David Simon, as you probably could have guessed, does not tweet. What he does do, though, is write extensive, fiery responses to other people's tweets — specifically, in this case, the tweets of Andy Cohen and Simon's pal Anthony Bourdain, who argued on Twitter about the ethics of taking money from the state of Louisiana to shoot TV in New Orleans. As Simon writes on his site, in a blog post called "Why I don’t tweet. Example #47”: "I can’t be entirely indifferent to the shitty-ass, reach-around snark of some fellow [That'd be Cohen!] who rushes to throw under the bus people about whom he has no knowledge whatsoever — and does so to gain a dishonest point in a fucking tweet war." And then Simon really goes in.
But let's back up. This started with the news that Top Chef will be filming its upcoming 11th season in New Orleans. Hey, fantastic, right? Everyone loves New Orleans? Well, it's a bit more complicated than that. Turns out, the reason Top Chef is heading to the N.O. is, at least in part, thanks to a $200,000 payout from the BP oil spill settlement fund to Bravo, Top Chef’s channel. Well, what in the hell?
“Anyone with complaints about music in Treme? They in the wrong place altogether.” That’s not a quote from executive producer David Simon directed toward the rumbling second line of critics and naysayers who have high-stepped forward to wrinkle their brows and shake their heads at the inherent unlovableness of his post-Wire project. But boy, it sure could be. Instead, it’s a quip uttered with genial exasperation by Wendell Pierce’s trombone-blowing Antoine Baptiste in Treme’s third season premiere, airing this Sunday at 10 p.m. EST on HBO. Either way, the message is received loud and clear: Les bons temps aren’t stopping; either roll along or get out of the way.
When my podcasting partner Chris Ryan and I started a summer book club on the Hollywood Prospectus Podcast a few weeks back, there was never any question who would be our first selection. From his earliest, self-described “punk rock detective novels,” to his more mature recent work, George Pelecanos is a master of the form, able to describe the racial and economic realities of his native Washington, D.C., as easily as the classic cars, films, and records that pepper his pages.
In person, George was kind, thoughtful, and generous, even when he was good-naturedly razzing me for criticizing some of his later books. (He wanted to make sure I had read 2011’s The Cut — which introduces a new recurring character, the Travis McGee–inspired Iraq War veteran Spero Lucas — and What It Was — a riotous blast of ‘70s grime and crime. Both are cracking returns to form, and both are available now in paperback.) We spoke about his professional beginnings, his lifelong relationship with his hometown, and about his burgeoning second career as a television writer and producer. Even if you’ve never read one of his books, chances are you know his work: He’s the hit man responsible for some of the most memorable and emotionally devastating deaths on The Wire, and on his current gig, Tremé. (And yes, I asked him about Grantland’s quasi-controversial Smacketology tournament. I found out off air he would have voted for Marlo.) One of the best parts about this gig is the opportunity to meet people I admire and share both their personality and their work with others. This was a total thrill for me — I hope you enjoy it, too.