When we booked Amy Sohn to come on Radio On The Real, we had no idea what to expect. Here is a writer who has spent the last 20 years giving us a weekly (sometimes less) blow-by-blow of her mating, dating and breeding life. She’s got four novels published with Simon & Schuster and another one called The Actress set to come out next summer. Two movies. A TV show. Some pilots. She’s written for Playboy, The New York Times, Men’s Journal, The Nation, The New York Post and Harper’s Bazaar to name a few. And she royally pissed of half of her borough (that would be Brooklyn) with a satirical piece she wrote for The Awl called The 40-Year-Old Reversion. In it, she details the monthly antics of a group of Park Slope and Carroll Gardens moms who dub themselves Hookers, Sluts and Drug Addicts. It’s a romp of a read, but maybe hit too close to home for one too many. What we found in Amy was a quick, brutally honest and candid woman who isn’t afraid to talk about mean girls, relationships, the blur between life and art and why marriage is hard work. She managed to flip the script on us a couple of times and we all managed to laugh our asses off over a fantastic bottle of Rioja. So, download this one and let it act as your Xanax for your Thanksgiving traffic jam or flight delay. Ladies and Gentlemen, we give you Amy Sohn…unedited.
This week we had a fascinating talk with educator/entrepreneur, Jordyn Lexton. You might remember your high school years being tough, but as Jordyn explains, attending class in prison is whole different ball of wax. You see, Jordyn’s niche was teaching kids within the New York City criminal justice system and after an eye-opening stint at Riker’s, Jordyn was inspired to invent a business from the ground up called Drive Change. Drive Change addresses the persistent issue of recidivism and it’s an outstanding concept. It builds and operates state-of-the-art, locally sourced food trucks that hire and train kids returning to the community from prison. Drive Change provides real, transferable and life-changing skills for these young adults… as well as delectable pork buns for your lunch hour. It’s billed as food with a side of social justice, and we love it. It’s impossible to not root for Jordyn Lexton! We dare you to try.Portrait of Jordyn Lexton by Craig LaCourt for On The Real.
Webster defines scrappy as having an aggressive and determined spirit and there is no shortage example of scrappy in this week’s interview with this dude we’ll call Scrappy T. You see, Scrappy T grew up in the 70’s on Long Island with a hard-ass commercial fisherman for a father. He figured out early on how to have a little fun squarely in the grey areas of illegality and make some money doing it. While we here at On the Real can not, will not, dare not condone the activities mentioned in this rollicking hour of tales from the sort-of-dark side, we did have a devious chuckle or twelve with our buddy, Scrappy T. And in most of the words of the boys from Jackass, “ WARNING: The following show features stunts performed by professionals or under the supervision of professionals. Accordingly, On the Real and the producers must insist that no one attempt to recreate or re-enact any stunt activity performed on this show.” But, please do enjoy it.
Portrait of Scrappy T. by Craig LaCourt for On the Real.
We recently sat down in the studio to talk with a man called Schatzie. He’s a kick-ass, pure butcher by trade and the very definition of a New York character. Schatzie’s been slicing, carving and pleasing discerning palates for 50 years, and by die-hard carnivore standards, is akin to royalty. You see, Schatzie’s father was a butcher. And Schatzie’s father’s father was a meat master in the Old Country. So friends, this is a man who knows everything there is to know about prime meat. And having observed his customers from behind the butcher block for half a century, he also knows a thing or two about psychology. A self-declared old-school New York original, we had a blast rapping with Schatzie about everything from his days growing up on the Grand Concourse to butchering bear legs…the RIGHT way to cook a steak to his appreciation of broads…yeah, them…and don’t get him started on how so-called celebrity butcher “burger blends” are fulla crap …but have some damn genius marketing. Oh, and we also got schooled on the majesty of Sinatra b-sides and why they’re, hands down, the bomb. When Schatzie’s holding court, you definitely want to sit back and shut up. Don’t be a schmuck and miss this one! Press play below, or download on iTunes for free on the go.
Portrait of Schatzie by Craig LaCourt for On the Real.
Today we’d like to introduce you to a genuine New York City hero, Tim Brown. As a boy in middle school, Tim had big dreams of becoming a New York City fireman. And years later, he ending up not just achieving that goal but becoming a brother in some of the most elite firefighting companies in the world. For over 20 years, Tim has served the FDNY, Rescue 3, the NYC Office of Emergency Management, FEMA, and NY Task Force 1. But as Tim tells it, there is no training that could have mentally prepared him for the morning of September 11th, 2001. We all know what happened that day, but Tim’s story is one you have not heard. Almost unimaginably, Tim was at the base of Tower 2 at the moment it collapsed. And what happened to Tim in the days, weeks and years afterward makes for a moving story as big as the heart of the man telling it.Portrait of Tim Brown by Craig LaCourt for On the Real. www.craiglacourt.com.
Personal Training. Beauty Pageants. Health and fitness. Public Relations. Throw all that in a high-speed blender with a good helping of glitter running through the veins and you have New York City’s own Justin Popovics. We sat down recently in the studio to talk to Justin about the emotional journey from his early days growing up in Syracuse to the mainstage of the Big Apple and everything in between. Fun, smart and original, J.P. gives us a conversation to remember. Werrrrrrrk that Northeast Pivot!
Portrait of Justin Popovics in neon-banana platforms on cobble-stoned Crosby Street by Craig LaCourt.
You may have seen New York City’s own comedienne and performer Kelly Warne killing most recently at Gotham Comedy Club, EastVille Comedy Club, Littlefield, the Women in Comedy Festival in Boston or the Women’s Funny Festival in Chicago. So when we invited her down to the Serious Business studios to talk with us about what kind of demented masochist gets into standup comedy, we were fully expecting to have some fun. We weren’t disappointed! Press play or download for free to tune in.Portrait of Kelly Warne and candied nuts courtesy of Craig LaCourt.
We recently welcomed tattooed biker and auto technician Alan Brownfeld to the show. Whether your ride was a horse and buggy or a 2012 Prius, for over 90 years New Yorkers of all stripes depended on Brownfeld Auto on the far west side of 29th Street to keep their conveyances humming. However, with the advent of the High Line Park, Alan found himself in a highly-publicized battle to keep his family business against the tide of a rapidly changing city.
Portrait of Alan Brownfeld by Craig LaCourt for On the Real. www.craiglacourt.com.
It was a fight he ultimately lost, after which Alan decamped down south for good. We expected Alan to be bitter and brooding about it, as we might have been. We were prepared for this man to rage against the machine of “gentrification.” What actually went down conversationally was completely surprising. He may call the Sunshine State home now, but rest assured, Alan Brownfeld is a true-blue New York character.
Waging war against cancer is, by most accounts, the battle of a lifetime and Holter Graham’s fight with leukemia is no exception. The difference here is that Holter himself is telling the story and anyone who knows Holter knows that this man can talk.Portrait of Holter Graham by Craig LaCourt for On the Real. www.craiglacourt.com.
This is a cringe-inducing, laughter-invoking hour filled with brutally honest insight and a few gross-out moments from a warrior whose experiences range from growing up as a child actor in Baltimore, to sneaking into a late night movie with Emilio Estevez in rural North Carolina to having one painful push-up signal the beginning of the journey he’s on to this day. We caught Holter just a few days before he left for Houston to undergo a grueling bone marrow transplant in order to rid his body…once and for all…of the disease that has come very close to killing him on three separate occasions. If you’re going to listen to the story of anyone’s struggle with cancer, then this is one you shouldn’t miss. Holter Graham tells it just like it is, but in a way we think inspires and encourages to the core. If you want to dig deeper into Holter’s three-year struggle, check out his blog www.grahamkemia.blogspot.com.
We were really psyched to welcome the talented radio & television broadcast journalist Alison Stewart to the show this week. Although she has won major awards and plaudits for her news coverage at CBS, ABC, MSNBC and NPR, you may have first spent time with Alison back in the early 90’s on MTV (as we did) where she actually made it cool for young people to care about politics again with the Choose or Lose campaign.
Portrait of Alison Stewart by Craig LaCourt for On the Real. www.craiglacourt.com.
Most recently, Alison has added author to her impressive resume with the publication of a remarkable new must-read book called First Class: The Legacy of Dunbar, America’s First Black Public High School. We found Alison to be funny, unafraid to tell it like it is and an unsurprisingly fantastic conversationalist– this is one chat you absolutely do not want to miss. (Don’t forget you can download it to listen on the go at iTunes)