Tag Archives: New York Times Magazine

“06880”: Where New Zealand Meets The World

Of the many “where Westport meets the world” connections that “06880” is fond of making, there’s none weirder than this.

Paul Henry is a highly rated morning TV personality. But you’ve never heard of him, because his show is in New Zealand. (Admit it: Besides seeing “The Hobbit,” you’ve never thought about New Zealand.)

In 2010, Henry resigned/was fired from TVNZ — the country’s network — after mocking the name of an Indian official named Sheila Dikshit.

Henry — attempting to make lamb stew out of lamb turd — then tried to become an American TV star. His first choice was a talk show, but he figured a scripted or reality show might work too.

His foray into this country — with a population roughly 100 times that of New Zealand — failed. Which is why you’ve never heard of Paul Henry.

But Andrew Goldman did.

His name may be slightly more familiar than Henry’s.

He’s the former interviewer for the New York Times Magazine‘s Q-and-A page, “Talk.” His probing, off-the-wall, uncomfortable questions — of everyone from Iggy Pop and Terry Gross to Tony Blair– were a very popular feature.

I should mention here that Goldman lives in Westport, which is why I am taking through this long, winding tale.

Andrew Goldman

Andrew Goldman

Goldman was fascinated by Henry. Though not a filmmaker, he decided to make a documentary about the New Zealander’s route to what turned out to be not stardom in the States.

Goldman calls the film “the best experience of my life.”

Three days after it was finished, the Times fired him. (It’s a complicated story. Just google Andrew Goldman, Alfred Hitchcock, Tippi Hedren, Diane von Furstenberg and Jill Abramson.)

He thought he had a “fantastic” film in the can. But when he looked at it, he realized, “it stinks.”

Goldman attempted to salvage the film by addressing themes he could never do as a Times employee. He wove serious themes — including his own firing, and the death of his mother — into the previously jocular video.

He knows that the new emphasis — on him — might seem narcissistic.

But, he says, “this is about real life. People lose their moms, lose their jobs, have to deal with their families every day.”

He sent the new version — called “The Desk” — to festivals in Florida and San Francisco. He also spent 3 weeks with it in New Zealand.

“It was not well promoted there,” Goldman admits. “The crowds were small.”

Paul Henry

Paul Henry

So what to do with a movie that is about both an obscure New Zealand broadcaster and a former New York Times journalist?

Goldman searched for a commercial distributor. Gawker screened on its rooftop. (Of course, Gawker is not around anymore either.)

There were  no bites.

Goldman says, “I’d like to say it was a labor of love. But it was more a labor of pain and angst – the creative equivalent of a kidney stone.” He thinks he may have made “the least commercial film of all time.”

Friends have called the 87-minute film “shaggy,” “ambitious,” “bizarre,” “unhinged” and even “really good.”

Yet, he adds, “I love it. And I stand by it.”

So he has finally found a way for anyone — friends, strangers, American, New Zealanders — to see “The Desk.”

It’s available on Vimeo. Just click below.

Wherever in the world you are.

Click here for “06880+”: The easy way to publicize upcoming events, sell items, find or advertise your service, ask questions, etc. It’s the “06880” community bulletin board!

Lynsey Addario’s Latest Story

Today, Nile Rodgers was the focus of a New York Times feature.

Tomorrow, Lynsey Addario focuses on a Times Magazine cover story.

The issue examines the plight of displaced people around the globe. Lynsey —  a Pulitzer Prize and MacArthur genius grant winner, and a Staples High School graduate — contributes stunning photos from Syria, South Sudan and Ukraine.

Lynsey has a knack for finding heartbreak — and, amid it sometimes, hope — around the globe. This story is some of her most harrowing, and important, work.

(Photo/Lynsey Addario for the New York Times)

(Photo/Lynsey Addario for the New York Times)

Click here for the stories, and Lynsey’s remarkable images.

(Hat tip: John Karrel)


Stephen Wilkes And MLB’s Cuban Connection

The thawing of relations with Cuba has led to many new opportunities, in that country and here.

Among them: a chance for a new generation of baseball players to make it to the Major Leagues.

Westport photographer Stephen Wilkes — who recently received a grant from the National Geographic Society to document national parks — decided to focus on the current crop of players. They defied tremendous odds to reach the big leagues.

Wilkes’ photo essay appears in today’s edition of the New York Times Magazine. Click here to read the story — and see the pros, through our neighbor’s eyes.

Cuba - Stephen Wilkes

(Hat tip: Russell Smith)

Andy’s Still Missing

Andy — the corgi whose disappearance nearly 4 months ago brought out hundreds of volunteers, spawned thousands of posters and sparked an avalanche of media attention — has made the New York Times.

Benoit Denizet-Lewis writes in tomorrow’s Magazine:

How far would you go to find your lost dog? Mike and Jordina Ghiggeri, whose 11-year-old Welsh corgi ran away in Westport, Conn., on New Year’s Eve, printed some 10,000 fliers, installed 14 night-vision cameras and 4 dog traps (in which they caught a dog that had been missing for 18 months but wasn’t their dog). Then they hired a pet detective and issued A.P.B.’s. “We’re not giving up,” Mike told me.

Little League Elbows

Today’s New York Times Magazine contains a fascinating story on the tremendous harm done to young baseball pitchers’ arms, due to overuse and under-caring.

The piece, it turns out, has a strong Westport connection.

It’s not — fortunately — about local athletes.  Westport’s youth coaches do a good job of counting pitches.

Ron Berler

Ron Berler

The connection is the writer.  Ron Berler grew up here.  A 1967 Staples grad, he was the Wall in the Staples Players’ production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”  He became an actor after being cut as a sophomore during baseball tryouts — “a wise decision” on the coach’s part, he now says.

Ron did play Westport Little League — “the last time I was an All-Star in anything.”

But he’s always loved the game, and while driving to his weekly Sunday morning softball game he listens to Rick Wolff on WFAN.

Shortly after last year’s Little League World Series, the talk show host mentioned that a pitcher had thrown 288 pitches during the tournament — over just 10 days.  Ron was stunned.  He had coached youth baseball for 17 years.  A writer for Wired, Men’s Journal and ESPN.com, he “pitched” (ho ho) the Times. The result is today’s eye-opening piece.

“I hope the article will lead parents to demand changes in how youth baseball leagues are run,” Ron says.  “It’s their kids who are at risk.

“At the same time I hope Little League — which has done more than any other youth league to protect its players — does not end up shouldering all the blame.

“Yes, Little League needs to address its relaxed pitching rules during the World Series tournament.  But the real problem lies with the thousands of kids who play on multiple teams, many of them with overlapping schedules, for coaches who do not communicate with one another, and who pitch their players way too much.”

Amen.  And let’s thank all the Westport coaches who are not caught up in such craziness.