Saturday, October 11, 2008

It's fun to make the correspondent blanch

So I'm sitting on a stool with my painting of Ben Bernanke, beautifully lit, propped on an easel behind me.  Arrayed before me are the producer, camera guy, sound guy and correspondent from The Today Show.  Peter Alexander is the guy asking the questions.  Unless Peter Alexander is the housing complex just north of Stuyvesant Town.  Then it was Peter Cooper asking the questions.  I think it's Alexander.

Anyway, it's all going well enough.  Then Mr. Alexander asks me something along the lines of "When you are done with the Wall Street guys, what are you planning to paint?"

To which I respond, roughly, "I'm gonna do a series of portraits of the Bush cabinet, each one festooned with those brown latex baby bottle nipples.  My first one is going to be Cheney and I'm gonna call it 'Nipple Cheney.'"

Which causes Mr. Alexander to make a face.  Not a bad face, but a face.  More of a brief grimace.  At which point I knew I was winning the battle.  Because really, what's an interview if not a battle?

At this juncture I should remind you that we are taping the interview.  I didn't utter the words "Nipple Cheney" on live Today Show air.  That would be rude.  Or perhaps inappropriate.  But we're on tape, so come on.  Let's have a giggle or two.  I mean, I'm giving them my best material.  Except that Alexander and the producer are, at this point, looking at me like I had two heads.  Ricardo, the sound guy, smiled.  Hey, everytime I think about what is sometimes called "The Nipple Initiative" I smile.

Anyway, back to winning the battle.  It is important, when you are the subject a news piece, not to confuse winning the battle with winning the war.  The war is always won in the edit room.  Today comes back on Tuesday to shoot me on Wall Street taking annotations on the finished Screaming Pope.  It will be interesting to see how it comes out.

Closing note:  I saw in his bio that Peter Alexander recently interviewed Fidel Castro.  Fidel freaking Castro!  I think I have a pretty cool job, but manomanoman ... interviewing Fidel?  

And me?   I wonder who was more interesting.

I've painted Fidel, by the way.  

Not, I would say, my finest effort.  Although the image you see here may not be the final version.  Out of sight, out of mind.  I honestly don't remember.


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