life as editorial director of the nationally syndicated PBS arts and culture show, "Articulate with Jim Cotter"

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Sometimes the very thing you were never looking for whips around the bend (it's windy that day, but there is sun) and finds you.

That is what happened a few weeks ago when Jim Cotter, the host of "Articulate with Jim Cotter," the nationally syndicated, Emmy® award-winning PBS arts and culture show, invited me to join his team as editorial director.

I'd been a guest on the show a few years ago. I'd attended a recent concert filming. I'd written a story about that experience for my monthly Philadelphia Inquirer column, and it was after that—before the Inky story even ran—that Jim asked if I'd meet him at a local coffee shop.

I had no idea what he wanted, but I said yes.

Since that day I've been saying yes to a lot of things. To scanning the arts horizon in search of innovators and storytellers whose ideas and ideals challenge (or affirm) the way we view our lives. To thinking about the processes that guide and fuel the work of writers, producers, shooters, animators, digitalists, and others. To learning how to write scripts so that I can teach the writing of scripts (how's that for rapid conversion?). To reaching out to those who know people who know ... who know. To sneaking books into the office, and possibilities—passages on the art of the essay, reviews of an author whose work deeply counts, tales of a musician with a story to tell. To learning from an uber fab executive producer (Tori Marchiony), a you-haven't-met-efficient/resourceful-until-you meet-her operations manager (Constance Kaita), and, of course, Jim himself.

It's been a deep immersion of a month. Here's what I already know: On the upper floors of an old mansion on Walnut Street there works and breathes a troupe (I'll use that word, for this is a cast of which I speak, this is theater within theater) of remarkably interesting people doing remarkably interesting work. They're out there talking to MacArthur geniuses and Pulitzer Prize winners, Daniel Handler and Gene Yang, Joyce Didonato and Jennifer Higdon, Watsky and Lisa Hannigan, Mark Mothersbaugh and Ani DiFranco, Andrew W.K. and Lauren Greenfield, Elizabeth Streb and, just this week (I was there, she was cool), the rising indie singer-songwriter Julien Baker.

Chances are that you can see the show on your local PBS station. If not, you can watch every segment here, at your leisure, at any time of restless day or sleepless night. Or join the Facebook page, here, where you'll get updates on segments, special treats, and all kinds of trivia with which to impress your friends.

And when you're sending me notes and I'm behind answering it's because, well, of this. I think it's a pretty fair trade—me sharing the show in exchange for me disappearing for stretches at a time. The show is more vivid, vibrant, and wow than I will ever be.

Wow. Did I say wow? Check out this sizzle reel.


  © Blogger templates Newspaper II by 2008

Back to TOP