Posts Tagged ‘internship

08
Jul
09

Michael Jackson

I can’t speak for how the rest of the country reacted to Michael Jackson’s death, but I can speak for New York City. Of course, you probably already know about the many gatherings in Times Square and outside the Apollo Theater. These fan gatherings have been broadcast on national television since Jackson’s death. It’s odd to be watching the coverage and to realize that I’m only a subway ride away from Times Square or Harlem. I could have easily made my way to these gatherings, but I was most likely content with just watching it on CNN.

What has fascinated me most is that the city has been running on a constant Michael Jackson soundtrack for the last two weeks. The bars and clubs have been playing MJ music more than usual, especially that first weekend. Even Blockbuster is playing all MJ all the time. Both times I waited in line for Shakespeare in the Park tickets (and failed), the same flautist went up and down the line of people and played “Billy Jean.” Subway musicians especially have pulled from MJ’s songbook. Just today at the 86th Street stop on the 6, I saw and heard a man playing “I’ll Be There” on the clarinet.

Then there are those who are just trying to make a little money. Vendors who once only sold pictures of Times Square and the Empire State Building have added framed photos of the King of Pop to their stands. T-shirt vendors have popped up everywhere. My favorite was the vendor at Coney Island who will hand-paint an MJ T-shirt for only $20, even creepy ones like these:

 

T-shirt at Coney Island

T-shirt at Coney Island

 

I was at the office when I actually heard the news. I think it was rather fitting that I was at an entertainment magazine when I heard that one of the greatest entertainers ever had died. Thanks to Twitter, I was the first intern to hear about the cardiac arrest. I went numb when I saw that TMZ reported Jackson was dead. We waited and waited to hear word from someone besides TMZ, but when I heard the owner of the company declare that “TMZ is the best,” that pretty much gave me my answer. I decided to go home, and as I waited at the elevator banks, the receptionist’s radio announced that the LA Times had confirmed Jackson’s death. Just then the elevator doors opened, and I exited the building not knowing if the people swarming around me in Midtown knew what I knew.

I know a lot of you are tired of the media coverage, but prepare yourself because it won’t end anytime soon. Do you know why the story continues? Because Michael Jackson was the biggest and strangest figure in pop culture in at least the last 30 years. His death has an enormous cultural impact, and the world needs to come to terms with his absence. Maybe it’s just because I like seeing entertainment journalism in the spotlight or maybe it’s because I really like hearing MJ music in the subway, but I don’t think I’m going to get tired of the story for a while.

07
Jul
09

More celebrities

I’ve had quite a few celebrity encounters since I came to the city, but the best ones are courtesy of my internship. A couple of weeks ago I interviewed Cloris Leachman, and I attended a luncheon with Kellan Lutz (Emmett, “Twilight”).

Cloris Leachman was performing in the National Dance Institute’s “Imagine: A Celebration of John Lennon.” All year, 35,000 New York City public school children learned about John Lennon and did their own Lennon performances in their schools. About 200 of the top NDI dancers from those schools put on a John Lennon performance at the institute’s Event of the Year, which is what Cloris performed in. Jacques d’Amboise, the famous American ballet dancer, founded the NDI to bring the arts to children. The performance was essentially an hour and half of children dancing to Beatles and John Lennon music. It was probably the most adorable thing I’ve seen in a long time. Cloris Leachman performed in the number “A Cloris Line,” where she tapped danced and sang “When I’m 64.” Actually, she changed the words to “When I’m 104.” Her son George Englund, Jr. played the saxophone.

My job was to sit front and center, enjoy the performance and interview Cloris after the show. She is exactly how you would expect her to be. She speaks her mind, laughs a lot and has a very short attention span. I was lucky enough to hear her drop one f-bomb and hear her speak rather lecherously about Robert Pattinson (in a strange Count Dracula voice even).

Cloris Leachman

Cloris Leachman

Speaking of Robert Pattinson, I got to meet his on-screen brother in the offices. The magazine had a luncheon with Kellan Lutz, and the interns accidentally stumbled into it after thinking we were going to a different luncheon with the editor-in-chief of Men’s Journal. Clearly, we stayed at the Kellan Lutz luncheon because everyone in the office is obsessed with “Twilight” (I am not obsessed, but I pretend to be because I like to participate). There was a Q&A during the luncheon where he talked about his career, how Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart are not dating, and how he doesn’t want to date an actress (which gave hope to every woman in that conference room). Kellan (we’re on a first-name basis of course) stuck around to take individual pictures with everyone who wanted one. I would post it here, but after seeing the picture, I realized that I am not meant to stand next to the beautiful people.

This man exists in real life.

This man exists in real life.

As Emmett

As Emmett

Did I mention that this is my future husband?

20
Jun
09

My unpaid internship

I’m so sorry everyone! I haven’t posted anything here for a long time. Plenty of you have already asked where my new blog updates are, so I apologize. I guess I’ll get things re-started by giving you all an internship update.

I don’t want to go into too many specifics about my internship on the Internet, but I’ll share a bit here. You all know where I’m working, and I hope you’re all buying the magazine! Even though I don’t write anything and don’t always get printed credit, the work I do still shows up in the magazine in some form. I did get a reporting credit for conducting a poll a couple weeks ago. It was pretty neat seeing my name printed in a major magazine, even if it was only for asking people who wore a dress better.

I’ll be honest: Sometimes I don’t feel that I’m being fully utilized at my internship. I’m getting my Master’s degree in journalism, but I have to listen to my supervisor lecture all of us interns about what a credible source is. (Did you know that blogs aren’t credible sources, but the New York Times is? My world was shattered.) But other times, all of the time spent doing menial tasks or sitting around with absolutely nothing to do seems worth it. There is a LOT of downtime some days. I’ve never seen so many people fight so hard over the chance to transcribe a tape. But when you’ve been checking Facebook and chatting online with your roommate (hey Katlin!) for two hours, you get desperate to do anything. But like I said, there are plenty of times when it all seems worth it.

For example, I never imagined that I would get the chance to interview Francis Ford Coppola on my very first event assignment. As a former film major, just meeting him was a huge moment for me. I also got to interview Ralph Macchio from “The Karate Kid” at the same event, which was fun because we just talked about “Ugly Betty” the whole time (he’s on the show now). Neither of my interviews made it into the magazine, but I have now learned that the trick to getting anything in an issue is to somehow mention Robert Pattinson. Maybe I’ll have luck with that when I interview Cloris Leachman on Monday.

So there are highs and lows at my internship. A low would be being sent to 72nd and Broadway in the pouring rain because Jon Gosselin was spotted walking there three hours earlier. A high would be hearing Jann Wenner, founder of Rolling Stone, talk about the magazine industry and Hunter S. Thompson for two hours. Either way, it’s all one big learning experience. Hopefully by the end of the summer I’ll have a pretty good idea of whether the magazine industry in New York is for me. So far it’s a toss up.




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A blog about my summer as an unpaid intern in New York City.

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