Philadelphia's morning news guy for 6abc Action News talks to the "true" people of Philadelphia and the surrounding region. They are tough, they are frank, they fascinating and they are ours!
Yannick Nézet-Séguin Talks to Matt O'Donnell Ahead of Special Frontline Workers Performance
The music director and conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra since 2012 has been starved of performing live music since the shutdowns began in March of 2020. And he knows classical music lovers are starved for its return.
Yannick Nézet-Séguin sat down with Matt O'Donnell at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts ahead of the special "Hail to the Heroes" performance, the Orchestra's first before a live audience in 14 months.
"Hail to the Heroes" airs on 6abc Saturday, July 3 at 7pm.
Matt also talked shop and received some tips on the timpanis with famous Philadelphia Orchestra percussionist Don Liuzzi and heard about his thoughts on the return to the real stage.
Recorded at Mann Center for Performing Arts, May 2021 and at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, June 2021
In this podcast:
1:50 How Yannick has maintained his energy and positivity throughout the pandemic
2:49 The importance of putting his isolation second in his role as music director
4:20 How the special Orchestra performance is very much like a feast, and a move from "takeout" to real dining (plus dessert)
5:30 Yannick's message to the frontline workers, many of whom would be in attendance at the concert
6:38 Choosing the music in the program, from Beethoven to the "Rocky" Theme, a song he always dreamed of performing in Philadelphia
8:15 How COVID-19 has touched him in Philadelphia and New York, where he is also music director of the Metropolitan Opera
10:50 How the Philadelphia Orchestra used the time off during the pandemic to consider changes, including perhaps new uniforms and an expansion of the music selections
14:07 Yannick discusses his famously animated performance style and what he is thinking at the conductor's stage
16:16 Philadelphia Orchestra timpani player and percussionist Don Liuzzi riffs on the famous "Thus Spoke Tharathustra" piece from "2001: A Space Odyssey"
17:00 Matt gives the timpanis a try
17:33 Don explains how his love of the Beatles led to his career in percussion
18:10 The Great Finale!
S3 E22: "Director of Fun" Keith Stewart on Tiger Woods, The Masters, Golf in a Pandemic & Becoming a Podcaster
Yes, calling oneself the "Director of Fun" is a boastful exercise but Springdale Golf Club professional Keith Stewart lives the title every day. His early career brought him to Isleworth Country Club in Florida while Tiger Woods was destroying PGA fields and golf courses in the late 90s and early 00s and has great insight ahead of the best time of year for golf: Masters Week! Tiger will be defending his 2019 title and we talk about his chances.
We also discuss how the pandemic has only made the game of golf stronger, how Keith was able to reinvent himself as a podcast host (like me!), what every golfer should do to get better and if Bryson DeChambeau is growing the game of golf - or destroying it.
Recorded at Springdale Golf Club, Princeton, NJ on October 14, 2020.
In this podcast: we talk about how this strange year of 2020 has been going at one of New Jersey's most historic golf clubs (2:18), why Keith says golf proved to be "pandemic proof" (3:20), if he thinks golf's "pandemic boom" is better and more sustainable than the "Tiger boom" more than 20 years ago (3:50), what the pandemic has taught him about the pro-golfer's relationship with the golfing consumer (5:10), why golf has proven to have a need to be personal, even with social distancing in place (7:30), Keith's moniker as "director of fun" and how he makes such a frustrating game enjoyable for others (9:10), we riff on Caddyshack for a few seconds, wondering why it took us so long (10:30), how the infusion of youth into the sport has been so important and beneficial (12:10), how and why a golf professional like him became a podcaster (13:15), what his efforts to expand his range of abilities can teach others, especially those forced to reinvent themselves during this pandemic (16:06), why doing something for yourself is so important (17:00), if he is able to text Tiger Woods and how Keith describes the legendary golfer's abilities (18:40), what Tiger was like while Keith worked at Isleworth (20:30), the necessity of creating a shell when you are one of the most recognizable people on Earth and how becoming the world's greatest golfer required so much sacrifice (22:30), seeing one's grip on the world as it relates to the grip on a golf club (23:50), If Tiger will defend his 2019 Masters championship (25:00), if he will surpass Jack Nicklaus' 18 major titles (27:26), we discuss how Bryson DeChambeau has changed golf and whether it is for the better (27:50), if DeChambeau will pay a price in the future for his physical transformation and performance on the golf course (30:50), the first thing any golfer can do to improve their game immediately (32:10), the surprising percentage of golfers who actually take lessons (33:00), the second thing golfers need to do to improve (and why) - work on the short game (35:20), why Keith's favorite club is his putter (and why mine is the driver) (38:15), we hit the golf course! (44:00).
S3 E21 Dr. Jonathan Epstein on How We'll Know the Pandemic is Over, the Greatest Mystery of COVID-19 and His Great Disappointment in Our Response
Dr. Jonathan Epstein leads an institution that is researching just about every angle you can think of when it comes to COVID-19: vaccines, treatments, contact tracing, the long-term effects of an infection, the mystery of being asymptomatic and who should be vaccinated first.
Dr. Epstein is the Chief Scientific Officer at Penn's Perelman School of Medicine. He has been leading this pivotal institution from his home in Wayne, PA since COVID-19 restrictions began back in the spring.
Dr. Epstein shared with us why he is so hopeful and encouraged by the tireless work being done in the medical community, but also why he is disappointed with how our country has handled our worst pandemic in 100 years.
Dr. Epstein also offers his prediction on when the pandemic will end and how we will even know it.
Recorded via Zoom, October 26, 2020
In this podcast:
Dr. Epstein provides an overview on what his scientists at the Perelman School of Medicine are working on, coronavirus-related (1:50), what he believes is the biggest mystery of COVID-19 (3:40), what has been most surprising (and frustrating) about the pandemic (4:15), what it means to have pandemic fatigue not only in the general public but also for health care workers (4:50), what past pandemics tell us about what we should expect over the winter and next year (6:35), shutdowns, vaccines, herd immunity and our "toolbox" in reaching an end to the pandemic (8:30), Dr. Epstein's hopes on a vaccine(s) and treatments (11:30), what we know about the rarity of getting reinfected by COVID-19 and how treatments could play a role (13:15), if this coronavirus is mutating (14:40), the "long-termers" of COVID-19 and how worrying it is that even asymptomatic people have shown organ damage (16:20), how the medical community pivoted so quickly to fill the void of getting a handle on the pandemic early on (18:55), where the virus came from (20:10), how he personally gets through the darkest moments of this year (21:50), how we need to address potential competition between nations when it comes to vaccine development and distribution (23:20), how we will know we have reached the finish line of the pandemic and when that might be (25:30), an assessment of how this country handled the pandemic and how we might handle the next one (26:40), some of the silver linings of the pandemic, including increased connectivity in business and relationships and the better collaboration in medicine (28:25), how historians might look back at the year of 2020 and what the chapter would be called.
S3 E20 South Philadelphia's Adam Weiner on Live Streaming, Surviving Depression, Anxiety and the Pandemic
Back in the spring, Adam Weiner decided he had to do something. The pandemic suddenly prevented his band, Low Cut Connie, from their lifeblood - performing live music. While in the spare room of his South Philadelphia home, he started broadcasting what would become the "Tough Cookies" series. He sings, he dances, he bangs on his stand-up piano, he offers words of enlightenment and hope. Originally a vehicle to simply entertain those watching on Instagram and Facebook, the episodes have gone so far as to uplift his fans during a public health crisis and sustain the LCC brand. Adam's music now has a solid worldwide fanbase thanks to the live streaming success. He is riding that wave into the release of the band's sixth album, a double LP called "Private Lives", in October of 2020.
What the world didn't know was that while Adam was helping so many others cope with this public health crisis, he was hurting too. Numerous physical injuries from performing live night after night caught up with him. And he became massively depressed. Adam wants to share what helped bring him happiness and wellness again with anyone and everyone because it fits in with the Low Cut Connie mission statement: you are tougher than you know.
Recorded October 6, 2020
Featured at the end of the podcast: "Help Me", Low Cut Connie, from the 2020 double LP "Private Lives"
In this podcast:
Adam shares the story behind his spare bedroom becoming a worldwide stage (2:28), how he branded his live stream performances "Tough Cookies" (4:20), the personal mission statement: people are tougher than they know (6:00), Adam discusses the future of the music recording industry and how livestream will remain a huge part (7:50), talks about the many physical injuries that mounted over many years of live performances (14:00), likens his role as the lead singer and pianist of a rock band to a "short-order cook" (15:00), the difference between him and a professional athlete (16:15), Adam then shares his mental struggles that became a serious concern during the recording of his new album (18:31), how his depression began in his childhood (19:25), what advice he gives to others who have similar mental health issues (21:00), how he was bullied as a child (21:50), his new album, a double LP called "Private Lives" and what he thinks about people saying his music is "retro" (25:31), a new routine he picked up since the beginning of the pandemic (29:47), what he would tell a fan who came up to him and asked "Are we going to be okay?" (33:00), how the song "Help Me" needed to, in his words, cook in the oven a little longer before he could record and release it (36:25), we play the single "Help Me" from Low Cut Connie's "Private Lives" (38:50).
S3 E19: Romeo Delight's Buddy Blanchard Honors the Legacy of Eddie Van Halen
Buddy Blanchard fronts the world's greatest Van Halen tribute band: Philadelphia's own Romeo Delight. Buddy, as you might have guessed, plays the part of David Lee Roth.
We first met several years ago when I started this podcast. I thought it was great that we had such an authentic representation of the great music of Van Halen right in our backyard. I played with the band in their practice space in Huntingdon Valley and I had the honor of performing as a guest drummer with Romeo Delight at Musikfest and the Running of the Santas.
We share a deep admiration for Van Halen, the world's ultimate hard rock party band. No one was better. And Eddie Van Halen was a genius among us. Every time he would innovate a sound coming from his guitar, people would try to copy it. And when they'd figure it out, Eddie had already moved on to something else jaw-dropping.
Buddy and I talk about what we initially felt when we learned Eddie had lost his battle with cancer at the age of 65. We discuss why Van Halen's music was so popular. Buddy talks about meeting Eddie and David Lee Roth during a tour stop in Philadelphia. We offer our favorite Van Halen albums, songs and we select our own personal favorite Eddie guitar solo of all time. Plus, we look ahead: if Chuck Berry came first, if Jimi Hendrix took the rock guitar template and twisted it into something unique and fascinating and if Eddie Van Halen blew our minds, who is "the next one"? Maybe you have some ideas.
My thanks to Buddy Blanchard and our best wishes for Romeo Delight to continue to warm our hearts with Van Halen nostalgia. May live music return to this country soon.
Recorded on Zoom October 7, 2020.
S3 E18: Dr. Argie Allen-Wilson Helps Us "Get Our Heads Back in the Game" (From 6abc's Inside Story)
Dr. Argie Allen-Wilson is a mental health and relationship therapist based in Montgomery County. My conversation with her on this episode of Inside Story was such a positive experience, I wanted to share it with you.
So much negativity is converging as we speak: the pandemic, a new and frustrating school year, the nastiness of the presidential campaign, joblessness, poverty, systemic racism and uncertainty for our future.
Dr. Argie helps guide us through these issues, helps us make sense of our problems/worries and leads us on a path of personal growth.
Recorded September 4, 2020.
Can’t wait to hear more!
Matt does Action News Mornings and then finds the time to conduct in-depth but fun interviews. So true!
Great Article!!! Interesting Matt is great.
Why can’t I Listen????
Why is every episode “unavailable”????....And why can’t we download the latest one????