About the time I interviewed shark expert George Burgess

About 3 years ago, I had the opportunity to interview shark expert George Burgess. It was a pretty good time, especially the end of the interview. Figured this week was a good time to share. Part 1 Part 2

What’s the weirdest shark story you’ve ever experienced?
Well, one of the best stories I would guess was a 3 sharks on one hook experience. While fishing in North Carolina one time, using a long line, which is a method scientists use to catch sharks to do biological studies, we caught a dogfish shark on the hook, which was then eaten by a black tip shark, and then a larger shark, a bull shark, grabbed the black tip shark. So when we pulled the bull shark in lo and behold, we found 2 other sharks that had been on the same hook. We caught 3 sharks on one hook.

Hmm. Lucky.

Have any questions for me?
No, I think we’re cool and if there’s anything you need, let me know.

Do you have a comment on Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus?
Who cares?

About the time I interviewed shark expert George Burgess

Alec Baldwin articles

NewImage Pic via Hamptons Magazine.

I noticed two long Alec Baldwin profiles pop up in the last month so I figured I’d put them in a post. Then I figured I’d try to find all the Alec Baldwin profiles, interviews, and longreads I could. Here are those two new stories, in Vanity Fair and Men’s Journal, along with all the others I found. I couldn’t find the full text of his Playboy interview, and I was surprised not to find any profiles in Esquire or GQ. If you find them or anything I missed, let me know.

Baldwin on the cover of the August, 2012 Vanity Fair.

As a college junior, Baldwin lost an election for student-association president. He learned, he now says, “when you draw the posters, draw more neatly.” As his political passion waned, his dramatic passion waxed: all those years of hamming it up at home began to exert a pull. Manhattan may have been a place that cost money, but as a teenager Baldwin had made it into town often enough to become acquainted with the theater. He vividly recalls a performance from his first Broadway show—John Cullum singing in the musical Shenandoah: “I’ll never forget watching a man onstage do that, a man move like that, and then the whole audience—I looked to the right of me, I looked to the left of me, the light in people’s faces … ” He was accepted into the drama program at New York University, and, on the long car ride from Washington to New York, Baldwin asked his father, who “wasn’t a chatty guy,” if the decision to transfer had been the right one. The answer was a question: “Do you have the things it takes to be a good actor?,” which the elder Baldwin went on to define as, above all, intelligence, ultimately declaring that he thought his son did indeed have what it took.

Baldwin in the July, 2012 Men’s Journal:

Though these days Alec Baldwin is probably best known as a television comedian, he remains a movie guy at heart. In his home screening room, there is a no-phone rule. You watch the movie straight through, without interruption, and the world goes away. As a young actor, like all of his peers, he wanted to be Brando, “in the back seat of that car with Rod Steiger” (he’s referring to the famous “I coulda been a contender” scene from On the Waterfront) or Pacino, whose career he obsessively studied, watching classics like Serpico and even misfires like Bobby Deerfield dozens and dozens of times. Now, though, looking back, Baldwin wishes he’d been more like William Holden – Baldwin says Bill Holden – who might not have reached the outer bounds of acting virtuosity, but who had perfect pitch when it came to both dramas and comedies, and was such a charming leading man, in classics like Sunset Boulevard, Stalag 17, Network, The Wild Bunch, and Sabrina, that to Baldwin’s mind he certainly “reached the outer bounds of movie stardom.”

Here are the other long reads I found.
October, 1989. Interview Magazine.
April, 1998. Slate.
March, 2004. The Guardian.
April, 2006. Elle.
March, 2008. The Advocate.
June, 2008. The Guardian.
September, 2008. The New Yorker.
March, 2009. Departures.
November, 2009. Elle.
December, 2009. New York Times.
December, 2009. Men’s Journal.
March, 2010. Vanity Fair.
June, 2012. Fresh Air.
July, 2012. New York Times.
July, 2012. New York Times (VOWS!!!).

And the transcripts from 3 cool interviews on Baldwin’s podcast, Here’s the Thing. Chris Rock, Lorne Michaels, David Letterman.

Alec Baldwin articles

Chris Rock interview

I would like to excerpt this entire Chris Rock interview, but I guess I won’t.

Q. So how do you strategize on your acting career, going forward? What are you looking for?

A. I’m actively trying to be in some good stuff, and mix it up and do some fun stuff too. But sometimes your fame gets in the way of what you’re doing. If you get the poster for “Good Hair,” it looks like a Tyler Perry movie. It looks like a big, broad comedy. The movie’s a success for a documentary, but the company that you’re making it with realizes that you’re really famous, and they don’t promote it like a normal documentary. They kind of get greedy. [He laughs.] And in the process of that greed, they overshoot. Not that there’s any more video stores, but if you went to any place that had DVDs, it’d be hard to find “Good Hair” in the documentary section. It’s next to “House Party.”

Q. Where does “Grown Ups 2” fall on the spectrum between good and fun?

A. This is fun and good. Dude, people love “Grown Ups.” I don’t care what the critics say. Who won the Academy Award this year? “The Artist”? Hey, “The Artist” was great. “Grown Ups” is better than “The Artist,” and it’s better than “The Artist” ’cause the audience says so. No film critic’s going to say it, but “Madagascar 3” is better than “The Artist,” and it’s better because it makes people feel better. That’s ultimately what it boils down to. Carrot Top’s better than Mort Sahl. Is he a better writer? Are we going to jot down Carrot Top’s prose 100 years from now? I’m not saying that. What I’m saying is, Carrot Top makes people feel better than Mort Sahl ever made people feel.

Q. Louis C. K., who is everywhere these days, is someone else you’ve helped out and collaborated with. What do you think about his ascent?

A. I feel like I’m James Brown, and Jimi Hendrix was in my band. He was just some kid I used to beat up, and now he’s back, and he’s Jimi Hendrix. Is he better than me? I don’t know, maybe. He used to write for so many people. “I’m going to L.A. and take some pitch meetings, write some shows.” Dude, write for yourself, I would constantly tell him. And some people are funny older than they are younger. Rodney Dangerfield was that. Redd Foxx was that — had careers as young people but when they got older, it was, like, this guy’s hysterical. And Louie, at 44, it’s the sweet spot for him.

Chris Rock interview

Playboy interview with Steve Martin

From that Longreads treasure trove of Playboy interviews, here’s one with Steve Martin.

PLAYBOY: But you give out business cards instead of autographs.

MARTIN: It’s a way to deal with it quickly and not to be rude. Most of the times that people ask for autographs, it’s a way of proving that they saw you. I know this from when I asked for autographs. People always want to know, “What’s he like? Did he say anything funny? Was he nice?” You have thirty seconds to be all those things. My card covers it all: It says that you found me nice, you found me funny and you found me charming and friendly.

Via Longreads

Playboy interview with Steve Martin

Unpublished David Foster Wallace interview

Sagatrope pointed to an interview Tom Scocca did with David Foster Wallace in February 1998. Excerpts of it were published in the Boston Phoenix then, but on a cruise (get it) for Thanksgiving, Scocca took the time to transcribe it. It’s in 5 parts, and entirely worth reading.

Part 1

Part 2

I think Esquire, Esqiure did leave a couple of those in, and I remember my mom, you know, reading that and just, kind of, her eyes being very wide the next time she saw me. There was something about Brooke Shields looking like somebody you’d masturbate to a picture of but not have sex with, that was really one of those four-in-the-morning, 15-cup-of-coffee-really, if I’d been in my right mind, I wouldn’t have put it in the final draft, but I did. And then Esquire, I remember, left it in. Being Esquire. You know, wanting to create as much unpleasantness as possible. So.

Part 3

Q: How do you handle being responsible for facts, writing nonfiction, after writing fiction? Coming to a genre where the things you say have to be on some level verifiably true?
DFW: That’s a real good question. And the first one of these that I did, in order, the first one I did was the very first one, about playing tennis as a Midwesterner. Where I had some shit that I just, that was like impressionistic, and I didn’t know, and I’d never dealt with a fact-checker before. And they’re like, “We discovered there is no yacht and tennis club in Aurora, Illinois, what are we to do?” And I was like, oh, God.

So after that I just started to take better notes and be willing to back stuff up. The thing is, really—between you and me and the Boston Phoenix’s understanding readers—you hire a fiction writer to do nonfiction, there’s going to be the occasional bit of embellishment.

Not to mention the fact that, like, when people tell you stuff, very often it comes out real stilted. If you just write down exactly what they said. And so you sort of have to rewrite it so it sounds more out-loud, which I think means putting in some “likes” or taking out some punctuation that the person might originally have said. And I don’t really make any apologies for that.

Part 4

The footnotes, the honest thing is, is the footnotes were an intentional, programmatic part of Infinite Jest, and they get to be kind of—you get sort of addicted to ’em. And for me, a lot of those pieces were written around the time that I was typing and working on Infinite Jest, and so it’s just, it’s a kind of loopy way of thinking, that it seems to me is in some ways mimetic.

Part 5

Q: There’s one other thing that I wanted to ask you about, which was the relationship between footnotes and hypertext.

DFW: I’ve had people say that, and I would love them to think that there’s some grand theory. I sometimes use a computer to type when I’ve got a lot of corrections to do, but I don’t have a modem, I’ve never been on the Internet. There’s a guy in my department who teaches hypertext, but I don’t really know anything about it.

Unpublished David Foster Wallace interview

Bill Watterson Interview

The Cleveland Plain Dealer recently got a Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin & Hobbes, to answer a couple questions by email on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the comic strip ending. It’s believed to be the only Watterson interview since 1989, as Watterson has turned into the J.D. Salinger of the comic world. I’ve now got a new goal. See below and click through for examples of the wit that made Calvin & Hobbes a favorite.

What are your thoughts about the legacy of your strip?

Well, it’s not a subject that keeps me up at night. Readers will always decide if the work is meaningful and relevant to them, and I can live with whatever conclusion they come to. Again, my part in all this largely ended as the ink dried.

How soon after the U.S. Postal Service issues the Calvin stamp will you send a letter with one on the envelope?

Immediately. I’m going to get in my horse and buggy and snail-mail a check for my newspaper subscription.

Via The Daily What

Bill Watterson Interview

Blake Schwarzenbach Interview

Jawbreaker, Jets to Brazil, Thorns of Life, and now forgetters. Blake Schwarzenbach, after not performing publicly for several years following the disbanding of Jets to Brazil, caused a stir when Thorns of Life debuted late last year. After only a handful of performances and a recording session rumored to be troubled, it was said Thorns of Life had reached the end, as well. This was confirmed a couple weeks ago when Schwarzenbach resurfaced playing in a new band, forgetters. They play Great Scott in Allston on October, 4, and I recently had the opportunity to speak with Schwarzenbach over the phone.

We discuss the plan for forgetters, English, the nonpossibility of a Jawbreaker reunion, books, healthcare, politics, and more. Instead of breaking the interview into sections it’s all in one post below. Enjoy!

Why don’t you start off by telling me a little bit about forgetters and what you guys are about and what you want to try to do.

We’re a 3 piece band from Brooklyn and we’re still kinda getting know to each other as a musical entity. But songs have been happening very quickly for this group so we don’t have any huge plans to continue gestating. And we want to play a lot.

So you guys are done with the birth period and you’re gonna get out there.

Yeah! I mean we’re still writing a lot of songs. I’ve got a little backlog and there’s also been some spontaneous creation, which I’m always looking for. So it’s hard for us right now because we’re getting a lot of show possibilities and at the same time, we’re trying to catch up with learning songs, in order to play them. So it’s a good problem, but it is, nonetheless, something we have to negotiate.

Are you guys going to put together a tour, or just keep to weekends?

We’re starting out with weekends and we’ll be recording a couple songs in October for a 7″. I think the plan is to be incremental and modest in our aspirations. We’re trying to live in real human time.

So a 7″ in October?

That’s the recording. It will take longer to come out, obviously.
Continue reading “Blake Schwarzenbach Interview”

Blake Schwarzenbach Interview

Malcolm and Michael, Charlie and Bill

For your lazy day viewing pleasure. Malcolm Gladwell being interviewed by Charlie Rose (below) and I couldn’t figure out how to embed the Bill Moyers video, but Michael Pollan being interviewed by Bill Moyers. Both very interesting and a good way to spend a couple hours.


Video to Moyers/Pollan is here.

Malcolm and Michael, Charlie and Bill