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There are stories we tell ourselves. There are stories we tell our friends. There are the stories we tell strangers. There are stories we never tell.
Somewhere, in the middle of all of this, is the Third Story. The intersection between the art and the craft, making a living and doing the living, the personal and the professional…The place where all of these meet is the Third Story.

The Third story features long-form interviews with creative people of all types, hosted by me, Leo Sidran. Their stories of discovery, loss, ambition, identity, improvisation, risk, and reward are deeply moving and compelling for all of us as we embark on our own creative journeys.

In addition to my passion for discovering and sharing the stories of others, I have built a career in New York as a musician and producer. Learn more at

Jan 13, 2017

When Michael Dorf was a teenager in Milwaukee, he told his parents he was going to Madison for the weekend to visit a camp counselor. Instead he snuck off to New York for a lost weekend with a long distance girlfriend. Although it was 35 years ago, he can recall every detail of the city he discovered on that trip and the music scene at the time.

Little did he know, he would soon become one of the most influential live music producers in New York, He opened the famed Knitting Factory which provided a home for the Downtown Scene in the 1990s, started a record label and production company, reshaped the way Jewish music is presented in the city, created a series annual tribute concerts at Carnegie Hall, and opened City Winery, a chain of restaurants with live music and wine.

How did this happen? To what extent did he mean for it to happen? How has New York changed around him, and how has he changed around the city?

 Here Michael takes us through his journey, over a drink at the City Winery.