Early morning in a Detroit hotel room and I'm watching another Sheila Nevins HBO doc. This one's about Rob Galella, the grandfather of paparazzi, who has the fake teeth (Marlon Brando knocked out the real ones) and restraining orders against him to prove it. His photos don't astound, it's the genius of how he managed to get them. Hiding behind coat racks, dating Jackie O's assistant, camping out in a rat-infested warehouse...there was no length to which Ron wouldn't go. Props to Leon Gast for capturing the legend of Galella. If only today's paparazzi could be half as original....
It's hard not to be inspired by what Newark Mayor Cory Booker's accomplished so far in the city I grew up next to and terrified of. Did you catch Mark Levin's Sundance Channel documentary on Cory last week? Last I remember, Newark's where my grandpa got mugged in the pharmacy he owned. The new Newark = tough on crime, community revitalization, Kenneth Cole, public-private partnerships and economic development. Nice! I follow Cory on Twitter because he's mostly a great twittererer. For example, he recently used Twitter and YouTube to launch a manhunt for a suspect who shot a 4 year-old girl on a playground in Newark: And it worked: The next day, "due to enormous public pressure," the suspect turned himself in. By making his leadership transparent, Cory stands in stark contrast to his predecessors (many of whom have gone to jail after being mayor), keeping us invested in Newark's progress as it struggles to become a safer place and rediscover its old glory. Twitter means the passion -- and the tactics -- of Cory Booker are visible, measureable and real. And he doesn't back down. Like, for example, the thing with Conan O'Brien. You wanna treat Newark as a punchline? Cory punches back: So after further consideration (and some Yom Kippur), I feel badly for getting on Cory about his flirtation with Kenneth Cole, a few weeks ago. It started when Cory began quoting Kenneth Cole on twitter. No one should ever quote Kenneth Cole, he does enough of that on his own stupid bilboards for the last decade. So I had to interject. Here's our exchange, word for word, starting with his tweet: From Cory Booker: Before u judge, walk a mile in the person's shoes, & if u still don't like them, at least your a mile away & have their shoes (via Ken Cole) 8:43 PM From Ross Martin: You're a brilliant guy, @CoryBooker, a true leader. Many of us are already backing you. So you don't need to quote someone like Kenneth Cole 8:52PM From Cory Booker: He is a good friend and a leader in many important causes. Proud of him and proud to quote him. 8:55 PM Then, not hours later, Kenneth Cole himself started following me on twitter. Creepy! Ok, Cory -- I'm sorry I ragged on your friend Ken Cole. Listen, I'll make it up to you. I've been meaning to tell you how much I love the Newark Public Library, which is actually an awesome place. We can go have coffee in the special collections section, which is surprisingly terrific, and talk about doing a reality show. Wait, did you just call me?
Nancy Dubuc at The History Channel is betting big on THE PEOPLE SPEAK, an interpretation of Howard Zinn's legendary A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES. The doc has the potential to be History Channel's own PLANET EARTH type franchise. I've seen some, it's pretty powerful to watch -- and could the timing be any better? Morgan Freeman reciting anything is powerful. Here he's joined by Matt Damon, Bob Dylan, Eddie Vedder, Bruce Springsteen, Sean Penn, Wyclef, Sandra Oh, David Straithairn, Don Cheadle, Howard Zinn, Lupe Fiasco, and on and on. Props to Chris Moore and Matt Damon (exec producers) for getting them all on board. Then again, who would say no? Here's an unfinished promo they showed us and are now circulating: Also, in their continuing efforts to gear up for promotion and launch of the program later this year, Nancy, Chris and Matt just teamed up with Anibooom to get animators to create short form interpretations of the greatest speeches in American history. I've been checking out Aniboom, keep hearing them come up in conversation, we met with them, and I'm curious to see how their crowdsourcing of animation evolves as a business. As we've seen first hand, no shortage of incredible animators around the world, looking for their shot. How Aniboom will build and sustain its model is another story, for another day. Anyway, here's a cool contest Aniboom just launched with History Channel. It's gonna yield some intense animation, no doubt.