Adrian Grenier and Filmmaker Ari Gold Visit PS 3 to See Students’ Progress with Donated Instruments

Filmmaker Ari Gold and actor Adrian Grenier of Entourage, Gold’s collaborator in music and movies, visited Jersey City’s PS 3 last week on behalf of the VH1 Save the Music Foundation. Their appearance followed a donation to the school’s music program last year, the result of Gold auctioning a collection of celebrities’ drums, sold to help deliver instruments to the elementary school on Bright Street.

The catalyst for his contribution came four years earlier, when Gold wrote the film The Adventures of Power in a fever dream while living in a southwestern copper mining town. The story follows a boy who, denied an instrument, discovers music through air drumming as he travels from New Mexico to what he thinks is New York but is actually the Garden State.

“The joke was him thinking he’s in New York, but we shot here in some pretty intense places, sometimes without permits, sometimes with. We saw some intense things” Gold recalled of his days filming in Newark and Jersey City.

“So when the idea of doing the music program came about I wanted to give something that was tangible, that would last in the community here. I wish we could do every school in the state but we could do one and it’s great to see all these kids having a tangible benefit coming from a harebrained idea.”

Gold and Grenier, collectively known as the band the Honey Brothers, took the time last Thursday not just to witness the fruits of young students’ six months of musical discovery, with a private concert band director Timothy Hagerty kicked off with a jazzy “Mary has a Little Lamb,” but also to answer students questions and to assure the children the music they make is being heard.

“I think anything to break up the monotony of school is great,” Grenier joked about the value of his visit, adding it’s also beneficial to give the students some perspective, that “they’re not just in the four walls of school – what they’re doing has meaning in the outside world.”

Grenier was surprised how much the young children knew about his own impact in the outside world – asking him about his roles in The Devil Wears Prada, Entourage, and the Discovery Channel’s Alter Eco – but he steered his answers away from tackling the mature content of his work, instead sharing how he discovered the arts when he was their age.

“When I was eight or nine I didn’t do well in sports,” Grenier confessed. “I was shy and timid, I got picked on a lot, and the kids in the arts and theater were more accepting of me. It wasn’t about right or wrong, it was about trying things and discovering I was more safe with the kids who played music and acted.”

Asked what their second hobbies are, after working in film and making music on the side, Gold revealed his was days like this.

“I know, for me, my life is a hobby. I try to enjoy every day, Gold said. “My hobby is what happened here. Raising money all last year, this is my hobby, this is the payoff.”

Photos by Adam Robb

Adam Robb

a frequent contributor to the Jersey Journal and NJ.com. He is a freelance writer living in Jersey City, whose work has appeared in publications including Philadelphia Weekly, Atlantic City Weekly, and Time Out New York. His own blog, The Life Vicarious, has appeared on CBS Sunday Morning, and has been featured in The New York Times and on the New York Post‘s Page Six.