Talk Radio

(Originally published as City section cover story, New York Times, 7/1/01.)

CB seems like a relic from another time, another place. Perhaps that’s why it is alive and well on New York’s highways.

 

[caption id=”” align=”alignright” width=”220″ caption=”Frank Puma, an engineer at NBC in Manhattan, talks on his CB radio while driving to work. “Its a community,” he says of the

(Originally published as City section cover story, New York Times, 7/1/01.)

CB seems like a relic from another time, another place. Perhaps that’s why it is alive and well on New York’s highways.

 

Frank Puma, an engineer at NBC in Manhattan, talks on his CB radio while driving to work. "Its a community," he says of the CB world.

CHICKENBOY: Hey, who’s that out there? You got the Chickenboy over here.

193: (laughs) Chickenboy? Yeah, come on.

CHICKENBOY: I’m in Williamsburg. Metro and Graham. Where are you?

193: Yeah, roger. You got 193 on the Lower East. Roger?

(loud static interference)

CHICKENBOY: 193, come back with that. What’s your 20?

193: Yeah, man. Come on.

L-TRAIN: Yeah, talk to me, man. I’m right here. I’m L-Train, man. I’m L-Train.

The voices on the CB radio waves in New York are not those of lost truckers from Montana on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. They are the multicultural shouts of a thriving subculture: two men threatening to kill each other on Channel 6; angry complaints about livery drivers on 22; a heated debate on 27 about the shooting of Amadou Diallo, months after the event has disappeared from the front pages; an endless cackle of off-color remarks on 12; and on every channel, lots of ephemera, like that involving Chickenboy, 193 and L-Train.

CB has an image as a rural phenomenon. But in the big city, it functions as a way to build community, an urban version of the gathering on the porch of FULL NEW YORK TIMES STORY CONT’D HERE>>

The Last Emperor

Now that the Cold War is over, maybe Paul Robeson can finally get a little respect

(Originally published in Time Out New York, 1/15/98.)

Jeffrey Stanley is the author of Joe Glory, a script about the Peekskill riots, written for director Barbara Kopple.  “Paul Robeson, A Centennial Retrospective” runs January 16-27 at Film Forum.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="180" caption="Big Fella: Robeson Reconsidered"]

Now that the Cold War is over, maybe Paul Robeson can finally get a little respect

(Originally published in Time Out New York, 1/15/98.)

Jeffrey Stanley is the author of Joe Glory, a script about the Peekskill riots, written for director Barbara Kopple.  “Paul Robeson, A Centennial Retrospective” runs January 16-27 at Film Forum.

Big Fella: Robeson Reconsidered

If Bugs Bunny can have a stamp, why not Paul Robeson?  One of the greatest entertainers of the century, Robeson was a Broadway legend (one of the first black Othellos), an opera singer, a movie star and an outspoken political gadfly at a time when so-called Sambo roles were the norm for mainstream black performers.

Blackballed for his politics, Robeson is only now–on the centennial anniversary of his birth–receiving a measure of the respect that was denied him during his lifetime.  In addition to receiving a posthumous Grammy, he’ll be honored with special events in LA and Chicago, and beginning January 16, Film Forum will screen a retrospective of his films.  But the stamp is just too much to ask:  last month, the idea was rejected despite nearly 90,000 signatures on his behalf.

As Eugene O’Neill’s Emperor Jones–a role for which the Columbia law-school graduate was handpicked by the playwright–Robeson became the first black actor on the white stage to portray a character who was not a stereotype.  Possessed of a mesmerizing baritone purr, he sang in some 20 languages.  And his commitment social justice would shame today’s most committed Hollywood celebs:  in 1933, he gave all his earnings from the film All God’s Chillun Got Wings to Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany.

Between 1924 and 1943, he starred in 11 pictures, including the screen version of The Emperor Jones and black auteur Continue reading “The Last Emperor”

Kicking It Old School

 

[caption id="attachment_2211" align="aligncenter" width="422" caption="Joe Vinciguerra and Jeffrey Stanley; NYU Tisch School of the Arts undergrad film students in a New Jersey cornfield, 1988, working on Joe's short "Reflections of a Sensitive Man" for Carol Dysinger's class. Photo by Helen Crowther."][/caption]

 

Joe Vinciguerra and Jeffrey Stanley; NYU Tisch School of the Arts undergrad film students in a New Jersey cornfield, 1988, working on Joe's short "Reflections of a Sensitive Man" for Carol Dysinger's class. Photo by Helen Crowther.