Nantucket just a few hours prior. I remember going for a run, then swimming in the bay at sunset. By the time you walked over from The Crooked House, there wasn't a trace of sunlight to be found; the sun had fallen below the waves. The stars had yet to come out. It was completely and perfectly dark.

I was standing on the back porch, beer in hand, when I heard your unmistakable voice inquire, "Has ...

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Serendipity, Baby

March 13th, 2008

resized Brace yourself; the following story may blow your mind.

Just this past Sunday, Nada front man Jason Walsmith and I were sitting around his Beaverdale, Iowa, living room recovering from the previous night's show and preparing for the next. We're watching TV when he said, "Lemme' show you this documentary."

He surfed around his Tivo menu until he found Iowa Public Television's "More Than A Game." The film, "a look back at girls' 6-on-6 basketball and what it meant to generations of young women who played it," features a new song from ...

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Given To Fly

January 28th, 2008

resizedThere are three major flight paths outside my window: Newark, LaGuardia, and JFK. With the frequent buzz of tourist helicopters and Hudson River air traffic, the skies above me are constantly crowded with jet engines, propellers, and blinking red lights.

It's an apt metaphor for New York City, really. Or, for that matter, my brain.

Friday night, though, found Chris and I wandering an empty Nantucket wharf. The water was still. The Steamship Authority's klieg lights illuminated empty docks. Slips were barren. Cottages were vacant. ...

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