Dustin Lance Black everybody! I can’t believe we got an Academy Award winner on the podcast.
I discovered this little event kind of inadvertently. Christopher Hitchens was slated to come to CSU and debate Dinesh D’Souza in April. I was quite stoked as you can imagine. Hitchens coming to little old Fort Collins, Colorado in spite of his health problems. Who knows how much time he has left, right? I better get while the gettin’s good, as they say. The tickets were cheap–like two bucks or four bucks—so I got a few because I knew it was gonna sell out soon, which it did. I have seen and heard plenty of debates online featuring Hitch, and I love his style, his speech, even his mannerisms. But a few months after his diagnosis he debated William Dembski in Plano and it was a drastic change. It seems to me like his whole approach to debating had changed, and I really dug it. So, again, I was chompin’ at the bit when his debate was announced. However, the event was cancelled not long after it was announced. Hitch’s cancer was getting worse and he was scheduled to undergo some heavy treatments at the time. So I emailed the SLiCE (student leadership involvement and community engagement) office about a refund and received a reply that my refund should arrive in a few business days, and I could get some complimentary tickets to see a Dustin Lance Black talk for my troubles. (I later found out that tickets to Mr. Black’s event were free to all, but no matter.) I accepted those gratis tickets and started searching online for some contact info to try and get him on the podcast because I was a big fan of his work. Well, Milk at least. I never saw Big Love–although I have heard good things– I’m not wealthy enough to afford such luxuries as HBO. Anyway, I came up with zilch on any kind of contact info, so I wrote the SLiCE office again and asked them to ask Lance on my behalf if he would be willing to do an interview with us. I informed them of the nature of the podcast and included links to our past shows. I received no response from anyone, so I assumed it was a no-go. Eventually I got an email the morning of his talk stating that we could have 20-30 minutes with Lance about an hour before he goes on. So I took the day off work to prepare some questions and informed Jeff that this DLB thing was happening if he didn’t have plans and wanted to join in.
When Jeff and I got there we discovered that the event was catered with some quality food, but no time for feasting we have an interview to do! We went into the theater and set up our equipment and played the waiting game. As you have no doubt noticed by now these are extraneous details surrounding the interview that are probably boring you right now. The rest of this post will just be more details surrounding the event with no big payoff or twist-ending. If you are not enjoying this then why are you reading good sir (or madam)? Either deal with it or go back to Facebook. So anyways, where was I? Oh yeah, so Lance’s plane into Denver was delayed so when he finally came in it was about 30 minutes before he was scheduled to speak. Our event contact informed us that we could either do a quick ten-minute interview now or we could wait until after the talk which would mean less pressure on everyone. I said “I don’t mind either way, but if we do it after will we get more time with Lance? I don’t want to be rushed.” “Of course,” was the reply, along with “I’m gonna need a copy of your questions to review before you see Mr. Black.” Is this normal? Is there anyone reading this that’s in the journalism biz that can tell me if this is a common occurrence or an affront? It actually didn’t bother me beyond my obviously thinking that she didn’t trust me. I can’t really blame her, though, when you consider that Jeff is about 6’5” with a good amount of meat on his bones and I am 6’6” and just shaved my head so I may have appeared like some neo-Nazi skinhead. She may have thought we were out to do some kind of hostile interview. At any rate, after she gave our questions her seal of approval Jeff and I decided to help ourselves to the smorgasbord of cheese and vegetables and fresh fruit that was available and did some mingling.
Lance gave a great speech.
I recorded it, too, so I will likely put that up as the Android app bonus content for this episode. After it was over Jeff and I shuffled quickly into the green room, met with Lance, and dived right into the interview. The disappointing part was when we were five minutes into the interview the event contact who had approved my questions earlier slipped us a note to wrap it up. I mean, it’s not like we wanted to talk for hours but five minutes? So I ended up having to scratch a few questions about Prop 8, but it was still a great interview. I was very honored (and intimidated) to meet and talk with Mr. Black, and I am grateful that I got even a few minutes with him.