We hosted a special interview I conducted around the popular and powerful television series The Wire.We then listened to a conversation I had with Ed Burns, a writer and co-producer of The Wire. Burns is a former Baltimore City Cop and Baltimore City public school teacher. Those experiences deeply informed the script of The Wire, as his real-life stories often found their way onto the screen.
We hosted a special archive interview I conducted around the popular and powerful television series The Wire. We listened back to my interview with Clarke Peters, who played Detective Lester Freamon on the show. We stopped by his Charles Village row home to tape this interview, a laid back conversation around the dining room table that touched on all sorts of things, including: Baltimore, theater, race, politics, culture, Europe, America, and of course, The Wire and his iconic character.
We hosted a rebroadcast of a special archive edition of the show where we remember the life of Robert Chew, the Baltimore native who portrayed the east Baltimore drug lord Proposition Joe on the hit HBO series The Wire and who died in 2013. Prop Joe, as he came to be known, was an iconic figure that represented a time in Baltimore when the drug trade was less violent and bloody, when word was bond, and “The Game” was something very different than what it is today.
Last week Baltimore’s City Paperfeatured stories on TheWire, David Simon’s acclaimed TV series about Baltimore. Join our panel of guests as we use those features as a jumping off point to talk about the series and its representation of our city. With: Lawrence Grandpre, Assistant Director of Research and Public Policy for Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle and author of theCity Paper article,
Smile For the Camera: The representational limits of ‘TheWire;’ Dr. Lawrence Brown, public health consultant and Assistant Professor of Public Health in the School of Community Health and Policy at Morgan State University; Dr. Kate Drabinski, Lecturer of Gender and Women’s Studies and Director of theWomen Involved in Learning and Leadership (WILL) Program at University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and author of theCity Paper article Field Tripping: Biking ‘TheWire‘; and Phillip Burgess, classically trained actor and Theatre Lecturer at Morgan State University who appeared in The Wire.
Nina Noble and friends accepting the Emmy for Outstanding Miniseries for HBO’s The Corner in 2000. She is on far left.
Nina Noble, Executive Producer for The Wire, spent the past several years doing all the behind the scenes work that is required for a successful show. She joined Marc to share her stories and experiences from the past few years.
I have major sympathy for Nina Noble. We share a job title (okay, well her title has the fancy ‘Executive’ in front of it) and people are constantly asking me “What does a producer DO?” I imagine she gets the same question. I always like to answer, “I do all the work” and then flash a smile. If Marc is around, I will usually add jokingly, “…and he gets all the glory.” (Fair enough, really, considering he also has to bear the brunt of all the criticism!)
But seriously, Nina Noble had a gigantic job as Executive Producer of The Wire. From convincing the Port of Baltimore to let them shoot scenes on location to keeping track of the hundreds of characters David Simon and the other writers created, it’s a wonder she didn’t burn out long ago. But as she told Marc when she sat down for an interview about the experience of working on The Wire, this is the only job she is suited for.
Right click here and select “Save Target As” in order to download this onto your computer. Running time is 40:20.
Major Bunny Colvin was a featured character in season three when he took it upon himself to drastically change drug policy in West Baltimore. He was portrayed by Bob Wisdom, who found time to get on the phone with Marc and discuss the role.
It’s been over a week since the series finale of The Wire aired. Sad time for Wire fans these days, but we’re continuing The Wire Podcast series to help you get through the end-of-show withdrawal. Speaking of which, having had a little time to reflect on it now, what did everyone think of the last episode, and Season 5 as a whole?
Right click here and select “Save Target As” in order to download this onto your computer. Running time is 15:48.
What was the real life inspiration for Hamsterdam? What does he think of the character he portrayed? What can the experience of The Wire tell us about race and acting in America today? (Preview quote: “Every actor of color in this country that I ever met wanted to be part of this show.”)
If Marc and Bob sound like old friends, it’s because they are. They met at Studio Theatre in Washington DC in 1986 or so, where they acted together in a production of American Buffalo by David Mamet. Bet you didn’t know that!
We stopped by Clarke’s Charles Village rowhome one recent morning to tape this interview. By interview, I mean a laid back conversation around the dining room table, talking about all sorts of things: Baltimore, theater, race, politics, culture, Europe, America, and of course, The Wire and his character, Detective Lester Freamon. Oh, have you heard there are discussions of a Wire movie? Clarke brings it up near the end of the interview. So, sit back, relax, and listen.
Right click here and select “Save Target As” in order to download this onto your computer. Running time is 43:41.
Check this out – yesterday Time magazine published an article written by The Wire’s five writers: Ed Burns, Dennis Lehane, George Pelecanos, Richard Price, and David Simon. It’s called “The Wire’s War on the Drug War” and they argue for jury nullification on all non-violent drug cases. Here’s a quote:
“If asked to serve on a jury deliberating a violation of state or federal drug laws, we will vote to acquit, regardless of the evidence presented. Save for a prosecution in which acts of violence or intended violence are alleged, we will — to borrow Justice Harry Blackmun’s manifesto against the death penalty — no longer tinker with the machinery of the drug war. No longer can we collaborate with a government that uses nonviolent drug offenses to fill prisons with its poorest, most damaged and most desperate citizens.”
Read the whole article. In light of the recent news that 1 in 100 U.S. adults are in prison, giving us the highest rate of incarceration in the world, what do you think?
And come back tomorrow, the last day before the series finale airs, for a new interview with Andre Royo aka Bubbles aka Bubs!!
Bubbles is my favorite character on The Wire. I remember hearing an interview with David Simon before the fifth season premiered in which he promised that at least one character would experience a happy ending and total redemption by the end of the series. I immediately forget all about how much I cared about Dukie, Randy, and all the other kids on the show and found myself hopin’ and prayin’ for Bubbles to be the one with the happy ending.
Seems like he is doing pretty good so far this season…we’ll find out for sure tomorrow night whether or not Bubbles ends the season clean and sober. Before that, take a listen to Marc’s interview with Andre Royo, the actor who has so deftly portrayed Bubbles during the last few years. He’ll speak about how intense it was so carry this character over an extended period of time, and why he thinks the character of Bubbles moved so many people. You’ll hear Andre’s plans for the future and what he hopes The Wire has taught people.
Right click here and select “Save Target As” in order to download this onto your computer. Running time is 25 minutes.
I have a lot of friends from out of town who love The Wire. I always kind of feel sorry for them because I feel like they aren’t getting the whole picture. Only someone really familiar with Baltimore can get all the inside jokes, references, and cameos that pepper the series. But sometimes the reference is arcane enough that not even Baltimoreans quite get what they are looking at. For example, how many people know that the soup kitchen Bubbles worked at in season five is a real place?
My co-producer Justin brought that up, and we decided that it would make a great podcast to go down and talk to the people who run that soup kitchen and learn about their experience being featured on The Wire. Their names are Brendan Walsh and Willa Bickham. They play themselves on television (well, sort of…listen to the podcast to find out more!) They are wonderful people and they have a lot of great things to say about Baltimore, social justice issues, and of course, The Wire.
Right click here and select “Save Target As” in order to download this onto your computer. Running time is 17:30.
We’re back again today with another fantastic interview for you. Last week Marc sat down with Robert Chew, the Baltimore native who has portrayed the east Baltimore drug lord Proposition Joe for the past several years on the hit HBO series The Wire. Prop Joe, as he came to be known, was an iconic figure that represented a time in Baltimore where the drug trade was less violent and bloody, when word was bond, and “The Game” was something very different than what it is today.
Right click here and select “Save Target As” in order to download this onto your computer. Running time is 34 minutes.
As we promised last week, this week we are bringing you a series of interviews with folks from the hit HBO series The Wire. The series finale of this show is airing on March 9th. Marc is a huge fan of the program, and we know a lot of you are as well. So for our first podcast series we decided to concentrate on this television show and talk to writers, producers, actors, security guards and crew to ask them about their experiences in making The Wire. We wanted to find out what they think the message of the show is. What does it have to teach us about urban America? What lessons can we learn from the five seasons?
We began with a quick conversation with Ed Burns, a writer and co-producer. He is a former Baltimore City Cop and Baltimore City public school teacher. Those experiences deeply informed the script of The Wire. His real life experiences often found their way onto the screen.
Right click here and select “Save Target As” in order to download this onto your computer. Running time is 15:20.
Tomorrow, we’ll bring you a conversation with series creator David Simon. Later in the week, you’ll hear from the actors who play Lester Freamon, Prop Joe,Bubbles, and more. Stay tuned, and let us know what you think.
Click “Read More” for links to articles, interviews and more.
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