Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Trentonian TV Production Notes: L.A., Tyrone & Phil

TRENTON -- Tyrone Miller is the best thing to happen to Trentonian TV since we hit the airwaves in January. He debuted "The Tyrone Miller Show" today, and this was my text message to him a few hours later after watching the replay: "I'm impressed. It's the best 20 minutes of any show that has run."

The Worst Cook in America and one-time songwriter with Sugar Ray is Mr. Electricity, a verbal king with a verbal swing, a ghetto-funny Tim Robbins with doses of Stuart Smalley and Lyle Lovett. Just about every freakin' line was weighted in gold, whether he talked about the 28 men (18 billionaires, 10 Nobel Peace Prize winners) who did not graduate high school, or the "best garbage-throwing man in the world," or the Liberty Tax sign holder (yeah, we've all seen that guy), or the great Leroy Smith. Who is Leroy Smith? Watch the show to understand the importance of Leroy Smith to the world of basketball.

But the line I loved most was during an inspirational screed, when "the greatest man alive" implored people to try -- "you've gotta try." That made me think of Lovett, the country singer who was married to Julia Roberts. I don't listen to Lovett much, but I remember the night years ago when he and his band went on Carson and debuted the song "Here I Am" from his new album. The song has a line, " ... but what would you be if you didn't even try. You have to try. So after a lot of thought, I'd like to reconsider. Please, if it's not too late, make it a cheeeeeseburger."

I doubt Tyrone was channeling Lyle Lovett, but his passion as he talks about the importance of trying made me realize what a commodity he will be on Trentonian TV.

Indeed, Tyrone Miller is Trentonian TV's cheeseburger. He is everything that colleague Joe D'Aquila and I want Trentonian TV to be about: You.

Here is the debut of "The Tyrone Miller Show" in full:

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"The Tyrone Miller Show" was Trentonian TV's second show of the day. Trentonian columnist L.A. Parker started the day's 3-show schedule with Episode 7 of "Live with L.A." It was good. His guests were Dennis Keenan of the Trenton St. Patrick's Day Parade committee, Trenton City Council members George Muschal and Phyllis Holly-Ward and Pastor Mark Granville of the New Life Christian Center. Excellent engagement during the hour, including hearty conversation with Muschal and Holly-Ward about Trenton's latest disgrace: the city's inability to pay for toilet paper.

Here are photos of each of L.A.'s guests in action. Well, the shot of Muschal is after his spot. I looked to my right when L.A. was talking to Holly-Ward and saw Muschal sitting the way he was and had to snap that moment.

I love that last shot of L.A. staring at Holly-Ward when the conversation was in full thrust. Phyllis is a sharp tack. She brought documents to explain how the city's toilet paper problem reached critical mass. She also read from a piece of paper highlighting everything that makes Trenton great in spite of itself. She began reading off: The St. Patrick's Day Parade, Art All Night ... " and that's when L.A. cut her off to ask if she's running for mayor, and she answered "No, but I'll show you how to be one" -- and Pup Bolding the one-man house band plucked a string for the guitar rim shot. Holly-Ward then continued to read from her list.

L.A.'s interview with Granville began with good-natured ribbing, when the host said that his friend called him last week to ask if he'd ever heard of the band "The Van Halens" -- the best question anyone in the world asked last week. The friends laughed about it, again. Eddie and Alex Van Halen were in Trenton last week at Granville's New Life Christian Center, which caused quite a ruckus. Eddie Van Halen? In Trenton? At church? Eddie Van Halen one night, Toilet Papergate the next. Trenton, My Trenton.

Anyway, here's a shot from L.A's and Mark's interview:

And here is Episode 7 of "Live with L.A." in full:

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The third show of the night was the premier of "Makin' Moves with Phil Jackson." Jackson is a DJ for Side-B radio, so like Tyrone Miller he's at home in front of the mic. Jackson was a roadie for The Delfonics at the turn of the '90s. When he said that it reminded me of the great Tarantino flick "Jackie Brown." Jackson pitched "Makin' Moves" because "I want to showcase good people doing positive things."

Will Kasso, one of the renowned hip-hop visual artists in Trenton, was Jackson's first guest, and they spent 30 minutes discussing Kasso's role in "purifying abandoned buildings" in the city. Instead of punishing guys like Kasso and Leon Rainbow, the city embraced their art.

Turns out Kasso did the wall that I've photographed off the Olden Avenue bridge:

So it was neat to put art with the person and story behind it. Kasso told the story of how he became a hip-hop visual artist, which was fascinating. The Tamrah Leonard mural in the hood he grew up in was the toughest one he has done, the type of mural he never wants to do again. Tamrah was shot to death at a New Black Panthers block party a few years ago. Here's the pic of Kasso talking about Tamrah's mural:

The guy holding the camera in the background is Jackson's son, Phil. He was taping the show, too.

Jackson's second guest was Divine Drummah, his partner at Side-B radio and the son of a bass player who subbed in for groups such as Parliament. Drummah has created a unique hip-hop sound, so just Google or YouTube him to expand your mind. Drummah brought the goods to Jackson's show for about 10 minutes. They discussed the days when "Trenton had a soul" circa 1990, "a beautiful time for hip-hop," including the Poor Righteous Teachers. I pulled up the PRT video "Rock Dis Funky Joint" on YouTube as Drummah talked about them, and he gave me a little shout by saying "You're strong on the muscle." Jackson and Drummah's chemistry is undeniable.

Here's the first episode of "Makin' Moves" in full.

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Keep tuning in, Trentonian Nation. All you've got to do is try. But even if you don't watch all of the great programming, Trentonian TV will continue to be my Leroy Smith.

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