20 Questions: Max & Jason

Al 'Gore’s Boys’ and Current TV producers and hosts Max Lugavere and Jason Silva chat with PopMatters 20 Questions about enthusiasm-inducing people and things.

Producers and hosts for Current TV, the cable network co-founded by Al Gore, Max Lugavere and Jason Silva (‘Max & Jason’) are smart, funny, socially conscious, politically aware, eco-friendly and good-looking enough to get into a Gap ad in Vanity Fair’s September 2008 ‘Style’ issue. In addition to ‘pod programming’ – short, non-fiction, viewer contributed segments -- they use the Current TV platform to push for social, civic and environmental change. Their wide-ranging reports have covered everything from illegal immigration to a philosophical sit-down with director Darren Aronofsky. They chat with PopMatters 20 Questions about enthusiasm-inducing people and things.

1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?

Max: The Fountain. It's one of my favorite movies ever. One man coming face-to-face with the mortality of a loved one and his eternal quest to overcome that fate. I saw it with my girlfriend at the time whom I loved very much and cried my eyes out at the end, partly I guess because I was picturing losing her to tragedy. In the end, the relationship didn't work, but it was still a very moving experience.

Jason: The latest movie that made me cry was definitely Slumdog Millionaire I found it to be an uplifting and very moving film. I became teary-eyed at the end because I was so touched and elated by the triumph of destiny and love -- and I loved the music!!!

2. The fictional character most like you?

Max: Nate Fisher, played by Peter Krause in Six Feet Under. I've always related a lot to that character… his energy, his victories and conflicts both internal and external, his relationship with his family and with Brenda… Easily my favorite show of all time.

Jason: David Aames, the Tom Cruise character In Vanilla Sky. He wants to live forever, and his life changes once he realizes that the little things are really the big things. He is acutely aware of transience, he lusts to be carried away by a great pop song and sculpts his lucid dream from pop iconography!

3. The greatest album, ever?

Max: Wow… difficult question. If I really, really, really had to pick one, I’d say Throwing Copper by the band Live, but the reality is I love their first four albums equally. Mental Jewelry, Throwing Copper, Secret Samadhi, and The Distance to Here are four of my top 10 favorite albums of all time.

Jason:While I usually like to build my own playlists with the songs I love, if I had to pick a perfect Album, I'd pick Bob Marley's Legend. Its soaring melodies transport you to island bliss and you just feel like every little thing will be all right. I also love the soundtrack to the film The Beach.

4. Star Trek or Star Wars?

Max: I was never into either, really. But I recently saw Wall-E which I thought was freakin’ brilliant! Same sort of movie, right?

Jason:I would pick neither Star Trek nor Star Wars, but rather 2001: A Space Odyssey. I prefer a thinking man's sci-fi film!

5. Your ideal brain food?

Max: My ideal brain food is music. I love rich, layered songs with powerful vocals, anthemic instrumentation, and good lyrics.

Jason: I like to seek out brainy intellectuals and pick their brains. My surroundings are hugely important to nourish my mind, too. So smart people and beautiful settings are my brain food. The more one can sculpt the context the better the moments engineered!

6. You're proud of this accomplishment, but why?

Max: Because I’m able to make a living out of giving a voice to the voiceless, getting to work with my best friend while living in the beautiful city of Los Angeles, and getting the chance to learn from true visionaries like Al Gore and David Neuman (Current TV’s President of Programming). It really is a dream job, and so much fun!

Jason: I’m proud of having never strayed from doing what I love. Today my job is more than anything an embodiment of all of my values and principles. I am proud to be working for a better world.

7. You want to be remembered for...?

Max: Well, I’d rather not need to be remembered … I’d rather just go on living forever!

Jason: I want to be known for being a passionate advocate of biotechnology. I believe we live in an age of possibility and we must not let our fears hold us back from a true paradigm shift in human possibility. I also want to be known for my efforts to promote sustainable technologies.

8. Of those who've come before, the most inspirational are?

Max: I’m inspired by Barack Obama, my mom and dad, my friends … anyone who’s going against the grain to make a dent in the universe.

Jason: I’m inspired by Alan Harrington, Ray Kurzweil, Cameron Crowe, Danny Boyle, Aubrey de Grey -- all people who follow their bliss and whose contributions to the world make it a more interesting place.

9. The creative masterpiece you wish bore your signature?

Max: I want my show on Current TV to be our masterpiece. A place where diverse perspectives are shared from around the world, and Jason and I just get to talk about them with our awesome audience. That and the EP that I’m working on. See the next question!

Jason: I wish to create a masterpiece that serves as a meditation on the human condition. I wish to be a part of a project that challenges the status quo, illuminates our existential anxiety, and explores the paradigm shifts that must take place to elevate the human story to the next level.

10. Your hidden talents...?

Max:I’m a solo singer/songwriter and play regularly at different venues in Los Angeles. I’m hard at work on my debut EP, so you better review it,! It’s gonna kick ass!

Jason: Most people don't know, but I play piano pretty well. I'm also a pretty decent rock climber.

11. The best piece of advice you actually followed?

Max: Don’t rush. Take your time. Nothing good was ever rushed. Also, floss regularly.

Jason: Best advice I have followed is to follow my bliss. At all times I have seen doors open.

12. The best thing you ever bought, stole, or borrowed?

Max: My black Takamine guitar. It was the first gift I bought myself when I first got hired by Current TV.

Jason: Best thing I have ever bought is a digital video camera. It satisfies my urge to capture and possess beautiful moments.

13. You feel best in Armani or Levis or...?

Max: I prefer Diesel actually. They make great jeans. I love the Zatiny cut, or Zathans, too. And Gap has been pretty nice lately, as well.

Jason: I feel best in a semi-formal combination. I love to mix jeans with a blazer.

14. Your dinner guest at the Ritz would be?

Max: Would it be too cliché and obvious to ask for a dinner with Obama?

Jason: I'd love to have dinner with Cameron Crowe or Danny Boyle and talk life, movies and philosophy!

15. Time travel: where, when and why?

Max: Two answers: I’d love to go back to the time when my parents were still married, when I was 18. We used to spend summers and weekends in our beautiful house on the water in Westhampton (in Long Island) and I really miss those days. Summers were endless and it was just a really great time. Second, I’d love to go to the future and see what cool things science and technology have in store for us.

Jason: If I could time travel, I'd like to visit far into the future to see the types of unthinkable changes that will take place. I'd like to visit a world where man has seeded the universe with life and knowledge and consciousness.

16. Stress management: hit man, spa vacation or Prozac?

Max: I’m a big fan of the spa. A nice steam room, sauna, Jacuzzi, that’s pretty much my reset button no matter the circumstance.

Jason: Best stress management? A couple of drinks or a drive to the beach. Even better, a month long trip to Europe.

17. Essential to life: coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate, or...?

Max: Red wine, coffee … and women!

Jason: Exercise, eating healthy, mental stimulation. I always need to surround myself with people who inspire fascinating discourse. I hate boredom.

18. Environ of choice: city or country, and where on the map?

Max: I really want to tour around Europe for a month or two. I really want to travel the world and soon.

Jason: I love warm weather, so my environment of choice would be sunbathing near a beautiful beach, an infinity pool, a hot tub, and a moment that stretches on forever.

19. What do you want to say to the leader of your country?

Max: I’m deeply appreciative that Obama -- against many odds -- went for the highest office in the land and proved to everyone that not only does race not matter, but that we actually can elect someone to office who is brilliant, articulate, stylish, relatable and most importantly, can be a role model for younger generations.

Jason: I'd like to tell Obama that his eloquence and passion inspires me, that I have great hopes for his presidency, and I'd like to thank him for promising to not let religion or ideology get in the way of scientific progress.

20. Last but certainly not least, what are you working on, now?

Max: Our show on Current TV, which is poised to kick ass. We’re having a blast shooting it and -- since we’re basically just being ourselves on camera while talking about really compelling stuff -- we’re sure that it’s going to be fun to watch and, as always, informational. Secondly, I’m continuing to work on my music project which is coming along really well.

Jason: At the moment we host a marquee daily hour on Current TV at 9pm PST, 12am EST. We are also in pre-production on a feature length documentary on sustainability with director Hunter Richards.

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