Tag Archives: American Masters

David Geffen – American Master Premieres Tonight on PBS

American Masters Inventing David Geffen premieres tonight on PBS at 7 p.m. CST. Two time Emmy-winning filmmaker Susan Lacy, the creator and executive producer of the American Masters series interviews many of his friends, clients, and friends (Cher, Don Henley, Clive Davis, Elton John, Mike Nichols, Yoko Ono and Jann Wenner) to explore Geffen’s professional and personal life. He launched the careers of Joni Mitchell and Jackson Browne and co-founded DreamWorks SKG with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg.  In the end, the portrait doesn’t shy away from those who bear major grudges against him, including  Laura Nyro, The Clintons and The Eagles. Even though he’s gay he romanced Cher and he’s also struggled with cancer.

At the TCA summer press tour, Geffen, notoriously camera-shy,  and Lacy presented a panel on the show. Geffen was a man of few words, while Lacy tried to fill in the sometimes awkward silences. Here, she’s done the same thing and the two-hour program definitely speaks for itself and for Geffen who as a manager, agent, music mogul and Hollywood and Broadway producer and philanthropist is truly an American Master.

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JEFF BRIDGES IS MUCH MORE THAN JUST A DUDE — watch American Masters profile on PBS

Sure Jeff Bridges will always be known for his role in The Coen Brothers’ The Big Lebowski but a quick look at his work in True Grit now on screens across the country is a testament both to his talent and his longevity.  Finally at 60 he won a much deserved Oscar for his role in last year’s Crazy Heart and during a panel over the weekend promoting his American Masters profile at TCA he came across as a down-to-earth guy who loves his “sweetheart” (wife  Susan Geston)  and playing guitar in his band and acting.

Unlike children of other film dynasties, Bridges admits his career began through nepotism, when he and his older brother, Beau, were featured in Sea Hunt along with their very famous father, Lloyd. His parents encouraged him to go into show business and he did and the rest is history, right? His first major movie role was in The Last Picture Show, for which he earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor when he was only in his early 20’s. I lusted after him in Against All Odds…and was enthralled and disgusted by him in The Jagged Edge, opposite Glen Close. He was hailed by critics for his work in Fearless, but during the American Masters session he spoke of his role in a film I saw recently on cable called The Amateurs about a group of men in a small town who set out to film a porno movie. I personally loved him in The Contenders, starring Joan Allen.

So unassuming and thoughtful during the panel, I can only imagine how good his profile will be on American Masters. I’ll be watching and so should you.

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Nashville on My Mind

The ripples of a trip somewhere new can extend many months and even years from the actual visit to a new city or destination. Sometimes it’s meeting new people and othertimes it’s a connection to another event and that’s exactly what happened when I went to Nashville earlier this year.  I had been to Nashville as a child with my parents and we saw Tammy Wynette and George Jones perform at the Grand Ole Opry, so it was an amazing experience to return as an adult who so appreciated how country music was such a big part of her life with her family.

One of my favorite events we did during my trip in April was a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, which included seeing Family Traditions: The Hank Williams Legacy, a special exhibit that examined the personal lives and professional lives and musical contributions of Hank Williams and Hank Williams, Jr. 

At a luncheon following a tour of the Museum, I met a fellow graduate from the University of Missouri School of Journalism who works there and we talked and have continued to email. She also invited me to the amazing guitar pull event at Club Nokia a few weeks ago on September 23, a fundraiser called All for the Hall Los Angeles to benefit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Kris Kristofferson, Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, Lionel Richie and Taylor Swift. It was such an incredible night seeing those musicians picking and singing new songs and old…and Taylor Swift impressed me much more than what I had seen at some of her appearances at the big awards show. She shared how she wrote some of her hit songs, and it’s truly  rare for someone as young as she is to be able to describe the state-of-mind of being 15, or liking a guy her parent’s don’t and writing hit songs about the experience. In her acoustic versions of her latest single Mine and her big hit Love Story she showed why she’s such a star and Kristofferson and Richie watched clearly enjoying this young songwriter who is so articulate in her songs. Swift also shared a new song she wrote about her mother and it was heartfelt and brought a few tears…as it’s clear that she understands how fast time goes and how growing up never really changes the pull or impact of a mother’s love.

Being a fan of Kris Kristofferson, meeting him was a pleasure but to hear him sing his classic songs like “Help Me Make It Through the Night” and Me and “Bobby McGee. At first I wasn’t sure how Lionel Richie would fit in but he was the only artist on the piano and he sang some of his hits, “Three Times a Lady,” “Hello,” and “Stuck on You” and it ended up being a wonderful addition to the group. My mother is a huge fan of Emmylou Harris and I enjoyed her contributions, too, and I spoke to her friend, Mary Kay, who was in the audience and she said that she was already in production on the next season of Big Love . Gill was a great “host” and sang a song he wrote for his wife, singer/songwriter Amy Grant.

While in Nashville, I also attended the 41st Annual Nashville Film Festival, where I saw the premiere of Nowhere Boy, a film about Lennon’s pre-Beatle days in Liverpool, directed by Sam Taylor and starring Aaron Johnson. Given all of the activities surrounding Lennon’s 70th birthday this coming Saturday, there will be a Los Angeles premiere of the film. I liked it but others who saw it with me that night thought the actor, who was phenomenally charismatic, was too old to play the part. But it was an insightful look into the artist and in a bookend, Lennon’s life in New York will be featured in a two-hour documentary airing on PBS’ American Masters series on November 22, and the Grammy Museum will host an advance screening on Monday. We saw a peek of it at the TCA press tour in July/August featuring his wife, Yoko Ono. Here’s a link about that appearance written by my friend and fellow writer Amy Dawes.

 I can’t wait to return to Nashville and right now the special exhibit at the Country Museum is Tammy Wynette: First Lady of Country Music. As I grew up listening to my mother sing songs by Wynette, it would be a wonderful opportunity to return to see the exhibit with my mother.

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