Listen Here: Spike Lee’s 2007 Master Class with John Pierson
In anticipation of Spike Lee’s newest film DA 5 BLOODS, which premieres this Friday on Netflix, we were hunting around for some classic Spike interviews. At this point, we probably all know how much power Lee can put into his films, but he also brings a showman’s flair to his interviews, and shares perspective that help to enrich the viewing of his work.
Here’s a page, nestled deep in the voluminous University Of Texas web architecture, that collects many of the recordings of John Pierson’s legendary Master Classes that he conducted at the University from 2006-2012. It’s quite a collection – and in many ways a time capsule of the period ( for instance as of today an interview with a particularly reprehensible person has not been scrubbed from the site.)
You can hear candid discussions conducted by John Pierson with such giants as Gus Van Sant, Charles Burnett, Spike Jonze, and many others. Pierson does a great job with these. They serve their purpose as education quite well, and also entertain.
But back to what brought us here: a great 2007 discussion between Pierson and his old friend Spike Lee, After some back-and-forth centered around his then-current film WHEN THE LEVEES BROKE, the conversation goes into some different areas. Lee discusses his predecessors (Charles Burnett, Haile Gerima and Julie Dash) and the generation of black filmmakers that followed his breakthrough. Throughout the session with Pierson – and later with the students – his acute sense of cultural criticism shines forth.