Emdashes—Modern Times Between the Lines

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Before it moved to The New Yorker:
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Other Festival Roundups

Filed under: New Yorker Festival   Tagged: , , , , , ,

Not that I’m done with my own tidbits or anything, but I have lots and lots of other things to do this week as well as finish up my festival reporting, so in the meantime here are some other terrific accounts. The Amateur Gourmet, who possibly sold most of his organs to the festival organizers on the installment plan to get Calvin Trillin walking-tour tickets, summarizes the heck out of his magical experience, and has promised an exclusive to Emdashes as well, because there are some other questions still left to be explored. Emdashes friend and benefactor Ron Hogan at Galleycat typed up his excellent account too. Everyone in the world wrote about the Jon Stewart and David Remnick talk, so I’ll let you be your own Eustace Googles on that one. There’s a good wire report on the Pedro Almodovar interview, and Carrie Alison at the U2 fansite Interference went to the P.J. Harvey/Hilton Als evening:
Some tidbits that came out of Als’ gentle if not meandering interviewing style touched on her earlier days and “characters” in her records. At 20 or 21 Harvey put her first band together (a folk band in Dorset that performed Irish tunes) and her goal was “to do musically” what she “wanted to see in art.” And the “art” of it all was her course of study at university where she was an adept and unique sculptor who enjoyed casting her face and hands, and sticking them “on flying machinery.” Of Harvey’s individual records, Als posited that “each record is a character study,” and that “after ‘Dry’ each record was about different people in different societies.” Harvey didn’t seem to agree with this assessment, but did offer that as she gets older, she has “felt more comfortable” allowing her lyrics to be more biographical, as opposed to when she was younger, she “tried to shield herself with distance.” She also later noted that as she gets on in years, she is getting better at expressing herself in her personal life.
Speaking of music, ever since I heard the New Pornographers play live on Saturday after their interview with Jim Surowiecki (in which the band members were alternately as sweetly fidgety as the high school band and as elliptical and arch-Dada as Dylan or the Beatles in a press conference, but mostly just reticent in a harmless Canadian way), I love them even more, especially “Mass Romantic,” which they really knocked the stuffing out of.
Oh, and eCanada Now (I’m sure it’s a wire story, or possibly yet another subset of Ask.com) quotes two of the eight hundred-odd funny lines from the Robin Williams and Lillian Ross event, after noting George Clooney’s recent remark, “I couldn’t run for office. I’ve slept with far too many women”:
Robin Williams, a reformed alcoholic and drug addict, also admits he colourful past automatically rules him out.
He revealed at the New Yorker Festival: “I would never run for office — because I make Bill Clinton look Amish.”
However, Williams thinks Jack Nicholson should go into politics because he would be happy to be open about his past.
Impersonating ‘The Departed’ star’s voice, he said: “Jack would say, ‘Sex scandals? What do you want? I’ve done ‘em all. Twice. And I have it on tape!’”
A LiveJournalist went to the Jonathan Safran Foer/Edward P. Jones reading and took some brief, good notes; this guy enjoyed the festinis at the Steve Coogan and George Saunders talk. Anonymette from Movie News and Views wrote a detailed blow-by-blow of the Milos Forman and David Denby conversation (minus Forman’s incredible, elastic, tragicomic face).
Another blogger was at the Donald Antrim and Tobias Wolff evening, my first event of the festival, after which I was honestly prepared to go home and call it a day, happy as I can be. (Of course, a mere two hours later I was chatting with Tony from 49 Up, in person, which was…almost as incredible as talking to Antrim. A toast to you, Tony!)
It looks like Gabe Roth and I were at a few of the same events as well:
Other interesting factoids from the New Yorker Festival
New Yorker staffers who, at separate events, made gratuitous references to the Gnarls Barkley song “Crazy”: star reporter Malcolm Gladwell and features editor Daniel Zalewski.
How Roger Angell pronounces the last name of the late Donald Barthelme: BARL-mee.
How Zadie Smith pronounces it: BARTH-elm.
He was at the New Pornographers show too, and did a bit of eavesdropping on top of his laudably detailed reporting—want a job without any pay, Gabe? I like the way your mind works! Here are some New Pornographers photos, including a fetching one of Jim S. and Neko Case (who, it’s rumored, indulged in some serious karaoke afterward). Funny line from aforementioned roundup: “Suroweicki won me over immediately by being less good-looking than the photo on the jacket of his book, which is to say he’s only very good-looking, as opposed to intolerably good-looking.”
Jim and New Pornographers  

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