Q&A: DANIEL DE VISÉ ON ANDY GRIFFITH, DON KNOTTS, MAYBERRY MISFITS AND AFFAIRS, UNUSUAL GIFTS FROM FANS

Daniel de Vise - Author PhotoAndy and Don - JacketOn behalf of all of The Andy Griffith Show fans, I’d like to thank Daniel de Visé for writing Andy and Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show. It’s extremely well-researched and includes 35 great photographs. Not a surprise given all the awards (including a Pulitzer) de Visé has earned. His investigative reporting twice led to the release of wrongly convicted men from life terms in prison. It might seem odd that a journalist of his stature would write a comprehensive book about a pop culture TV show. Not when you learn that he was the brother-in-law of Don Knotts, the actor who played Deputy Barney Fife, by way of his wife’s sister, Francey, the third and final Mrs. Knotts. And why not? TAGS wasn’t just any TV show. It ran from 1960-1968 and has never stopped airing. According to de Visé it is: watched by a fan club with more than one thousand chapters and celebrated in an annual festival that draws nearly thirty thousand fans to a real-life Mayberry….try to find a Honeymooner’s convention. WARNING: After watching deVise peel back the layers on the two men most responsible for the success of the show you’ll be binge-watching it in no time.

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Q&A: PATRICIA PARK on RE JANE, NUNCHI and THE DANGER OF REWRITES

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I read Re Jane while I was in the midst of renovating a home while living over an hour away. I didn’t have much time for joy reading and my ability to concentrate was marginal. However, I couldn’t let go of this book. No matter how long it had been between picking it up, it was as though I hadn’t been away at all. The characters, the scenes, stuck to me like a hearty meal. Patricia Park’s writing is exquisite and unpredictable. Re Jane has been marketed as a fresh take on Jane Eyre and plenty has already been written about that. I’d prefer to ask Ms. Park about other aspects that piqued my curiosity.

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Q&A: CANDACE BUSHNELL on KILLING MONICA, WHAT HOLLYWOOD NEEDS TO DO, PRIVACY, REINVENTION, MOM and MORE

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Candace Bushnell at home in Roxbury, Conn. June 2010

Candace Bushnell at home in Roxbury, Conn. June 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s indeed a pleasure to welcome Candace Bushnell to my ongoing author Q&As. Ms. Bushnell, of Sex and the City, Lipstick Jungle and The Carrie Diaries  fame, talked to me about her new novel Killing Monica (Grand Central Publishing, 2015).

Killing Monica  is classic Candace Bushnell and yet it’s new terrain. It feels like you had a lot of fun writing it and poking fun at our world today. You also neatly tucked in how sexist it still is, especially in show business. And I did not see the ending coming!

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SAVORY SMACKDOWN

Does it ever seem like the Foodie Nation has gone cuckoo? You know, “Sand-blasted Galician shitake-nuanced gluten-free crostini made from stalactite flour grown on the moon.” What created this multi-layered/cultural obsession with food?, I asked Executive Chef Gregory Rollins, sitting next to me at the high-energy “Got to be NC” Competition Dining Series event we were judging.

“Television,” was his quick response, referring to Food Network, Iron Chef and its spin-offs. No question.

We agreed Anthony Bourdain’s sizzling memoir KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL and his TV shows that sprang from it contributed greatly. I also believe our technocentric culture has created a deep yearning to connect with the basics; a fundamental balancing act of primal and futuristic. He did not disagree.

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BURIED WORDS OF WISDOM

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I’m going through two trunks of stuff related to a documentary I once tried to make about my aunt, Julie Arden, and her companion Charlotte Brooks. I’m determined to whittle it down to one big box. It should be easy. Just don’t look too closely. Keep the essentials. Toss, toss, toss.

I find scraps of paper with snippets of things my Aunt Julie had said after she’d had a debilitating stroke at age 85. For more than four years she stayed in a state of complete dependency, her mind confabulating in ways that were both heartbreaking and fascinating. It was like being inside someone’s head when they were asleep and dreaming. But every once in awhile, her clarity and wisdom was astounding.

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HAPPINESS AT NO COST

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Many studies have been done and books written on the subject of happiness and its affect on our health and well-being. The #1 non-pharmaceutical way to increase it? Gratitude. And it’s free.

It takes two people to be born. We can’t die without at least one person dealing with our remains and things. Someone is always taking time out of their life — or money out of their pocket — to help us. Acknowledging them is so simple and feels good.

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CASEY KASEM AND HIS END-OF-LIFE FAMILY DRAMA. HOW CAN YOU AVOID SOMETHING SIMILAR?

In 1997, I was honored to present a prestigious radio industry award to one of my heroes in the business, Casey Kasem. The sordid drama that unfolded around his death made headlines around the world. As author of the national bestseller WHEN I MARRIED MY MOTHER: A Daughter’s Search for What Really Matters – and How She Found It Caring for Mama Jo I’ve become an informal eldercare and grief counselor. Click on the DAME MAGAZINE link below for a closer look at what happened to Mr. Kasem and how to handle a similar situation yourself.

CASEY KASEM DIDN’T HAVE TO DIE LIKE THAT

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A MEETING WITH MAYA ANGELOU AND UNEXPECTED GIFTS.

Photo by Nelson Kepley of the News & Record, November 9, 2010, in her Winston-Salem, NC, home.

Photo of Maya Angelou by Nelson Kepley, News & Record, November 9, 2010 in her Winston-Salem, NC, home.

I interviewed Maya Angelou for the Greensboro News & Record’s Go Triad arts section in the fall of 2010. She lived in the next town over, Winston-Salem, NC, and was releasing a cookbook for the holidays. I was nervous meeting an icon whose work I had admired greatly for decades, especially after being instructed to only refer to her as Dr. Angelou.

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Q&A with TERESA ENGEBRETSEN, THE SABBATICAL CHEF

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Teresa Engebretsen has been teaching French to middle school students at Durham Academy in Durham, NC, for over 30 years. Often she takes her students on field trips to France. Her blog The Sabbatical Chef began when she took a sabbatical from teaching in 2008, lived in Arles, and worked with a French chef. It’s still going strong and a great way for anyone to experience France vicariously and learn delectable French recipes. Teresa loved OPPOSITES ATTACK: A Novel with Recipes Provencal and the mishaps of its heroine Alyce. Soon you’ll find out why.

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SHIRLEY TEMPLE: The girl, the woman, the dolls

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The news of Shirley Temple Black’s passing wasn’t only sad, it was eerie. It arrived as I was about to ship off the last Shirley Temple doll I was selling from my late mother’s vast doll collection. Not only was it the last one, it was the best one. The incandescent 35″ life-size Ideal Playpal Shirley in her original bi-color party dress from 1959. She lit up my mother’s doll room just as the real Shirley Temple had in all of her movies.

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