The latest installment of our Baristanet Profile series, where we get to know the people in our neighborhood:
Name: Jason Kirschner
Where do you live? Montclair.
When did you move there? Our kids were 2 so … about 7 years ago.
Where did you grow up? My early years were in Brooklyn, NY and then we moved out to Manalapan, NJ which is about 45 min south of here. I lived there until I left for college.
How do you make a living? By day, I’m a set designer for television. I generally do talk shows these days– most of my career was spent at the Late Show with David Letterman. I’ve also designed for Late Night with Conan O’Brien and The Meredith Viera Show. By night, I’m an author/illustrator for children’s books. My first picture book, Mr. Particular: The World’s Choosiest Champion is out in the beginning of May. I’m really excited about it.
Coffee, tea or … ? It’s funny. I just started drinking coffee this past year, but I like it now. Coffee.
What’s your idea of a perfect Saturday? My children don’t have it in their genetic makeup to allow this, but I’d like to sleep past 7 am. Then I’d like some breakfast, some time at my drawing board and some time with my family. Oh— and maybe we’d be in Italy? That sounds lovely.
What’s your favorite local restaurant? I’m a big fan of Le Salbuen on Walnut Street. I’ve never had a bad bite of food there.
What’s on your nightstand? Honestly? Mostly junk that the cat delights in knocking over. I keep a notebook/sketchbook where I write down all of the book ideas I come up with in the middle of the night. And Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows— the kids and I are reading the Harry Potter books together. And we’re almost done!!
What are you listening to? I’m still kind of stuck on Ryan Adams’s reinterpretation of T. Swift’s 1989 album. It’s good drawing music. And yeah…we call her T. Swift.
What are your current addictions? Right now I’m a bit addicted to growing a garden. We planted seeds in those little indoor seed starter kits to grow some vegetables like peppers and snap peas. My cat, however, has other ideas and keeps eating whatever grows. We even built a little green house around it but he keeps breaking through. We have a kind of “Tom and Jerry” thing going now.
Talent you would most like to have. I wish I had any, and I mean any, musical talent. There’s none here. NONE. But I really like music.
What’s the worst-kept secret about Montclair? I think its really amazing how many people here work in media and the arts. You could randomly throw a rock and hit somebody who works in a related or adjacent field. Its nice to have a community of people that have similar creative goals. (I don’t condone throwing rocks.)
What do you hope they say about you at your funeral? I just hope people come. If they happen to remember that I was kind or funny, I’d think that was nice too.