Moderator Caryn James asked the question early on in the night, directing it at Weiner, “Tell us about Betty’s transformation, physical and internal. Why did you put on that weight for her?” Weiner responded matter-of-factly, “Well, it was a creative solution to a real-life problem, that January was pregnant—and everything worked out great, she has a baby [laughs]—and we had to start shooting, so I had the choice between doing the laundry basket thing or really trying to deal with it, not trying to hide it.” So, an accident of the filming process? Not quite.
The show opened with the kind of lesson you wish your high school econ teacher had taught you. Planet Money correspondent Robert Smith bartered a drink ticket to an audience member in exchange for a simple task, and in so doing, demonstrated some key economic concepts. "What just happened here, this is actually how all prices are determined," he said. "At the end of the day, Katie's happy—she's got a drink ticket—I'm happy (the nail is out), and Adam Smith is happy in his grave. The invisible hand of the marketplace works. But—not all the time."(1)
As I waited around outside, two other older ladies, each with small, rectangular pieces of cardboard proclaiming that they, too, were looking for tickets, got into a bickering argument when a gentleman in an overcoat decided to give one of the women his spare ticket; the other woman exhibited the injured manner of one whose cab has been stolen. “Can you believe that?” the ticketless woman said repeatedly, to anyone who would listen, shaking her head in disgust.
But Poehler, sans the marketshare of such A-listers, has a following based on something more personal and finely honed. Of course, she's spectacularly funny (she was especially so Friday night, constantly riffing for the hour-plus that she was onstage), but it's also Poehler's message of female empowerment, her apparent accessibility, and her brand of humor—pop culturally literate, a little folksy, oscillating between raunch and a cultivated naïveté—that create this sense of connection.(6)
“I see [Edie] walking down the stairs and she came right to the door, opened up the door and she said “Ahh, the Marble Faun is here.” Of meeting Big Edie, he said: “Mrs. Beale was in the sunroom and … reclining on the chaise lounge and looks at me and says that I need to eat a boiled potato a salad and a chicken to maintain that beautiful face I had,” he said, “And I was so flattered by her kindness. And there were raccoons looking at me from the ceiling."
When he was five years old, he helped his mother with her wedding dress. It had lots of bows. “I think it’s really busy,” he recalled telling his mom. So they took the bows off and the dress, at least, was a success, even if the marriage wasn't. “My mom ended up getting divorced from Bill Kors, but I think the dress was pretty timeless,” he said.
“I love the fact that the Kentucky Derby’s a lot like Hollywood,” Jamie Hook said, finishing a Mint Julep at Pete's Candy Store in Brooklyn. “Like, nobody knows anything, and yet there are these people that make careers off on the strange thing—the erudition of knowing something about which nothing can be known.”
There were reasons to be hopeful this event would be a rare success among such panels: It was, after all, sponsored by The Guardian, which broke open the biggest stories about phone-hacking and police bribery by journalists at Rupert Murdoch's British tabloids. What better object lesson could there have been in the commercial pressures on journalistic standards? And Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, was on the panel, along with native Brit and Reuters columnist Felix Salmon. Rounding out the list were Katrina Vanden Heuvel of the Nation, Buzzfeed's Ben Smith, and host Charlie Rose. “Who wants to represent integrity and who wants to represent commerce?” Rose asked by way of introducing the topic, and there were no takers.(8)
“If you’ve got a buddy named Jack, and you see him on an airplane, you don’t want to yell…?” “Hi, Jack!” Fred—by day a speaker and seminar-leader for corporations, by night a Rodney Dangerfield impersonator (really)—removed miniature PayDay bars from his oversize black fanny pack and lobs them in the direction of whoever answered correctly.
At last night's Selected Shorts event actress Lois Smith tackled Tóibín’s “A Priest in the Family,” and Tony Award-winning actor Richard Easton read Smith’s 2004 New Yorker- published short, “Hanwell in Hell,” with both authors on hand to chat about their respective pieces before the story readings and, presumably, to lend moral support to their respective literary interpreters.(1)
Fans of trash TV and treasured literature convene to celebrate 'Slaughterhouse 90210's third anniversary
The concept of Maris Kreizman's tumblr, Slaughterhouse 90210, which celebrated its third anniversary last night at the Housing Works bookstore with a set of hilarious readings, is fairly simple: Kreizman pairs screen grabs of television shows—from the acclaimed ("Mad Men") to the ironically beloved ("Jersey Shore")—with quotes from great literary works.