Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mister Rogers, Quiznos & Me

Years ago, when I was recording the first of two albums ("Almost Home" and "Love & Other Indoor Games") at my pal Kevin Anthony's Control One Studios, I began most sessions with a delicious, toasty Turkey Ranch Sub from Quiznos.

Tonight, Chris and I are editing just a few blocks from there, so I reprised the ritual... with extra pickles, as always.

The neighborhood feels a little different. Madison Square Park (where I recorded the city sounds you hear throughout my cover of John Denver's "Leaving on a Jet Plane"), for example, use to be dark and sketchy. Now, there's a trendy little outdoor dining venue (Shake Shack) beneath a canopy of bright-white lightbulbs.

Tonight, the Flatiron building was dark, but the Empire State Building was cast in a warm, purple glow. The trees were in nearly-full bloom. The city was bustling with spring energy.

Here in the edit, Chris is assembling the bio portion of the film. In this section, we give a brief overview of Mister Rogers' life through major milestones such as his premiere airing in 1968, Senate hearing in 1969, and NATAS Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.

It isn't a complete portrait of his life by any means. It isn't meant to be. PBS' own, "Mister Rogers: America's Favorite Neighbor" is the definitive work to that end, as are the oral histories Family Communications has begun assembling.

Instead, it's our objective to give the casual viewer enough to go on. Deeper details are revealed throughout the film. This section -- roughly nine minutes into the film -- sets the stage.

Chris just cut the famous Senate hearing in which Mister Rogers gently pursuaded Senator John Pastore (D, RI) to fund PBS from seven minutes to one. The process isn't much to watch from this vantage point, but the end result sure looks cool.

Meanwhile, I just dashed off an email my Tim Russert's people asking for, amongst other things, pictures of Mister Rogers with his son, Luke.

And harkening back to those Quiznos-fueled recording sessions, I even spent a few minutes corresponding with The Nadas' bassist and Sonic Factory Studios recording engineer, Jon Locker, about my next album, "The Invention of Everything Else."

Everything comes around, after all.

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