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Katrina and I did a long interview with Jackson Browne before his two terrific shows at the Beacon last week, which you can find here.
The New Yorker Festival, 2014
Once upon a time I got invited to speak at New Yorker Festivals and hence was invited to whatever else I wanted to see. Now, having fallen down in the world, have to promise to write about them here and sometimes I even have to ask really nicely. But it’s worth it. This year’s festival—the 15th—was really great. Here’s what I saw:
Susan Morrison interviewed Randy Newman at the Gramercy Theatre early Friday evening. It was an incredibly warm and interesting interview. Randy was incredibly touched by the appreciation shown to him by the audience and he played and sang for 45 minutes after the interview, including a funny/brilliant song about Mr. and Mrs. Putin. I got to talk to Randy at the party the next night and tell him fan-like stuff, which I hate to do, but could not help it. (He wrote my yearbook quote; I took my mom to see him in 1975.) And he was incredibly gracious. I asked him who’s done his favorite interpretation of his work and he said Nina Simone.
David Remnick interviewed David Chase, Junot Diaz, and Sam Lipsyte about New Jersey. This started at 10, and I was already pretty tired so I didn’t stay that long. I realized I didn’t really give a shit about New Jersey. One funny thing that happened was when Remnick tried to get Lipsyte to talk about Philip Roth and Lipsyte answered by talking about Bruce Springsteen. Also, Chase was pretty moving talking about his parents, but again, interesting guys, boring topic.
David Remnick interviewed Larry David. This was really great and everybody there had a great time. Fortunately, the New Yorker had Alexandra Schwartz write it up, so I don’t really have to. Highlights:
1. “David was expelled from Hebrew school for acting out, though he barely got the chance to enjoy his freedom before the rabbi, like Pharaoh, changed his mind: ‘My mother went to the school and blew him, I think, because they took me back two days later.’”
2. “After college, David worked as a chauffeur for an elderly woman with impaired vision (career advice: ‘I can’t say enough about a blind boss’) and as a bra salesman.” (I am skipping all the Seinfeld stuff because I never really could stand the thing.)