I’ve always had a sense of adventure, maybe being abducted from our apartment complex in Canarsie Brooklyn at age 4 has something to do with it. My after-school babysitter was television. My sense of humor and aesthetic was shaped by the likes of Bugs Bunny, The Jetsons, and Rocky and Bullwinkle. Of course, The Marx Brothers, Alfred Hitchcock, Neil Simon, and Mel Brooks were also influential favorites.
I learned to ride a bike in the towering complex of Rochdale Village in South Jamaica Queens. As an adult, I’ve traveled by bike across the globe, often by myself.
My dad, Herb, inspired my passion for photography. He loved taking us on long trips into the Catskill resort region his camera always along for the ride. Ever the salesman, the car trunk was filled with shirts he’d sell in the parking lot to pay for our trip. He bought me my first real camera, a Pentax K1000 for my high school graduation.
My mother, Marilyn, was a force, a major force. In 1965 she was among the first female EMT / ambulance drivers in Queens. To her, there were no barriers. Work hard, learn a craft and pursue it with determination was her way of thinking Mom died in 2020; my dad, in 1995. My favorite recent memory of mom was when she visited in 2017. She was a guest on my radio show “Perlman’s World” on Voice of Vashon Radio 101.9 FM and voiceofvashon.org I did two mornings a week, eventually partnering with my friend Peter Serko who sat in once a week. We had a blast, I hope people liked what they heard because we sure enjoyed it!
So, after high school I pursued visual arts enrolling in Nassau Community College for two years but, what I really wanted was to study filmmaking. I was determined to go to NYU Film School, I wanted to study with the same professors that taught the great Martin Scorsese and Oliver Stone. How to pay for it was the problem. In typical Perlman fashion, I was able to twist the arm of the NYU powers that be and secure the necessary grants and loans.
After graduation I was fortunate to begin working as a film archivist first for ABC, then The Jewish Museum. I moved into the video production world editing for several news stations before landing a job as an editor for NBC Dateline. One of the high points in my career was working for Saturday Night Live and The Conan O’Brien Show. Tired of the grind of high-end media work I eventually moved into freelance work which allowed me to pick and chose projects as well as live wherever I wanted.
These days I live at a slower pace. Well, at least my home life is that way. I drive a King County Metro bus. Ever drive in Seattle traffic? it is the worst. A whole different gig that I love and, believe it or not, I’m pretty good at! COVID ruined that, work has become stressful, even life-threatening. People not wearing masks, no social distancing, no protection for the driver. That eventually changed for the better after I stirred things up by going to the news media about the situation. I knew just how to pitch the story and how to tell it for an evening news broadcast.
The island retreat I share with my partner Dina is my solace. I now edit for fun, often doing small projects for friends that need my expertise. See my latest photography project: Barbershops