About Geoff Edgers
Geoff Edgers (born 1970) is a journalist and writer on the staff of the Boston Globe, the author of two children’s books (Penguin) and, most recently, the host and writer of the Travel Channel’s weekly series, “Edge of America.” In 2010, he starred in Do It Again, a film about his quest to reunite the Kinks that also featured Zooey Deschanel and Sting. The Public Broadcasting Service syndicated the critically-acclaimed film.
In addition, he has written for GQ, Wired, Salon, Spin and Details and is a regular contributor to WBUR, Boston’s National Public Radio affiliate. Examples of his freelance work include profiling a white supremacist band in GQ, Monkee Michael Nesmith for Wired, and Wayne Gretzky’s less-talented, hockey-playing brothers in Details.
He has worked for a series of newspapers, including the Raleigh (NC) News & Observer, Boston Phoenix and Boston Globe. Since 2002, Geoff has been on staff at the Boston Globe as an arts and entertainment reporter, covering fine arts, movies, music and also launching his own blog. During his time at the Globe, he has twice been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize by the newspaper’s editors.
Geoff attended Brookline High School in Brookline, Massachusetts and graduated from Tufts University in 1992 with a degree in English.
He is married to Carlene Hempel, a journalist and full-time instructor at Northeastern University. Geoff and his wife live in Concord, MA. with their two children, Lila and Calvin. Along with his television, film and writing work, he is an active runner and athlete who has run six marathons and has an encyclopedic knowledge of music and sports.
Programs Offered By Geoff Edgers
Note: All of Geoff’s programs have customized audio visual supplementation.
“HOW TO BECOME A REALITY TELEVISION HERO AGAINST OVERWHELMING ODDS”
“FINDING YOUR EDGE: How To Take That Leap (Without Losing Your Family Or Job)”
“DO IT AGAIN: Facing Your Past On Your Way To Attempting The Improbable”
“JOURNALISM 101: What They Don’t Teach You--How To Thrive In Today’s Digital Age”
Speaker Reviews of Geoff Edgers
“Geoff was an amazing addition to our speaker's series at St. John's University. He was friendly, informative, entertaining, and completely engaging. After his formal presentation, we were impressed with how much time he spent time talking with individual members of the audience.
Geoff's quirky sense of humor, his intelligence, and his openness made him our favorite speaker that semester. In fact, we are desperate to have him visit our campus again.”
Thomas Kitts, Ph.D., Chair of the Division of English and Speech, St. John's University
“Geoff Edgers always has something to say and he knows how to say it. I invite him to talk to my students year after year because I can count on him to inform, enlighten, entertain and delight us. Plus, he's very funny.”
Nan Levinson, Professor of English, Tufts University
“Geoff’s presentation of his film, Do It Again, on our campus offered a great example of how comfortable he is communicating both with students for whom the Kinks are an obscure entity from the sixties and with fans of that band who bring a deep reverence for the music. He was engaging and eager, at once happy to meet like minds and diplomatic with detractors. He was a joy to have at Skidmore.”
Gordon Thompson, Ph.D., Professor of Music, Skidmore College
About “Edge Of America”
“Edge of America,” a 10-episode series produced by Magilla Entertainment (Moonshiners, Long Island Medium), premiered on the Travel Channel in 2013 and followed Geoff on his search for unexpected entertainment across the country. During the program, Edgers not only reported on these events, he participated. During the first season, among other activities, he tackled an alligator, flew a sea plane, drag-raced a rental car, climbed an ice wall, shot a wild pig from a helicopter, jousted on a tall bike, castrated a bull, played unicycle football, and ate a still-beating rattlesnake heart.
GQ called the program “Charles Kuralt meets Jackass,” the Los Angeles Times, in a Sunday feature, praised “Edge of America” for capturing “the flavor of real America,” and the New York Times wrote “you have to admire the audaciousness of Geoff Edgers.”
Edge of America Videos:
Season 1 Highlight Reel
One Minute Tease
Rattlesnake segment: Here & Now (NPR)
Media Reviews of “Edge of America”
Los Angeles Times
New York Times
Capsule Reviews of “Edge of America”
“…marvel at just how bizarre Americans’ recreational preferences can be…You have to admire the audaciousness of Geoff Edgers…”
- New York Times
“…the flavor of real America…[Edgers] participates, sometimes poorly, often comically, while sharing details of the event’s cultural significance.”
- Los Angeles Times
“From bike jousting to rattlesnake hunting, they’ve traveled across the country… experiencing everything that is truly American.”
- Fox News
“…the great American road trip…it’s not often an arts reporter has to sign waivers in case of death…Edgers is obsessed with authenticity…”
- Philadelphia Inquirer
“Not-so-national pastimes…Edgers enjoys some ‘all-American fun,’ if by ‘fun’ you mean attending an annual festival…where the main dish is fresh calf testicles…”
- New York Daily News
“…the sort of events beloved by locals but not widely known beyond the states’ borders…”
- The Oregonian
“Edgers brings his wry, somewhat deadpan sensibility to a weekly tour of the non-guidebook activities across America.”
- Boston Globe
“In each episode, Edgers journeys to a new state to participate in the weird festivals and contests locals put on for entertainment.”
- Boston Magazine
“One thing that differentiates “Edge” from similar shows is Edgers…What will make “Edge” stand out is the obscurity of its locations and celebrations. We really like it.”
- Raleigh News & Observer
“Everybody needs a hobby, and some of those hobbies can be pretty bizarre.”
- Miami Herald
“Edgers takes big risks on ‘Edge of America…viewers will find out what it's like to eat the still beating heart of a rattlesnake and to wrestle an alligator…[Edgers] discovers some the most unexpected ways that people have found to amuse themselves -- from a calf testicle festival to the inexplicable Pig N' Ford race.”
- Yahoo! Pop Culture Passionistas
“…Edgers immerses himself in bizarre American subcultures.”
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“…Edgers crisscrosses the country to check out the most unusual forms of entertainment out there.”
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“…an experiential survey of some of the bizarre, dangerous, and hilarious things people do to have fun all over the country…explores America’s recreational fringe.”
- New Hampshire Public Radio
“…celebrates the weird and wonderful varieties of entertainment that have developed around regional unique and historic places.”
- WAMC “The Roundtable”
Geoff Edgers, Author
Geoff’s children’s book, Who Were the Beatles? (2006, Grosset and Dunlap, a division of Penguin), has sold more than 200,000 copies and was followed by Who Was Elvis? in 2007. He is currently writing a biography of Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee that will be published in 2014.
Geoff Edgers and Do It Again
His 2010 documentary (writer, actor, co-producer) on the Kinks, Do It Again, featured Sting, Zooey Deschanel, Clive Davis, Paul Weller and Robyn Hitchcock. In one memorable sequence, Geoff, during an interview with Sting, pulled out his guitar and asked if he would mind playing a song with him. Sting did, and their impromptu version of “Set Me Free” was captured on camera.” The film premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam and played at more than 50 other festivals worldwide before its syndicated PBS run.
Do It Again Trailer
Reviews of Do It Again
Film Review: Do It Again
By Stewart Nusbaumer, Huffington Post
April 13, 2010
Getting a hold of this film is like wresting an octopus. You are out-manned, with weird tentacles coming at you from every direction. Although its face is moronic looking, you sense the beast is smart and sneaky. And definitely slippery.
Do It Again is a documentary that focuses on a middle-age man, Geoff Edgers, and his attempt to reunite his favorite musical group, the Kinks, a rock group from the British musical invasion of the 1960s. A journalist working at the Boston Globe, Edgers is determined to realize his dream of bringing the group together.
Wait -- that's a real slacker intro. I need to start over.
Do It Again is a documentary about journalist Geoff Edgers slammed by job insecurity and punched by a mid-life crisis--the Big 40! Confronting the possibility of losing his house if not his sanity, Edgers copes with the stress and fear by morphing into a hilarious comedian who embraces the totally wacky idea of uniting a dysfunctional group of British misfits and pathetic screw-ups formerly called the Kinks.
Yes, that is better. But something bigger is going on with this celluloid octopus.
Do It Again is a documentary about the collapse of the American Dream and the desperate struggle of Americans to evade the middle-class barbecue, which those still with jobs call a recession. One precarious American, Geoff Edgers, a member of the torched profession of journalism, confronts the possibility of being burnt toast and flushed down the toilet of the American Nightmare by bending the boundaries of reality to embrace a wacky mission to reunite his favorite band, the Kinks.
That's a little better. Still--oh, forget it.
The roadblock for Edgers to reunite the Kinks appears to be lead singer and chief songwriter Ray Davies, who is either totally nuts or a humongous ego blimp. Actually, he's probably both. When the band was together, Davies spent more time pounding on his brother Dave than playing his guitar. On the other hand, none of this really matters. Do It Again is really about the hunter, not the hunted. It's about Geoff Edgers stalking America and England to realize his dream of reuniting the four wackos.
Edgers is of course missing more than a few marbles himself. Sure the Kinks had a few big hits, but they were a second-tier group, and that is a kind evaluation. I lived through the 60s and beyond, and I don't even remember the group. Actually, now that I think about it, I don't remember any groups. Anyway, don't attempt to enlighten this heat-seeking missile programmed for mission target--to reunite the four psychos--that it's mission impossible and if possible then it's mission unworthy. There are times when one should just keep their mouth shut. Not that Edgers ever does.
The man is certainly self-absorbed--he can't shut-up about reuniting the band--but his self-absorption is not ego-driven. For instance, when requesting the assistance of established musicians --Sting, Robyn Hitchcock, Paul Weller, Peter Buck, Zooey Deschanel, and eventually Dave Davies--his insistence upon singing with them is not because of ego. It's the opposite. With ego blow torched by the American Dream slipping down the potty, self-defecation and embarrassing one's self have become quite natural in America. So with famous musicians, Edgers releases one of the world's most horribly screeching, scrawny voices. And he isn't disturbed in the least.
With a goal that lies somewhere between ridiculous and worthless, it occurred to me that Edgers may have a hidden objective, one cleverly concealed behind the Kinks mission. It could even be something truly grandiose. Such as attempting to undermine human rationality and the social order ...to turn us away from everything that made this country great--well, before the middle-class was cooked by the rich. On the other hand, I might be giving Edgers too much credit. Regardless, the man does bring magic to the screen.
His refusal to bend to practicality and middle-class conformity and common sense had the strong and strange effect of skyrocketing the mood of the capacity audience at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, in Durham, North Carolina. Soon they were cheering for this man who was demanding life on his terms--clearly an alien concept in modern America. About three-quarters the way through the film, the audience was radiating an odd glow. It had turned envious of the crazy man. By the end, Geoff Edgers had transformed himself into a cute poster boy for the
It's true, this man is dangerous to America as we know it.
Directed by Robert Patton-Spruill, Do It Again is a hilarious romp and clever distraction from a crumbling America and the middle class barbecue. In fact, this film is more. Like a sneaky octopus, it wraps you up, and when squeezing the laughter out of you, out flies a picture of your life. When leaving the theater, I couldn't help but think I had taken a wrong road in one of those forks of life. The road that does not laugh enough. The one that does not allow anything between the ridiculous and the worthless. And I thought, I need to work on that.
When it's time for a break, take a good one. Watch Do It Again.
Two views of English rockers in Philadelphia film fest
By Dan DeLuca,
Philadelphia Inquirer Music Critic
October 15, 2010
The twin highlights of the Sight and Soundtrack music-movie series at the Philadelphia Film Festival take divergent documentary approaches to the legacies of first-generation British Invasion rock deities.
Somewhat sillier, and more entertaining, is Do It Again, director Robert Patton-Spruill's account of the obsessive adventures of the irrepressible Geoff Edgers, a Boston Globe writer who spends his midlife crisis trying to reunite the great British rock band, the Kinks. Edgers is a garrulous madman who loves "Waterloo Sunset" even more than it deserves to be loved. (Though I'm not sure that's possible.)
Set against the implosion of the newspaper industry, Edgers wonders why he's trying to bring brothers Ray and Dave Davies back together when he should be wondering how he's going to support his family if he doesn't have a job.
He manages not only to snag interviews with Sting, Zooey Deschanel, Robyn Hitchcock, Peter Buck, and Scott McCaughey, but also to cajole them into playing Kinks songs with him on camera. At one point, Edgers' daughter tells her father that if he fails to get the Davies brothers back together, "you have to buy me lobster." And does his quixotic quest succeed? Let's just say those crustaceans look tasty.
Working out the Kinks: One man’s bold, quixotic quest to reunite epic band
by Ethan Gilsdorf
Boston Globe Correspondent
December 10, 2010
Demented quests have driven people to climb mountains, tilt at windmills, and track down drinking vessels used by religious super heroes. Likewise, compulsive fans camp out for days to score concert tickets, and linger till 3 a.m. to glimpse stars slinking into their tour buses.
In the documentary, Do It Again, Globe reporter and wannabe rocker Geoff Edgers joins this kindred fellowship of the obsessed. Close to his 40th birthday, with salary cuts looming at the newspaper (it is 2009) and a desire to do something great making him restless, Edgers embarks on a journey larger than himself.
What is his quest? To reunite his idols, the influential British Invasion group the Kinks. His Holy Grail? To get cofounders Ray and Dave Davies to play together for the first time since 1996.
The obstacle in this odyssey is that the brothers, now in their 60s, are at war. In a telling early TV interview, Ray is seen deadpanning, “We keep together through hate”. Today, the brothers Davies don’t even speak.
Upping the ante, our protagonist’s family has its doubts. Edgers’s wife seems resigned to the idea, though she warns, “You can’t lose your job, Geoff”. His young daughter throws down the gauntlet: “If you fail, Daddy, you owe me a lobster dinner”.
Nonetheless, armed with his investigative skills (and, it seems, some not insignificant music biz connections), Edgers embarks on a campaign to get as many musicians as possible to attest, on camera, to the Kinks’ influence. David Lee Roth and Elvis Costello reject the idea. Edgers asks Warren Zanes, of legendary Boston band the Del Fuegos fame, if he should attempt the reunion. “I think it’s a misstep”, Zanes quips. (One wonders if Warren resents brother Dan’s ascendancy to children’s music superstardom.)
Eventually, Edgers tracks down many of the band’s surviving members , a revolving door of keyboardists, drummers, and bassists as well as former managers and record moguls. Astonishingly, he gets heavy hitters like Zooey Deschanel, Peter Buck (of R.E.M.), and Robyn Hitchcock to jam with him. In one marvelous sequence, Edgers plays “You Really Got Me” backstage with Sting, who knows something about why bands don’t stay together. “People evolve at different speeds”, Sting says.
Edgers’s dedication/desperation is often charming. He’s seen on the Boston Common, teaching strangers how to strum “Lola”. When he takes his quest to the UK, he busks in Hyde Park, in the rain. That said, our hero’s excessive screen time is also a liability. We get footage of Edgers driving his car, Edgers cleaning the gutters, Edgers pacing the floorboards of his house. Edgers has a strong personality and at times, that presence feels self-conscious, playing to the camera. Rather than letting events unfold quietly, he offers hyped commentary of the “Here I am in my hotel room and here’s how I feel” variety. The desire to manufacture drama can trump the arc of Edgers’ quest.
But with music-savvy Robert Patton-Spruill (Public Enemy: Welcome to the Terrordome) behind the camera, and editor Brad Allen Wilde blending various grades of footage (archival, fresh, and staged interviews), the filmmakers inject Do It Again with a likable and genuine guerilla rawness.
To reveal whether Edgers gets his man (or men) would be unkind. But suffice it to say, the film delivers a surprising payoff, pleasing not only Kinks fans, but all rock fans.
Do It Again also reminds us that time can’t heal all wounds, nor do midlife crises necessarily transform us. As Warren Zanes wisely says, “We are who we were then”.
© Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper Company.
Geoff Edgers is available for speeches, workshops and personal appearances through the MasterMedia Speakers Bureau. Contact Tony Colao for further information.