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Boston’s Cultural Guards

Legendary Beacon Hill residents host star-studded television show

Published: Thursday, February 11, 2010

Updated: Thursday, February 11, 2010 08:02

Smoki Bacon and Dick Concannon on Couch

Kristen Collins / Tufts Daily

Smoki Bacon and Dick Concannon in the living room of their Beacon Hill home

Bacon and Concannon

Kristen Collins / Tufts Daily

Bacon and Concannon’s show features guests from diverse backgrounds and disciplines

At the time of this interview, the couple was preparing for an interview on Jan. 25 with Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, who recently wrote "Freefall" (2010), a book detailing the current economic slump. According to Concannon, Stiglitz will be the third Nobel Prize recipient that the couple has interviewed.

"Now the marvelous thing here is, there's no way you're going to get me to read a book on economics, whereas Dick was very excited about reading this expert," Bacon said. "And so when the books come through on art and music, the cultural scene, I grab [those]. We both go back and forth on the political. We both like politics."


Literati, Glitterati and Favorites

Bacon and Concannon have interpreted the word "literati" very broadly, and as such they have used their television show to interview many personalities outside of the literary world.

"We make our own rules," Bacon said. "That's the marvelous thing about having your own show. I love the freedom, because I'm a very opinionated person, of putting on whom I want. And if you don't like it, that's the way it goes."

Bacon and Concannon have also hosted the likes of two Radio City Rockettes, actresses Leslie Caron and Angela Lansbury and famed restaurateur Harry Cipriani. Bacon and Concannon have also traveled with their camera equipment through Europe, including to Italy, where they interviewed five chefs.

Within this broad range of guests, both have, of course, had their favorites. For Bacon, it was John Lahr, a drama critic for "The New Yorker," who is also the son of the actor Bert Lahr, who played the cowardly lion in "The Wizard of Oz" (1939).

"I just adored ‘The Wizard of Oz,' and it was the first time I ever clutched during an interview. He comes in and he looks just like Burt Lahr. And I found myself loosing control of what I wanted to ask him because all I wanted to do was stare at him," Bacon said.

Because of his interest in baseball, Concannon's favorite interview was Roger Kahn, author of "The Boys of Summer" (1972), a book that chronicles baseball in the New York area.

While describing their favorite interviews, the two also mused about their past interviews with Nikita Khrushchev's son, three different Kennedys and an exciting interview at a New Hampshire artist colony with animator Chuck Jones that, by chance, turned into a dual-interview when it was interrupted by filmmaker Ken Burns.

According to Bacon, one of her favorite aspects of the show is the incredible opportunity it provides her and her husband to interact with unique individuals from all backgrounds. "It allows us, at our age, to keep on top of the scene," she said.

Neither have any plans to stop soon, and both eagerly anticipate their upcoming interviews with current authors. As of this point, Bacon and Concannon are set to interview authors Philipp Meyer, Curtis Roosevelt and Steve Yarbrough, among others, in the coming weeks.

"There's a wild diversity of people [out] there," Bacon said. "It's an ongoing education for us, and it's something we love."

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