Brian J. Bernstein and David Fleischer
January 26, 2002
East Village, New York City, NY
Part of 683 mile round trip
2 hours

Conducted in New York City, I interviewed Brian and and David at Brian's really nice apartment. He lived in a place that exemplified what I would call "upscale loft living", with a real nice floor, beautiful open kitchen, and a set of nice halogen lights hanging down from the high ceiling. I looked around and decided we would shoot across his kitchen counter, with the balance of the apartment behind him. Brian had brought up a big pile of the stuff of his BBS youth, mostly Apple II-related hardware, including a Cider drive, which was a heck of an expensive add-on in the early 1980's.

Brian wanted me to understand how much they HATED Diversi-Dials back in their BBS days, and how they went out of their way to visit various ddials and cause trouble. Diversi-dials, in case you never got to meet them, were a special blend of hardware and software that let an Apple II run a multi-line chat system. You could connect and speak to a bunch of other folks, and, using one of the lines, a number of Diversi-Dials could be connected, and therefore increase the chat size even more. But because it was so accessible, it was also accepted by people who were more into the social side of computers, which Brian found to be too much cuteness and light for his taste.

I had gotten better with the questions by this point, and we stayed focused on BBSes and Diversi-dials through most of the interview, as well as a few thoughts on hardware and programming a BBS.

With over 200 interviews conducted, I knew I couldn't have much opportunity to really create any central visual "themes" or even really any consistency in the shots themselves. I shot in farms, high-rises, homes, basements, you name it. But it was in this interview I found something I'd latch onto for a little pleasant enjoyment for the next few years.

I looked around this great urban apartment and found that Brian had a full DJ setup (two turntables and a mixer) in one side of the room. I commented that it was such a classic "loft" thing to have, and I joked about the only thing missing was a guitar on a stand. He said "In fact, I have a guitar on a stand!" and got it from his bedroom. So, in some of the shot, you can clearly make out a guitar on a stand behind him. From that point on, whenever I found someone had a guitar on a stand, I put it in the shot. I don't even know if I explained it half the time, looking back. So, I believe at least a dozen of my 200 interviews have this little easter egg in them. Have fun finding them; I won't mention it again.

David was actually rather quiet for most of the interview; I was only able to get him on-camera for a small percentage of it, but he and Brian were definitely a team in the old days and their friendship was quite obvious on camera.