Chris Neary is a producer for On the Media.
Staff picks, Volume 15
Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - 03:34 PM
The staff of OTM choose a few of our favorite things - media related and otherwise. Please, please leave us comments below and enjoy.
Bob Garfield: Debuting this week was a doc called "The Naked Brand," co-written and co-directed by Jeff Rosenblum and Sherng-Lee Huang. It's about how advertising as we've known it is on the wane, to be replaced by ongoing relationships between high-minded brands and the publics who suddenly care deeply about them. I took particularly interest in the movie, because it is exactly the subject of my forthcoming book, and uses many of the same characters.
I would love to say the film is superficial and silly, the pitiful output of producers who are themselves in the advertising business and thus utterly conflicted by their roles as documentarians. Nope. The movie is terrific. Damn it.
Alex Goldman:My staff pick for this week is swimming holes. My wife is and always has been a fan of the ocean, but for me, there’s so much to dislike about it; unrelenting sun, unrelenting sand, crowds, other people’s radios, and the constant fear that your umbrella is going to blow away. A swimming hole lacks all of those features, but has so much more (assuming it’s a swimming hole worth returning to) rope swings, seclusion, cliffs to jump off of. Unfortunately, in spite of our best efforts, we are still searching for the perfect swimming hole near enough the city that we can get there in a couple hours of driving. So I put it to you, our dear readers. If you know of the perfect swimming hole near by, please let us know in the comments. Or just come to my house with a cooler full of snacks and we’ll spend a weekend afternoon hanging out.
Amy DiPierro: This time last year I was listening to Tina Fey’s Audie Award-winning audio book for “Bossypants,” and summer 2012 has felt comparatively Fey-deprived. Luckily, this Childish Gambino track, which features a guest verse from Fey around the 4:57 mark, dropped just in time to save my days from going to the dogs.
My favorite quip from her verse? “Royalty all day, we droppin’ racks at Nordstrom, son/That’s racks on racks, dammit! You feel me? You feel me?” Admittedly, this isn’t exactly Fey’s rap debut. Here’s her show-stopping (…literally, the show stops) performance on 30 Rock.
PJ Vogt: The world has a lot of comedy podcasts, and even if you like them, you might not feel like you need one more. You are wrong. You Made it Weird, which is hosted by comedian Pete Holmes, is deeply fantastic. It's him talking to other comedians, and the pleasure of it is just that it's a mix of funny people being funny while also having earnest conversational. Also, Pete Holmes has a compelling weirdness that's hard to describe but really easy to enjoy.
A good place to start is this one with Parks & Rec writer Harris Wittels, where they talk about divorce, acid, moms, home ownership, God, TV writing, Garrison Keillor, ambition, and happiness.
Eliza Novick-Smith: Came across this blog a few weeks ago. They put up correspondence—the real, paper and ink kind—that is usually a combination of poignant and insightful, or written by someone famous whose candid thoughts are exciting to read. I spent six summers at sleep away camp, and writing and receiving letters were my only mode of communication with the outside world. Now that I’m never very far away from a cell phone or an Internet connection, I feel especially nostalgic for actual letters. (Even though actually writing a letter and mailing it has been old fashioned for a long time.)
This letter in particular is great. It’s from Gene Wilder to Mel Stuart, the director of (speaking of nostalgia for things that predate my childhood) Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. It’s about Wonka’s costume and shows the meticulous care that went into creating the iconic character. The level of detail in Wilder’s letter includes the height of Willy Wonka’s hat. The icing on the cake is an excerpt from a previous letter where Wilder describes to the T Wonka’s first scene in the movie as a condition of accepting the role:
“When I make my first entrance, I'd like to come out of the door carrying a cane and then walk toward the crowd with a limp. After the crowd sees Willy Wonka is a cripple, they all whisper to themselves and then become deathly quiet. As I walk toward them, my cane sinks into one of the cobblestones I'm walking on and stands straight up, by itself; but I keep on walking, until I realize that I no longer have my cane. I start to fall forward, and just before I hit the ground, I do a beautiful forward somersault and bounce back up, to great applause."
Chris Neary: On my way home from Pennsylvania this weekend I stopped at (what was once the site of) the Mt. Loretto orphanage. My great-grandfather was an orphan there at the end of the 19th century. Family history has it that he was thrown out at 16 for starting rumors about priests and nuns and went to live in the Bronx. Family history also has it that he was left there with his siblings (unclear how many) after my great-great grandmother died of tuberculosis. Tough to confirm any of this. I'd like to believe that my family's 20th-century history began with a defiant, nothing-to-lose ride on the Staten Island ferry.
Someone I met while I was there explained to me that the number of orphans declined in the mid-20th century after the government (rather than the church) began taking care of orphans. There aren't any buildings left from the time my grandfather was there so I didn't stay long. I left in a Honda Civic, which is nice.