West Wing oral history

The Hollywood Reporter has an oral history of the West Wing. It is long. Long long.

AARON SORKIN: I didn’t really know anything about television beyond watching a lot of it, and my plan was to come up with an idea for a new play or movie, but my agent wanted me to meet with John Wells, and I said, “Sure.” The night before the meeting, there were some friends over at my house, and at some point [Akiva Goldsman and I] slipped downstairs to sneak a cigarette. Kivi knew about the meeting and said, “Hey, you know what would make a good series? That.” He was pointing at the poster for The American President. “But this time you’d focus on the staffers.” I told him I wasn’t going to be doing a series and that I was meeting with John to meet John — I wanted to hear stories about China Beach and ER, and I especially wanted to hear about his years as stage manager for A Chorus Line. The next day I showed up for the lunch, and John was flanked by executives from Warner Bros. and agents from CAA. John got down to business and said, “What do you want to do?” And instead of saying, “I’m sorry, there’s been a misunderstanding. I don’t have anything to pitch,” I said, “I’d like to do a series about staffers at the White House.” And John said, “We’ve got a deal.”

And here’s a long profile of Sports Night, West Wing, and a fake oral history of Studio 60.

West Wing oral history

Making Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik

OutKast’s Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik is 20 years old this year, and Myspace (of all places) has a look at the making of this classic album. Since the story came from talking to (only) two of the producers (Ray Murray and Rico Wade), and no one else, it’s hard to call this an oral history in the traditional sense. That said, it’s an interesting read.

When OutKast’s Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik dropped in 1994, hip-hop was coming off the back of a game of bi-coastal ping-pong. New York City’s dominant gritty golden era sound had been knocked off its stylistic pedestal by Dr. Dre’s smoothed-out, synth-swaddled G-Funk movement in 1992, before the stoney and rugged appeal of the Wu-Tang Clan’s assault on the rap world snaffled it back to the Big Apple a year later. Coming off the back of this broad production tussle, OutKast’s debut sounded like a melding of the two coasts, with soulful and honeyed live instrumentation being layered on top of drum patterns and breaks cut razor sharp. The credit for the album’s canny sonic make-up goes to Organized Noize.

Making Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik