Tribeca Talks ’02: Martin Scorsese, Jay Cox, Richard Price

Of my rocknroll fantasy, a friend from L.A. said to me yesterday, “Your in the wrong town.”

I think about moving to L.A. frequently. About relocating the rock star dream there. The Hollywood Dream. Celluloid Dreams. I have the requisite screenplay under my belt (“Mo’ Hart,” a coming-of-age film about an aspiring — surprise — rock star). But when I have total New York City day like today, and I think to myself, “How could I ever leave this town?”

It started with a plate of eggs at my favorite diner, The Flame, on 58th and 9th. I sat with a buddy from high school and talked about growing up, about how disappointing it can be when people don’t turn out like you planned for them, about relationships, parents. Then we rode down the Hudson River Park to Battery park City and Ground Zero.

We hopped off the bikes on Greenwhich Street and cased out the Tribeca Film Festival. There was a street fair with music and games and food and everyone was walking around with badges and big smiles beneath a sun-drenched sky. We rode back to Hell’s Kitchen, dropped the bikes, and took the 2/3 Express back down.

I picked up tickets at the festival box office for a panel discussion on New York filmakers. I wasn’t sure who would be on the panel, but a film festival chaired by Robert De Niro, in a city captured on film by Spike Lee, Woody Allen, and Martin Scorsese, I figured my odds were good. I met my brother at Pace University, in the shadow of City Hall and the Brooklyn Bridge, and went into the auditorium.

Ends up it was Scorsese, Jay Cox (screenwriter of “Gangs of New York,” “Age of Innocence”) and Richard Price (screenwriter of “The Color of Money,” “Clockers”). And while their repartee on the city’s grit, diversity, and energy wasn’t earth shattering, it was exciting to see in them in person and inspiring to hear their enthusiasm. It gave me ideas for another screenplay, and motivated me to get back to making “Mo’ Hart.”

So I headed back uptown, rented Peter Seller’s “Being There” (directed by Hal Ashby of “Herold & Maude” fame) and came home, tired and a little sunburned. And on the answering machine, Keith McKenney, a high school friend of my brother’s, had left a message. “Hey, I’ve been reading your website and you seem a little down. It sounds to me like your doin’ well with it all. But even so, remember you that have at least one fan out here.” And I laughed, and smiled, and thought, “How could I be any luckier?”

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