Actor, writer, and now television producer Simon Hamlin says Seattle’s Pike Place Market was always one of his favorite places. He has fond childhood memories of shopping there with his mother and, as a member of the Behar family, and “related in some way to half the Sephardic community here,” he quips, he’s certain that his grandparents and maybe even great-grandparents shopped or worked there.
“I grew up in the restaurant industry,” he says, adding, “I do love good food.”
His father owned or operated 30 restaurants, including Simon’s in Tukwila — named after him — and the Brooklyn Café in downtown Seattle.
About a year ago, Simon observed that farmers markets had all the compelling elements for television: “Musicians, interesting vendors, [colorful] fruits, vegetables…people walking around” with kids and pets, he says. Talking to the people who worked there he knew “definitely, there were lots of great story lines, a lot of potential.”
In the confluence of these influences it makes sense that the Jewish Day School and Mercer Island High School alum, 39, should be involved with creating “Locally Grown,” a satirical comedy TV show about life at a farmers market. Working with his partners at Abundant Productions, Simon says they chose it from about 10 potential projects as “the one that had the most mass appeal.”
Set in Seattle — watch the two-part pilot at www.locallygrowntv.com — the show features the multi-generation Granger family and their struggle to “maintain their unity and their livelihood through every awkward situation” at the fictional Ballmont market, according to the information packet. You might recognize the Ballard Sunday market in the crowd scenes, but the close-ups were staged on a local parking lot.
Calling it a “mixture of ‘Modern Family,’ ‘Arrested Development,’ and ‘Portlandia,’” a 12-minute pilot has been produced along with a series of one- or two-minute vignettes they call “bonus sprouts.” Now comes the job of “getting interest from potential investors and buyers,” a process that can be “indefinite…you hear stories of scripts sitting in someone’s drawer for 10 years.”
In the meantime, Simon, who graduated from UCLA and lived in L.A. before moving back to Seattle a few years ago, balances a variety of jobs to support himself. He’s appearing in Intiman’s production of “Lysistrata” and works with Effective Arts, helping to lead improvisation workshops for corporate leadership training.
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Taylor Halperin, who is spending his summer interning with Sen. Maria Cantwell. (Photo: Todd Green)
When our Senator Maria Cantwell speaks publicly this summer, Taylor Halperin writes down every word she said.
At least that was one of his duties as a summer press intern in her Washington, DC office. His duties are different from other interns, although he sometimes leads tours.
“My favorite thing is the daily clips,” he said last week while on the job. He culls news items relating to Cantwell, selecting the most important and distributing them to her listserve and local offices.
About to be a senior at Williams College in Massachusetts, Taylor says he applied for “a bunch of internship opportunities in DC and New York City” in January, before he left on a semester abroad program in Marseilles, France. Cantwell’s office responded first. That program in France required participants to speak only French and gave Taylor the chance to study some Arabic, which “is probably equivalent to my Hebrew at this point,” he says.
The unpaid internship, is “helping me determine whether I want to go into law or politics,” says Taylor.
He could have had his previous paying summer job in Seattle as music director for the student drama program Broadway Bound, “but it…didn’t have any relation to the career I wanted to pursue,” he says.
A piano student since age 6, he performs with the jazz big band and another small ensemble at school. Among his other interests is baseball, and he spent most of 2011 blogging about sabermetrics (statistical analysis of the game) for ESPN.
He grew up in Seattle, where his family attends Temple Beth Am, and graduated from Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences. He’s enjoying seeing the sights, some family and his friends in DC, although “it’s kind of humid here,” he says.
He does shoot some hoops as well, but the opportunity to play with President Obama hasn’t surfaced.
“That would be awesome,” he says, though he allows, “He would probably school me.”
Taylor’s internship ends next week and he will spend three weeks working in Williamstown and studying for the LSAT before school starts.