By Kambiz Shekdar, Ph.D.
Days before his 94th birthday on December 20, 2021, WestView News publisher George Capsis was my first guest on a new weekly meet & greet interview series simulcast on YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn. As a community leader for much of his almost 100 years on earth to date, George has many stories to tell, and the interview only scratched the surface with some tales of visits by actress and neighbor Sarah Jessica Parker and New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, from before he was an elected official. In fact, we may create an entirely new series of webisodes dedicated to sharing the rich stories and experiences of George: “Sundays with George!”
My current series is about building community towards common goals. My hope for the series is to provide intimate portraits of the many fascinating people that make New York City the great village that it is. The series includes everyday people and heads of organizations; founders, creators and trouble-makers; in some cases, like George, a combination of all three. As a gay Iranian-American scientist and biotech inventor working on developing a global cure for AIDS on a not-for-profit basis, I will interview many individuals who are members of the LGBT AIDS communities or play roles in this, but my guests will go far beyond any category.
The main goal is to learn about the very many fascinating people I have come to get to know, some more and some less, and especially to speak about the things that are important to each and that interest and excite them. Hopefully we can gain some insight into who these guests are as people and as creative individuals.
The discussion format will be very open, like we are meeting at a party, and I am asking my guests about themselves and their interests. But please beware, I am a very curious and inquisitive person, so there will be a lot of questions!
Before each interview, I will research and identify four or five topics that I believe each guest might like to speak about, including, to start, my asking my guests about their bio, where they were born, their family, etc. I will also pop onto the screen maybe ten or more slides that we can walk and talk through. At all times, I will follow my guests’ lead in the discussion. If something pops to their mind that they want to mention at any time, we will follow that thread.
Also, I will share any information, including contact information or books or new projects that my guests would like to highlight, including by making slides which we can put up pointing people to that information. Because the interview would be live, I will steer away from any topics that guests do not wish to discuss, to avoid putting anyone in an awkward spot.
Timing-wise, these interviews have typically lasted just short of an hour, though there is no time limit. They will be posted online in their full and unedited form. Perhaps in the future, we can make shorter additional edited versions too.
Already I have sixteen people ready to go as upcoming guests through the end of May. We will kick off the New Year right with the artist, activist and original thinker Penny Arcade as our phenomenal first guest of the year to properly anchor 2022. Penny will be joining me live on Friday January 7, 2022 at 3pm EST.
You can catch the livestream live as it is happening or the recorded version afterwards at any time. If you would be interested in being a guest on my show or know anyone who would, please drop me a line at email@example.com. Below are links to the recordings so far as well as how you can tune in to catch future episodes.
Episode 1: RFTcureaids founder Dr. Kambiz Shekdar on road to the cure (introductory episode)
Episode 2: George Capsis, 94-year old publisher of Manhattan’s community newspaper: WestView News
Episode 3: Rev. Edwin Chinery of Manhattan’s Church of the Ascension on Lower Fifth Avenue
Episode 4: Renaissance man & nglccNY Director Thomas “J” Chernick
Episode 5: LGBTQ Champ Patrik Gallineaux will appear on New Year’s Eve’s Eve.
To watch future episodes on YouTube, Facebook or LinkedIn Live, follow any of these channels:
Rockefeller University alumnus and biotech inventor Kambiz Shekdar, Ph.D., is the president of Research Foundation to Cure AIDS and Science & LGBTQ editor at WestView News.