Best Of Enjoyed

All Of Time And Space

The truth is, I don’t actually watch a lot of TV. I can’t remember a time that I did, at least not after college started. The list of shows that pull my full attention can be counted on one hand with fingers to spare.

But one of those shows is Doctor Who.


Paley Center Fall Schedule

I hold three museum memberships within the city; the one I hold most dearly is my membership to the Paley Center for Media, formerly the Museum of Television and Radio. They just announced their fall schedule, and the events are worth looking at.

(Ticket prices are listed with member prices first, and non-member prices second. Ticket on-sale dates differ depending on a few factors, so check the website if you’re interested.)


Media as News & Views

Includes three seminars: Beyond the Anchor Desk: The Rise of Citizen Journalism , Extraordinary Work: A Conversation with the IWMF Courage in Journalism Honorees, and Truth and the Iraq War: Frank Rich Converses with Television Journalists. Notable panelists and guests include Andrea Mitchell and Dan Rather. Series is $35/60, individual events are $15/25. [link]

Media as Entertainment 1

Includes four seminars: An Evening with Mary Tyler Moore, An Evening with Glenn Close, An Evening with Angela Lansbury, and An Evening with Kyra Sedgwick and The Closer. I don’t think I need to tell you who the guests are. Series is $85/100, individual tickets are $25/35. [link]

Media as Entertainment 2

Includes three seminars: Upright Citizens Brigade, Fun Facts, Top Tens, and Stupid Humans: The Writers of Late Show with David Letterman, and Scrubs: The Farewell Tour. Guests include all four members of the UCB and seemingly all major cast members of Scrubs. Tickets are a steal: $35/60 for series, $15/25 individual. [link]


This year’s docfest includes some notables: To Die In Jerusalem, Larry Flynt: The Right to be Left Alone (Larry Flynt appearing for Q&A), and Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who, where Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend are scheduled to attend the event. Many ticket configurations are available, so check the site. [link]


(Yeah, I don’t live in LA, but I always get jealous at their festival schedule.)

Latino Media

Two events: Gael GarcĂ­a Bernal, Diego Luna & Pablo Cruz on Cinema, Politics, and Mexico’s New World View, and Raising Cane: Behind the Scenes. Prices are $25/43 for the series, or $15/25 individually. [link]

Media as Entertainment 1

The most mainstream of the four Entertainment schedules: Two and a Half Men: 100th Episode Celebration , American Masters Premiere: Carol Burnett, Inside the Creative Process: Tom Selleck on Jesse Stone, and ER Celebrates the Big 300!. Series is $50/85, individual tickets are $15/25. [link]

Media as Entertainment 2

Here comes my jealousy: Inside Robot Chicken (Seth and Matt and others to appear), Lovin’ Las Vegas, A Night in Hell’s Kitchen (Gordon Ramsay appearing), and the duality of Scrubs: The Farewell Tour. Series for $50/85, individuals for $15/25. [link]

The Subject Is Media

Just two, and not what I had anticipated: Smoke and Sympathy: A Toast to Mad Men, and Back in Circulation: A Lou Grant Reunion. Can’t go wrong with Ed Asner. $25/43 for both, or $15/25 individually. [link]

Puzzled Over

Jeffrey Steingarten vs. Food Network

There are some events in life that play out in front of you like a slow-motion trainwreck; where you feel pity and sorrow for some involved and white hot anger at others. Tonight was one of those nights.

Katie and I attended yet another seminar at the Museum of Television and Radio; tonight was The Edible Airwaves: Cooking for Television. On the slate to speak were celebrity chefs Alton Brown, Mario Batali, and Giada De Laurentiis, as well as Senior VP of Programming for Food Network, Bob Tuschman.

But there, like a cloud looming, was the fifth member and moderator of the panel: Jeffrey Steingarten. Arguably one of the most known food critics, I only knew that he could be a bit ascerbic.

Soon after the event started, it became immediately obvious that this was going to be different. Steingarten was, to put it nicely, off-topic. To put it poorly, he was a rude, obnoxious asshole. Some examples:

  • Implying, over and over, that Giada was only hired because she looks nice and not because she has cooking talent or is an accessible cook. Bob Tuschman defended her at least five times before someone in the audience shouted at Steingarten that she had talent, and he finally let it drop.
  • Repeatedly attacking the entire panel that they have an unfair advantage in selling cookbooks because they were on television. The panel protested that while their starting points may be a little higher than other cookbook authors, no one can sell a horrible cookbook and expect to continue their career.
  • He went off on frequent and needlessly long tangents, not at all helped by his very slow and shaky speaking style. At one point he actually caught himself and said “actually, this is irrelevant” – if only he had done that the other ten times. He even rambled out some non-sequitur about how Martha Stewart didn’t have time for her friends anymore and how she had changed.
  • Not asking any question that actually had much to do with the process of putting food onto television; if it wasn’t for audience questions at the end, I don’t think we would’ve gotten much insight at all.

I felt the most pure, unbridled pity I’ve felt in ages as I watched three expert cooks share baffled and slightly shocked glances as they were taken out of the conversation we all expected and had to defend their right to even have books. I felt minorly bad for Alton and Mario, but I cheered them on as Alton fired a number of shots back at Steingarten and Mario joined in occasionally. I felt horrible for Giada; she tried her damndest to sit there and smile that wonderful smile of hers and just take it, but by the end of the night she looked run down and a bit hurt over the repeated implication that she was just another pretty face.

The audience was largely in agreement; as the seminar went on, the mutters of “what the hell?” and “what a prick” grew louder in a slow but steady manner. By the end, a number of people felt ready to shout out whenever Steingarten made a bitter comment at any of the panel.

I kindly request that if anyone at the Museum of Television & Radio want to have another Food Network panel, that they keep Mr. Steingarten as far away from it as possible. I’m sure he’s a wonderful food critic, but it’s obvious from his actions at this event that he is not a big fan of the way food television has been evolving over the last ten years. This squarely puts him in opposition with much of what the Food Network has been doing since its inception.

Huge thanks to Alton, Giada, and Mario – all marvelous people, and were kind enough to stick around and talk to the fans afterwords – as well as Bob for putting up with all this nonsense.