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The Dan Schneider Video Interviews:  Taking Interviews To The Next Level!

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***on the interview ratings

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1) Alex Sheremet: An interview with the film critic and writer of Woody Allen: Reel To Reel, who discusses the filmic career of Woody Allen, as well as art, philosophy, and poetry.

****½ Some technical hiccups, but a wide raging and probing interview on art and cinema.

 

Comment: Sheremet sets the standard for the DSVI Series.

 

 

 

 

 

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2) Vic Mignogna: An interview with the actor, voice actor, writer, director, and star of the web-based fan fiction series Star Trek Continues on Star Trek, acting, and his career.

****  Entertaining behind the scenes look at a working actor's career and all things Star Trek.

Comment: An engaging interview that entertains and informs.

 

 

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3) The Loren Eiseley Society: President Bing Chen and VP Tom Lynch discuss the life and career of American naturalist Loren Eiseley.

****½ The model for DSVIs going forward.

Comment: Wide ranging interview on an important American mind and voice.

 

 

 

 

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4) Gil Bruvel: Painter/sculptor Gil Bruvel discusses his life, career, and the art world.

**** Terrific interview on the artist's life, career, and business, if a tad short.

 

Comment: Only the brevity prevents this interview from placing higher.

 

 

 

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5) On Patrick McGoohan: Dave Barrie and Max Hora from 6 Of 1: The Prisoner Appreciation Society talk of the late great actor, Patrick McGoohan and his television legacy.

 

****½ Fun and informative, deep and wide ranging.

 

Comment: Possibly the best DSVI yet.

 

 

 

 

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6) On Watchmen (And Graphic Novels): Comics Expert James Kelly and sci fi writer Jason Sanford on graphic novels.

 

**** Informative and in depth on a young medium.

 

Comment: Some solecisms and evasions prevent more depth, but a good interview, nonetheless.

 

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7) Michael Jason Allen: Talking indy filmmaking with the director of 'The Coldest Kiss.'

 

**** Solid take on the medium.

 

Comment: A sincere and unvarnished look at the indy film scene.

 

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8) Nick Longrich: an interview with the evolutionary biologist on dinosaurs and more.

 

****½ terrific, discursive, yet to the point.

 

Comment: Great but concise interview.

 

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9) On John Cassavetes: film critic Alex Sheremet and filmmaker Edwin Nieves on the indy film legend.

 

**** Solid program.

 

Comment: Technical issues and reticence make a possibly great show just quite good.

 

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10) On Herman Melville: Melville scholars John Bryant, Wyn Kelley, and Jonathan Cook opine.

 

****½ Great program.

 

Comment: Technical issues are only real negative in otherwise enlightening historical plunge.

 

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11) Bogart, By Farr: Film critic/Historian talks about the legendary Hollywood actor, Humphrey Bogart.

 

****½ Only some audio issues mar this walk down Hollywood's past.

 

Comment: Farr's wide ranging critique of Hollywood's past, present, and future.

 

 

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12) Kindred Musicians: Sarah Joy and Kate Langner: young musicians on music and the future.

 

***½ Solid interview marred by tech issues as in DSVI #11.

 

Comment: Youngsters a bit tentative, but revealing, nonetheless.

 

 

 

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13) Sportswriting: Journalists Greg Hanlon and Noah Davis on SB Nation's Long Form excellence.

 

**** Good insights into sports and journalism.

 

Comment: Good conversation on the ins and outs of a neglected form of writing.

 

 

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14) On Elmer Kelton: Judy Alter and Joyce Roach talk of the Western writing legend with his son, Steve Kelton.

 

**** Good convo on a neglected novelist.

 

Comment: Crisp, sharp interview on Elmer Kelton.

 

 

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15) Men On Soaps: Anonymous soap fans Brian and Dave dish on soap opera General Hospital.

 

***½ Light, fun change of pace pop culture show.

 

Comment: Entertainment for the masses.

 

 

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16) Richard Dawkins: Visionary Or Fraud?: An important debate only on Cosmoetica!

 

**** Anthropologist battles philosopher over Earth's #1 atheist!

 

Comment: A much needed conversation.

 

 

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17) On Film Noir: Experts William Luhr, Julie Grossman, and Richard Edwards opine.

 

****½ Crisp, insightful, excellent show.

 

Comment: One of 2 or 3 best shows thus far.

 

 

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18) On Essayry: Essayists Norman Ball, Jeremy Collins, and Andrew Grossman speak of the overlooked art form.

 

****½ One of the best shows on writing to watch.

 

Comment: In terms of subject, guests, discussion, pacing, likely the best show thus far.

 

 

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19) On Existence: Theologian Bishop John Shelby Spong takes no prisoners in the best one on one interview yet!

 

***** The best solo interview of the series, so far.

 

Comment: Superb, wide ranging but pointed discussions on a plenum of topics.

 

 

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20) The George Dickerson Project #1: Richard Hobby: The first archival interview on the life of actor/writer/diplomat George Dickerson.

 

***½ Solid historical info..

 

Comment: Serves the purpose.

 

 

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21) On Eugene O'Neill: Experts Beth Wynstra, Katie Johnson, and Steven Bloom speak of the American Master.

 

****½ One of the best panel shows thus far.

 

Comment: Outstanding exploration of theater- possibly the best online.

 

 

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22) On Stanley Kubrick: In depth look at Stanley Kubrick's films with Darren Foley and Geoffrey Cocks.

 

***** Simply superb looks at the cinematic and personal aspects of the works and man.

 

Comment: The best video/audio analysis of Kubrick online!

 

 

 

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23) On Rod Serling: Rod Serling through the eyes of his daughter, Anne, and Serling experts Mark Dawidziak and Mark Olshaker.

 

***** Great interview on American TV Titan.

 

Comment: Final part of American Titans Trilogy: O'Neill, Kubrick, Serling!

 

 

 

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24) On Existence: Philosopher Tyron Goldschmidt shines in the 2nd of 3 outings!

 

**** Fun and digressive interview on a plenum of related topics.

 

Comment: Goldschmidt covers much ground in this engaging interview.

 

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25) The George Dickerson Project #2: Ed Shiller: The second archival interview on the life of actor/writer/diplomat George Dickerson.

 

*** Audio and video issues mar some interesting anecdotes.

 

Comment: Bad laptop contributes to problems; a second interview may be forthcoming.

 

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26) The George Dickerson Project #3: Ed Shiller: The third archival interview on the life of actor/writer/diplomat George Dickerson.

 

**** No audio and video issues mar this interview.

 

Comment: Much improved quality.

 

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27) Poetry Translation: Poetry translators Edward Snow and Robert Tracy on the craft.

 

**** Good interview with questions that go deeper than other such probes.

 

Comment: Minor tech issues are the only downside.

 

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28) Genghis Khan and the Mongols: Thorough overview of history's largest empire.

 

**** Good interview on a broad topic.

 

Comment: Only thing lacking was a parallax view.

 

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29) Harold Wright: An hour plus with the poetry translator and storyteller..

 

****½ Excellent interview and engaging storyteller.

 

Comment: Sometimes great interviews come from unexpected sources.

 

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30) On Existence: Astrophysicist Adam Frank brings the trilogy to a close.

 

****½ If only PBS did shows and series this good.

 

Comment: Great interview. Period.

 

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31) The George Dickerson Project #4: Dejan Georgevich:  Good probe into the man.

 

**** Possibly the best yet on Dickerson.

 

Comment: Deep and insightful.

 

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32) On Oswald Spengler: Tom Sunic takes on Oswald Spengler.

 

**** Excellent interview and probe back onto a forgotten intellectual voice.

 

Comment: Another interview that is on its own plane.

 

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33) On Comic Books History: Great tour of a medium.

 

****½ Outstanding interview.

 

Comment: Deep, passionate, discursive.

 

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34) Alternative Cosmologies Debate: 3 hour long probe into the origins of everything.

 

***** The best debate online. Period.

 

Comment: Nothing else like this online. Nonpareil.

 

 

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35) The Decline of Film Criticism: Expert panelists Alex Sheremet, Bill Morancy, and Rick Winston opine.

 

****½ Excellent discussion on film and its criticism.

 

Comment: Great look at film history.

 

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36) Dan Schneider: Artist/writer Su Zi turns the tables on yours truly.

 

****½ Excellent interview.

 

Comment: I rock Su Zi's questions.

 

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37) Ray Kurzweil: Visionary or Fraud?: Dissecting the inventor.

 

**** Good debate on a man and his ideas.

 

Comment: Picking up where Richard Dawkins left off.

 

 

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38) Before Darwin: Hutton, Lyell, Agassiz: The history of geology exposed!

 

****½ Excellent discussion on those who came before Charles Darwin.

 

Comment: Great look at science history.

 

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39) On Woody Allen: Alex Sheremet, Vincent Brook, and Peter Bailey dissect the Woodster.

 

**** Good interview marred by tech issues.

 

Comment: Slight disappointment with audio issues.

 

 

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40) On Michelangelo Antonioni: Hamish Ford, Mike Grost, and Richard Pena dig in!

 

***** Great film discussion on a Master.

 

Comment: One of the best such discussions online- slight tech issues with video.

 

 

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41) Jason Sanford: The sci fi writer opines on his own and others' works.

 

**** Solid interview on the current state of genre writing.

 

Comment: One on one with an up and coming sci fi writer.

 

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42) On James Emanuel: Alex Sheremet, Jake Lamar, and Jean Migrenne tackle the life and career of American poet James Emanuel.

 

****½ One of the best explorations of a poet's life anywhere.

 

Comment: Outstanding show on a Neglected Poet.

 

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43) Racial and Sexual Identity: Dr. Sven Bocklandt, Nicholas Wade, and John Robson on these thorny issues.

 

***½ Good points brought low by tech issues with two of the panelists.

 

Comment: Tech problems disallowed deeper delves.

 

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44) On Andrew Wyeth: Great great show on a great painter..

 

****½ Terrific show on an American Master.

 

Comment: One of the best art discussions ever.

 

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45) 21st Century Media: Dean Esmay and Chris Stemp on blogging and podcasting.

 

**** Good show on the New Media.

 

Comment: Minor tech problems but solid show.

 

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46) A New Philosophy Of Living: Dr. Jeffrey Wattles expounds his views.

 

**** Solid interview on life and living it well.

 

Comment: Good philosophical discourse.

 

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47) On Western Film: One on one with Western expert Paul Hutton.

 

****A century of genre film in under two hours.

 

Comment: A solid primer on the American movie myth.

 

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48) TV's Golden Age(s?): TV critics Amanda Reyes, Daniel Budnik, and Mitchell Hadley opine.

 

****½ Great and wide ranging discussion.

 

Comment: Possibly the best tv talk online.

 

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49) Godzilla: Experts Ryan Harvey and Peter Brothers take on Godzy.

 

**** Nice dig into a deep well.

 

Comment: A good look into a 60+ year phenomenon.

 

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50) James Cagney: Inside Hollywood's toughest tough guy!

 

****Nice intro to a legend.

 

Comment: Good retrospective.

 

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51) On Race: Nicholas Wade on A Troublesome Inheritance.

 

****½ One of the best discussions ever on the topic.

 

Comment: Direct reality.

 

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52) On Vincent Price: Expert Peter Fuller on the Master of Horror..

 

**** Informative interview.

 

Comment: A good look into an underrated actor.

 

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53) Vincent/Victoria (Price): Vincent Price's daughter speaks.

 

****Solid look at the man behind the legend.

 

Comment: Good interview.

 

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54) 1968 In Cinema: A year like no other in film.

 

**** Excellent retrospective.

 

Comment: Thorough and detailed.

 

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55) On William F. Buckley: Carl Bogus and Kevin Schultz take on the Conservative icon.

 

****½  Great look at a cultural mainstay.

 

Comment: One of the best looks into Buckley's life.

 

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56) On Kurt Vonnegut: Dissecting the man and work.

 

****½ Great exploration of literature.

 

Comment: Excellent.

 

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57) On Orson Welles: The best online discussion of the film master.

 

****½ Online Wellesiana starts here.

 

Comment: The best info on Welles.

 

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58) On Ingmar Bergman: Deep into the man.

 

****½  Great probe into a master filmmaker.

 

Comment: Dissecting Bergman like nowhere else.

 

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59) On Charles Dickens: Dissecting the classic novels of English literature.

 

**** Illuminating the classics.

 

Comment: Good primer for introducing the Master of the 19th Century novel.

 

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60) On Evil: Philosopher Susan Neiman opines.

 

***½ Solid.

 

Comment: Too politicized a take.

 

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61) On Ray Harryhausen: An overlooked film  icon.

 

****½  Superb look at a master of his craft.

 

Comment: Putting the special in effects.

 

 

62) On Consciousness: Spiritual Philosopher Philip Goldberg speaks.

 

**** Good take on an Eastern POV on the matter.

 

Comment: Good look into the Buddhist and Hindu view of consciousness.

 

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63) The World Dream Bank: Webmaster Chris Wayan on the oneiric.

 

**** A website to explore.

 

Comment: A great look inside a man and his life.

 

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64) On Evil: Theologian Richard Swinburne opines.

 

****  Insights from a Christian POV.

 

Comment: Swinburne ups the ante on Neiman.

 

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65) On Death: Social psychologist Sheldon Solomon nails the coffin.

 

****½ The best discussion on the topic online.

 

Comment: A home run of an interview.

 

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66) On Hart Crane: Taking on the lyric master.

 

****½ Best look at the great American poet.

 

Comment: Best offered online or off.

 

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67) Piero Scaruffi: The popular Webmaster opines.

 

****  Good solid look at an Internet hotspot.

 

Comment: An hour on everything.

 

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68) Alternate History: Tackling an interesting fictive genre.

 

**** Good talk with two experts.

 

Comment: Brief but informative.

 

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69) Devalued Greatness: An overlooked subject.

 

**** Good look at the variegations of greatness.

 

Comment: A good discussion.

 

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70) On Evil: Psychologist Ervin Staub scores!

 

****½ Not just another talking head.

 

Comment: One of the best conversations on genocide and evil.

 

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71) On Edward Hopper: Exploring an American Master.

 

****½ Great take on Hopper's life and masterworks.

 

Comment: In focus.

 

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72) On Winslow Homer: On the 19th Century's Master American painter.

 

**** Good look at his life and career.

 

Comment: Good backgrounding of the subject.

 

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73) On Death: Philosopher-intuitive Julia Assante on the Afterdeath.

 

***½ Odd, but solid interview on offbeat ways of looking at death.

 

Comment: Not for all tastes but solid.

 

 

74) The Pursuit Of Wisdom: A goal..

 

**** Good walk down history's halls.

 

Comment: Travelogue could have been deeper, but a good ride.

 

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75) On Led Zeppelin: Jack Hamilton on Rock's first Gods.

 

**** Tracking the rise.

 

Comment: Nice ramble on the successors to The Fab 4.

 

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76) Marina Bruno: Young filmmaker with potential.

 

**** Founder of Wondering Pictures.

 

Comment: Well above most young and indy filmmakers.

 

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77) On Consciousness: Philosopher-psychologist Francis X. Charet opines.

 

****½ Broad ranging probe into the mystery.

 

Comment: Great talk on many aspects of the known and not known.

 

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78) On Federico Fellini: Taking on a film Master.

 

**** Excellent talk on Fellini.

 

Comment: Interview could have had more objectivity.

 

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79) On Irwin Shaw: A forgotten 20th Century writer.

 

**** Good conversation with his son, Adam Shaw.

 

Comment: A good intro to the man and his work.

 

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80) On Consciousness: Neuroscientist and physicist Christof Koch's take on consciousness.

 

****½ Great and passionate look into the matter.

 

Comment: Concise and direct talk.

 

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81) On Jack London: A Neglected writer.

 

****½ Expert look at a forgotten Titan.

 

Comment: Best video on London online.

 

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82) On Death: Applied theologian Chris Deacy opines.

 

****½ Great wrap to trilogy.

 

Comment: Great discussion on multitude of topics related to death.

 

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83) On Judy Garland: Garland Expert Randy Schmidt on the legend.

 

**** Good and concise take.

 

Comment: Could have been deeper but time constraints limit it.

 

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84) Who Won World War Two?: 3 experts debate.

 

****½ One of the best takes on the greatest war in history.

 

Comment: Great from start to finish.

 

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85) The Unexplained: Explaining it.

 

****½ Great take on logic misapplied.

 

Comment: Two experts in a good discussion.

 

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86) The Psychopath Within: Neuroscientist James Fallon goes deep.

 

****½ Best take on the subject online.

 

Comment: Fallon is broad ranging and detailed.

 

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87) NPR's and PBS's Failures: 2 experts debate.

 

**** A PC moment from Adam Ragusea mars and otherwise solid debate.

 

Comment: Vivid exchange and historical perspective.

 

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88) On Akira Kurosawa: Lola Martinez and David Desser opine.

 

****½ Kurosawa decoded.

 

Comment: The best Kurosawa show online.

 

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89) On Andrei Tarkovsky: 3 experts talk about Tarko.

 

****½ Cradle to grave on a Master.

 

Comment: Deep and probing of films and techniques.

 

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90) Arne Dietrich On Creativity: A new series.

 

**** Sometimes overly technical, but a good start.

 

Comment: Arne Dietrich opines from Beirut, and some minor technical difficulties.

 

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91) On Robinson Jeffers: Excellent take on a master of American poetry.

 

****½ Overviewing Jeffers.

 

Comment: No other summation of Jeffers comes close.

 

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92) Decoding Wallace Stevens: A linguist takes on a master.

 

**** Solid but sometimes abstruse.

 

Comment: Samuel Jay Keyser does a good job.

 

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93) Corporate Personhood: Good overview.

 

**** Crisp and to the point.

 

Comment: Excellent and concise overview of an overlooked subject.

 

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94) Karen Austin On Acting: The star of TV and films opines on her craft.

 

****½ Terrific kickoff to ongoing series of actors on acting interviews.

 

Comment: Austin is witty, wise, and passionate.

 

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95) George Hagman On Creativity: A psychological perspective.

 

**** Interesting and down to earth POVs.

 

Comment: Hagman takes a lay and step by step approach.

 

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96) David Edwards On Creativity: Solid interview.

 

***½ Some technical issues and a slow start by Dave Edwards dings this.

 

Comment: By the second half the interviews gains steam.

 

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97) The JFK Assassination: The mythos examined.

 

***½ Solid show on the mythos more than the crime.

 

Comment: Doesn't quite gel together.

 

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98) The Polarized Mind: Kirk Schneider on the ills of modern thought.

 

**** Slow and dry, but informative.

 

Comment: Good take on some social problems.

 

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99) Young Artists: Solid interview.

 

***½ Some technical issues but also a show unlike any online.

 

Comment: Probing young minds.

 

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100) Game Shows: Informative and fun interview.

 

****½ Dexter Johnson and Amanda Reyes rock the subject.

 

Comment: Good starting point into the medium.

 

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After reading some mediocre interviews, wherein the interviewees did not even bother to pretend to care about the questions asked them, nor the reading pleasure of Cosmoetica’s audience, the site’s fans wanted me to invoke a ratings system for interviews, figuring that the interviews that are great deserve more readership than the bad ones. And, since the high quality of the questions is static from interview to interview, it really points out how much of the interview’s success depends on the interviewee and his or her willingness to open up. Ironically, even the ‘lesser’ interviews are successes because they often unwittingly reveal the negative and/or malevolent side of the interviewee, just as the great interviews reveal the positive and intelligent side of the interviewee. Yet, even the lesser DSIs are miles above the fellatio and relentless hucksterism that passes as interviews online and in print.

  Along with the rating, I will add comments relevant to the interview- be it quality, background information, and recollections of the pros and cons of the interview and interviewee.

  So, herein I will invoke a 0 to 5 star rating system, with ½ stars invoked as needed.

***** 5 stars- a great interview, one that shows interviewing is an art form. The answers are in depth and treat the reading audience as the intelligent people they are, plus being highly quotable.

**** 4 stars- an excellent interview. The interviewee is often witty and intelligent, but perhaps is a bit reticent in a few areas, due to PC or their own nature. Still quotable.

*** 3 stars- a good, solid interview. Some high points that are quotable, but some negative points and ho-hum moments.

** 2 stars- a mediocre interview. Some good quotes but more often the interviewee is agenda pushing or being reticent and/or not taking the interview and the audience seriously. Good and bad points are about balanced.

* 1 star- a bad interview. Not quotable, and the interviewee thinks that DSIs are just run of the mill interviews found elsewhere. Rote answers and/or interviewee delusions can be seen. Not quotable.

zero (0) stars- an atrocity. The interviewee has no real reason for doing the interview save to serve their own ego and/or ax to grind.

  Enjoy the interviews, but make sure you compare the great and bad interviews with each other, and the differences between how the interviewees approach the questions (and often the exact same questions) and the quality of the interviews. 

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