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Zelda Kaplan on Dancing and Living at 87

From Blank on Blank | Part of the Blank on Blank series | 05:09

87-year old Zelda Kaplan:"I am very interested in fashion. I like to look nice. I still love to dance. My friends are dead. ... So with whom should I go out? If I don’t go out with young people, who else is there?"

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Zelda Kaplan was 87 when we met at a bar in Manhattan. It was around 6PM. But her day wasn't ending. Her night was just beginning. After we met for a drink she was off to a fashion show. Then dinner. And dancing at a hot nightclub after that. Its the legend of Zelda. She’ll make you smile. 

INTERVIEW NOTES 

- The Date: Spring 2003 

- The Scene: Irish pub, New York City 

- The Source: Minidisc recorder 

- The Story: Profile originally ran in The L Magazine. 

 

 

Photographer Terry O’Neill on His Famous Rolling Stones and Beatles Pics

From Blank on Blank | Part of the Blank on Blank series | 06:38

Famed Pop Photographer Terry O'Neill: "We used to laugh behind his (Mick Jagger's) back saying: 'Can you imagine Mick singing at 40?' And he's bloody nearly 70 and he's still going.”

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Interviewer: Josh Baron, Editor-in-Chief Relix Magazine

The Scene: Via telephone, 2010

The Source: Digital recorder

Tim Gunn on His FBI Agent Father

From Blank on Blank | Part of the Blank on Blank series | 04:22

Who knew that fashion deacon Tim Gunn's father was J. Edgar Hoover's right hand man? Gunn: "He was Hoover's ghostwriter. ... I was not the son he wanted to have.”

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Interviewer: Danielle Sacks, Senior Writer, Fast Company magazine

The Article: “Project Rehab”

The Scene: Office of Liz Claiborne CEO, New York, NY, 2008

The Source: Digital recorder

Chris Elliott and His Dad On Family Comedy

From Blank on Blank | Part of the Blank on Blank series | 06:53

"I can remember trying to impress my dad with my sense of humor. Sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing." - Chris Elliott with his dad, Ray Elliott.

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So what’s it like to grow up in a really funny family? Where it’s more than just hilarious road trips or nightly comedy routines around the dinner table? I’m talking about a family where your dad makes a living making people laugh. Does the comedic touch rub off? And can anyone get in the last laugh? Well, Jane Borden, a comedian herself, got an answer when she interviewed Bob and Chris Elliott. Now Bob’s the father and you may know him from the legendary live comedy duo of Bob and Ray. Chris is his youngest son who’s built his own successful comedy career on TV and in film. So here’s how Bob and Chris Elliott remember growing up in Manhattan.

INTERVIEW NOTES
- Date: March 2008
- The Scene: By phone, Chris Elliott driving and Bob Elliott at home
- The Source: Cassette Recorder - The Related Article: Read it @ Timeoutnewyork.com 

Chris Elliott and His Dad On Family Comedy

From Blank on Blank | Part of the Blank on Blank series | 06:53

"I can remember trying to impress my dad with my sense of humor. Sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing." - Chris Elliott with his dad, Ray Elliott.

Chris_elliott_sqaure_small

So what’s it like to grow up in a really funny family? Where it’s more than just hilarious road trips or nightly comedy routines around the dinner table? I’m talking about a family where your dad makes a living making people laugh. Does the comedic touch rub off? And can anyone get in the last laugh? Well, Jane Borden, a comedian herself, got an answer when she interviewed Bob and Chris Elliott. Now Bob’s the father and you may know him from the legendary live comedy duo of Bob and Ray. Chris is his youngest son who’s built his own successful comedy career on TV and in film. So here’s how Bob and Chris Elliott remember growing up in Manhattan.

INTERVIEW NOTES
- Date: March 2008
- The Scene: By phone, Chris Elliott driving and Bob Elliott at home
- The Source: Cassette Recorder - The Related Article: Read it @ Timeoutnewyork.com 

U2's Bono on Playing Music for America Right After 9-11

From Blank on Blank | Part of the Blank on Blank series | 04:43

This lost interview with Bono comes to us from a conversation recorded back in 2001, just weeks after 9-11. Bono was speaking with Anthony Bozza--then a writer at Rolling Stone. The magazine was looking back at that horrific year in America. At this point in the tape we get hear Bono talk about his music and playing for a fragile nation just weeks after that tragic September morning, and how U2’s music took on a whole new meaning for both the fans and the band.

INTERVIEW NOTES
- The Scene: By phone
- The Source: Minidisc recorder

Bono240_small This lost interview with Bono comes to us from a conversation recorded back in 2001, just weeks after 9-11. Bono was speaking with Anthony Bozza--then a writer at Rolling Stone. The magazine was looking back at that horrific year in America. At this point in the tape we get hear Bono talk about his music and playing for a fragile nation just weeks after that tragic September morning, and how U2’s music took on a whole new meaning for both the fans and the band. INTERVIEW NOTES - The Scene: By phone - The Source: Minidisc recorder

Dave Brubeck on Fighting Communism with Jazz

From Blank on Blank | Part of the Blank on Blank series | 05:11

Dave Brubeck took the stage at the Litchfield Jazz Festival in 2008 and during a conversation with John Dankosky, the host of Where We Live on WNPR, Brubeck told the remarkable story about fighting communism with jazz. Here's Dave Brubeck on going behind the Iron Curtain and what he saw--and heard.

Dave_brubeck_square_small Dave Brubeck took the stage at the Litchfield Jazz Festival in 2008 and during a conversation with John Dankosky, the host of Where We Live on WNPR, Brubeck told the remarkable story about fighting communism with jazz. Here's Dave Brubeck on going behind the Iron Curtain and what he saw--and heard.

Kiki Smith on Tattoos and Making Your Own Art

From Blank on Blank | Part of the Blank on Blank series | 07:15

The combination of the beauty marks and the ink on her body, I thought I could tattoo them onto me." - artist Kiki Smith during an interview with Grammy-nominated musician Tift Merritt.

Kiki Smith opens up about tattoos, becoming a nun, and trusting yourself when you create art--whatever that may be.

Kiki_smith_square_small This is a remix of Tift Merritt's longer conversation with Kiki that aired on her monthly interview program, The Spark, which airs on Marfa Texas Public Radio. 

Muhammad Ali Goes to Mars: The Lost Interview from 1966

From Blank on Blank | Part of the Blank on Blank series | 07:20

It was the summer of 1966 when a persistent 17-year-old with a high school radio show near Chicago got the interview of lifetime: Muhammad Ali. But only a handful of people ever got to hear this time capsule. Until now.

“There were so many fellows ranked over me I couldn’t just whoop them all. I had to out-shadow them by talking.” - Muhammad Ali, 1966

Interview by Michael Aisner. Read the backstory below.

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It was in the summer of 1966 when a star-struck 17-year-old set out to interview his idol: Muhammad Ali. Twenty miles from the South Side of Chicago, in Winnetka, Ill., Michael Aisner was calling repeatedly to the gym where the boxing champ was training. Finally, a man named Mr. Shabazz — Jeremiah Shabazz, he suspects, the man who introduced Ali to Islam — picked up.
“Where are you from?” Shabazz asked the boy.

“I’m from WNTH, a high school radio station,” Aisner said.”The champ doesn’t have time to talk,” he said.

Aisner called back two days later. And then two days after that.

“Can I interview the champ?” he asked again.

Finally, Shabazz relented.

“Ok,” he told him. “The champ will meet you.”

Later that week, with a suitcase-sized tape recorder in a back seat, Aisner and his best friend Pat were driving from the northern suburbs of Chicago to the South Side of  Chicago, where Ali’s fan club was headquartered. It was two years after Ali had trashed talked his way into a victory over Sonny Liston; a year before he would refuse to go Vietnam. At the time, many black Muslims, led by Malcolm X, were advocating for “total separation” of the races. And so, for a scrawny white boy from the suburbs, heading to the heart of Chicago’s gritty South Side was no small thing.

“We parked as close as we could to the building,” Aisner, now 63, laughs. “White Jewish boys from the suburbs did not go to the south side of Chicago.”

The Muhammad Ali fan club was housed in a small brick building on X street, a gold foil sign announcing itself out front. Next door was “Muhammad Speaks,” the black Muslim newspaper. From inside the club, Aisner and his friend watched out the front window as Ali screetched up in a red Cadillac convertible, parked in front of a fire hydrant, and jumped over the car door.
For the next 20 minutes, Ali talked boxing, footwork, why he wanted to fight — and launched into an epic, unprompted riff about traveling to Mars and fighting for the intergalactic boxing title. All went smoothly — until Aisner realized he’d forgot to turn on the tape recorder.

“I was mortified,” he says. “I said, ‘Champ, do you think you could do that again?’”

The champ obliged.

The interview aired a few weeks later, and Aisner went on to produce a radio show and a documentary in the decades since. But he’s never quite forgotten that first interview with his childhood icon. For 25 years, he kept the original reel-to-reel recording until he digitized it. But it sat. No one else ever heard it.

Then Aisner heard about Blank on Blank. And brought his interview of a lifetime back to life.

Amber Heard on Not Sitting Pretty and Shutting Up

From Blank on Blank | Part of the Blank on Blank series | 06:46

"It’s easier to deal with a woman who is compliant and sweet and sunny and nice and non-confrontational."

Interview by Jason Feifer // NYC hotel in 2011 // digital recorder

Related article appeared in Women's Health Magazine

Amber_heard_square_small "It’s easier to deal with a woman who is compliant and sweet and sunny and nice and non-confrontational." Interview by Jason Feifer // NYC hotel in 2011 // digital recorder Related article appeared in Women's Health Magazine

Andre Agassi on His Mullet and Finding Himself

From Blank on Blank | Part of the Blank on Blank series | 06:08

"What better way to mask who you really are than wearing a mullet, right?" - Andre Agassi

Interview by James Sullivan // By phone in 2011 // Digital recorder

Related Q&A appeared in the Boston Globe

Andre_agassi_square_small "What better way to mask who you really are than wearing a mullet, right?" - Andre Agassi Interview by James Sullivan // By phone in 2011 // Digital recorder Related Q&A appeared in the Boston Globe

The Reformed Hooligan on Fighting for Manchester United

From Blank on Blank | Part of the Blank on Blank series | 09:46

Suhrith Parthasarathy thought he was interviewing a die-hard Manchester United fan on what it's like to follow your team in New York, thousands of miles from home. What he found was more than just a rabid fan. He found a man who lost his freedom defending his team.

Mark_barry_square_small Suhrith Parthasarathy thought he was interviewing a die-hard Manchester United fan on what it's like to follow your team in New York, thousands of miles from home. What he found was more than just a rabid fan. He found a man who lost his freedom defending his team.

Ray Charles on Singing True

From Blank on Blank | Part of the Blank on Blank series | 05:23

"I can’t be anything other than what I am…. If somebody don’t like something that I do, that’s his or her prerogative. Just like it’s mine."
- Ray Charles in an unheard interview recorded in 1987. Interview by Joe Smith from the Joe Smith Collection at The Library of Congress

Ray_charles_square_small Sometimes you just have to get the stories you’ve heard on tape, before they’re lost forever. That’s what Joe Smith did. Joe Smith was a longtime record executive who helped sign the likes of the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Van Morrison, James Taylor. And then in the mid 1980s, Smith had an epiphany: he needed to record America's music legends in their own words  before they died. So he set out to interview dozens of icons for a book called "Off the Record". But no one had ever heard the tapes of these conversations until now. Joe Smith donated this tape and more than two hundred hours of interviews to The Library of Congress. This is our first collaboration to bring these interviews to life.

Barry White on Making Love

From Blank on Blank | Part of the Blank on Blank series | 05:15

"When a man's making love, the last thing he thinks about is war"
- Barry White. A lost interview with Joe Smith. April 3, 1987, Los Angeles. Recorded during the writing of Off the Record. This interview and dozens more with music legends now live at the Library of Congress

Barrywhite_square_small "When a man's making love, the last thing he thinks about is war" - Barry White. A lost interview with Joe Smith. April 3, 1987, Los Angeles. Recorded during the writing of Off the Record. This interview and dozens more with music legends now live at the Library of Congress

Heath Ledger on Role Playing

From Blank on Blank | Part of the Blank on Blank series | 06:24

"My nervous energy is usually the easiest form of energy to tap into." - Heath Ledger. One afternoon back in the fall of 2005, the actor, Heath Ledger, was walking through his Brooklyn neighborhood with Christine Spines—then a writer for Entertainment Weekly. Ledger’s latest film, Brokeback Mountain, was about to be released. He had recently become a father. Michelle Williams, whom he had met on the set of Brokeback Mountain, had given birth to a baby girl. In our latest episode, the late actor talks about love, doubt, and acting.

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Joni Mitchell on Illusions

From Blank on Blank | Part of the Blank on Blank series | 07:14

"I was young for my age. Not as naïve as they expected. I don’t know why I seem to bring that out in people." - Joni Mitchell as told to Joe Smith in this previously unheard interview from 1986. Enjoy a wonderful break as Joni looks back at her career with a wonderful mix of optimism, fortitude and a tinge of disappointment.

Joni_mitchell__e0d6c6_small "I was young for my age. Not as naïve as they expected. I don’t know why I seem to bring that out in people." - Joni Mitchell as told to Joe Smith in this previously unheard interview from 1986. Enjoy a wonderful break as Joni looks back at her career with a wonderful mix of optimism, fortitude and a tinge of disappointment.

Temple Grandin on the Autistic Brain

From Blank on Blank | Part of the Blank on Blank series | 11:46

" If you got rid of all of the genes that cause autism, you’d be rid of Carl Sagan, you’d be rid of Mozart. Einstein, today, would be labeled autistic." - Temple Grandin in 2008, from an oral history at Colorado State University

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You’ve probably heard the story that Einstein - whose name is synonymous with genius - didn’t seem destined for much when he was a small child. He was years behind other children when it came to learning to talk, he did horribly in school. It seems that Einstein’s brain just worked differently than most other people’s. And many people these days are saying that Einstein was probably autistic - one of them is Temple Grandin.

Temple Grandin is a professor of animal sciences who’s worked in the meat industry to invent kinder ways to lead cattle to slaughter. She’s also autistic - the high-functioning version known as Asperger’s Syndrome. Autism, in case you don’t know, is a brain disorder that tends to affect people’s social skills, like the ability to read facial expressions and body language... but it can also mean extraordinary talent in math, music and the visual arts.

Temple Grandin has become something of a celebrity of autism. She’s written books, given TED talks, and she’s been around the world to speak on the subject. Claire Danes has even played her in a movie about her life.

As part of our special series, The Experimenters… uncovering interviews with the icons of science, technology, and innovation…. we found this interview in the holdings of Colorado State University, where Temple teaches. In this conversation, Temple’s at her best, explaining for the rest of us what it’s really like to have an autistic brain… and how Einstein’s not the only genius who could have been dismissed for being different.

Here’s the tape.