[JPL] Alec Baldwin radio quote

Lazaro Vega wblv.wblu.fm at gmail.com
Sat Sep 6 14:32:18 EDT 2008

Alec Baldwin

September 6, 2008

Profile in The New Yorker.


"I always think, What if you just took your hand off the wheel, and
slowly, over time, it all went away, and your life became about, you
know, 'Is the mail here yet?' I always think about that." But this
dream of disengagement quickly gave way: in the space of a few
minutes, sitting in weak sun on a New Jersey driveway, smoking a
cigarette, Baldwin imagined himself as the restaurant critic of the
Times; the proprietor of an inn near Syracuse; and the presenter of a
classical-music show on public radio. "I could do that," he said, and
he wasn't exactly joking. He cares about classical music; he began to
take an interest in his twenties. (Perhaps not surprisingly, he adores
Mahler and can't quite see the point of Mozart.) "To sit there in the
studio and just say"—a rich radio voice—" 'And now Tchaikovsky's
Symphony No. 6, with Charles Dutoit and the Montreal Symphony
Orchestra.' Click. Hit a button, and then you sit back and listen, and
they pay you for that. And I can't imagine they pay you as much as the
movies, but to me it's getting to that point where there's just
something else I want to do. I don't know what it is. I'm tired of
being somebody else. I spend the waking hours of my life saying things
that other people think and say and do. And behaving as someone else.
I'm tired of it. I want to be me! I want to be myself!"

Lazaro Vega writes:

In therapeutic tones I'd reply to Alec, "In radio you can do exactly
that, Mr. Baldwin, you can be yourself, especially if you write, and
you won't have to give up your actor's need to tell a story. Classical
music? Are you kidding me? To identify the performers and the
composers and the title of a piece of music is a perfunctory part of a
much larger story -- the story of the music itself, how it came to be,
how in nonverbal terms it represents all the conflicts, emotions,
ideas and histories that have occurred in the imagination.

Two examples from this week's news:

David Cronenberg and Howard Shore translating "The Fly" into opera:


And David Schiff's review of a contemporary staging of Benjamin
Britten's opera "Peter Grimes."


Both of those pieces prepare us for the moment after we press "play"
or raise the curtain. This, of course, is not about NPR or David
Schiff, but us, the audience for these works. In that way the
writer/announcer/producer is simultaneously holding a hand while

As to money, right. The salary you command, Mr. Baldwin, for a feature
film would keep Blue Lake Public Radio on the air for more than a
decade. Not me, not my salary, the station's entire operating budget.
At least a decade. In other words, this lunch is on you. That's part
of the community. People at your pay scale underwrite the orchestras
in America. And if you're fortunate enough to have any of the
electronic or print media in your chosen city or town to alert and
inspire a broad audience to attend concerts by some of the community's
most accomplished musicians, then you might see this entire idea of
pressing play is much like the common purpose driven collective of the
theater company, except the stage is the consciousness of the entire
community, not just those who paid for a ticket.

So, preface the basic announcement with the news that this weekend at
DeVos Hall in Grand Rapids or the Frauenthal Center for the Performing
Arts in Muskegon the Grand Rapids Symphony or the West Shore Symphony
will be playing Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6, and you've enjoined a
discussion in the larger community as an educator or even arts

Of course telling the stories from classical music to people, many
will be hearing them for the first time. Gustav and Alma Mahler. What
a love story. And you can hear it, apprehend it, be a part of it if
only someone would have started you down the path of their tale.

As above with the use of multimedia tools in the NPR story, there may
be layer upon layer of introduction, echoing depths from the
perfunctory shout out of basic information down through the soul of
human memory, you know, like "Glenn Gary Glenn Ross.""


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