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It’s spring in Emdashes’ tenth (!) year. I’m doing grantwriting and web strategy at the Center for Jewish History, next door to the Margaret Sanger House. Sanger was a friend of my great-grandmother, Dorothy Gordon, and I wish I’d known both of them and been in the room when they takled. Here’s Dorothy (known as Ooma) on her ’50s and ’60s TV show, The New York Times Youth Forum, where earnest, bespectacled youth from all over the city debate serious subjects on a panel with distinguished guests.


But Dorothy herself had a great sense of humor, I’m told, and had been a singer of folk songs on the radio and an OK opera singer before that. I don’t normally write about myself, and I don’t think I’ve ever written about my family. But I have chutzpah on the brain as I work on grants that can with big, meaningful purpose; finish a book proposal; see the new documentary about Vivian Maier, who never showed her city-capturing photographs; rewatch the classic (as far as I’m concerned) Desperately Seeking Susan No one can be Madonna except Madonna. Nobody can be Aidan Quinn except Aidan Quinn, either. And (continued)

Martin Schneider writes:

Seeing Larry David and the cast members of his show Curb Your Enthusiasm (Susie Essman, Cheryl Hines, and Jeff Garlin) as well as a sneak preview of the first episode of Season 8 (it airs on HBO this Sunday) at 92Y of all possible places felt a bit like seeing— the mind gropes for comparisons. The Pope in Rome? Prince in Paisley Park? Oprah in Oprahland?

In other words, the adoration from the audience was total. Indeed, the whole thing was even better because (no spoilers) the episode has a lot to do with Judaism, and this highly Jewish audience (I didn't say "self-loathing") lustily ate it up.

The surprise MC was Brian Williams, and he couldn't have been more perfect or more mock-awkward. His first words were, "Welcome to 'Let's Find a Catholic to Moderate This Event,'"

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Martin Schneider writes:

Last night the IFC Center in New York had a special event for the tremendous new documentary My Perestroika in which director Robin Hessman and the Meyerson family, three of the movie's subjects, fielded questions from the (it turned out) largely Russian-fluent audience.

My Perestroika retrospectively tracks a handful of Moscow elementary school chums from the 1970s to today. Hessman's subjects are, for lack of a better word, "ordinary" Russian citizens, which fact must present a hell of a challenge for a documentarian. These people are noteworthy for not having gaudy and

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Martin Schneider writes:

Emdashes is very pleased to feature an events report by a new friend of the site: Ethan de Seife, professor of film at Hofstra University and author of the delightful "Cultographies" book on This is Spinal Tap. He also has a forthcoming book on the director Frank Tashlin.

With no further ado, we turn it over to Ethan:

The big red LED clock at the back of the Times Center auditorium last Wednesday had just blinked precisely 9:00pm as I and the rest of the crowd filed out, having witnessed precisely 90 minutes of "conversation with music," in which American music icon Emmylou Harris was interviewed by

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Martin Schneider writes:

When 92Y has a good event, it's a doozy.

On Monday night Shirley MacLaine consented to be interviewed by WNYC's own Leonard Lopate (an unexpected surprise—I hadn't read the event preview carefully enough). I say "consented," but the truth is, MacLaine's casino-style show (she mentioned Atlantic City) apparently is mostly an evening of stories and audience Q&A too, and the woman is so ridiculously appealing and entertaining, she could certainly make a living doing just that and not being an incredibly good actress—which she still is, at 76. Also, she appears to cherish being the center of attention and twitting foils like Leonard Lopate for fun.

I could give an account of the event but it was mainly just MacLaine being very charming and telling stories that occasionally involved conversations with people like Nehru (!).

A few highlights: Early during the filming of The Trouble with Harry, her first movie, Alfred Hitchcock walked up to

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