ROB Wilson

Profile Updated: March 29, 2020
Residing In: Studio City, CA USA
Spouse/Partner: Julian Siminski
Homepage: View Website
Occupation: Writer / Director / Producer
Children: 100+ monkeys, and 5 cats
Comments:

Personal: After a long and valiant struggle to lead a "normal" heterosexual life, I stepped over that hissing threshold into who I really am, and have been more or less "out" for 30 years. I have been with the same partner for 26 years, Julian, and only regret that I had not taken that step many years earlier. We now reside in Studio City where we have raised three cats and countless flowers, been through three earthquakes, had the gay equivalent of a wedding in 1994. I no longer aspire to "normalcy," am prone to fits of political apoplexy, cherish old friendships renewed, and believe there is indeed a bridge over troubled waters, although it wobbles.

Education: After Paly, I went to Stanford, then Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, then American Film Institute Center for Advanced Film Studies.

Work: After Graduate School, my first job was as Contributing Editor for Criminal Justice Publications at the Ford Foundation, investigating prisons and police. I traveled to some scary places - - Death Row San Quentin chief among them -- and Nicaragua during the Sandinista Revolution. I covered that for Rolling Stone, then went into television. I was an on-air investigative reporter for KQED and KGO, won an Emmy for uncovering the use of Agent Orange over Northern California forests (with Sean Sweezy as deep throat), then defected to Southern California. It was supposed to only be five years, but I have yet to make the return trip....still on the agenda. I did a PBS documentary called "The Probable Passing of Elk Creek," about the loss of community in America. I went to AFI, and became a producer/writer for KABC, Paramount, Turner, NBC, Discovery, and Disney, worked on a couple of films. I started a few independent production companies, pitched about a dozen projects, got some options....directed for Disney, then settled into a steadily undulating life of freelancing, a precarious journey that has left me periodically destitute. Do not wear dark glasses at night. Rejoiced at Obama's election. Started a new venture with my partner Julian in 2004 creating original HD art installations, which took a big hit in the Crash of '08. Back on the job market in 2009, currently working as Story Producer for the new Annenberg Space for Photography -- a great job that I am very lucky to have had for a year and a half now. I cultivate gratitude these days, but grind my teeth at night.

School Story:

Dozens of memories. High School was a strange time for me, as for a lot of us -- a time when I was carrying a sort of Rose Bowl parade float of a life on my back while doing a lot of fumbling in the humid interior.

I remember football practice and that smell of cut grass and adolescent sweat, clicking of cleats on asphalt under the oaks, terror as we emerged from the tunnel into the endless expanse of Kezar (a game we lost 56-13 to Serra, and which marked the end of my bid for football stardom. I was double-teamed into semi-consciousness as Lynn Swann ran over my face again and again, and I rode home with cleat marks down both sides of my stomach); bouncing back to "reckless abandon" against Sequoia, beating Barr Curry.

I remember the futility of playing behind Mike Costello in soccer, but still loving the muddy freedom of that unpadded game.

I remember the joys of teen spirit, the bonfire lit to Arthur Brown's "Fire," roving bands of middle class white boys with eggs in their Pacific Trail pockets taking back the streets on Halloween, and the Bahrn.

The Bahrn grew out of an informal gathering on weekends at Nelligan's, where Colt 45 flowed unchecked -- then that summer of '69 when purloined building supplies and the construction of sort of a teenage speakeasy in the garage led to the twin themes of a Barn and a Construction company. It became, for about a year, a rather sophisticated operation, replete with a front organization (The Graphic Arts Club), through which we operated like mini-mafiosi, running a rigged booth at the Carnival to channel beer money into the Bahrn. I remember how Spencer Jewel and John Preston and I were the bartenders, and we sold beers at one party for 25 cents each, making more than $300. That was shortly before the PAPD starting coming around, and despite our intricate advance warning and cover-up procedures (in which the house called the bar and alerted us to the cops, we cut the lights and everyone went silent) -- finally, I remember Officer Box breaking through our resistance and finally, the padlock on the door. But it was fun while it lasted. It allowed many of us to get our heavy drinking out of the way before college, and provided an outlet for a lot of fraternal hooliganism before such activities could truly have been considered criminal.

I remember the anti-War rallies and the Applied Electronics Laboratory sit-in especially, and the speakers we invited to the high schools to spread the anti-war gospel. George Millar was the only principal who allowed ours to speak openly in the amphitheater, and he caught hell for it; Mr. Parker in his pink coat trying to grab the microphone out of the speaker's hand.

I remember the Campanile, with Doug Letter and Scott Kilner and Eleanor Burian, Suzanne Bollock and I covering the only black KKK member when he spoke in the Little Theater, and how she wore a sexy silk scarf and called me "Robaire," which seemed so erotic.

I remember the feisty rebel energy of those days, stopping the war and challenging authority -- Dave Alford and Tom Schellenberg's antiestablishmentarian zeal.

I remember dimly, now in retrospect, conflicted attractions, subterranean crushes, unconscious attractions that wreaked havoc on my equilibrium.

I recall confusion, a short burst of embarrassingly evangelical Christianity, equally embarrassing attempts at girlfriends, terrifying encounters with the love that dare not speak its name, quickly denied....and finally resorting to my aloof collegiate persona with sport jacket and sandals, collie in tow....whatever worked.

Elementary Schools Attended:

Walter Hays

Junior High School

Jordan

Colleges Attended

Stanford
Columbia (Graduate School of Journalism)
American Film Institute

ROB's Recent Comments

May 08, 2019 at 7:53 AM

I am humbled by the overwhelming response to the GoFundMe campaign, recently launched by a friend and posted here. We are filled with gratitude. Many of us who chose Journalism and documentaries have fallen far from our aspirations as we age. A few risky ventures and a spinal injury did a number on me. But with a little help from our friends, Julian and I got through a very dark period. I don’t know where the future will take us, but we know we’re not alone. Thank you all.

Posted: Feb 26, 2020 at 9:08 AM
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 10:00 PM
I still have my letter jacket. It does NOT fit.

Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 10:00 PM
The Bahrn, c. 1969
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 10:00 PM
Badass Ball Players
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 10:00 PM
Bonfire down at the Dump November, 1969 Lit to the sounds of Arthur Brown's "Fire."
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 10:00 PM
Back of the Bus gang, PAUSD Bus Tour, 1968. Little did they know....