TMM producer Monika Evstatieva (left) records as Michel Martin (middle) interviews her childhood friend Leslie Groves (right) on Berriman St. in Brooklyn, NY.
Jennifer Longmire, NPR
Michel Martin looks on as Tony Award-winning playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda plays a video game at his Upper West Side apartment in New York.
There's a stranger in the house. It's Marie Nelson, here, also known as the Wizard of TMM. I typically like to stay behind the scenes, but today I am responding to our web producer's desperate plea for an "on the road" blog entry.
We are broadcasting this week from the Big Apple in honor of TMM's launch on WNYC, the NPR member station in New York. We arrived in the city over the weekend, just in time for the gay pride parade and a series of flash rain storms. Let me tell you, this is a producer's worst nightmare. Our car couldn't make its way through the parade route to pick us up and as we waited outside the skies opened up, sending us running for cover into a friendly retail establishment. Quite frankly, I would have loved the opportunity for an authentic New York shop op but was shamed into action by TMM producer Monika Evstatieva, who braved the storm to track down our car.
We suffered through the deadly combination of wet sticky clothing and overly efficient air conditioning as we slowly made our way to Brooklyn for our first field taping.
Did I mention the driver with an off sense of direction, who ended every other sentence with "thanks be to God"?
And then our fortunes changed. Michel's visit to her old neighborhood in East New York was truly special. It was both a homecoming and a reunion with her childhood friend Leslie Groves. A driveway moment if I say so myself, and I do.
We followed up the trip to the BK (that's Brooklyn if you're in the know ... lol) with a stop back in Manhattan to talk with Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator and star of the Broadway hit musical In the Heights. Miranda, who had just returned from a matinee performance, greeted us at the door in his crew socks, and played video games while we set up for the interview. He's a great talent who seems unaffected by his success. He was kind enough to show us the presentation envelope he got for his recent Tony win (he's still waiting for the real deal to arrive from the engravers). It's another great conversation if for no other reason than it's awesome to hear someone who talks as fast as Michel.
Finally, we took a quick trip to the balmy New York bureau (that's code for no air conditioning) to file tape, edit scripts, put out calls for Desmond Tutu (we want to talk to him about the situation in Zimbabwe), write a commentary ... and so on. Life on the road is certainly not glamorous — it is often fraught with peril — but it just goes to show how much we love what we do.
Besides, you know what they say. If I can make it there; I'll make it anywhere.