Best Show Ever? “The Wire”

Showrunner David Chase knew Baltimore. As a crime reporter he embedded with Baltimore cops, befriended commissioners, wrote multiple books on Baltimore crime. And he was ready when HBO gave him the green light to create his gritty masterpiece on the subject, The Wire. Often called the best television show ever, The Wire created memorable storylines with memorable characters. Maxim celebrates the tenth anniversary of the show by talking to all the principals about a project they clearly still adore.

Maxim Interrogates the Makers and Stars of The Wire

Maxim.com, 6.4.12

Airborne Cowboys Get Their Due: “The Right Stuff” (1983)

Tom Wolfe’s book The Right Stuff humanized the space race and the challenges of building a space program in an original way. It was a runaway bestseller and, since its dynamics were clearly cinematic, Hollywood came calling. Universal Studios wanted the rights in order to make an Airplane!-like farce. Thankfully, Philip Kaufmann secured the rights and went on to write and direct the film that won four Academy Awards and was nominated for seven others. The casting was inspired as well, as they found some Hollywood cowboys to play the space cowboys: Ed Harris, Sam Shepherd, Dennis Quaid, etc. Wired does it up right.

An Oral History of the Epic Space Film The Right Stuff

Wired.com, 11.19.14

Chicago’s Old Town Ale House

Chicago’s Old Town Ale House is a classic working-man’s bar that achieved iconic status through colorful drunks and celebrity patrons. Near the Second City improv theater, and frequented by the likes of Roger Ebert, John Cusack, Dan Ackroyd, and Bill Murray, the bar relocated after a fire to a temporary location 40 years ago and hasn’t moved since. Classic salty barkeep Bruce Elliott keeps things in check, and if anybody gets rowdy they just put on the classical music. The Thrillist mines the depths.

No Shots Allowed: An Oral History of Chicago’s Old Town Ale House

Thrillist.com, 3.16.16

Wrestlemania III: Pro Wrestling Goes National

Wrestlemania III was a watershed moment for professional wrestling in America. There was the industry before Wrestlemania III, and there was the industry after. Andre the Giant versus Hulk Hogan in his prime, an undercard that was nearly as good: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat and “Macho Man” Randy Savage. A sold-out Pontiac Silverdome (somewhere between 78K-91K fans depending on who you ask), celebrities at ringside, the spectacle was complete. In honor of the 30 anniversary the Detroit News goes all out to celebrate a transformational event.

Larger than life: An oral history of WrestleMania III

DetNews.com, 3.29.17

Kurt Cobain’s Last Days

Nirvana, the band that put the stake through the heart of mindless 80’s rock, had a relatively brief and mercurial career. Much of this was due to the troubled and mercurial Kurt Cobain, a true punk rocker who was not cut out to be a rock star. Esquire got rights to reprint the last chapter of a book-length oral history of Nirvana, and the last chapter covers the band’s last chapter and Cobain’s last days.

Inside the Final Days of Nirvana

Esquire.com, 3.6.15

The Innovation and Creativity of NYC’s Craft Restaurant

Chef Tom Colicchio’s Manhattan restaurant Craft prioritized the sourcing of top-notch ingredients over culinary trickery and in the process created not only a long-lasting NYC favorite, but also an industry trend. That ethos can also be seen in the restaurant’s decor, with the “signature bare wooden tables, artful placemats and dangling Edison bulbs,” features that also found their way into restaurants across the nation. The Daily Beast celebrates the eatery’s 15-year anniversary with a look back.

The Oral History of Tom Colicchio’s Craft

TheDailyBeast.com, 9.1.16

“Robocop” (1987)

Everyone’s favorite robotic corporate cop with a heart of gold, Robocop burst on the scene in 1987 with appropriately cartoonish explosions. Although marketed and enjoyed as an action film, Paul Verhoeven’s film achieved iconic status due to its underlying satire and timeless themes of identity. The over-the-top violence famously caused an X rating initially but more than enough made it past the cutting room floor.

RoboCop: The Oral History

Esquire.com, 2.12.14

The United Soccer League Finds Its Footing

The USL was founded in 2010 as a Division II American soccer league (MLS is a Division I). Many of its teams are in midsize markets like Richmond, Louisville, Reno, and Colorado Springs. Despite an ill-fated expansion in 2011 of four Caribbean teams (three folded during their inaugural season), the team has gained solid financial standing, especially after becoming an official MLS minor league in 2013. The Wilmington Star-News tracks the tumultuous early history of the league.

Rapidly rising: An oral history of the United Soccer League

StarNewsOnline.com, 11.15.15

Comedy Central’s Celebrity Roasts

The “roast” format, in which the honoree is the subject of jokes, needed a bit of revitalization at the turn of the century. Known primarily for bad dad jokes, Comedy Central updated the format on the strength of young and fearless talent like Anthony Jeselnik, Sarah Silverman, Patton Oswalt, and Pete Davidson. They brought an edge that made for compelling television, especially when you consider the prime meat offered up to them: Donald Trump, William Shatner, David Hasselhoff, Charlie Sheen, and more. Maxim chronicles the origin story.

Burned: The Oral F***ing History of the Comedy Central Roast

Maxim.com, 4.16.13

Toronto’s Caribana: The Largest Carnival Festival in North America

Toronto’s Caribana Festival has had its share of twists and turns since being founded in 1967 in honor of Canada’s centenary. It became a celebrated annual event on Canada’s long Civic Holiday weekend, eventually bringing an estimated $438M into the region each year. Its more recent history is a bit more murky as the route changed from the downtown University Avenue to Lakeshore Boulevard in 1991, the original founders were pushed out in 2006 due to perceived mismanagement, and an admittance fee was introduced for the first time in 2013. Noisey chronicles the storied past of the festival, the uncertain present, and gets ideas on how it could reclaim its former glory.

The Love or the Money: An Oral History of Toronto’s Caribana

Noisey.Vice.com, 5.26.15

The Many Great Guest Stars of “Broad City”

Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer’s infectious enthusiasm extends to their many guest stars, as can be seen in this piece they wrote for Marie Claire. It’s quite an eclectic bunch, too, with guest appearances from Seth Rogen, Kelly Ripa, Bob Balaban and more. The ladies don’t hold back (of course) so there’s many laughs to be had.

Exclusive: An Oral History of ‘Broad City’s Epic/Amazing/Hilarious Guest Stars, Straight from Abbi and Ilana Themselves

MarieClaire.com, 3.18.15

 

“The National”: An All-Sports Newspaper Before Its Time

In 1989 Mexican billionaire Emilio Azcárraga wanted to know why America did not have a national newspaper devoted to sports. Other countries did and America was as sports mad as any of them, he reasoned. In a remarkably short amount of time he decided to start such a paper, and he threw millions at the endeavor, hiring the best talent in the industry and building the necessary infrastructure to get papers in the bins across the country. It was a colossal failure, and a dearly lamented one. As national auto racing writer Ed Hinton put it: “I always tell people, I sailed on that Titanic and it was quite a luxury liner, too.” Grantland takes a look back at an enterprise that foreshadowed much to come in the internet age, but tried to do too much, too fast and for too much money.

The Greatest Paper That Ever Died

Grantland.com, 6.13.11

“An Inconvenient Truth” (2006)

Al Gore’s famous slide show on climate change started in the 1980s when he was still the junior senator from Tennessee. Director Davis Guggenheim saw the updated presentation in 2004 and immediately knew it had to be made into a film. No one believed him, including Gore, but his persistence paid off as the $1.1M documentary made over $50M, won the Oscar for best feature documentary, and brought the alarming scientific data in front of millions of eyes.

‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ 10 Years Later: Al Gore, Jeff Skoll and More Dish in THR’s Oral History

HollywoodReporter.com, 5.19.16

The Honk! Street Music Festival Goes Global

Street-music festivals, where fun-loving bands jam amongst the people, have exploded in popularity in recent years, and alot of it has to do with the The Honk! Festival of Activist Street Bands in Boston. One part New Orleans second line, one part hippie jam fest, one part street party, the concept looks good on paper! The first festival succeeded spectacularly in 2006 and has since spread like wildfire to Austin, Seattle, Rio, Detroit, NYC, and Australia. WBUR in Boston details the origins.

An Oral History: How The Honk Music Fest Began Here And Spread Around The World

WBUR.org, 10.11.14

The Cheesecake Factory: An American Success Story

What eventually became The Cheesecake Factory started with just the cheesecakes, many made in the basement of family home in Detroit. A move to Los Angeles and the eventual opening of a restaurant to broaden visibility led to one of the more successful chains in American history. Proudly clinging to their mom-and-pop heritage and rich flavors (but with clear California influence), the company is on pace to surpass 300 stores and has recently opened two other branded eateries.

‘The Palate of the Common Man’: The Oral History of The Cheesecake Factory

Broadly.Vice.com, 10.25.16

The “Jackass” Boys Blow Up

Jackass grew out of the daredevil ethos of the skater community of the early 90s, prior to the internet the boys tried to one-up each other with gnarly tricks and stunts. A group of L.A. skater punks (Wee Man, Steve-O, Chris Pontius) hooked up with some insane dudes from West Chester, PA (Bam Margera, Ryan Dunn) to create a sketch show centered on outrageous stunts and pranks. They found their ringleader in the charismatic and fearless Johnny Knoxville. Maxim revisits this pop-culture rocket ship, and touches on some of the bad vibes that followed due to alcohol and drug abuse.

Jackass: An Oral History

Maxim.com, 10.26.10

Richard Linklater’s 70’s Masterpiece: “Dazed and Confused” (1993)

Director Richard Linklater made a name for himself with 1991’s Slacker and Dazed and Confused was his first major studio film. Working with iconic casting director Don Phillips they chose a group of charismatic group of unknowns to star in the movie, including future stars Ben Affleck, Adam Goldberg and Joey Lauren Adams. And then there’s Matthew McConaughey, who talked himself into the movie one night at an Austin bar, and then worked himself out of a bit role in the ensemble into the breakout star of the movie. The film didn’t immediately succeed at the box office but has since become one of the iconic depictions of 70’s high school kids and the 1970s in general.

An Oral History of “Dazed and Confused”

Maxim.com, 12.26.13

The Giants-Packers 2007 NFC Championship Game in Frigid Lambeau Field

The Giants upset the heavily favored Cowboys to win the right to travel to Lambeau Field to face the Packers in what turned out to be Brett Favre’s last game with Green Bay. Anything else make the game special? How about -1 kickoff temperature (that kept dropping throughout the game) and wind chills in the -20s. The Giants pushed around the Pack on the frozen tundra and Lawrence Tynes avenged two earlier misses to win the game with a 47-yard field goal in overtime. Sports Illustrated relives a classic.

‘I was just numb’: An oral history of the epic 2007 NFC Championship Game

SI.com, 1.5.17

The Alabama Shakes Break Out With “Sound & Color”

Electric modern soul masters Alabama Shakes exploded onto the national music scene in 2012 with their debut Boys & Girls, and fearless frontwoman Brittany Howard took the group to the next level with 2015’s Grammy-nominated record Sound & Color. The wonderfully down-to-earth band made themselves at home in the recording studio with southern feasts and de-stressing coloring books. All of it leaves one wondering what the musically adventurous group will do next…

The Oral History Of Alabama Shakes’ Sound & Color

Grammy.com, 2.8.16

Three High-Profile Shootings in Three Days Rock America

The shootings by police of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile on back-to-back days, followed the next day by the wanton murder of five police officers at the end of a peaceful protest, combined to shake many Americans to their core. Because it was 2016 cell-phone videos soon emerged of the shootings on social media and helped cement the outrage over unnecessary violence. Wired examines the shootings and the role social media played in forming public perception and inciting protest.

An Oral History of Three Days That Rocked America

Wired.com, 11.16.16