When something piques Thom Hoffman’s interest, he starts asking questions. Then he tries to work out the answers through film. The result has been an eclectic mix of documentaries (three to date) that share some common traits: his desire to educate and his love of Long Island history.
On today’s interview you’ll hear how Thom got his start working with Ray Adell on the “About Long Island” radio series and then expanded into documentaries. His first film featured the story of Brooklyn doo-wop stalwart Lenny Cocco and the Chimes. Next came his comparison of the Great Depression and the Great Recession. His latest, Shinnecock, explores the long history of the Shinnecock Nation in Southampton.
We also ask Thom about the challenges of producing and distributing documentaries on Long Island. How do you get them to a wider audience? How do you get the quality of production needed? His answers echo many of the things we’ve heard in our discussions with others involved in documentary filmmaking on Long Island.
On that note, if you’re interested in screening any of his movies or helping find a home for the “About Long Island” archive, you can contact Thom at hof565 [at] optonline.net
Stream in the player above or download audio.
- Thom Hoffman
- About Long Island radio spots from Ray Adell Media
- Lenny Cocco and the Chimes
- Cinema Arts Centre, Huntington
- Resources for Filmmakers (from POV on PBS)
Tove Hasselriis Abrams was there at the beginning, four-and-a-half years old and watching her mother Karen perform in H.M.S. Pinafore at the old Sayville High School on Greene Avenue. That first group of performers went on to found the Sayville Musical Workshop. Tove soon joined in, starring as Gretel in Humperdinck’s opera of Hansel and Gretel. After a break for college and work, she returned to catch the eye of and marry Steve Abrams, the Workshop’s pianist.
One of the first community theaters in the country, the Sayville Musical Workshop produced musicals, dramas, and operettas until 1985. There’s a lot of theater lore in this interview, including the major impact Rodgers and Hammerstein had on community theater , Troy Donohue and Brian Dennehy’s time with the Workshop, and the role of community theaters in the post-World War II era.
Welcome to the lives and times of The Home Grown String Band. Rick and Georgianne Jackofsky have been performing old time traditional music with their daughters Erica and Annalee since 1997. In this interview you’ll hear how they got their start along with tales from the road as well as a leisurely tour through the intertwining histories of old-time music, bluegrass, radio and television. The talk leads from Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs to the Carter Family, Andy Griffith, and why there’s so little Long Island-specific music history.
- R.A. Fountain Home Page
- Gourd Banjos: From Africa to the Appalachians
- A Brief History of Bluegrass Music
- Dr. John Brinkley