Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New Yorker Festival 2011

Yvonne has finally, successfully, nudged me into recapping this year's New Yorker Festival, also known as "my Super Bowl."

She said we needed a recap, if for nothing else so we don't forget what we saw.  (Indeed, I'm not totally clear when we started going to the festival....but we must have started going in '05, then missed it for Ara's wedding in '06.  Then I had some CLASSIC panels in '07 when Yvonne was launching this blog's predecessor, Polish Ham....then we were in New Orleans in '08, but managed to hit up '09, '10 and now '11.  Not bad!)

By only going to two events last year, I felt like I missed out.  This year, I did four.  Yvonne, for whom this is not quite a personal Super Bowl, still went to two.  A quick rundown:

** Friday night:  Yvonne, Kim, Kayleen and Nien saw a talk with the novelists Jeffrey Eugendies, Nicole Krauss and Jhumpa Lahiri.  She'd been waiting six years for Jhumpa!  And then found her a little cold.  Still, good stuff.

** Saturday:  AWESOME war reporters panel.  Badasses (male and female) telling war stories.  Jon Lee Anderson is the coolest man alive.  And the way they're all so matter-of-fact about being kidnapped in Libya, or persona non grata in Sri Lanka, or how they just had to go to Iraq -- all without glorifying what they see there -- makes a person wish he'd never left journalism.  Just a little.

Also went to a fantastic panel on capital punishment.  The panelists on both sides were very persuasive, but I'm still against it.

**Saturday night:  Our main event:  a one-on-one interview with Owen Wilson.  Except it wasn't one-on-one, because out came surprise guest Wes Anderson.  And then all the questions were directed to Wes Anderson.  This was not really what I had in mind.  However, I asked a question for the first time at one of these events (about the LEGENDARY unaired pilot Heatvision & Jack), and it wound up being the best question asked all night.  

**Sunday:  For the third year in a row, a 75-minute lecture by finance page columnist James Surowiecki.  I didn't love it as much as Jason did.

But really the best part was getting together with the poker people over drinks and bar food (which we did three times in one weekend) to compare all the different events we went to, all the cringe-worthy questions from audience members who aren't us, and all the glory that is....the New Yorker Festival.

No comments: