Earlier this year, I started hosting my own late night talk show. The show is recorded in a theater before a live studio audience, but it isn’t a big Hollywood production. It is, at best, a monthly time capsule of what’s happening in Phoenix’s art scene, as I interview local artists and celebrities about their projects and careers. It’s also completely self-indulgent, as the show offers the chance to meet some of my favorite Phoenix-based personalities, like KTAR’s Bruce St. James and local rapper Blaine Coffee.
This month, Phoenix Tonight reflects its full potential in both ways. On Saturday night, my guests will be slam poet/shark conservationalist the Klute, storyteller Jessie Balli, and Phoenix Zine Fest organizer Brodie Hubbard — all movers and shakers in the current performing arts scene. As much as I enjoy promoting where we’re going, I also like to remember where most modern art came from, hence Friday night’s special show featuring Tiger Beat editor Ann Moses.
Anyone that knows me knows I’m a tremendous fan of the Monkees. I recently spoke of my history with the Monkees at Ignite Music, one performance in a series this year honoring the Monkees’ 50th anniversary in music and film. A few months ago, I was listening to a Monkees podcast, called Zilch, and heard the hosts talking to Ann Moses, the woman that edited the teenage-oriented entertainment magazine Tiger Beat from 1966-72. The Monkees met, reached their peak, and broke up in those few years, and Ann covered it all. Her recollections of that era were interesting enough, but when Ann said something to the effect of, “. . . here in Gilbert . . .,” she had my undivided attention.
“Does she mean Gilbert, ARIZONA?” I thought. Could the woman that spent that much time with my all-time favorite band live close enough to appear on my talk show?
The short answer is yes. I sought Ann’s Facebook page and began a correspondence. Ann graciously agreed to an interview, and because the subject matter is so important to me, I wanted to pursue a different format for the show. If Saturday night is my best re-creation of Johnny Carson’s shtick, tonight’s will be of Tom Snyder, sans smoke-filled studio. Snyder was a one-on-one interview man, less rigid than Larry King, but with the same gravitas toward his hostly duties. I’ll do my best to shelf the fanboy for the hour or so Ann and I will spend together, for the sake of those that come to watch, but he’ll be near, like Ed McMahon, giddy just off-screen.
And, yes, anyone can come watch. My questions will focus on Ann’s experience working for Tiger Beat, meeting the Monkees, Elvis Presley, and so many other pop icons from that era, and what she thinks of entertainment media today.
It doesn’t always take a big Hollywood production to talk about them.
Phoenix Tonight schedule:
Friday, Nov. 18, 7 p.m.
Phoenix Tonight presents: An Evening with Ann Moses
Jarrod’s Coffee, Tea, and Gallery, 154 W. Main Street in Downtown Mesa
The event is free, though the purchase of a beverage from the shop in encouraged, and a Q&A may follow the interview if time permits.
Saturday, Nov. 19, 10:30 p.m.
Space 55, 636 E. Pierce St., Downtown Phoenix