By Samuel Knuth
How many kazoos do you own? Probably not as many as Boaz Frankel. He says that he has “between 100 and 200 kazoos” in an upbeat, excited tone, and “about 60 or 70 are on display at the museum” at any given point in time. You read that correctly. Frankel owns and curates a kazoo museum in Beaufort, South Carolina.
For some, this may seem out of the ordinary. For Frankel, however, kazoo collecting is only one of several unconventional projects he is working on. Frankel is a media personality who has cultivated his brand and internet presence through enterprises that, while not setting out to specifically buck convention, definitely do not fall under the usual definition of particularly “normal.”
Frankel cut his teeth in media while he was a student of dramatic writing at New York University. On the Cusp, a late night talk show style program that Frankel produced, broke viewing records for NYU-TV, NYU’s internal television station. He then gained more experience in media by interning at another talk show, Last Call with Carson Daily.
Since moving home to Portland, Frankel has continues putting out content. “I’ve never really liked driving,” he says. He instead operates a scooter to get around his hometown of Portland. His apathy towards cars was the inspiration behind his “Un-Road Trip” documentary series. On his not-quite-so-road-bound adventure, Frankel crossed America over 10 weeks aboard 101 different modes of transportation, none of which were cars. Notably, these included a couch bike, a camel and a “motorized cooler.”
Between his early experiences with talk shows and his experiences with modes of transportation, Frankel’s preeminent new media project should come as no surprise: The Pedal Powered Talk Show. It’s exactly what you’re thinking: Frankel, on a bike, interviewing celebrities. Among other things, Frankel realized there had been no real innovations in the quintessential news van. It is big, bulky, and cumbersome as transportation. Frankel got together with his friend, an expert in building bikes, and between the two of them they came up with a unique design: a polished, executive-style wooden desk which houses Frankel and the recording equipment situated on top of a long bike with a low center of gravity. The desk-bike hybrid comes equipped with stands so that Frankel and his companion do not have to balance their way through an interview with the likes of Bruce Campbell.
The project that Frankel is currently working on is true his style. Podcasts are typically lengthy broadcasts, some upwards of four hours an episode. So, of course, Frankel had to spin that around. His upcoming podcast, “What’s Your Favorite Sandwich?” addresses exactly that question. He asks people to describe their favorite sandwich in as many or few words as the respondent would like.
Frankel attributes his particular brand of unique creative output in large part to his Portland heritage. According to him, people in Portland are always willing to support new, creative, and weird things. When asked about the divide between old and new media and his transition, he simply put it “I like doing fun and weird things wherever they’ll have me.”
Boaz Frankel is both man and brand. You can find out more about him and his exploits at http://stuffbyboaz.com/. There you will learn great facts about him and his projects, such as that three of his high school teachers all thought that he was a “pleasure to have in class.” His website and exploits are just like him: interesting, funny, and a little weird in all the right ways.