Twist and Shout

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

Monday, April 23, 2012

Trentonian TV Production Notes: Freedom Episode 9

TRENTON -- Thanks to a Logitech webcam that was in my desk but never utilized, until today, Freedom is crisp like a cracker. Every show will be this crisp from now on, so Trentonian TV is pleased about that prospect. But producer Joey Kulkin is still bummed out bigtime from Sunday's debacle in Willingboro, where a live broadcast of "Words2Action"  turned into 8 minutes of nothing even though Carl Lewis and Jesse Epps were on the guest list, as were community organizer Chris Walker and Willingboro Mayor Jacqueline Jennings, who is one sassy, motorcycle-riding woman in gold boots. The woman doesn't mess around and has issues with The Trentonian. But I talked her down a bit.

So, the broadcast crapped out because it poured rain for a few hours, and we were deep inna heart of the country, and that combination caused havoc for the Internet connection. Even the photos I took of the guests were craptacular. What is most disappointing is that the the production team of Tay Walker, FP Cart and newbie Annette MacDonald  worked with me for a few hours before the broadcast to make sure everything was how host Ken Gordon Jr. wanted it. Gordon and his producers were disappointed, too, by the outcome but displayed a tremendous sense of understanding. Gordon said we'd do the show again.


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BEFORE MONDAY'S live broadcast of “Freedom,” a producer asked guest Sam Frisby Jr. if he’s running for mayor of Trenton in 2014. The bearded man with a balding hairline who used to be the city rec director pushed his Burberry glasses back and said he’s focused on winning the election. Just not the mayoral election. Yet.

Frisby has been a Mercer County freeholder since taking over the seat of Dan Benson after Benson won a seat on the New Jersey Assembly 15 months ago. But now Frisby wants his own 3-year freeholder term, and the former corrections officer has until November to show residents of East Windsor, Ewing, Hamilton Township, Hightstown, the Hopewells, Lawrence, Pennington, Princeton, Robbinsville, West Windsor and the City of Trenton that he’s worthy of being their servant. If Monday's appearance on Freedom is an indication, Frisby sounds like he was born to be a man of the people.

"I do want to serve because I’m about constituency service," Frisby said in a 35-minute spot. He also talked about his role as CEO of the rejuvenated Trenton YMCA (from 34 members to 600 on his watch, with a goal of 1,500 by next year), and about failing kids and failed parents, and about academic, athletic and nutrional programs to help kids and families, and about Trenton’s library failure and the county’s library success, and about Mercer County’s failure to market itself as a tourist capital like Williamburg did, and about studies that link lead poisoning to academic failures in Abbott districts across Jersey. And he explained exactly what freeholders do since 9 out of 10 people probably have no idea. But they have a $289 million budget, he said, "so that impacts your budget."

Frisby said he’s campaigning as though he trails by 20 points and is hitting as many cities and towns and fiefdoms and burgs in the county every weekend to win voters. But does the beautiful conversationalist speak from the heart when he says “Government is the safety net for the people when others aren’t doing the work,” or are words like that coming from another cog in the Mercer County Democratic Machine?

Stacy Headlin of Isles Inc. was the second guest, and like Frisby he’s a bundle of go-go-go!

Wearing a light-plum sweather over a crisp, white dress shirt and a light-plum paisley tie, Headlin touched on several topics, the most important one dealing with ghetto nutrition and ghetto medical issues. That’s why he helps direct Isles’ Youth Grow, which teaches kids how to grow their own fruits and vegetables for better sustainability. He has seen how kids in Trenton eat — the sugar waters masked as fruit drinks, the McDonald’s masked as filet mignon — and how that translates into diabetes once those kids hit their 30s and beyond.

But by then, Headlin said, "they have eating habits that they can’t change."

One eating habit is changing over on the west side, and proprietor Venice Johnson was the final guest to talk about his eatery called Thomasena’s Takeout at 141 Spring St., which serves world-class fish and grits all day as well as chicken and waffles. He opened the joint because he was tired of having go over to "West Bubble" to get quality soul food. West Bubble, huh? That made Freedom laugh. Anyone care to explain?

"I’m providing people with something they need," Johnson said while trying to dispel myths about that part of the hood. "People think it’s bad here, but it’s not that bad."

When Freedom said, You went from a headache to a problem solver" in relation to his past, Johnson said, "I want to be an inspiration for the youth. You might have had some speed bumps, but there’s gold at the end of the rainbow."



In this case, that gold is jobs, which Johnson said he has for city folks who want to work.


Sam Frisby: Freeholder then Mayor?


Are his the hands of a mayor?


The Logitech webcam. Nice!


Play it again, Sam!


We're not so sure Freedom is intrigued by Frisby's answers.


Sharp-dressed Isles' man Stacy Headlin


Want great fish & grits? Go to Venice's joint Thomasena's at 141 Spring St.


Lovin' the Logitech. (already loved that waffle)