May 30, 2008

How to create a national, mainstream Talk Show ~ an experiment.

Step One in my plan for a national talk show was actually getting people to sit down with me, my shaking hands pressing PLAY RECORD, then transcribing the interviews myself, REWIND PLAY, REWIND PLAY, then publishing them in my little Boulder/Denver yoga magazine.

Step Two was interviewing first or second tier big names on my couch in the living room of my apartment.

Step Three was interviewing big names on my couch and then in the living room of HOTELEPHANT, elephant’s first office and my first home—and videoing those interviews—and posting said interviews on our web site and to YouTube.

Step Four was taking the interviews out of my living room and into the public sphere—to the historic Trident Cafe’s backyard stage last summer, where we interviewed folks like John Perkins (Economic Hit Man) and Anne Waldman (Beat poet and co-founder of Naropa’s writing program) in front of as many as 125 guests—and then posted them to various web sites.

Step Five was taking the interviews inside, to a real theater with a real stage and soundboard and lights, at Trilogy Lounge, offering organic drink specials and garnering standing-room audiences for much of the past six months—then posting the interviews to our and other sites.

Step Six was on Wednesday: taking the interviews to the major-league, mainstream Boulder Theater—which can seat up to 850 mindful lifers—and hosting first tier names and first tier bands.

Step Seven is getting a national TV/web contract to do for yoga, organics, sustainability, conscious consumerism, non-new agey spirituality and the arts what Jon Stewart has done for politics—make it hip, accessible, fun—while keeping the integrity and some depth.

We’re a magazine. But more basically, we—you and I and you and you and you and you and you—are a movement. We’re trying to help the world, and ourselves, to wake up. And so we’re interested in effecting in- and outward change through any medium we can. For the last six years, I’ve been interviewing folks who have something to say, trying to get it out to as many good folks as possible. Two years ago, we starting videoing our interviews and I starting watching every talk show host, ever, on Netflix—trying to learn how to be fun and quick on my feet and genuine. My team: Alex, Heather, others—have helped me to do something that is on the face of it rather extraordinary—getting hundreds of locals, every week, to come out and listen to folks talk about “the mindful life”—and having a surprisingly good time doing so. The steps have been small, and slow—but, looking back, they’ve been quick (see where we’ve come from). What’s next? Will we get a talk show on the Discovery Network (which is putting 50 million into green programming), or Sundance’s The Green? Who knows. What we do know is nothing’ll stop us from trying, from working our butts off, and from having a great time doing so.

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