Tom Teicholz is an award-winning journalist, writer, and producer who has created print, video and social media content for Intel, Logitech, the Museum of Tolerance, the Milken Family Foundation, and the Wilshire Boulevard Temple as well as for private clients. He is a contributor to Forbes.com, The Los Angeles Review of Books, among others. His just-published collection “Being There: Journalism 1978-2000” (Rare Bird/Vireo Books) includes work originally published in Andy Warhol’s Interview, The Paris Review, The New York Times Magazine, The Forward, and The New Yorker’s ‘Talk of the Town’. He lives with his wife and daughter in Santa Monica, CA.
What do you do best?
Translate experience into a story – whether it is my own personal experience, or the experience of reading a book or seeing an art exhibition, visiting a museum, attending a concert or performance; or the life experience of someone I interview – and in this new collection of my early work “Being There”, that’s exactly what I’m learning to do.
What makes you the best?
Journalist A.J. Liebling famously described his own talents as “I can write faster than anyone who writes better, and I can write better than anyone who writes faster.” In a similar vein, I write about a greater range of subjects, personages and people, in greater depth, and with greater erudition, in a more readable, entertaining and educational fashion than any writer who does any of those single things better. I am probably the only person to be published in The New York Times Magazine, Andy Warhol’s Interview, The Paris Review, the Forward, and the Budapest Sun – and to have interviewed Tom McGuane, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Jerzy Kosinski, as well as Bill Graham, Jeff Bridges, Russ Meyer and Phoebe Cates.
What are your aspirations?
To be present and be there for others, and for the world to be a better place for my having been in it.
Every article and each moment of publication feels like my biggest success.
Most Challenging Moment?
The challenge is to keep working in the face of personal challenges -- aged parents who are ill, children acting out, one’s own emotional hardships and financial crises – to name but a few. When I became a lifeguard as a teenager, they taught you that “The drowning person wants to drown you.” That has stayed with me. As a writer you have to keep keeping on. As a bumper sticker I once saw put it, “No rain, no rainbow.”
I have a bunch: Just tell the damn truth. Break the big rocks first. It’s your job to make it interesting. 2% better is still 2% better.
Favorite People/Role Models?
As writers and as professional role models: Philip Roth and Calvin Trillin. Personally: Amy Rappeport, my wife and Natasha our daughter. Of the people featured in “Being There”, Kosinksi was the most charming, Tom McGuane the most fun, Russ Meyer the most amusing and Isaac Bashevis Singer the most cantankerous.
I grew up in New York, and I live in Santa Monica – those are home. Paris, Jerusalem, and Budapest are cities I am always happy to visit.
Alexa. AcornTV. The David Hockney Sumo by Taschen Books.
Ebikes, Hi-Res Audio, and I’ve gotten quite obsessed with framing things (spend too much time at Michael’s). More to the point of this interview, I have enjoyed being the curator of my own writing career and assembling this (and other) collections of my journalism – and pleasantly surprised by how much of the work holds up and remains compelling to read.