On the road in America. Slices of life in bite size vignettes. We all need to connect on some meaningful level today. Increasingly, we exist in our bubbles, defined by our neighborhoods, social media, economic and cultural status. We need to start a dialogue.
Every road trip has stories that do not get recorded, so I am going to share notes from some of the trips. I always take the lesser roads with so much more to see and perhaps a conversation along the way.
I am talking with Scotty in Welch WV. He works in coal, as his father and grandfather, uncles and others have for generations. It's a way of life and as a young man he likes it. Right now things are good and he is optimistic for the town and community. A visit to Welch is one remembered.
It is hard to avoid politics in New Hampshire, especially just after a primary. I was fortunate to have a conversation with Lincoln Soldati, a former country attorney who ran in the primary for congress. He was the old white guy, with something to say. It is one of my favorite conversations.
In this episode I talk with people in Janesville Wisconsin, a story of surviving and reinventing. A huge General Motors plant closed at the time of the great recession, a double financial blow that took it's toll.
A difficult subject. Are we creating a culture of fear today? As I travel, I find some are afraid to say what they really think. Yet, we have leadership and some that will say anything. Perhaps we are all a little afraid. No one will admit that. Fear is what we should fear most.
I met Maurice in Stockton CA. He knows what growing up in the hood is like... and surviving. He helps others to survive and achieve something. You would be fortunate to have him as a friend and mentor.
I traveled to Montana in search of Cowboys. At the Last Chance Stampede in Bozeman, I found what I was looking for. The Cowboy way is a lifestyle and a culture. Deeply American and perhaps old fashioned. This is a conversation mostly about kids, rodeo and family values.
Sitting on a boat in a harbor. Stories, fishing, the sea, and markers in life that connect us to our past. I love talking to elders who have experienced things that we can only read about. Sometimes, I am fortunate to meet someone who has some good stories. Doug, was one of those. We sat on his boat and talked.
Some of the voices from An American Mosaic project. I am working on a trailer and this is a first cut soundtrack. Only a small sample of the many conversations. We are a big diverse country, and we need to start talking and listening to each other more often. Real conversations.
I was asked why I would come to Portsmouth Ohio. "Dreamland", a book by Sam Quinones reveals much about the beginnings of the Opioid crisis. Portsmouth, was at the epicenter. I needed to see for myself, and have recorded my observations. I highly recommend the book, a visit no.
In the mountains of West Virginia, coal country, I spent time talking with the people who for generations have worked in the mines. Mountains, and Miners. It is a culture and a way of life. I met Sandy and Tony in Gary holler near The town of Welch, once called "little New York" in it's heyday. They run a B&B.
In this episode, Sarah joins me in a deep dive conversation about our documentary project, An American Mosaic. While I travel around gathering conversations, Sarah helps make sense of them. We always cover a lot of territory and this is no exception.
In this episode, I talk with Matt, a millennial, house dad, tech worker, and fly fisherman in his very cool gear and outfitter store. It was a conversation that resulted in a friendship. Having real conversations can be rewarding. An American Mosaic.
In this Episode of Dialogue, I am sharing my observations while driving the back roads of the San Joaquin Valley. Stockton, Modesto, Fresno, Kingsburg and Hansford. I am shooting photos and video, and on the hunt for conversations.
In this episode, I talk with Victoria in Manhattan Kansas, who is a collage graduate managing a coffee shop and trying to figure out what's next for her. She is determined not to replay her childhood circumstance. We covered a variety of subjects about life and Kansas.
In this episode, I talk with Rex, a film maker in Oxford Mississippi, who hates Christian Films, and wants to change them and the message of Christian leaders today. It is a refreshing conversation and one of hope.
I was on the street in downtown Nashville, and met Terese who shared a conversation about growing up in Gary Indiana, in a mixed neighborhood. She works out of Chicago and was visiting. Conversations on the street can be a little noisy, but worthwhile.
Truck drivers are today's forgotten people. I jumped in the cab with Brian, a long haul trucker at a truck stop in Moberly Missouri. Over 300 days and 150,000 miles a year, he has a unique perspective of life from where he sits. He shared some stories and thoughts with me.
A Seattle guy exploring the south, and the people. This is a conversation with what might be a typical baby boomer in a small Alabama town. It always amazes me how much we are a product of our local surroundings and beliefs. Yet how much we all, as a country, might have in common. I think it is good to get to know each other.
Rick Najera, an award winning actor, director and author, is one of "those Mexicans" who has done some extraordinary things. We talked about being Latino, growing up in southern California, family, being American, his book "Almost White", and success.
I, like many others, had a wake up call after the 2016 election. I needed to get past old assumptions and discover my country and who the American people are today. So far, I have talked with 36 people, in 9 states and the project is just getting started. It is about making connections.
A small rural town in Iowa is an anomaly. I had a conversation with the Pulitzer Prize winning editor of the Storm Lake Times, who is outspoken about immigrants and not afraid to take on big corporate agriculture business and environmental issues. He had a lot to say about farming today, immigrants, and Iowa.
An American Mosaic is a project that I needed to do following the 2016 election. Waking up and not recognizing my country, I realized I was living in my bubble and needed to understand who the American people are today. I could no longer just assume everything was ok. This is the voice track from a video trailer for the project.
The second episode of Di-a-logue from An American Mosaic, is a solo conversation with a Japanese American who as a kid growing up knew nothing about the concentration camps during WW2. A time of silence.
The very first episode of Di-a-logue from An American Mosaic!
Each episode is ordinary and extraordinary people talking about what they are thinking today. This is a sampler from the road, around the country, part of the American Mosaic.