Interviews

Michael Shapiro has interviewed music legends (Smokey Robinson), environmental champions (Jane Goodall), film visionaries (Francis Ford Coppola) and authors (Amy Tan). Following are stories from some of his most memorable interviews; many appear in full only in Shapiro’s book, The Creative Spark.

Washington Post: Dylan Thomas’s Wales

Washington Post: Dylan Thomas’s Wales

I've long felt a kinship with Wales, perhaps because it's where one of my favorite writers, Jan Morris, lives. Recently I had the chance to stay overnight and tour Dylan Thomas's boyhood home in...

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Cowboy Junkies keep it fresh

Cowboy Junkies keep it fresh

In the early 1990s, Cowboy Junkies lead vocalist Margo Timmins performed just for me. I sat about 30 feet away from her and she sang one of her favorites, "Misguided Angel" to an audience of one....

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Anne Lamott on her baby having a baby

Anne Lamott on her baby having a baby

When my book A Sense of Place came out a few years ago I got compliments about being a good interviewer. But here's the secret: I interviewed people -- the world's leading travel writers -- who had...

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Lily Tomlin rocks the house

Lily Tomlin rocks the house

These days Lily Tomlin’s character Ernestine, the gossipy telephone operator who used to parody the AT&T monopoly, works for an insurance firm, “denying health care to everybody.” She told me...

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Leo Kottke: How the guitar saved my life

Leo Kottke: How the guitar saved my life

  Leo Kottke is a quirky and genuine as you'd guess from his music - here's an excerpt from our interview which ends with him talking about music being a type of home for him: Renowned acoustic...

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Joan Rivers: Let’s tawk

Joan Rivers: Let’s tawk

Can we talk? I must admit I've never been drawn to Joan Rivers as I have to comics like George Carlin or Richard Pryor. But after interviewing, I came to appreciate her fierce honesty and incisive...

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Interview with Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson

Interview with Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson

I spoke with the genius behind the Beach Boys, Brian Wilson, in August 2011. The man who penned hits such as "California Girls" and "Wouldn't It Be Nice" has suffered terribly from mental illness...

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Jane Goodall interview

Jane Goodall interview

In 2007 I had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Jane Goodall. Excerpts from that interview have appeared O (Oprah's magazine), The Explorer's Journal and Earth Island Journal. Here's the Goodall...

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David Sedaris’ subversive charm

David Sedaris’ subversive charm

David Sedaris is not a rock star. He's an author, radio contributor, humorist, playwright, and essayist. Yet when he walks onstage Saturday night , October 30, at the Wells Fargo Center, he'll be...

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