METROFOCUS: FEBRUARY 19, 2020

February 20, 2020 at 5:30 am

We examine public policy and the Empire State with New York Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. From poverty and abuse, to reality TV fame, to published author. The MTV’s “Real World” star shares his very personal story about chasing and achieving his dreams. We visit Long Island City, Queens to bring you inside the art and science of neon.

Aired on February 19, 2020. 

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>>> TONIGHT ON "METROFOCUS."
EXAMINING PUBLIC POLICY AND THE
EMPIRE STATE, WITH NEW YORK
SENATE MAJORITY LEADER ANDREA
COUSINS.
FROM POVERTY AND ABUSE TO
REALITY TV FAME, AUTHOR AND
FORMER MTV STAR KEVIN POWELL
SHARES HIS VERY PERSONAL STORY
ABOUT OVERCOMING OBSTACLES AND
ACHIEVING HIS DREAMS.
THEN WE TAKE YOU TO THE BIRTH
PLACE OF ART AND SHOW YOU HOW
IT'S MADE.
THOSE STORIES AND MORE AS
"METROFOCUS" STARTS RIGHT NOW.
>> THIS IS "METROFOCUS" WITH
RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND
JENNA FLANAGAN.
>> "METROFOCUS" IS MADE POSSIBLE
BY
JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH,
SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III,
THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA
PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT
ANTI-SEMITISM.
BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ,
ROSALIND P. WALTER,
BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG,
AND BY --
>>> GOOD EVENING.
WELCOME TO "METROFOCUS."
I'M JACK FORD.
WE BEGIN IN ALBANY WITH AN
EXCLUSIVE LOOK AT AN INDEPTH
INTERVIEW WITH ANDREA STEWART
COUSINS.
THE LAWMAKER HAS BEEN AT THE
CENTER OF THE FIGHTS OVER BAIL
REFORM, LEGALIZING MARIJUANA
ACCIDENT AND THE OPIOID CRISIS.
WHAT ELSE DOES SHE HAVE IN STORE
FOR NEW YORK IN THE NEW YEAR?
WELL, SHE SAT DOWN WITH THE NEW
HOST OF WMHT NEW YORK NOW DAN
CLARK.
DAN?
>> THANKS, JACK.
SENATE MAJORITY LEADER ANDREA
STEWART COUSINS IS STARTING A
BUSY YEAR WITH THE FOCUS ON THE.
>> I WANT TO START WITH SOME
NEWS OUT OF ALBANY.
THE SENATE PASS AD PATCH OF
BILLS ABOUT THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC.
CAN YOU TELL US WHAT IT IS
ABOUT?
WE HAVE SEVERAL.
>> THAT I KNOW EVERYONE
UNDERSTANDS THAT THE OPIOID
CRISIS IS NOT JUST A CRISIS IN
NEW YORK.
IT IS A NATIONAL CRISIS.
WE DECIDED NOT TO SIT BACK AND
HOPE SOMEBODY ELSE WOULD START
WORKING TOWARD SOLVING IT FLAG
BECAUSE IT IS ACROSS THE STATE,
WHAT I ASKED IS FOR A TASK
FORCE.
WE HAD THREE CO-CHAIRS.
TO BEGIN THE PROCESS OF GOING
AROUND THE STATE AND LISTENING
TO PEOPLE.
AND I WILL SAY THAT THIS WAS A
BIPARTISAN TASK FORCE.
A TASK FORCE LIKE THIS HAS BEEN
CONSTITUTED BEFORE, UNDER THE
PREVIOUS MAJORITY WITH NO
DEMOCRATS, FRANKLY.
>> I REMEMBER THAT.
>> BUT I KNEW THAT THIS IS SO
IMPORTANT AND IT CERTAINLY
CROSSES EVERY LINE AND EVERY
DEMOGRAPHIC WE INVITED SOME
REPUBLICAN SENATORS TO BE PART
OF IT AS WELL.
THEY WENT AROUND THE STATE AND
THEY TALKED TO EVERYONE IMPACTED
AND CAME ONE A PACKAGE THAT
WOULD DO A FEW THINGS.
IT WOULD EDUCATE, WHICH IS SO
IMPORTANT, AS WIDESPREAD AND
PERVASIVE AS THIS.
SO IT RAISED THE EDUCATION.
IT WOULD MAKE INSURANCE MORE
RESPONSIVE.
IT WILL LOOK AT DIFFERENT
TREATMENTS METHODS.
>> IT IS A HUGELY IMPORTANT
THING IN NEW YORK.
ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THAT
WE'VE LOOKED AT.
WE'VE WILL SO MUCH MORE.
I WANT TO ASK YOU, WHAT ARE YOUR
PRIORITIES THIS YEAR?
WE'VE HAD A LOT HAPPEN.
DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING YOU WANT TO
GET ACROSS THE FINISH LINE?
>> AGAIN, WE ARE VERY, VERY,
ALWAYS FOCUSED ON MAKING SURE
THAT WE ARE BUILDING OUR
ECONOMY, THAT WE ARE PROVIDING
TAX RELIEF TO OUR WORKING
FAMILIES, MIDDLE CLASS.
FAMILIES WHO ARE STRUGGLING
STILL WITH DAYCARE EXPENSES,
WITH COLLEGE AFFORDABILITY.
WE'RE ALWAYS TRYING TO DO THAT.
JOB AND JUST MAKING SURE THAT WE
PROTECT OUR EDUCATION, THE
FUNDING FOR EDUCATION, AND OF
COURSE, WE HAVE A HEALTH CARE, I
WON'T SAY A HEALTH CARE CRISIS
BUT WE HAVE A DEFICIT THAT WE'LL
HAVE TO FIND A WAY TO BRIDGE
THAT GAP AS WELL.
>> I WANT TO ASK BUT THE DEFICIT
SINCE YOU BROUGHT IT UP.
THE GOVERNOR HAS PLAN.
FINDING $2.5 BILLION IN SAVINGS
USING WHAT HE IS CALLING THE
REDESIGN TEAM.
IT IS BASICALLY A PANEL OF
PEOPLE HE'S APPOINTED TO FIND
THE $2.5 BILLION.
HE ANNOUNCED HIS PICKS THIS
WEEK.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THEM?
>> WELL, OBVIOUSLY, WHAT I LIKED
WAS IN HIS MESSAGE, THE BUDGET
MESSAGE.
HE TALKED ABOUT THE MEDICAID
REDESIGN TEAM, TOO.
HE TALKED ABOUT ONE OF THE
PRINCIPLES.
THE PRINCIPLES WERE WE WERE
GOING ON DELIVER THE HEALTH CARE
THAT NEW YORKERS NEED WITHOUT
CAUSING SOME KIND OF PAIN,
WITHOUT TAKING AWAY FROM WHAT
PEOPLE HAD AS EXPECTATIONS FOR
THE HEALTH CARE DELIVERY SYSTEM,
WITHOUT HAVING A BURDEN FOR THE
TAXPAYERS.
THE GOALS, THE OBJECTIVES ARE
LAUDABLE.
HE HAS PROFESSIONALS WHO HAVE
BEEN TASKED TO DO THIS.
AND WE WILL SEE WHAT THEY'VE
COME UP WITH, OBVIOUSLY, WE KNOW
HOW IMPORTANT IT IS THAT HEALTH
CARE BE DELIVERED, AND THAT WE
KNOW THAT PEOPLE ARE LIVING
LONGER.
AND THAT NEW YORKERS ARE, YOU
KNOW, MANY OF THEM WHO ARE
INVOLVED IN CERTAIN LONG TERM
CARE ARE SENIORS WHO WE WANT TO
BE ABLE TO REMAIN IN NEW YORK.
>> RIGHT.
ON THAT PANEL IS THE SECRETARY
OF THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE.
YOU DO HAVE SOME REPRESENTATION
ON IT.
DO YOU WANT MORE?
DO YOU WANT TO BE MORE INVOLVED
IN THAT PROCESS?
>> WE WILL BE INVOLVED IN THE
PROCESS.
THE SECRETARY OF OUR FINANCE
WILL BE THERE.
WE'LL BE GETTING FEEDBACK.
AND IT IS A LONG, IT WAS LONG
BUT SHORT TIME BETWEEN NOW AND
THE TIME WE HAVE TO MAKE THESE
DECISIONS IN THE BUDGET.
AND WE'LL BE ENGAGED THROUGHOUT
THE WHOLE PROCESS.
AND GIVE OUR FEEDBACK, PUSHBACK
OR SUPPORT.
>> ANOTHER BUDGET ISSUE ON THE
TABLE HAD YEAR WAS ON MARIJUANA
LEGALIZATION.
WE KNOW THAT IT WILL BE A HUGE
ISSUE THIS YEAR.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
I KNOW SUPPORT LEGALIZATION.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IT WILL TAKE
TO GET AS MANY DEMOCRATS ON
BOARD AS NEEDED TO FAST BILL
THIS YEAR?
>> IT IS ASSAL, IT IS THE
CONSENSUS BUILDING THAT IS
NECESSARY.
I THINK PEOPLE PROBABLY
UNDERSTAND THAT LEGALIZATION IS
HAPPENING ALL AROUND US.
>> IT SEEMS INEVITABLE.
>> IT DOES?
>> YEAH.
BUT WE'VE ALWAYS BEEN, CERTAINLY
OUR CONFERENCE HAS BEEN A
CONFERENCE THAT SAYS, WE DON'T
NECESSARILY WANT TO DO WHAT
EVERYBODY HAS DONE BECAUSE IT IS
BEING DONE.
WE WANT TO MAKE SURE WE'RE DOING
IT RIGHT.
THERE ARE ALL THESE ELEMENTS
ABOUT THAT.
MAKING SURE THAT THERE ARE
FUNDING RESOURCES FOR EDUCATION
AROUND THE ISSUE AND OF COURSE
THE EQUITY ISSUES THAT WE ALWAYS
TALK ABOUT.
MAKING SURE THE COMMUNITIES THAT
HAVE BEEN MOST IMPACTED ARE ABLE
TO BENEFIT FROM THE ECONOMICS
WHICH WE ALL KNOW ARE PROJECTED
TO BE VERY, VERY LARGE FROM THIS
PARTICULAR INDUSTRY.
IT IS HOW THE A INDICATION
HAPPENS IN THE BUDGET.
WHERE DO THE RESOURCES GO?
HOW DO WE MAKE SURE THEY'RE
DIRECTED IN A VARIETY OF WAYS
THAT PEOPLE WOULD LIKE TO SEE
THEM DIRECTED.
THOSE ARE THE CONVERSATIONS THAT
ARE REQUIRED FOR US TO AGREE ON.
AND AGAIN, WHAT WE ALSO SAY IS
THAT FROM WHAT OTHERS SAY TO
EXPERIENCES, IT IS NOT AN
IMMEDIATE REVENUE SOURCE.
IT DOES TAKE A WHILE TO BECOME,
AND THEN THERE IS ALL THE THINGS
THAT HAPPEN IN BETWEEN.
WHICH WE'RE TRYING TO LEARN FROM
OTHER STATES THAT HAVE DONE
THIS.
>> BEFORE WE RUN OUT OF TIME, I
WANT TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT BAIL
REFORM.
I FEEL LIKE YOUR POSITION HAS
BEEN MISREPRESENTED BY SOME
PEOPLE.
YOU'RE SAYING DOWN THE LINE, YOU
MAY SEE TWEETS THAT COULD
HAPPEN.
YOU'RE NOT SAYING THAT.
THERE ARE IMMEDIATE CHANGES YOU
HAVE IN MIND.
>> WELL, I AM SAYING THAT PEOPLE
ARE TALKING ABOUT, WE MUST
REPEAL THE LAW.
WE ARE NOT REPEALING THE LAW.
WE UNDERSTAND WHY WE DID THIS.
WE DID THIS BECAUSE FOR TOO
LONG, THE SYSTEM THAT EXISTS HAS
REALLY CRIMINALIZED POVERTY.
PERSONS WHO HAVE DONE THE SAME
EXACT CRIME BUT CANNOT AFFORD TO
GET OUT ON BAIL ARE, YOU KNOW,
LEFT IN JAIL FOR AN ENORMOUS
AMOUNT OF TIME WITHOUT RECOURSE.
JUST BECAUSE THEY COULDN'T
AFFORD TO BUY THEIR WAY OUT.
WHAT WE DID WAS RIGHT.
WE ATTACKED SYSTEM THAT WAS NOT
JUST.
WHAT WE WERE LISTENING TO, WE
WILL CONTINUE TO LISTEN TO STAKE
HOLDERS, TO SEPARATE FACT FROM
FICTION, TO SEE IF THERE ARE
SOME TWEETS OR ADJUSTMENT THAT'S
WE CAN MAKE, THAT WOULD MAKE
THIS A LOT BETTER.
WE'RE TRYING TO MAKE SURE NOT
ONLY VICTIMS OF CRIME ARE
ABSOLUTELY PROTECTED IN THE
COMMUNITY, THE COMMUNITY IS
PROTECTED, BUT WE HAVE A JUSTICE
SYSTEM THAT IS JUST.
>> YOU'VE BEEN MEETING WITH
MEMBERS OF LAW ENFORCEMENT.
TAKE ME INSIDE THOSE MEETINGS.
>> JUST A STATEMENT OF FACTS.
I'M ASKING FOR THEIR DATA.
SOMETIME PEOPLE SAY, WELL, WHAT
HAPPENED?
AND THEN WHEN YOU DRILL DOWN, A
LOT OF NUANCES OR PEOPLE WHO
DIDN'T QUITE UNDERSTAND THE LAW
OR THERE COULD HAVE BEEN CAN
DIFFERENT OPTIONS.
WHAT I WANT FROM THEM, WHAT I
THINK WHAT WE HAVE, WE CAN ONLY
DO THIS WELL IF WE'RE WILLING TO
SHARE THE FACTS.
AND TELL ME HOW IT IS REALLY
IMPACTING THE COMMUNITY AND IF
THERE IS A CHANGE BASED ON FACTS
WOULD HELP EVERY PIECE OF THIS
PUZZLE, WE'RE WILLING TO LISTEN.
IT IS ESTABLISHING THE TRUST AND
CONTINUING THE ALLIANCE OF
COMMUNICATION.
THE OTHER THING I WANT TO SAY.
PEOPLE ARE SAYING, THEY DIDN'T
TALK TO THESE GROUPS.
WE DID.
>> YOU DID.
>> WE DID.
>> SO IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW
THAT NONE OF THIS HAPPENED IN A
VACUUM AND IT CERTAINLY DIDN'T
HAPPEN IN A VACUUM OF EVERYONE
KNOWING.
100% OF THE PEOPLE KNEW.
THAT WHAT WE HAD WAS UNJUST.
WE'RE PROUD THAT WE ARE TRYING
TO FIX THIS.
>> ALL RIGHT.
THANK YOU SO MUCH.
>> THANK YOU.
>>> NOW TO OUR CHASING THE DREAM
INITIATIVE ON POVERTY AND
OPPORTUNITY IN AMERICA.
KEVIN POWELL GREW UP SO POOR
THAT HE STILL HAS NIGHTMARES OF
THE ROACH AND RAT INFESTED
PLACES IN WHICH HE LIVED.
WHILE YOU MAY KNOW HIM FROM
SEASON ONE OF MTV'S GROUND
BREAKING SERIES, YOU MAY NOT
KNOW THAT HIS PATH TO CELEBRITY
HAS NOT BEEN EASY.
IN FACT, IT WAS BADE THE LEGACY
OF POVERTY, SELF-LOATHING AND
VIOLENCE THAT HAS LED HIM TO
BECOME A SUCCESSFUL AUTHOR,
JOURNALIST AND POLITICAL
ACTIVIST.
NOW HE'S USING THAT PLATFORM TO
TELL THE WORLD ABOUT HIS
HARROWING CHILDHOOD IN A NEW
BIOGRAPHY CALLED THE HE HAD
KAFGS KEVIN POWELL.
HE JOINS US NOW.
>> THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.
>> IN THE ACKNOWLEDGEMENTES TO
THIS BOOK, YOUR MEMOIR, YOU SAID
THIS WAS THE HARDEST THING TO
WRITE EVEN THOUGH YOU'VE WRITTEN
12 BOOKS.
WHY WAS THIS SO DIFFICULT?
>> WHEN YOU WRITE A BIOGRAPHY, A
MEMOIR, YOU HAVE TO GO BACK, FOR
ME AGE 3, AND I HAD TO GO BACK
TO THE POVERTY YOU DESCRIBED,
THE VIOLENCE, THE ABUSE, THE
ABANDONMENT OF MY FATHER WHEN I
WAS 8 YEARS OLD.
BEING BRUTALIZED BY POLICE
OFFICERS WHEN I WAS 15 YEARS
OLD.
AND IT'S NOT EASY TO RECOUNT IT.
I'VE WRITTEN ABOUT IT IN THE
PLACES IN MY PAST, IN POETRY, IN
BLOGS, TO BRING IT ALL TOGETHER.
IT WAS PAINFUL.
I HAD NIGHTMARES WRITING THE
BOOK.
THE RESPONSES HAVE BEEN SO
INCREDIBLE FOR MY VERY DIERS
GROUP OF PEOPLE, IT WAS WORTH
THE EFFORT OVER THE COURSE OF
FOUR OR FIVE YEARS OF WRITING
IT.
>> CAN YOU GIVE US SOME EXAMS OF
RESNAKSS.
>> I'VE GOTTEN RESPONSES FROM
BLACK, WHITE, PEOPLE OF SOUTH
AFRICA, PEOPLE IN BRAZIL.
A LOT OF SINGLE MOTHERS.
I WAS RAISED BY A SINGLE MOTHER.
AN ELITE BOYS SCHOOL IN
CONNECTICUT ADAPTED IT FOR THEIR
ENTIRE SCHOOL.
>> SO TALK ABOUT YOUR SITUATION
GROWING UP.
I KNOW IT'S DIFFICULT BUT SHARE
WITH OUR AUDIENCE.
PAINT A PICTURE OF JUST HOW
DIFFICULT IT WAS TO GROW UP AS A
POOR BLACK KID IN JERSEY CITY.
>> WHEN DR. KING WAS AT THE END
OF HIS LIFE, HE SAID WHAT DOES
IT MATTER TO HAVE THE MONEY TO
SIT ON THE BUS, I DIDN'T REALIZE
HE WAS TALKING ABOUT ME AND MY
MOM.
WHEN I WAS TALKING ABOUT
POVERTY, WE SHARED A BED IN THE
BEDROOM.
MY AUNT KATHY WAS 3 DAYS OLDER
THAN ME.
SHE HAD A BED IN THE LIVING
ROOM.
THE FIRST EIGHT OR NINE YEARS OF
MY LIFE, NO TELEPHONE.
BLACK AND WHITE TV.
I WOULD GO TO MY FRIENDS' HOMES
AND THINK THERE WAS SOMETHING
WRONG THEIR TV BECAUSE IT WAS
COLOR.
I HAD TO PUT CARDBOARD OR NUMB
IN THE BOTTOM OF MY SHOES EVEN
IN THE WINTER TIME.
PEOPLE LOOK AT ME NOW AND SAY, I
SEE OUT TV.
YOU HAVE NO IDEA THE
CIRCUMSTANCES THAT PRODUCED ME.
IT WAS DIFFICULT.
AND IT'S NOT JUST MY REALITY BUT
FOR A LOT OF POOR PEOPLE IN THE
COUNTRY.
WHEN I HEAR DISRESPECT, POOR
BROTHERS AND SISTERS, I
EMPATHIZE.
THAT'S ME AS WELL.
>> RIGHT.
YOU START THE BOOK TALKING ABOUT
GETTING PUMMELED.
>> I WAS A YOUNG MAN.
I GOT JUMPED.
I THOUGHT I WOULD GET KILLED
THAT DAY.
THE OTHER THING ABOUT GROWING UP
IN A POOR ENVIRONMENT, YOU'RE
LIVING PRECARIOUSLY.
I WAS ONE OF THOSE KIDS LIKE LOT
OF BLACK LARKS TINO BOYS.
WILL I MAKE IT TO 15, 18, 21?
I WANTED TO START WITH SOMETHING
VERY JARRING BUT ALSO SET THE
TONE FOR THE EXPERIENCES IN THE
BOOK.
>> SO WHAT SAVED YOU?
WHAT GOT YOU OUT OF THAT WORLD?
WHAT PREVENTED FROM YOU AN EARLY
DEATH, FROM A VIOLENT FUTURE,
AND PERHAPS INCARCERATION?
>> THREE THINGS SAVED MY LIFE.
FAITH.
BELIEVING IN SOMETHING GREATER
THAN OUF.
MY MOTHER ALWAYS TAUGHT ME TO
BELIEVE.
MY MOTHER ONLY HAS A GRADE
SCHOOL EDUCATION.
FROM THE TIME I WAS 3, 4 YEARS
OLD, SHE SAID YOU'RE GOING TO
COLLEGE.
SHE READ FROM THE BIBLE, THE
NEWSPAPER, WATCHES THE LOCAL
NEWS.
SHE NEVER READ A BOOK OR SET
FOOT A COLLEGE CAMPUS.
SHE'S A PRODUCT OF THE BOOMER
GENERATION.
SHE CAUGHT THE SPIRIT OF THAT
MOVEMENT.
ON SHE KNEW I HAD TO GO ON
SCHOOL.
YOU SEE RIGHT WHEN I'M WILL 3, 4
YEARS OLD, SHE'S TEACHING HOW TO
READ.
HOW TO COUNT.
THOSE THINGS BEGAN THE PROCESS
OF A LIFELONG LOVE OF LEARNING.
>> IT WAS A COMPLICATED
RELATIONSHIP.
SHE WAS TOUGH, HARD.
SHE DIDN'T SHY AWAY FROM HITTING
YOU AND HITTING YOU HARD.
>> YEAH.
IT WAS DIFFICULT.
THAT WAS PROBABLY ONE OF THE
MOST DIFFICULT THINGS TO WRITE
IN THE BOOK TO.
RECOUNT IT.
PEOPLE ARE SAYING, ARE YOU
DESCRIBING CHILD ABUSE?
WOULD I RAISE MY CHILDREN LIKE
THAT?
NO.
MY MOTHER DID THE BEST SHE COULD
AS A SINGLE BLACK WOMAN.
SHE HAD TO DEAL WITH RACISM,
SEXISM AND CLASS I.
SHE WAS BORN IN THE JIM CROW
SOUTH IN THE 1940s.
PEOPLE TALK ABOUT ABUSE.
SHE WAS ABUSED AS A YOUNG WOMAN
OF COLOR.
>> WHAT WERE THE LONG LASTING
EFFECTS GROWING UP POOR?
THAT KIND OF VIOLENCE?
>> I WORK WITH A LOT OF YOUNG
PEOPLE IN THE COUNTRY.
NOT JUST BLACK KIDS, BLACK
LATINO KIDS.
HOW MANY OF YOU HAVE ANGER
PROBLEMS?
THEY RAISE THEIR HANDS.
THEY HAVE THESE RELATIONSHIPS
WITH THEIR PARENTS.
I THINK IT IS REALLY IMPORTANT
FOR BOYS TO BE TAUGHT EARLY ON.
WE TEACH GIRLS TO BE EXPRESSIVE,
TO CRY TORSION SAY WHAT YOU
FEEL.
AND THE SPACES WHERE THEY CAN BE
THE FULL TOTALITY.
OTHERWISE, YOU GROW UP A WALKING
TYPE BOMB.
I WAS STILL ACTING OUT.
>> THERE WERE ARGUMENTS.
I DIDN'T UNDERSTAND THE
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PROACTIVE
ANGER AND REACTIONARY.
REACTIONARY HURTS AND YOU THE
PEOPLE AROUND YOU.
PROACTIVE IS YOU TURN IT, YOU BE
A BRIDGE BUILDER.
>> HOW DID YOU LEARN THIS?
>> YEARS OF THERAPY, YOGA,
MEDITATION.
THINGS I'M BIG PROPONENT OF NOW.
I WISH IT WAS THERE FOR ME AS A
YOUNG MAN.
A LOT OF TIMES, WE'RE JUST
THROWN OUT.
YOU SEE THE CELEBRITIES OUT
THERE.
THE JUSTIN BIEBERS, THE TUPACS,
THERE IS NOTHING THAT PREPARES
AND NOW YOU'RE ACTING OUT ALL
THE STUFF AS A CHILD.
>> ONE OF THE LESSONS YOU HOPE
TO CONVEY TO BLACK OR LATINO
KIDS WHO LIVE IN THE POVERTY
THAT YOU GREW UP IN.
>> ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE IF YOU
REALLY FIND WHAT YOU'RE
PASSIONATE ABOUT.
I DISCOVERED THE FOR WHOM THE
BELL TOLLS AND I REMEMBER
SAYING, THIS BOOK IS AMAZING.
I LOVE, I'M SPANISH BECAUSE OF A
CHILD, BECAUSE OF PBS, SESAME
STREET, ELECTRIC COMPANY.
AND I REMEMBER GOING BACK AND
STUDYING WHO HEMMING WAY WAS.
I WANT TO BE A WRITER.
SO YOUNG PEOPLE SHOULD FIND
THEIR PASSION.
>> WHAT IF THEY DON'T HAVE A
MOTHER LIKE YOU DO?
>> YOU HAVE TO FIND IN IT
YOURSELF.
FIND A MENTOR, A ROLE MODEL.
AND I DIDN'T HAVE A FATHER.
I WOULD STUDY MEN ON TV LIKE
YOURSELF.
I WOULD LOOK AT HOW YOU WOULD
DRESS, HOW YOU WORE YOUR SUIT, I
WOULD LONG AT HOW PEOPLE SPOKE.
I STUDIED MEN FROM DIFFERENT
ANGLES.
THEN I WOULD FIND MEN THAT I
COULD ADMIRE IN BOOKS.
WHATEVER IT WAS, I HAD TO FIND
IT.
I WAS DETERMINED NOT TO BE
STUCK.
A THING I KEEP SAYING.
I KNEW THERE WAS SOMETHING
BETTER FOR ME OUT THERE.
>> AND WHAT IS THE LESSON FOR
THE REST US?
>> HAVE EMPATHY AND COMPASSION
FOR PEOPLE NO MATTER WHERE IT
COMES FROM.
TAKE TIME TO LEARN WHO THEY ARE.
I DON'T CARE IF THEY'RE BLACK OR
WHITE.
STRAIGHT OR GAY, POOR OR WE
THINKY.
HAVE COULD THAT PASSION FOR EACH
OTHER.
SISTERS AND HE BROTHERS.
>> THANK YOU.
>>> COMBINING ART WITH SCIENCE
CAN LEAD THE ENDLESS
POSSIBILITIES.
AND NEON IS A GROWING EXAMPLE OF
THAT.
LONG ISLAND CITY BAY ARTISTS
TEST A US INSIDE HIS STUDIO FOR
A CLOSE-UP LOOK AT WHAT GIVES
SIGNS THEIR SPARK.
>> I WAS DEFINITELY LOOKING FOR
A COMBINATION OF ART AND
SCIENCE.
I DON'T KNOW WHERE I THOUGHT
NEON CAME FROM.
YOU DON'T THINK ABOUT IT.
YOU DON'T LOOK AT A LIGHT BULB
AND THINK ABOUT HOW IT IS MADE.
AND WHEN I LEARNED THAT EVERY
SINGLE NEON SIGN THAT YOU'VE
EVER SEEN ANYWHERE WAS MADE BY
HAND.
THAT JUST REALLY ATTRACTED ME.
I THINK WHAT I LOVED THEN AND
STILL LOVED ABOUT IT IS ACTUALLY
A VERY OLD TECHNOLOGY.
WHAT WE DO TODAY IS NOT THAT
MUCH DIFFERENT FROM WHAT WAS
GOING ON IN LIKE 100 YEARS AGO.
WE'RE TAKING MATTER AND MAKING
LIGHT.
WE'RE TURNING MATTER INTO LIGHT
ENERGY.
AND WE DO THAT EVERY DAY.
KIND OF CASUALLY.
BUT IT IS KIND OF REALLY
THRILLING.
THE FIRST PRODUCTION I WORKED
WAS THE ORIGINAL BROADWAY MISS
SAIGON.
THERE WAS A PERIOD ON AVERAGE I
WAS DOING 12 A YEAR.
WE HAVE A REPUTATION FOR GETTING
THE JOB DONE.
THE JOKE IS SOMETIMES I'LL GET
CALLED BY A MACHINERY SHOP.
THEY SAY, WE HAVE A LOT OF TIME
FOR THIS ONE.
WE'VE GOT TWO WEEKS.
I'LL BASICALLY TRACE OVER THE
DESIGN ON THE COMPUTER AND I DO
WHAT I CALL NEONIZING IT.
AND THEN THAT BACK'S TEMPLATE.
WE ACTUALLY REHEARSE IT.
NEON IS SUCH THAT ITS FACE IS
ALWAYS FLAT SO WE'RE BENDING IT
FROM BEHIND.
WHAT SHOULD WE MAKE?
WE SEAL IT BUT WE ALLOW A PORT
TO COME OUT OF IT.
>> IT WILL KIND OF COLLAPSE A
LITTLE BIT.
WHEN I'M GLUING IT, BLOWING IT
OUT TO PRESERVE THE CHANNEL.
>> MATCHING IT TO THE PATTERN.
BLOCKING IT DOWN A LITTLE BIT.
WE CAN PULL ALL THE AIR OUT OF
IT.
WE HEAT IT WHILE WE'RE DOING IT
SO WE MAKE SURE WE'RE GETTING
ALL THE MATTER OUT OF IT.
WE TRY ON ACHIEVE AS CLOSE TO AN
OUTER SPACE EMPTINESS AS
POSSIBLE INSIDE THE TUBE.
>> TURNING UP THE VACUUM PUMP.
ENGAGING IT.
AND THEN WE FILL IT WITH A RARE
GAS AND IT IS FILLED AT A LOW
PRESSURE.
AND WHEN AN ELECTRIC CURRENT
PASSES THROUGH THE RARE GAS, IT
IS A VERY, VERY EFFICIENT
EXCHANGE OF ENERGY.
WHAT HAPPENS IS, I MEAN, IT'S
NOT THIS SIMPLE BUT A SIMPLIFIED
EXPLANATION IS THAT THE
ELECTRICITY KNOCKS ELECTION
TRONS OFF THE ATOMS AND THEY
BOUNCE AROUND AND SFWHOOK OTHER
ATOMS AND GET PUSHED BACK INTO
THE ATOM AGAIN AND AT THE MOMENT
IT IS PUSHED BACK INTO THE ATOM,
THE ATOM HAS TO RELEASE ENERGY
AND THAT ENERGY IS LIGHT.
THAT'S AIR LIGHTING UP.
>> THE GAS THEMSELVES, THIS
REALLY ONLY FOUR OR FIVE GASES.
THE COLOR RANGES NOT THAT MUCH.
IN MOST 9NEON, WE'RE SEEING TWO.
ONE IS GIVING AS YOU RED LIGHT
AND THE OTHER IS GIVING US A
BLUE LIGHT THAT HAS A LOT OF
ULTRAVIOLET IN IT AS WELL.
BUT IF THE TUBES ARE COATED WITH
PHOSPHER, WE SEE ADDITIONAL
LIGHT FROM THE ULTRAVIOLET
LIGHT, AFFECTING THEN.
THEY'RE GREEN, PURPLE, ALL
DIFFERENT COLORS.
AND AT THE SAME TIME, SOME OF
THE BLUE LIGHT FILTERS THROUGH.
IT IS A THIN COATING SO YOU GET
A MIX OF WHATEVER IT IS PUTTING
OUT AND THE BLUE LIGHT.
>> ADD TO THAT, YOU CAN HAVE
DIFFERENT COLORED GLASS.
THE GLASS CAN KIND OF INTENSE
IDENTIFY THE COLORS.
I THINK AT LAST COUNT, I USUALLY
USE A NUMBER SAYING THERE IS
PROBABLY ABOUT 200 TO 300 COLORS
THAT ARE AVAILABLE.
IF WE'RE WORKING WITH HAND BLOWN
GLASS, GET DIMENSIONAL WITH IT
AS WELL.
I MEAN, I THINK THE VARIATIONS
ARE KIND OF ENDLESS.

>> "METROFOCUS" IS MADE POSSIBLE
BY
JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH,
SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III,
THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA
PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT
ANTI-SEMITISM.
BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ,
ROSALIND P. WALTER,
BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG,
AND BY --

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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