Rest in Peace, Prince.

Purple Rain, 1984. Photos by Bari Pearlman.

Purple Rain, Warner Bros.,1984. Photos by Bari Pearlman.

Last night I went to a sold out show of the movie Purple Rain in New York City. An artist as prolific as Prince has ample material for fans to absorb, and the digital age allows us to grieve him at our fingertips. I, myself, went down the purple rabbit hole watching performances and reading Prince stories posted by friends on Facebook. His music was part of the soundtrack of my youth, and with each track, a memory resurfaced. Yet after listening to nearly 12 hours of the 26-hour Minnesota public radio marathon broadcasting Prince’s entire catalog (in alphabetical order!), I needed to remember Prince with a crowd.

By any measure, Purple Rain is a ridiculous film…with an amazing score. The movie that launched Prince’s superstardom is at once silly and ernest, weird and funky, perhaps a bit like the man himself. I went to pay my respects. I went because I needed to laugh, cheer, and most of all, sing. I didn’t remember the movie being so funny (or so dated), but that’s the thing about a collective experience, emotion are contagious, and through most of the film we were roaring and clapping together.

At the end of the movie, Prince sang the title song, and all 300 or so of us swayed our arms along with the glamorous ’80s extras on the screen, singing our hearts out, especially during the falsetto oooo’s at the end. I suspect it was cathartic for everybody in the audience, most of whom stayed through the credits, a few dabbing the corners of their eyes.

There will never be another like him. Thank you for helping us get through this thing called life, dude.

Purple Rain

Esquire Network

Esquire Network

Didn’t get enough peewee football as Friday Night Tykes wraps up in Texas on March 22?  Don’t worry, there’s a brand new season in a brand new location.  Check out Friday Night Tykes: Steel Country set in the Western Pennsylvania heartland, immediately following the Texas finale.  Tuesday MARCH 22 at 10|9c
 
Our team was embedded in a community of football legends for five months and followed six teams as they marched toward the championship. Once again, I’ve had the privilege of editing (two series at once!) with a super-talented post team.  I couldn’t ask to be stuck in Newark with better people.
 
“Follow six teams in the Beaver County Youth Football League in what was once the backbone of industrial America, where jobs have vanished, the bridges that connect communities rusted over, but everyone is still drawn together by a great tradition… football.”
Friday Night Tykes: Steel Country
FNT PA2

Walking Dead Mid-Season Premiere

The Walking Dead, 608: "Start to Finish" AMC, 2015.

The Walking Dead, Season 6: “Start to Finish” AMC, 2015.

Greetings, y’all!  The Walking Dead returns this weekend!  Will we find out what happens to our heroes we left covered in walker guts?

Once again, I traveled to Georgia to film behind-the-scenes interviews with some of our favorite characters for the second half of Season 6.  We shared the crew’s craft service where I learned that it’s a special thrill to sit next to a picnic table full of walkers during lunch.

Stay tuned to Talking Dead with Chris Hardwick on Sundays following The Walking Dead to learn more!

Make a date this Valentine’s Day on AMC 10/9C.

“My knowledge that I will die gives focus and meaning to every day that I am alive.  Were we to live forever, what motivation would there ever be to write a poem?” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

David Bowie. Photo by Jimmy King.

David Bowie. Photo by Jimmy King.

Of course the last opus of David Bowie comes to mind, impeccably released within days of his own death.  Bowie was as much a storyteller as he was a musician, so it is fitting that his last work would be an expression of his final journey.  With the single “Lazarus,” Bowie has written his own requiem:

“Look up here, I’m in Heaven

I’ve got scars that can’t be seen

I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen

Everybody knows me now.”

Bowie kept his 18-month long illness private, which may be why his fans are obsessing over cryptic clues about his death in the lyrics of his songs.

Perhaps the knowledge that we are mortal beings with limited time is what inspires some artists to continue to create until their final days. But why? Is it a means of control? Does it bring meaning to their lives? Is it a way of saying goodbye? Facing one’s death is deeply personal, yet these artists have shared their journey in a public way. Read More

“How to Dance in Ohio”  – Review

Marideth Bridges, right, in “How to Dance in Ohio” on HBO.

Marideth Bridges, right, in “How to Dance in Ohio” on HBO.

There’s a story I was told recently about a boy with autism. One summer, his mother took him to the community pool every day, and every day people would avoid him or stop and stare. The mother worried that this would be his life, playing alone at the opposite end of the pool, suffering the gaping of strangers. One day, towards the end of the summer, a girl about eight years old tried to talk to the boy but got silence in return. She marched up to the mother and asked, “Does he have autism?”

The mother replied, “Yes, he does.” With that the girl turned on her heel, returned to the boy and changed her dialogue to make it much more direct. She said, “Get on the float, and I’ll pull you.  I’ll throw the ball, and you’ll catch it.” And for 20 blissful minutes, the mother saw her baby boy laughing and playing with another child for the first time all summer. Joyful, hopeful tears ensued.

It is with this story in mind that I watched the documentary “How to Dance in Ohio,” a portrait of young adults with autism preparing for a spring formal dance.  (Full disclosure, it was produced by my dear friend Bari Pearlman. )  Well-deserved praise has followed the film since its premiere at Sundance this year, and now it is widely available on HBO. Read More

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

With NASA’s announcement of the confirmation of water on Mars, I’m posting a nod to some fiction inspired by our celestial brother.

Mars has long captured the imagination of storytellers since the discovery of the “canals” provoked the idea of ancient civilization on the red planet.

  • War of the Worlds, HG Wells (1897)

Equally compelling are the stories about the colonization of the planet.

  • Red Planet, Robert Heinlein (1949)
  • The Sands of Mars, Arthur C Clarke (1951)

Colonization breeds imperialism, a theme that was especially prevalent in works from the 1950s, a hot topic on this planet.

  • The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury (1950)
  • The Sirens of Titan, Kurt Vonnegut (1959)

Most recently, I enjoyed The Martian (2011) written by Andy Weir, which Ridley Scott has adapted for the big screen. The verisimilitude of surviving on the surface of Mars is remarkable. Sticking to the science of human space travel, once again the story reflects the times in which it was written.  Today a journey to Mars could happen in the next 15 years.

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