Watching A Friend On TV

Howard found my first job for me. He was best man when Helaine and I got married. He is a significant presence in my life.

I just watched my friend Howard Lapides on TV. He was a panelist with Joy Behar on CNN Headline News (or it’s current name which I don’t remember). Yeah, it’s pretty cool to see someone you know on nationally&#185.

I met Howard as a fellow incoming freshman at Emerson. I won’t say when just in case one of us is lying about his age. We’ve been friends ever since.

He found my first job for me. He was best man when Helaine and I got married. He is a significant presence in my life.

Nowadays Howard is a manager and a TV/film producer. Together with my secretive pal from the San Fernando Valley we have a friendship that’s lasted a very long time.

He was on TV to discuss Mel Gibson.

Here’s what I learned: I’ve already heard enough! The whole thing’s disgusting, but it’s a done deal. He’s, as they say, dead to me. If Howard wasn’t on the show I wouldn’t have stayed ten seconds.

He did a nice job. He had something to say and made Joy laugh three times.

You are judged by the laughs you produce.

&#185 – Knowing the current state of media Joy Behar is probably seen elsewhere around the world too.

Photos Of The Folks I Work With

My co-workers were mostly in good spirits tonight. Few didn’t want their pictures taken. Many of those who did mugged as if they’d never seen a camera.

I brought “Clicky” to work today. For a variety of reasons it was a good day to bring a camera.

First, the ‘floor people’ were ripping out a few old walls. These were put in when we used to produce the Sally Jessy Raphael Show!

Behind the remnants of that set is a cinder block wall which was painted in a farm/computer/flag motif one summer around 20 years ago. Our general manager at the time made a deal with ABC to produce a handful of pilots for post-Nightline programming. None made it, but Joy Behar, Richard Belzer, Curtis Sliwa, Bobby Rivers and a host of others took turns trying something new in New Haven. That was a very cool summer.

Some of the people that briefly passed through that summer are surely ‘names’ now. I wish I knew which ones.

My co-workers were mostly in good spirits tonight. Few didn’t want their pictures taken. Many of those who did mugged as if they’d never seen a camera.

It was all very unusual for me since I seldom shoot people! I even used my Speedlight, mounted on top of the camera with an old alcohol bottle over it to provide some diffusion.

What’s posted is a representative sample. I took a lot of pictures. I love digital photography.

The Farnsworth Invention

I went to NYC tonight to see “The Farnsworth Invention.” It is the story of David Sarnoff (Hank Azaria) and Philo Farnsworth (Jimmi Simpson). Farnsworth invented television but was robbed of his patent.

I drove to the city by myself. Helaine and Stef were driving east, seeing Joy Behar at Foxwoods.

I was going to meet up with the secretive son of my secretive West Coast friend. He, along with a friend of his from school, had flown east for a few days. My secret friend’s family has a secret small apartment on the Upper East Side, which is where the son and his friend are staying.

By the time I reached Manhattan, they were out. I headed down to Greenwich Village to pick them up.

I’d like to think I know New York City very well, but the lower end of Manhattan where streets no longer run parallel and have names instead of numbers, is another story. It’s very confusing and I left the GPS home.

We drove down St. Marks Place and headed north to 8th Avenue and 45th Street. The Music Box Theater is on 45th between Broadway and 8th.

Lots of people avoid driving in Manhattan. I embrace it. It’s actually a lot of fun, if you go in with the right mindset. Just remember, the goal is to fill any open car-sized space with a car. To the victor goes the spoils!

Parking is simple. You enter Manhattan knowing you cannot park on the street and that off-street parking is ridiculously expensive. With tax, parking was $44.

At least we got to watch the cars ride the car elevator, which not only goes up and down, but also goes sideways!

The Music Box Theater is small as Broadway houses go. We sat upstairs, about halfway through the balcony The site lines were excellent, as was the sound. There’s no doubt we were looking down on the actors, which isn’t a plus.

The Farnsworth Invention portrays both Philo Farnsworth and David Sarnoff as themselves and on-stage narrators. Sometimes, as narrator, the actors break the fourth wall, acknowledging and speaking to the audience or even clarifying a point by talking directly to the other character, who remains in character!

To pull this off, you need superb timing. That’s how it’s written and how it was performed!

As the first act progressed, I grew to like the visionary character that was David Sarnoff… but was I? Was it really Sarnoff or the way he was being portrayed by Azaria? Sarnoff was quite the businessman, but was he charming too?

Hank Azaria’s voice reminded me of George Burns. I know that’s strange. Of course, Azaria has a million voices, many of which are heard on The Simpsons&#185.

The likability of Philo Farnsworth is less in question. He, a Mormon, electronics savant from the middle of nowhere, stays simple and true to his science even as everything around him gets more complex. I think Jimmi Simpson was a great choice.

The show actually has a large cast. I’m saying actually, because none of them was memorable. That’s a necessity, as they were each playing three or four little roles.

The play was written by Aaron Sorkin (West Wing, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Sports Night). It tells two stories… often conflicting stories… simultaneously. From two perspectives, they piece together the life of Philo Farnsworth who, with no formal training and a limited budget, created most of the technology that is TV.

As he worked, Farnsworth raced against RCA and a team led by Vladimir Zworykin. Zworykin would ultimately get the patent, using what the play refers to as “industrial espionage,” to finish his project with bits of Farnsworth’s technology.

In the end, was this amazing discovery better off with scientist Farnsworth or broadcasting entrepreneur Sarnoff, who know how to market TV to the masses?

Maybe I’m too easy on Broadway, but I loved the show.

The entire Fox Family is back on Broadway later this week. It’s a musical.

&#185 – Moe the bartender, Apu the Kwik-E-Mart owner, Police Chief Wiggum, Professor Frink, Dr. Nick Riviera and Comic Book Guy.