from Lloyd Dobbler to Pearl Jam 20

At this very moment I am sitting in the International Ballroom at the Beverly Hilton, listening to some serious American entertainment iconography. Somehow, because of my interest and support of PBS Kids through this blog, Facebook and Twitter, I have now attended three PBS Press Tours. At these events I am allowed to sit amongst hardcore journalists who screen and write critiques of the season lineup. As a blogger, I do not have the responsibilities of the hardcore – I’m able to completely gush about the people who make the amazing programming and films that we see on PBS, as opposed to take an omniscient stance.

First up this morning was Cameron Crowe (who, until Elmo is up tomorrow will be my gushee), was on the panel today to discuss his latest contribution to his portfolio of rock and roll documentaries – “Pearl Jam Twenty”, part of the American Masters 25th Anniversary. As a HUGE fan of his Cameron’s movies since I first saw Say Anything, I was really inspired by Crowe’s easygoing demeanor and his friendly interaction with all of us – this is a man who is passionate about his subjects. His remarks about his long standing relationship with the band , how they embarked on the retrospective as “group therapy” throughout the “angst and explosion of the early years” were rooted in the Seattle music scene in the 90s. We were told that twenty years later the film is a “joyful expression” of the fact that they “stayed true to their roots while still moving on” into mature artists.

Crowe believes that since Pearl Jam has always been such a fantastic live band, they weren’t slaves to MTV video views, never stopped caring about their fans – never letting the connectedness waiver. His love for the group is palpable, as he sees them as iconic figures on the scale of The Rolling Stones, speaking about how wonderful it was to have over 1200 hours of video footage of their performances along with personal moments that he was able to recollect as he went through the production process. The energy of the trailer shows the band’s electric interaction with the crowds at their shows, drawing me back into the era of the music of the time. According to Crowe, lead singer Eddie Vedder sees himself in the footage, bodily hurling himself into the adoring fans’ arms and
asked “what was that guy trying to prove?”

Special thanks to the folks from PBS for having me there and allowing me to ask Cameron when he will do the sequel to Say Anything – I always wanted to know what happened to Lloyd.

*photo of Cameron Crowe – thanks to Rahoul Ghose of PBS

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