Bob Holman, Joshua Blum and Mark Pellington's 1995 5-part t.v. series, the United States of Poetry presented and projected a pretty eclectic range (to show - citing Whitman's famous term - the diversity of "these states") - from ex-President Jimmy Carter to "rock n roll animal" Lou Reed (would that count as a range?), from Amiri Baraka to Johnny Depp - video vignettes (under Pellington's expert direction). Not surprising (in fact, essential) that the show feature(d) Allen - in this case, reading/enacting his "Personals Ad" - "Poet professor in autumn years/ seeks helpmate companion protector friend..." The poem would later appear in the collection, Cosmopolitan Greetings.
The "helpmate" in the footage seen here is none other than the Project's own Peter Hale, who generously provides some further details of the context:
"Compared to the other shoots for United States of Poetry, which were full-on productions, this one was very casual with director Mark Pellington using a hand-held camera and one lighting guy, done in under an hour. I'm pretty sure it was shot on film, not video. What's great about it, is that it's quintessential home-body Allen in his East 12th St apartment, going about his daily routine, with a little help from me. Hanging up laundry, cooking and serving soup, writing at the kitchen table, doing a little meditation at the Tibetan Buddhist shrine in his bedroom, or looking up books in that fantastic little library alcove of his, gazing at the Zohar. We were all directors in a way, suggesting scenes and shots, We did have a lot of fun doing it, cracking each other up at points, as you'll notice, if you notice the grin on his face while inviting me into “the poet's lair” towards the very end."