New Video Player and the Debut of Acoustic News

time_videoplayerpageI’m pleased and proud to announce the redesign of TIME’s video player. It’s beautifully rendered and all about serendipity (the principle by which I govern my own life). Have a look and tell me what you think. Today is also the debut of David Clair’s Weekly Acoustic News, a feature where Dave has challenged himself to write an original song every week based on news events. We’ll run it as a weekly feature for as long as Dave can last. On facebook this morning he called it “definitely an example of giving someone enough rope to hang themselves with.”

Enjoy it here:

Woodstock and Les Paul

Today on, we created a video piece from the photographs of Elliott Landy, who was asked by one of the Woodstock Festival organizers if he wanted to take photos at the event. “It was one of the most important ‘yesses’ I ever said,” Landy says. The rest is Woodstock history. The iconic images he took are in a 7-minute piece the incorporates Landy’s thoughts, sound from the event and music that evokes the spirit of the era.

Speaking of music and spirit, the NYTimes has a Last Word video with Les Paul, the great entertainer, guitar player and inventor, who for many years held court on Monday nights at the Iridium in New York. He died yesterday at the age of 94. Matt Orr produced the video interview with Paul, who sat down with him and reporter Tim Wiener last year. You can watch it here.

I had the pleasure of meeting Les Paul a few years before, when he was a young man of 90. He had just been nominated for another Grammy award, so I met him at the Iridium and we chatted for a while. He is the the only grown man in recent memory who asked me to pull his finger, which I did willingly. He wanted to show me the effects arthritis had had on his fingers, where the joints had fused. Because his fingers were so different, he had to learn how to play guitar all over again at an advanced age.

Paul was quite a spirit, quite an inventive mind, and quite mischievous. When a teenage boy in the front row snapped a picture at the Iridium show, Paul lifted an arthritic middle finger, flipping the kid the bird while gooking for the camera. The audience howled. Would love to have the picture that kid took now.

The piece I did in 2006 is here.

Belated Greetings from Belize

Caye Caulker Chill BigBelize is a place with a Caribbean vibe among its various cayes, islands and coastal towns, and a deep and long history of the Maya civilization in its interior. This past week, I hung out on the “go slow” island of Caye Caulker, dived on the stunning reef, visited the major ruins of Caracol and spelunked in an amazing cave (Actun Tunichil Muknal) where Maya once sacrificed themselves to their gods.

Here are some photos.

Toy Boats and Real ones Drinking is Fun

Monkey at Caracol

Caracol pyramid Caracol

Actun Tunichil Muknal

Actun Tunichil Muknal skull