rufus wainwright and the new yorker festival, belatedly
i had time for two new yorker festival events before i had to head down to Baltimore.
The Moth and The New Yorker present an evening of stories about life at the magazine. With Roger Angell, Adam Gopnik, Ariel Levy, Mark Singer, and Judith Thurman. Hosted by Andy Borowitz.
first off, andy borowitz is hysterical. he totally killed at his intro. i was sitting a mere 10 feet away from david remnick! i did not go up to him to say, "hey! i totally freaked you out really early one morning at ohare!" maybe i should have. the city winery space was gorgeous and intimate. arial levy talked about her greenness as she was starting out at the nyer. she says remnick signs his e-mails, "as ever" and when she got the job offer, her friend asked her, "are you sure he didn't mean 'as if'?" judith thurman told a beautiful story about how her mother formed her as a writer. mark singer told the story (that i'd heard before) of his feisty relationship with donald trump. adam gopnik talked about his relationship with the new yorker writer who never wrote. a cherubic-looking books editor called leo carey played the cello before the stories started and as an end to the intermission. i love the cello. kate used to play and had a cello quartet at her wedding, just gorgeous. but, people, roger angell....i need him to be my grandpa, STAT. he was the most awesome little old man EVER. told a series of hilarious stories and went on past his time and poor leo had to kind of play him off but he was all, "bish, please!" and kept on talking anyhow. he was curmudgeony but riotous. it was definitely the highlight of my evening, being regaled by roger angell. LOVE.
New Math: With Nancy Flournoy, Bill James, Nate Silver, and Sudhir Venkatesh. Moderated by Ben McGrath:
i got here just as this thing started and managed to find a front row center spot on the bleachers. a man behind me leaned forward and sighed, loudly, right next to my ear, scaring the crap out of me. i jumped but didn't want to turn around because i thought i might knock into his head, he felt so close. ben seemed nervous but had very dryly funny introductions for the panelists. nate silver is hottish and so awesomely nerdesque. the topic ran the gamut, but the theme was the role that statistics plays in daily life and the whole discussion ended up being really informative and interesting and probing. sudhir is a dream panelist, just really thoughtful and eloquent with the perfect anecdote for every point he wanted to make. but the man behind me continued to distract, making little comments to himself throughout. "interesting!" "i see!" it was loud enough for a 4 person radius around him to hear. at one point nancy had forgotten what she'd wanted to say and he's all "it'll come back to ya, it'll come back." weird.
of course, he starts talking to me afterwards. maybe because i have a huge sign on my forehead that says, "plays well with strangers" or something. "so, what'd you think?" i told him i enjoyed it. he asked if i was a statistician. i told him sadly, no. even sadder: i was a corporate attorney. which led to a discussion about my student loans. "jasmine, listen to me," he says, drawing his face uncomfortably close to mine, his head tilted down and his eyes peering at me over his bifocals, "you have to be open to the fact that someone may come into your life and pay off all your debt." i said, "yeah, that seems less than likely, statistically speaking" "i'm serious, _________ [famous writer] is a client of mine, here's my card." he was a life coach. so i guess he's working some motivational mojo on me about envisioning things and that if you see them, they'll happen. "i can tell you're skeptical but i really want you to think about this. really try to be open to it. because i'm saying it's fate that we met here today." "listen, i'll try. but i was raised with a fairly good work ethic and with the idea that if you want something and work hard, that you'll earn it so i'm not big on accepting random gifts from people" "but what if, by working hard and honestly, you earn it. it's not a gift, it's earned." meanwhile, i'm thinking that if i ever did meet some rich dude who paid for my loans that i'd totally be obligated to sleep with him. a lot. i mean, david letterman totally paid for that bitch's law school. nothing in life is free. but, because he asked me to, i will be open to the idea that some random person will deposit 140K into my bank account one day because, how awesome would that be?
went to a private concert with rufus wainwright last night. the caterer was awesome. mini cubans! more filet with lots of dipping sauces. rufus played for about 45 minutes. he just sat at the piano and sang and it was beautiful. his voice is so steady and clean. he finished off with leonard cohen's hallelujah which, i know, i know, everyone and their damn mother covers, but his version is lovely. justin bond and alan cumming were in the house. the crowd, again, was tres chic. i asked david's friend lauren about a cute editor. she said, "he's 50/50 with his girlfriend." i asked her what on earth that meant, she said, "it means he's with her but he's not that into it and is open to other possibilities." isn't that slightly a shady position to say you're in? that he's looking at his options? to be fair, this is lauren's version, maybe he didn't put it that explicitly. but do you think the girlfriend knows she's 50/50? ugh. men in new york.
the penthouse space has a recording studio with a perfect view of the empire state building. we stepped inside and found this guy singing and playing his guitar. he was just a random guest at the party who sat down to kind of mess around but he has a whole slew of songs he's written. he's not persuing this music thing anywhere, doesn't play regular gigs and it's bananas because he's great. stumbling upon him playing like that was such a perfect new york moment. this fantastic impromptu concert in a professional recording studio, ESB in the background, 10 people listening and singing along...love.