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The Open Mic

The Open Mic

My Recent Posts

    The Open Mic: A Few Words with Cinematographer Ian Webb

    Most of us will never know what it is like to see the intimate details of our lives portrayed on the silver screen. But Ian Webb knows all too well the emotions that come with that experience. He is the oldest son of Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Gary Webb, the subject of the 2014 film "Kill the Messenger," starring Hollywood heavyweight Jeremy Renner. Based on the book of the same name, the film details the rise and ultimate freefall Gary Webb experienced after his series "Dark Alliance" was published in the San Jose Mercury News in 1996. The series detailed connections between the Nicaraguan Contras, the CIA and the explosion of crack cocaine into Los Angeles in the 1980s. At first lauded, the series and Webb were later savaged by other media outlets, driving him out of the business and eventually to suicide. The book by author Nick Schou came out in 2006 and did much not only to restore Webb's reputation but take to task the media giants that turned on him so viciously. The movie in many ways completed Webb's redemption. I recently sat down with Ian, a burgeoning cinematographer, to discuss the movie and his own work as a storyteller.

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    The Open Mic: A Few Words With "Wasted" Author John Byrne Barry

     

    Like many writers, John Byrne Barry has plied his craft in just about every form possible, from journalism to marketing to seed catalogs. Also like most writers, when he took on the Herculean task of writing novels, his stories came directly from the experiences he has had along the way. He sat down with me recently to discuss his two wildly unique and entertaining mystery novels, the self-publishing business and his latest project, a novel on euthanasia. Yes, euthanasia.

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    The Open Mic: A Few Words with LA Times Columnist George Skelton

     

    For the better part of almost six decades, Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton has been one of America's most respected and influential political reporters. From the Capitol in Sacramento to the White House and back, Skelton has covered governors and presidents, statesman and fools with the most straightforward, honest reporting available anywhere. For the last 23 years that has come via his twice-weekly column in the Times, one of the only true "must read" political works of its kind in journalism today. While his office at the Times bureau in the shadow of the Capitol is filled with photos of the renowned characters he has covered - from California's historic Gov. Pat Brown to current Gov. Jerry Brown and everyone in between, including some guy named Ronald Reagan - George remains the same humble, blunt and occasionally irascible guy he has always been. He was kind enough to sit down with me recently to talk about some of those characters, the art of modern political writing and the state of the game today.

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    The Open Mic: NYT Bestselling Author Jeff Pearlman

    Jeff Pearlman refers to himself as a "a habitual blogger, an addicted Tweeter and a guy who knows how lucky and fortunate he is to make his career as a writer/author/Tom Cruise lookalike." We're also pretty fortunate about the writer/author part. Pearlman, a former senior writer for Sports Illustrated, is the author of six books, several of which have taken up residence on the New York Times bestsellers list. This includes his latest, Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980's. His blog The Quaz is also truly one of the most interesting reads anywhere on the Internet. Jeff was kind enough recently to chat with me about his books, his research style and the art of the interview.

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    The Open Mic: Snake Charmer - My 1993 Interview with Kenny "Snake" Stabler

    I was truly saddened a few months ago at the untimely passing of one of my personal heroes, the great Oakland Raiders quarterback Kenny "Snake" Stabler. It reminded me that in 1993 I had the great pleasure to interview him for my sports publication, the NorCal Sports Report. Stabler was gracious enough to spend some time sharing his thoughts on those glory days with the Raiders and on the NFL in general. He was very funny and candid, and easily the most enjoyable interview of my career to date. I fortunately kept that interview and present it to you now in a slightly abridged version. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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