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DeSantis and Crist go Head-to-Head in Debate; Cameron Crowe is Interviewed about his Broadway Musical; Anderson Cooper Shares his Interview with Laurie Anderson. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired October 24, 2022 - 08:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, Republican incumbent Ron DeSantis squaring off in a debate against his Democratic challenger, Charlie Crist, in the race for Florida governor. The stakes are high for Crist, who needs to stage a comeback amid DeSantis' historic cash advantage and possible future as a presidential contender.

CNN's Steve Contorno is live for us in St. Petersburg, Florida, with more on this.

Steve, what are you looking for tonight?

STEVE CONTORNO, CNN REPORTER: Brianna, look for Charlie Crist to try to orchestrate some kind of breakthrough moment, because it is clear he is going to need one for these final weeks of the race. Not only is he down in the polls, not only is tonight the last debate, not only does early voting begin today, but he doesn't have a lot of money left over for these final few week, and he has reserved very little air time for after this debate. So, this might be one of his last chances to speak directly to Florida voters.

He has signaled he is going to focus quite a bit on abortion. This is a state where it is now illegal to get abortion after 15 weeks after Governor DeSantis signed that into law this year. DeSantis himself said he would do more to, quote, protect life if he is re-elected. But he hasn't really said what he means by that. He's been kinds of coy. And I think Charlie Crist is going to try to pin him down on that.

For Governor DeSantis, you know, he probably could play it safe, but he is trying to build more momentum for a potential presidential campaign, make that case that he can make the jump from Florida to this national level. And, you know, he is also not one to have - to back down from a fight. And him and Charlie Crist have not spared to many nice word for each other in this race. So, Brianna, I think you're going to see them mix it up quite a bit.

KEILAR: How far -- what's the spread there right now about?

CONTORNO: Charlie Crist is down by about 8 points. And I think an even more telling number is the number 270,000. That is the number more Republicans registered in the state than Democrats. That is a total reversal from when Ron DeSantis was on the ballot four years ago.

KEILAR: Yes, that is huge.

Steve, thank you so much for that.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we have a special treat this morning. The classic "Almost Famous" about film maker Cameron Crowe's own experiences writing for "Rolling Stone" magazine as a teenager. It is now on Broadway. And Cameron Cow is here joining us live.




SINGING: Hold me closer, tiny dancer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have to go home.



BERMAN: So, Cameron Crowe's classic "Almost Famous" has made its way to the Broadway stage. The musical, which made its world premiere in 2019 at the Old Globe in San Diego, is based on Crowe's own experiences as a teenager writing for "Rolling Stone" magazine in the early 1970s. And with me now is Academy Award winning screen writer of "Almost Famous," and now Broadway impresario, Cameron Crowe.

Great to see you.


BERMAN: So, look, I told you in the commercial, I just watched "Almost Famous" with my two 15-year-olds and then I watched them watching it -


BERMAN: And it was breathtaking because it's an introduction not just to the music -


BERMAN: But to adventure and to agency.


BERMAN: Talk to me about putting all of that on stage.

CROWE: Well, you do get that feeling of kind of wanderlust. Like, everything is possible. You can follow your dream at that age and nobody's going to stop you if you have the guts of instinct and heart. And that's kind of what happened with me. You know, a lot of people took me in, bands and editors and people like that because they saw like raw enthusiasm. And what's great is that's present in the cast we have in the -- in the Broadway version of the story.

BERMAN: I know it was personal when you first did the film. How has it been personal for you putting it up on stage?

CROWE: Well, it was - it was interesting because I grew up in a family where theater was really important. You know, my mom had gone to see "Streetcar Named Desire" at the Barrymore Theater in 1947 and talked about Brando on stage, but I never thought that would be a destination for my stuff.

But what happened is, the personal quality of the film "Almost Famous" kind of kept it alive with fans with people that I talked to. And my friend Leah Volick, a huge music fan who became a Broadway producer said, well, why don't you try Broadway and create that feeling that you got in the movie on a live stage.


And that's what's made it continuingly personal, you know, and from the heart.

BERMAN: And people who go will recognize some of the songs, some of the hits that were in the film.


BERMAN: You know, "Tiny Dancer" and others are there. But there's also original songs, original lyrics.

CROWE: Yes. We thought instead of doing kind of a jukebox blast of classic rock, we would kind of give you a little bit of a game as an audience member where, I know that song, it's a Cat Stevens song. Wait, is that a Joni Mitchell song that I never heard before? Wait. And they all kind of blend together. And some of them are new, written by Tom Kitt and me. And our director Jeremy Herrin kind of brought all the elements together. And it's that elixir that you get from the movie in a live experience. A little bit of a concert too happens.

BERMAN: It sounds like a blast.

You just mentioned your mom, who was, of course, a huge theater lover.

CROWE: Yes. Huge.

BERMAN: A huge fan of yours, right? Let's be fair.


BERMAN: And, you know, she's in the film, in a way.


BERMAN: (INAUDIBLE). Talk to me about her -- your relationship with her, and I know you lost her just as this was getting on the stage.

CROWE: Yes. Yes, two days before our first audiences came in to see the show in San Diego, right before the pandemic, she passed away. But her crusade was to get me to like never give up on bringing the story to the theater. And I would sometimes say, I don't know, mom. Like, is it going to be great? I'm not sure. And she'd say, negativity is in every cell of the body. You can't create that. You can't make that. So, be positive. Never give up.

And so that became the spirit of moving the play forward. But it's so much about like what happened in my family, where originally she was such a strong teacher. She didn't want rock in the house.

BERMAN: No, she thought rock and roll was dangerous to you.

CROWE: Evil, you know. That's a "Rolling Stones" album. You can't have that here. That's about drugs and promiscuous sex. Simon and Garfunkel was that to her. Eventually, over time, she broke down to realize the poetry of Joni Mitchell and like all the great artists of the era. But for a long time my sister Cindy and I toyed under the - let's just say the ban of rock in the house.

BERMAN: And I love the fact, she ultimately met Mick Jagger and ended up flirting with Mick Jagger.

CROWE: She did. She did. We had a party for a book that I had written about the great writer/director Billy Wilder, and Mick Jagger was there. And my mom was there. This person who had said no rock in the house, particularly his rock, and she said, can you - can you make sure I get to meet Mick Jagger. I had never met Mick Jagger. I went over to Mick Jagger and said, you want to meet my mom. And he said, sure. And before I knew it, she was like hanging on his shoulder and flirting with him and I'm standing there going, how did this happen? This is surreal. Come on.

BERMAN: Well, if you couldn't make her love rock and roll, Mick Jagger certainly could.

CROWE: He waltzed right in and there it was.

BERMAN: What's going to be the most surprising thing for people who go and see this show?

CROWE: You'll feel things that you might have felt from the movie, but you'll also feel this amazing energy from a cast. And we really lived together for about four or five years now. And it's a little bit of the live concert experience. So you'll hear the band Stillwater performing live. And it's just -- it creates this kind of feeling that, if you've never been to a Broadway play, you get a - just a real visceral feeling of what live performance is. And also that feeling of great music hopefully we'll bring you too.

BERMAN: Stillwater runs dep, as you liked to say on the cover of "Rolling Stone" in film.

CROWE: Oh, yes. BERMAN: Did it really happen? I mean were you really on tour with rock

groups when you were 15 and 16 years old?

CROWE: Yes, John, it's - it's -- I came from San Diego. So I think because the bands were so happy to not be playing L.A., where they were judged, they'd come to San Diego, it was basically surfers and big fans of rock and like a kid with a tape recorder coming in on this - on this day where they felt so relaxed saying, I have some questions for you. Bring that kid in. Let's talk. And I basically began my writing career because of the, you know, largesse of the bands that would come to San Diego and be happy to see a kid that actually listened to their music interviewing them.

BERMAN: Well, look, we're all better for it.

CROWE: Thank you.

BERMAN: It's an honor to meet you.

CROWE: Likewise.

BERMAN: I can't wait - I really can't wait to see this show. Thank you very much.

CROWE: Looking forward to seeing you there, John.

BERMAN: All right, Cameron Crow, everybody.

So, in a new podcast, Anderson Cooper speaks to Laurie Anderson about the loss of her husband, rock legend Lou Reed. Anderson joins us live - Anderson Cooper joins us live with the latest podcast episode, next.



KEILAR: In the latest episode of the podcast "All There Is with Anderson Cooper," Anderson talks with artist and composer Laurie Anderson about the unexpected feelings she experienced when she lost her husband, musician and rock legend Lou Reed.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: You said of Lou's death, I've never seen the expression as full of wonder as Lou's as he died. His hands were doing the water flowing 21 form of Tai Chi. His eyes were wide open. I was holding in my arms the person I loved the most in the world and talking to him as he died. His heart stopped. He wasn't afraid. I'd gotten to walk with him to the end of the world. Life so beautiful, painful and dazzling, does not get better than that. And death, I believe that the purpose of death is the release of love.

LAURIE ANDERSON: I do kind of remember writing that. I do remember feeling it.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KEILAR: And Anderson is with us now, along with Sebastian, who joins us for every one of these beautiful segments, which we so enjoy.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, I could probably get the nanny.

KEILAR: Yes. And here he is learning as we do it.


KEILAR: Anderson, what is in store -- every one of these podcast episodes is just so beautiful. It's such an experience. What is in store for us in this one?

COOPER: So, Laurie Anderson is just a remarkable human being.


She's somebody I've long admired. I -- my mom introduced me to her music back in the early 1980s. And I did a profile of her for "60 Minutes," which was the first time I met her, and she was just so lovely and wonderful and quirky and original and she has such an interesting perspective on loss and grief. And I've been trying, in the podcast, to kind of get different perspectives in. And she suffered the death of her husband Lou Reed and also a beloved dog named Lolabelle, who she actually made a film about. And, you know, it's just -- it's another way of looking at grief and another way of looking at loss. And she felt upon, you know, a sense of release and this idea of the release of love. And that's really kind of informed the way she has grieved and informed the way she has felt. And she has this great believing -- belief that, you know, people turn into other things, that people can turn into love in your life. They can turn into an idea. They can turn into something and they can become that -- that feeling for you, which I love that idea.

BERMAN: You guys had a really interesting, moving discussion about objects, about things left behind by people you love. I want to play a clip of that.


COOPER: I find all these objects are infused with so many memories. And because all of the family that I grew up in, the little family of my father, my brother and my mom, I'm the last person who knows the memories of all these objects. So, in throwing them away or giving them away or whatever, it's like extinguishing that memory.

ANDERSON: Well, yes, you are last man standing here. It's true.

COOPER: Yes, exactly.

ANDERSON: But t could be really interesting, instead of feeling the heaviness of that, just -- I found that it helped me a lot to give things away.


BERMAN: Talk to me more about what she said there at the end, it helped her to give things away.

COOPER: Yes. What - yes, she was talking about giving away Lou Reed's jackets, although she did also say that she would see like friends of hers walking around the street with them on and be like, hey, wait a minute, I kind of what that back. But I think you're allowed to do.

But, you know, I think one of the things she said to me that I think is so important is the idea of not being entombed by these things that are left behind, these things that you have to go through. It's very easy to - you know, I sort of imagine myself sometimes I'm going through my mom's stuff like being one of these people you read about who's, you know, like killed by a stack of newspapers in their home that they've been saving for 40 years. And I - I think it's a really important idea to not let it be - to not entomb you and kind of develop ritual -- new rituals and new ways of, you know, whether it's giving things away or, you know, whatever it may be, kind of doing creative things with objects.

I found all these bills of my mom that had - and they were sort of representative of a lot of things in our life. And they were like these great old Christian Dior bills from the 1950s. And there were a lot of them because she, you know, was quite -- yes, she wasn't a spendthrift. And it sort of -- you know, as a kid it bothered me that that kind of spending - and I - look -- you know, I said to Laurie, I was thinking about like papering the wall to them, making them into wallpaper. And she was like, oh, I think that's a great idea. So, I haven't done it yet, but I'm considering it.

KEILAR: Oh, I love that. I think you should definitely do that because the stuff is very hard. Look, I lost my mom in 2016. The stuff is tricky because some of it -- a lot of it, you know, they're treasures. A lot of it, they're not.


KEILAR: All of it is hard to let go of.

COOPER: Totally.

KEILAR: But can you go back to talking about Lolabelle, the dog.


KEILAR: Because she lost her beloved pet as well. And she had some really unexpected feelings when it came to that.

COOPER: Yes, it was really fascinating. She - you know, and some people might roll their eyes and be like, well, wait a minute, come on, you know, the death of a dog. But if you love your dog, it -- you certainly understand the loss that that can be.

She felt, though, what - what surprised her about this, the death of this fox terrier, Lolabelle, was that she felt this overwhelming joy upon her death. Not joy that she was gone, but, again, that sort of - that she felt this like release of love. And she felt this sense of happiness. And that -- that didn't go away. She expected to be crying and people saying to her, well, look, you'll never get another dog, but she actually did get another dog and she -- that sense of joy did not go away. And I found that kind of extraordinary. It's not something I'm familiar with, but, wow, how amazing that -- would that be to be able to feel that.

KEILAR: Yes. Laurie is my grief goals, I'll tell you that, because I didn't feel that either.

COOPER: Yes, I know, me too.

KEILAR: I didn't feel that either, Anderson, but something to aim for.

COOPER: Sort of my -- she's my life goals basically. She's sort of my human being goals.

KEILAR: Yes. Yes.

COOPER: If I could be as evolved as her and -- yes.


KEILAR: Well, this is wonderful again. Thank you for sharing this with us and Sebastian. Oh, I mean Sebastian is always amazing. Always such a good sport. He's always so well-behaved and he puts up with us.


KEILAR: So, Sebastian, thank you. Anderson, thank you. And we'll check out the latest episode of "All There Is With Anderson Cooper." You can see that wherever you get your podcast or you can just scan the QR code you see there on your screen with your phone to find the podcast.

Oh, by baby.


BERMAN: All right, as if Sebastian isn't enough "Good Stuff," time for more now.

The Phillies are in the World Series and Philadelphia has lost its collective mind in the midst of their magical run. Shortstop Bryson Stott went above and beyond to help a super fan enjoy the ride. He'd read about Geoff Crawley who traveled from Washington to San Diego to watch his favorite team in the NLCS and honored his father who died from cancer by putting a sweatshirt with his picture on it in the seat right next to him. Stott reached out to the reporter who's shared Geoff's story on Twitter saying he wanted to leave Geoff two tickets for this weekend where he presumably got to see the Phillies win the pennant. The story hits close to home for Stott, who lost a childhood friend to leukemia and wears number five as a tribute.

CNN's coverage continues after a quick break.