This Is It (This Is Really Happening)

October 28th, 2009

resizedAll the way from JFK to LAX (the part I was awake, anyway), all I could hear was the voice of Ryan Adams screaming in my ears.

"Don't waste my time; this is it! This is really happening!!! This is really happening!!!"

My brain was on the right lyric, but the alt-country singer/songwriter's seminal 2003 single, "This Is It," was the wrong track. This week, anyway, Michael Jackson owns the phrase. Hence my 5,922-mile, 34-hour trip to the red carpet premiere of "Michael Jackson: This Is It."

You've read my musings on life within ...

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Actual Email, Vol. II

October 4th, 2009

resizedLast year, my department was slashed in half. We responded by setting a new strategy and impossibly steap but completely attainable goals. Keeping on target called for daily vigilance, and more than one speech invoking Presidents Obama and Kennedy (not all at once!), Bob Dylan, Bono and even Internet visionary Clay Shirky.

We'd done a terrific job reaching our lofty goals until August when a lack of news and an absence of kids at their computers created something of a drought. We need something new to push us over the edge: a kick-ass ...

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That Dust Cloud Disappears Without A Trace

September 25th, 2009

resizedYesterday morning at 11:27 I Tweeted, "Noon meeting. Two o'clock flight. Nine o'clock U2 show. Bets, anyone?"

At the time, I wouldn't have wagered even a gentleman's handshake; the communique derived from Overland Park, Kansas, some 1,201 miles west of Giant's Stadium.

Too many moving parts were in play, not the least of which an airplane. Worse, my noon meeting was over thirty miles south of KCI Airport. So I stacked the deck.

First, I booked a car service, and had the Towncar poised just steps from the corporate headquarters in ...

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The Perfect Compliment

September 23rd, 2009

resizedWhen I first moved to New York City, my bets were placed equally between writing for and being on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine. The same could have been said of The New York Times, or MTV.

Yeah, I probably should have checked the odds. But we're talking 1995 here. I was 24-years-old. I hadn't read "The Spectator Bird" yet.

Well, you sort of know how it's turned out.

I wrote for Rolling Stone Online for almost a year, interviewing Ben Folds, Ani DiFranco and Matthew Sweet at their respective zeniths. I've yet to grace its ...

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Radio City Station

September 15th, 2009

resizedFor at least a day now (it's been tough to keep track, frankly; the last few have been punctuated by black holes where my memory used to be), my email inbox has been slammed by a steady flow of identical, potentially editorially-salient spam comments: Buy Valium.

For my mother, whose graduation from Columbus High School had been celebrated with a then-unheard of trip to New York, Radio City Music Hall was a white-gloved, hi-balled Mecca, thousands of miles in every way from Waterloo, Iowa. I must've been about twelve-years-old when she ...

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Pride (In The Name Of Love)

September 11th, 2009

resizedI stepped into Times Square at 12:33 tonight, some sixteen hours after first stepping foot in the office. The sidewalk was slick.

"Huh," I thought. "Weather."

This afternoon, I stood outside MTV video Music Awards rehearsals at Radio City Music Hall as one of our crews interviewed the Creative Director in a cramped, curbside mobile office.

I looked up from 49th Street to Rolling Stone Magazine's offices, and though back to a fall day in 1995 when I watched VMA arrivals there as a young intern. It never would have dawned on me then ...

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Moment Of Zen: Smith Point, Nantucket

September 8th, 2009

resizedI could hear the back-to-work buzz before I even stirred from the sheets this morning. Trucks slammed their way up Tenth Avenue. Cabs honked. Tires screeched.

There was an actual traffic jam stepping out of the elevator this morning. Blue blazers stumbled over dog walkers tripping over baby carriages. There was nearly a four-person pile up before we even hit the street.

By the time I made it to Times Square, I had to laugh; the place was teeming with suits, three times more than last Tuesday, all racing around like headless ants. ...

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Corner Office Concert Series, Vol. I

August 8th, 2009

resizedI'm rarely one to turn down an opportunity to perform, no matter how odd the venue.

I've played basements, attics, porches, open fields, backyards, street corners, art galleries, cafeterias, gymnasiums, and worse. If you wanna' hear, odds are I'll give ya' something to listen to.

So when my colleague, MTV 360 EVP Ross Martin, emailed me a link to NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts and asked if I'd be interested to do the same in his office (a corner office, natch) for his website Something Burning, I quickly and enthusiastically ...

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Michael Jackson: The Memorial

July 7th, 2009

resizedThere's so much to be said about today's Michael Jackson Memorial. But the chorus of pundits, critics and sycophants is at fever pitch. Three things, then.

It was difficult to take in the once-in-a-lifetime event as a fan or even a regular member of American culture. I was in the back row of the MTV Studios' control room for our marathon, four-hour live report. In my left ear, I was listening to (and speaking with) Kim Stolz's floor producer, Jane Mun. In my right ear I was listening to everything else: the executive producer's calls ...

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Life & Death In The Magical Kingdom

June 30th, 2009

resizedI left the office at 7:15 last night. The sun was still casting its golden light across the Hudson. After five days of Michael Jackson coverage, it felt like a half day.

I stopped at the grocery store on my way home and, inspired by the sight of fresh limes (on sale, natch), resolved to mix up a fresh-squeezed margarita and some homemade guacamole to enjoy them before the sun dipped below the horizon.

A few hours later, Abbi and I sat together on the patio squinting into the sunset, sipping our cocktails, and debriefing each other on ...

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