Archive for category politics
In November 2012, the United States elected a president. Also right around the same time, author Stephen Battaglio released his latest book, an e-book to be exact, Election Night: A Television History 1948-2012. As described by the publisher, the book “is a fascinating and revealing look at the evolution of U.S. presidential election night broadcasts and how since 1948, this televised event galvanizes the nation. It explores the technical advancements in vote counting, live coverage from the field, how the networks get polling information and call a state for a candidate and how the drama unfolds in the control room. Through the lens of NBC News, Election Night highlights significant commentary by legendary news figures such as Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, John Chancellor, Tom Brokaw, Tim Russert, and Brian Williams.”
The book makes the most of the Kindle platform, utilizing the NBC large video archives, as well as offering historical audio clips in an enhanced edition [available here [or iTunes link here]. To find out more about his latest project, Battaglio accepted my invitation for another interview (I first interviewed him in 2011 regarding his book on NBC Today Show’s 60-year history.)
Tim O’Shea: You pull data for the book, including congressional hearings as well as the David Brinkley Papers/Archives. What was the biggest surprise/most interesting aspect of delving into Brinkley’s papers?
Stephen Battaglio: I loved David Brinkley. He is my favorite TV news anchor of all time. The humor that he managed to inject in his on-air commentary came across in his papers, especially in personal letters and internal memos. What you saw on screen was his true self.
So Atlanta history never fails to surprise me. I remember hearing about the Agora Ballroom, the Stein Club was actually still in existence when I started going to bars, I think I set foot in the Cotton Club at least once. But back in 1982, I was either graduating from grade school or starting high school (depending on what part of the year it was). So I knew nothing about T.V. Dinner, a little club [located at 1028 Peachtree Street in Midtown Atlanta], founded by Finnean Jones and Rosa Phillips (as noted by this 1982 GSU Signal article by Glen Thrasher at a Facebook T.V. Dinner fan page) in 1982.
What recently garnered my interest about this seemingly obscure club of the early 1980s? Well I stumbled across a YouTube video of Allen Ginsberg appearing at the club. I am hoping to find out more about the club in the coming weeks (looking at the folks on the fan page, it appears that many of the folks are friends with many of my Atlanta art scene fans–so I am hoping to mine their collective knowledge). But for today, I offer the video (plus a link to the second part). Enjoy.
What really surprises me about my ignorance of this club? Less than 10 years later in the early 1990s, my then girlfriend and I rented an apartment less than a mile from the club’s former location.
Thanks to a tweet by Reuters Bureau Chief in India, Paul de Bendern, I was made aware of a new New York Times article about writer Christopher Hitchens. As I noted when I first wrote about his announcement that he was battling esophageal cancer, while intellectually I have not agreed with Hitchens since about 2001, I still respect him. I sometimes find it odd that I respect him, considering I believe in a God, and he does not. But what the hey, fortunately as I get older I seem to be getting more open-minded.
Anyways, you should go read the piece. Consider this excerpt.
But in most other respects Mr. Hitchens is undiminished, preferring to see himself as living with cancer, not dying from it. He still holds forth in dazzlingly clever and erudite paragraphs, pausing only to catch a breath or let a punch line resonate, and though he says his legendary productivity has fallen off a little since his illness, he still writes faster than most people talk. Last week he stayed up until 1 in the morning to finish an article for Vanity Fair, working on a laptop on his bedside table.
Added bonus, GAO is also on YouTube, leading to this slightly amusing video (as important and as much as I value the GAO, the music on this video cracks me up). Honestly, I ask you to watch the video and try to ignore the music (really hard to do) because the mission of the GAO is a valuable one.
Ironbound describes itself as “Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, and Jeremy Newberger are Ironbound Films. Headquartered in an old inn on the Hudson River opposite West Point, Ironbound crafts video for theaters, television, museums, and the web.”
Here’s a preview:
The blog, Nothing But the Doc, noted that the project “will feature interviews with Sally Jesse Raphael, Chris Elliott, Al Sharpton and Pat Buchanan”. Some sites say it will be ready in 2011, others say 2012. Either way, given how much Downey fascinated me many years ago, I would be curious to hear the perspective from his former friends and associates.
What is International Women’s Day? As noted at WeAreEQUALS.org: “The UN explains it perfectly as, ‘the story of ordinary women as makers of history; it is rooted in the centuries-old struggle of women to participate in society on an equal footing with men’. It’s a day that’s as relevant today, as it was when it was first marked in 1911. Back then, an impressive one million women and men attended rallies in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland all demanding the right for women to vote, hold public office, work and have equal pay.”
To mark the day, the organization had a video short produced. As detailed in this press release: “The two-minute short, specially commissioned for International Women’s Day, sees 007 star Daniel Craig undergo a dramatic makeover as he puts himself, quite literally, in a woman’s shoes.
Directed by acclaimed ‘Nowhere Boy’ director/conceptual artist Sam Taylor-Wood, scripted by Jane Goldman (‘Kick Ass’) and featuring the voice of Dame Judi Dench reprising her role as ‘M’, the film will be screened in cinemas and streamed online in a bid to highlight the levels of inequality that persist between men and women in the UK and worldwide. It is the first film featuring Bond to be directed by a woman.”
Thanks to Dustin Harbin for making me aware of the video.
I was kicking myself earlier this week when I missed the latest installment of American Masters | LENNONYC, the “two hour documentary exploring Lennon’s life in New York City during the 1970s as a father, husband, activist and artist”. Then I realized that PBS might post it online. Indeed they did, and in fact I am able to embed the full documentary at the site.
Friend of the blog/New York Times best-selling author/Guy generally juggling three amazing projects at once Brad Meltzer sent me a link to his new History Channel show, Decoded, which is set to premiere on Thursday, December 2, at 10pm. (Ya gotta love that Brad, fellow child of the 1980s, referenced the old LA Law timeslot when mentioning his show’s timeslot to me.)
Here’s how the History Channel describes the show:
“What if the history you knew was only half the story? Brad Meltzer’s Decoded investigates the other half: the secret history of the symbols and codes that surround us everyday. Best-selling author Brad Meltzer has been writing novels for more than a decade. He has studied and written about some of the most revered institutions and documents in human history, including the U.S. Supreme Court, the Presidency, the Secret Service, Wall Street and the Bible. Brad has assembled a team to investigate the countless clues and theories uncovered through his years of research, but unexplored until now. From the dollar bill to the first Presidential Codes, the hidden messages of the Statue of Liberty and the ciphers protecting the location of lost Confederate gold, the team uncovers the truth behind history’s most provocative secrets.”
The show looks to be an interesting premise, plus I’m jealous that his show is sponsored by Porsche and that the hosts get to drive a Porsche as part of the show. I look forward to seeing it on December 2.
This Wednesday, legendary journalist and novelist Pete Hamill will speak as part of the The Rosamond Gifford Lecture Series in Syracuse, New York. As noted at its Facebook page, the series is “the largest library-related lecture series in the country”. That’s one heck of a claim.
In preparation for the upcoming speech, Mark Bialczak of The Post-Standard interviewed Hamill. It covers a great deal of ground and is well worth your time reading. (Hat tip to Poynter’s Romenesko for the link)
I am hard pressed to find one quote that stands out, but here’s a snippet of one great exchange in the interview:
What can news organizations, media organizations, do to help keep consumer interest in words and images survive, not just videos and links?
I think they have to begin in high school. They have to somehow find ways to convince teachers that they have to turn their students onto real news sites, not TMZ, where you find celebrity stuff, not the endless life and times of Jon Gosselin, whoever the hell he is.
Hamill has an insightful perspective on the newspaper industry.
When a person can craft a 1940s educational film into pure comedy, you have won me over as a permanent fan. That person is Scott Bateman, an “animator in New York City“. His latest project shows how funny stamps can be…seriously. Until very recently, Bateman’s work was featured at Salon.com–but Bateman Animation can also be found at True/Slant and his YouTube channel. With his run at Salon ending, Bateman is devoting more time to generating interest in his film, Atom Age Vampire, which we also get to discuss. My thanks to friend of the blog, Mary Jo Pehl, for introducing me to the greatness of Bateman’s work. And my thanks to Bateman for this email interview.
Tim O’Shea: How do you go about tracking down obscure audio like “Actual audio from the 1947 educational film Using The Bank“. And from there, how do you typically go about writing the script that you run in parallel with the animation. Do you write the script before starting the animation work?
Scott Bateman: There is a wealth of amazing material in the Prelinger Archives at archive.org, a web site that hosts a vast array of public domain material. The Prelinger Archives specializes in short educational and industrial films from the 1940s and 1950s–hygiene, cold war propoganda, juvenile delinquency, it’s all there. Man, I can spend hours on that site!
My writing process for these animations goes something like this: I’ll end up watching a film several times while I animate it, because I’ll go through once and animate bodies, then another time through for mouths, another for hands, etc. So by the time I add the commentary, I already have a ton of snarky comments about the film at my disposal. I’ll put in the comments I most want in the movie first, then fill in the holes between.