"I sent this message to email@example.com it didn't make it through after 4 hours. That is still the address on your (now sadly outdated) web site. You're neglecting your cyber space."
So, OK, I'm a little behind...lets see. 2005 was the year that I was on the USS Nimitz from May 1 to November 15 or so (we were home from July 4 to Aug 3) That's a big blank in the linear progress of my life. A detailed digression is my page called Carrier.
2006 was a big year, I simultaneously worked on 2 American Masters, Liebovitz and Ahmet Ertegun and in between, Eddie and I drove up to Northampton, Mass to work on the Channel Four UK production, Young @ Heart. In the summer of '06 I went to Indonesia with Ken Levis for one of PBS's Crossroads series: Struggle for the Soul of Islam: Inside Indonesia. I split my skull on the corner of the Van's backdoor the first or second day of the shoot. They sewed me up at Rumah Sakit Pelini "Petamburan" in Jakarta and I was back at it in a few hours, interviewing a famous radical Imam.
In the Fall of 2006 I spent a week in LA on another Crossroads Production. This one mixed musicians from the Middle East with North, Central and South American musicians in a rehearsal studio on the strip. Besides musicians like Niles Rodgers and RZA, I met many fabulous middle easterners. I was especially fond of the Lebanon contingent. Check out this CD from Blend. Still waiting for an airdate for this one.
I went to Belize with Carla Denly and Eddie Marritz for a Nova Science Now profile of mathematician, Arlie Petters. It was fascinating being in Dangriga where the local culture is decidedly Garifuna. Check out my pix.
So then, I only need to catch up to 2007, um.. I went to Biloxi Mississippi in Janurary with the cast and crew of The Guiding Light for a doc about volunteering. The website is Find Your Light. I did a doc for an interesting NYC school called the Robert Louis Stevenson School. It nurtures smart but difficult high school students who don't fit in other places.
In the summer of 2007, I covered my buddy, John Zecca, by going for 3 weeks to Haiti. Producer Whitney Dow, with 2 Journalists, Daniel Morrel a Haitian born news photographer and Jane Regan, an American Haitiaphile. The documentary is about the Haitian band, Septentrional who are celebrating their 60th year as a Haitian institution. We stayed in the Capital of the North, Cape Haitian. What a trip, what a trip, but hard, hot, dirty and often sad. I grew up working construction in central Florida in the summer, I know about heat, but that crazy hot, humid (HUMID) Cape Haitian beat my ass every day. We saw some amazing things but nothing more amazing that the annual voodoo festival in Plan Du Nord. I have some pictures to process and post but they don't tell the half of it. This film is looking for funding for post production; contact Whitney Dow.
In the fall of 2007, I got a call from Don Lenzer to spend a week in Stockholm making an educational doc for the Ross Institute. It was my first trip to Scandinavia and it really wet my appetite. Most of my father's people are from Denmark. Who wants to take me there?
In December, Eddie and I re-united with the Michael Chekhov Association, this time on a dramatic short film Directed by Ragnar Friedek and starring Joanna Merlin. I almost never do low budget Indies so this was a chance to see what I'm missing. The honest toil of art, the camaraderie of colleagues and the slow cooking of script based work. More on this when it comes out.
Eddie got a web site: marritz.com if you follow his link to cinematography there are some clips from Blues Story and Emma Goldman.
I had a great experience in Bangalore with Tom Friedman though we worked too much. I've got pictures.
I spent 51/2 weeks this summer onboard the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier for Carl Kriegeskotte and the Discovery Channel; we went through the straights of Magellan and, as far as I know, we killed no one. We disembarked in Valporisa, Chile and flew home from Santiago. Billy Wander Produced and did sound with Joe Friedman, I worked with John Hazard. Each team produced their own segments. We could shoot just about anything with a few exceptions. All arounder, Jimmy Williams placed handycams and did time lapse.
I got to work with Project Rebirth a bit during the September 11, 2004 observances. My buddy Zeke is the sound designer and recordist for most of their shooting. Check out the time lapse clips on the web site.
It's been a long eventful year. Unfortunately In wiping my old Gateway hard drive to fix some problems, I lost my bootleg copy of Frontpage. I've had a hell of a time getting back to edit this web site (though I did move it from eclipse.net to my own docusound.biz). I'm now trying Dreamweaver MX and though I don't know how to use any of its groovy features I hope I can at least make some text changes.
The most exciting thing this fall is that Blues Story has been finished and is showing on selected PBS stations as a fundraiser. This is not the gargantuan series produced by Marty Scorsese, but a wonderful labor of love from Producer Jay Levy, DP Eddie Marritz and myself (along with a rotating cast of PAs - never more than one per shoot). It looks and sounds great and you can buy it from Shout Factory Records. marritz.com has an excerpt from the video.
I've just returned from 10 days in Israel with another New York Times TV, Discovery Channel documentary about Thomas L. Friedman. A very intense experience that I will try to distill and write about soon. I also have some pix to post. I was the only returning member of the crew. Ken Levis Produced and Allan Palmer was the DP. We had the worlds best fixers (one Israeli, one Palestinian) and one of the worlds great drivers. We followed the story of the wall/fence that Israel is constructing on their neighbors land.
I've just returned from Qatar and Bahrain with Ed Gray, Eddie Marritz and New York TImes Foreign Affairs Columnist, Thomas L. Friedman. New York Times Television is trying to develop a series of shows with Friedman. The have a 5 year deal with Discovery for exhibition. These two middle east countries were nothing like I expected: they were much more westernized - particularly at the 5 star resorts we stayed at. Try the Le Royal Meriden Bahrain for your next vacation!
Highlights included a trip to Al Jazar Television in Qatar. The format was DV Cam with one Sony DSR 570 and one PD-150.
It was fun to participate in the 2002 J.R. Dodge Poetry Festival again. They tried Coleman Barks with the Paul Winter Consort early on Sunday morning instead of at night. The event was produced by Tatge/Lasseur Productions. Joel Shapiro was D.P. I worked with Eddie Marritz. Nick Blair was also covering doc moments. Gary Silver, Rick Albright and Jerry Stein, sound persons, were also in attendance.
Steeplechase Films has been busy shooting Columbia's 250th anniversary film, an 8th episode of New York: a Documentary film, a film about Andy Warhol and a film about Eugene O'neil. That's keeping John Zecca and I busy in an otherwise still slow year. As Buddy Squires has gone off to San Diego for a couple months, were seeing more of Peter Nelson, D.P., on these shoots.
Wow. I heard that a neighbor went to the hospital 3 times recently thinking he was having a heart attack but that there was nothing wrong with him. Misery loves company, I know how he feels. This is some scary shit.
I emerged on the Manhattan side of the Holland Tunnel at 8:50am on Sept. 11, 2001. As I squinted into the rising sun, just outside the tunnel, a box van delivery truck was stopped on the right with the Port Authority Pusher Truck behind him. The men were out of their vehicles and looking up and to the south. I realized that this truck, until recently, stalled in the tunnel, was the reason I was running 30 minutes late. I noticed more pedestrians looking up to the sky as I passed under the pedestrian bridge and into the slow moving Holland Tunnel exits circle.
A thin black trail of smoke pointed to the north face of the north tower of the World Trade Center looming above me. The day was of such atmospheric perfection that I immediately thought "feature film, special effects". Flames licked out of a big hole in the building and I literally did a triple take, bending forward under the tinted visor of my Camry as I crawled around the circle toward the 3rd exit. I dialed my wife, Nora, who was, of course, at the bus stop. I left a message that she should check the TV.I called Eddie Marritz, reached him on his cell phone and told him I was gonna be late and did he know that the World Trade Center was burning? I wanted to ditch my car and head down on foot. Could I help? I still wished I had.
Sixth Avenue in the village looked like a parade route. People stacked on the sidewalk, necks craned; such a beautiful day. Moving about 10 mph smoke black and heavy now in my rear view mirror. Concerned dazed people only minutes before living the paradise that was, that is, Greenwich Village. Now a woman's face, corner of Tenth, contorted, screaming, "NO!" I check the left rear view and a fireball in profile is rising up in the air, a black twinkling confetti falling almost as counterpoint.
Between the fire and the second plane, there had been some hope - a freak accident, an expensive movie. Now I hunkered down with the AM newsradio as we all came to a similar conclusion - cooridinated terrorist attack. What's the next target?
I made fair timeup the Avenue of the Americas to Chrisities auction house. I actually parked, loaded in and, with Eddie, sat considering whether to set up the gear. Would anyone be alive to watch our days work?
Feels smart to keep moving north. Quiet, strangely crowded cafes around Columbia. F-16's screaming in the still clear sky. Spent the day at Eddie's on 107th Street. Nothing visible to the south. I waited until about 8 o'clock and got out that night via the George Washington Bridge.
The West Side Highway, hardly crowded going north, yielded one of the most memorable images for me. Pouring in via the commandeered south bound lanes, an awesome and bizarre parade of rescue vehicles, lights ablaze; highly modified rescue trucks of all kinds, fire engines, dog trailers, in convoys uncountable and from every state and city within 10 hours of New York. As they kept passing me on the left, I became paranoid that there where too many valuable assets massing together - that somehow they would get downtown and another terrible event would take them all, like it took 340 firefighters.
The Blues documentary project returned this spring. We added half a dozen more profiles including, John Jackson, Jerry Ricks, Willie King, Gatemouth Moore and Little Milton. We went back to Robert Jr. Lockwood's house for more with him and we shot a concert at The Music Box in Omaha, NB with Magic Slim and Hubert Sumlin. We also had an amazing visit to 90 year old, Othar Turner in Como,MS. As a boy, Othar learned the Delta music tradition of fife and drum music which he is still happy to demonstrate.
Before my capsules were cool from the blues, I picked up a classical music job (from mixer Larry Lowenger) about the organization Young Concert Artists. Produced by Josh Aronson, the program follows several emerging classical artists managed by YCA who travel, lecture and give concerts around the world. This tape, made for YCA's 50th anniversary, will hopefully find a PBS airing.
Finally, on the list of bigger projects for 2001, Kikim Media's multi-part story of the life of Muhammad the profit has kept me busy all summer. Shot in super 16mm by DP Eddie Marritz, the program will tell the story of Muhammad by profiling several American Muslims. It has been a terrific learning experience for me (and a lot of days). This will air on PBS in 2002. Directed by Liz Gray.
Happy Holidaze are over. Santa rocks; dropped a dog on us (from Plainfield Animal rescue) named Hennesy. Part boxer, all cute. Score: 1 spouse, 2 kids, 1 cat (Midnight), 1 dog. Must find some goats.
I'm starting the year out in the visual artist. I shot an interview with Chuck Close for Greater Boston Arts on Jan. 3. He should be president. Last week Eddie and I worked 3 days with Mary Lance of New Deal Films on a documentary about Harlem Renaissance artist, Hughie Lee-Smith.
Lately I've been working on two different docs; both very interesting. David Grubin is producing a five hour documentary on the brain called The Secret Life of the Brain for PBS. I have been shooting (mostly) hour 5 with Eddie Marritz and Producers, Ed Grey and Annie Wong about the aging brain.
Most recently, I returned from a week in Milwaukee with Producer Chana Gazit, DP Joel Shapiro and Co Producer Hilary Klotz. We were working on a doc for The Fetzer Institute about a fascinating woman who is working in law reform and restorative justice. We spent two days in the Green Bay Correctional Facility where convicts had group therapy with victims of crime. Very powerful stuff. Broadcast tbd.
The Big Picture is new! Check your bandwidth.
I Just completed several days recording sound for a French TV documentary about Leon Fleisher. Fascinating, friendly and humble fellow. One of the worlds great piano teachers and now regaining use of his right hand and playing concerts again. We shot some very moving music in his home studio in Baltimore as well as a concert at Town Hall in NYC. I used a pair of Schoeps MK 4s(cardiod) in ORTF mode for live to tape left/ right stereo (L/R as per their request) on both occasions.
I am trying to tie up the loose ends on a web site I created for a local horse trainer. Unbelievable hours for what I've got so far, try Bonnie S. Terry's Ashton Farms. Still wishing I could devote some time to learning Beatnik so these sights could have great sounds.
I spent most of September with Mark Obenhaus, Richard Robbins and Gabriele Tennenbaum of ABC News', Peter Jennings Reports, in Pakistan, India and Kashmir. We were laying the groundwork for a special about the history of the Kashmir conflict for a January 2000 broadcast. Among the highlights: The Old City of Lahore, Pakistan and a private sunset trip to the top of one of the minarets in the city's largest Mosque. The Newly renovated Imperial Hotel in New Delhi. Gabby offering the shirt off her back even within the armed headquarters of a mujhadeen faction. Four days in Kashmir in which we drove from Srinigar to Kargil (11 hours each way!).
Incidentally, I became the Director of Photography for the Kashmir segment which put me in the enviable position of photographing Srinigar's Dal Lake at sunset as well as the scenic Himalayan landscape. Thanks to "my" crew, Freddie George of New Delhi. We returned a week before the Pakistani coup.
Broadcast on ABC March 20, 2000 at 10pm EST.
I've recently returned from Madeira, a Portuguese island in the Atlantic off the coast of Morocco. This was a Natural History doc about sea turtles for National Geographic Channel Europe. The Production company is Sea Stories, the Producer is Alice Markowitz and cameraman, Ed Marritz.
National Geo also came calling in May through Working Dog Pictures. The subject this time was Tuberculosis. Eddie and I shot in and around New York and learned lots of scary things. I didn't get to do the Russian leg of this production but I won't miss it when it's broadcast.
I've been real busy. We've sold our wonderful old Victorian house in North Plainfield, NJ and bought an old farm house on 5 acres near the Musconetcong River in Hunterdon County, NJ. There is plenty of work here if your good with a hammer or a shovel.
As a sound recordist I seek documentaries that involve music. That's one reason why I was so pleased that DP, Eddie Marritz asked me to join him on a multi part history of Blues Music in the Spring of '98.
We made two trips with seed monies to the Mississippi Delta, Chicago and elsewhere. The blues universe is an amazing place. Henry Townsend, 89 years old and still playing out. These have been memorable, lengthy (2 to 3 hour) interviews followed by performance; generally two or three songs with one or two takes each.
In her suburban living room near Chicago, Koko Taylor did an amazing "Wang Dang Doodle" for us, accompanied only by electric guitar. I recorded an M-S stereo pair of Schoeps above Eddy's frame line. I think it was kinda bold. Maybe I could post it here - when the technology and the rights are mine. I recorded straight to Digital Betacam and backup to TC DAT. We did one take. Heartstopping. As soon as a deal is made on this production, I'll hyper link it here with title and producer.
In addition to blues, I recorded a mess of other music and interviews for music dominated documentaries recently.
Yours for a Song: The Women of Tin Pan Alley A Co-Production of Thirteen/WNET & Lumiere Productions. This will air on PBS in 1999.
A doc about St. Thomas Church on 53rd and 5th Ave. in New York; their history and about their Boys Choir School. Produced by Paul Sanderson's Our Town Films.
A doc about the Amato Opera Company, grand opera in miniature. An amazing place on the Bowery in Manhattan 2 doors from CBGB's celebrating their 50th year in this ornate if tattered little theater that seats 99. Produced by Stephen Ives' Insignia Films.