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Interviews

Multitasking

Venn DiagramEven my lovely and powerful computer is getting fed up with all the multitasking. When I ask it to let me use Firefox, it rope-a-dopes me — asking, in effect, “Do you really need to use Firefox?  Wouldn’t you be just as happy sticking with your email application?”  I need to click on the little Firefox icon a few more times before the machine grudgingly brings up the browser.

I feel my laptop’s pain (something I’m sure we’ve all experienced, though possibly not on our wedding night): There are so many things I’m trying to do right now that I feel myself approaching a sort of fugue state.

On one of my “tabs” on Firefox is an uploading video that my brother Jake and I made yesterday, alerting our supporters at IndieGoGo.com that we plan to shoot the next installment of our new film, Love & Taxes, next weekend — and gently asking for even more donations.

On another tab is the enewsletter-generating program I use: I plan to send out an eblast to my peeps today about a couple of improvs I’ll be doing (towards an expanded version of my monologue Andy Warhol: Good for the Jews?) in San Francisco over the next two weeks.  (The improvs — each open to a maximum of 15 audience members, so that few will be able to speak of the chaos and disaster — will be on Dec. 21 and 22 at 8 p.m. at The Jewish Theatre San Francsico; call 415.292.1233 to reserve a spot.)

Another tab holds yesterday’s article from the San Francisco Chronicle detailing brother Jake’s ongoing collaboration with Robert Reich on terrific little videos that give simple explanations of complicated policy issues.  At the same time, I keep checking my email for updates regarding an event that Jake and I are trying to put together: me interviewing Reich on stage at the Berkeley Rep in January, and filming it for use as a pilot for our new interview show, Josh Kornbluth Talks to Strangers.

There are also:

  • Word documents with in-progress contracts, a proposed budget for a possible concert film of my show The Mathematics of Change, my running diary of research and thoughts toward the Warhol piece, thoughts toward a future monologue about playing the oboe and spirituality (working title: Practice), notes from my fellow members of the Berkeley Energy Commission toward a report we’re preparing on local control of our energy production (so we can more aggressively fight global warming), and the text of President Obama’s very interesting Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech.
  • My RSS reader, which offers continually updating summaries of all the items on all the blogs I like to follow — DANGER! WILL SUCK UP ALL ATTENTION IF ALLOWED TO!
  • PDF documents with scenes, notes, and schedules for the Love & Taxes shoot.
  • JPEGs of possible locations for the L&T shoot.
  • A complete script, in “Final Draft” software, of L&T.
  • An audiobook, in iTunes, containing an unabridged recording of a complete history of the Jews (I just started it, but I suspect there may be some suffering).
  • A printer utility warning that I am about to run out of cyan-colored ink — which is actually okay, since (a) I will soon vaporize and thus won’t need to print anything and (b) I have no real idea what color “cyan” is, and suspect that few if any of my documents will need to be tinted cyan.

Which is just for starters, and does not take into account the books by and about Kafka, Brandeis, and other “Warhol Jews” that are staring accusingly at me from the bookcase, asking why I have not finished them yet; nor the pile of unsorted papers I brought back from my recent trips to India and Portland (guess which place was drizzlier); nor the fact that my new booking agent has been waiting a week for me to send him the technical requirements for my “smaller” shows (i.e., the cheaper ones); nor many other things that are now rolling around vaguely but impatiently in my head and working their way down to my esophagus, from whence they will eventually try to reflux their way back out into the world …

But really, the idea is to just start with something, right?  Baby steps.  Okay.  Right.

I’ll pee.  Yes, that is what I’ll do first.  I will pee.  Peeing is good.  It also involves stepping away from the computer, which will be a relief for my laptop and myself.  We both need some space.  Too much multitasking.  Too many tasks to be multi-ed.  Go back to a simpler time, when people left their front doors unlocked and movies cost under $10 and one person doing one task on one computer was the subject of worldwide awe and admiration.  That is what I will do.  And it will be nice.

Video: Among the Fishermen of Kochi

In the city of Kochi, along the shore of the Arabian Sea, fishermen are famed for using age-old techniques derived from China (and, I learned, from Portugal as well).  Encouraged by Ragini Gupta of the U.S. Consulate to check out these fellows (despite my exhaustion on that busy day), I headed toward the array of curiously shaped nets and rough-looking wooden piers.  Feeling a bit shy with my little Flip camera, I was lingering at a respectful distance — but one of the fishermen smiled and waved me to come close.  (Only after my short visit with him and his fellows did I realize there would be a price — a very small one, actually! — for the interview.  These few rupees I paid must have been especially welcome, as this turns out to be the lean season for them, fishwise.)

Interview with Robert Reich Is Now Online!

My on-stage interview with former U.S. Labor Secretary, current Berkeley professor, and noted mensch Robert B. Reich (who will be appearing in our upcoming Love & Taxes movie) can now be seen — in all its undedited glory — on my website.

Please let me know what you think of it!

Monday’s Robert Reich Interview Is “Sold Out” …

… assuming, that is, that a free-admission event can be described as sold out.  I mean that all the seats have been accounted for.  Though if you want to take a chance, you can show up at the Ashby Stage on Monday evening: we’re going to release all the seats that haven’t been claimed at 7:15.  (The event starts at 7:30.)  If you’d like to be added to the waiting list (you’d still have to show up), just drop me an email.  Also, if you have a burning question you’d like to suggest for me to ask, you can put it in the “comments” section for this blog item.

One question you might have is, “What event are you talking about, anyhow?”  Well, it’s the first in a planned series of free get-togethers to celebrate the continuing progress of Love & Taxes, the new feature film I’m making with my brother Jake.  On Monday morning and afternoon, we’ll be filming a scene with Robert B. Reich in which he plays former I.R.S. Commissioner Sheldon S. Cohen.  (Perhaps not-so-surprisingly, these two wonderful men are well-acquainted with each other in real life.)  Then, in the evening, at the Ashby Stage in Berkeley, after Jake and I introduce a clip from our previous Love & Taxes shoot, I’ll interview Prof. Reich about pressing issues of our day — as well as love and taxes.

Jake has enlisted a terrific crew to videotape the show, and we’ll be posting that video on my website — and perhaps elsewhere as well.  Keep watching this space for more details.  (And by the way, mad props to our great friends at Shotgun Players, for making the Ashby Stage available and helping us out in their typically generous fashion!)