“How To With John Wilson” (HBO)

I might lose a lot of my readers by recommending this relatively new, unusual docu-series. And , really, it is not for everyone. Under the guise of explaining “how to do something” (the episode I watched is called “How to Make Small Talk”) Wilson interweaves his personal life with walks through the streets of New York where he engages people in conversation and documents New York moments with quick takes: police cleaning up a crime scene, a loner seated on a park bench with a blanket over the head, lovers kissing, lovers fighting, oddly costumed pedestrians, his own text exchanges with a former girlfriend. He goes to Florida for some respite from the anxieties of city life, but there is an MTV convention there with thousands of party goers. (filmed pre-CoVid). He has a conversation with one of them that turns into a poignant exchange. He’s kind of an I-Phone movie mix of Bill Cunningham, Andre Bresson, Weegee and so many others who have documented the vagaries of urban denizens–sometimes brutal and sometimes beautiful, and often dryly humorous. As a holiday gift to me please take twenty minutes and watch an episode, then write what you think.


  1. I stumbled upon a Weegee photography exhibit in a sculpture gallery in the Marais once …don’t know what it was doing in a setting dedicated to sculpture, but it was riveting….all the captions were in French of course, and fortunately Helen was able to make some sense of it for me….but it was his signature grit displayed in a series of NYC’s newly dead, nearly dead and those one could easily mistake for dead.

    Your description of the “John Wilson” doc may not rise to those standards of remarkableness — especially because it lacks the context of viewing it while in Paris — but if I get bored enough one evening….ya never know…


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