Monday, November 24, 2008

Chris the Plumber

I've been wanting to write since I had a Spoken Interludes last Thursday night, but my two small sons woke up sick on Friday morning, so I have been on the front lines with that (not to mention my own flu-y symptoms) since then. But we seem to be starting to resemble normal people again. I think. My four year old was too sick to go to preschool today, but not too sick to run around the house, but then was fast asleep by 6:00, so maybe he is still sick. Mostly, I'm just tired. And speaking of, that is what I wanted to write about in the first place. Christopher Plummer was supposed to read at Spoken Interludes last week, but wasn't able to because of exhaustion (he recently finished a six month run of a play in Canada, and you know how tiring those damn Canadians are). So, after I got over my initial and vast disappointment, and girded myself for the audience canceling in droves, I emailed everyone to let them know he wasn't going to be doing the show.
To my immense and joyful surprise, only 6 people canceled their reservations. Though part of that probably had to do with the fact that I let them know that Arthur Phillips was coming up from Brooklyn to read instead. Arthur read at SI in LA with his first novel, and has been a regular ever since. I adore Captain Von Trapp as much as the next girl, but to be honest, I think Arthur is easily his equal in wit and charm.
Anyway, as I was going around the room, meeting people who hadn't been before, and saying hello to the regulars, I stopped at a table where a couple who attends every show was seated.
These people are darling, and so sweet. She could be Brooke Astor's younger twin, and in the years they have been attending (every show) I have never heard him speak. So I stopped to say hello, and she said to me, "You know, Saul reads our emails, so the other day, I was in the kitchen, and he yelled to me, 'Christopher Plummer isn't coming. He's exhausted.' Now, my plumber's name is Chris," she continued. "And I was expecting him that day, but I couldn't for the life of me figure out why Chris the Plummer would be so tired that he wouldn't come."
I told that story to Arthur and to Michael Gates Gil - who was also reading that night, what a treasure and force of nature he is - and they both said I had to tell it when I introduced the evening, which I did. We missed Mr. Plummer, but it was a wonderful night - very festive and warm.
I realize that at this point I am meant to think of some witty rejoinder linking Chris the Plummer to Joe the Plumber, but I am either too tired of hearing about him, or just too tired.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Morning After

A friend sent me an email with this:
There was a victory party in Teaneck, NJ.
A handwritten poster on the wall said the following:
"Rosa sat,
so Martin Luther King could walk,
so Barako Obama could run,
so our children can fly.
Yes, we can!"
I feel like I am flying today. I cried last night, no surprise, during Obama's acceptance speech. I was sitting in my living room - my husband was still at Richard Brodsky's house watching the returns there, Brodsky won again for State Assemblyman, hooray! - watching this historic event unfold, and I thought about my father. My father died over nine years ago, but during his life, was a staunch Republican, beginning when being a Republican in South Louisiana meant something different than it does today. When he and my mother first moved to Baton Rouge in the mid-50's, they helped start the Republican party there because the city was all Democrat. He always said he would have helped start it even if he wasn't a Republican because he believed in a bipartisan system. My father's family is from New Orleans, but he was raised in Jackson, Mississippi. I remember as a small child being very proud because I had never ever heard my father say a disparaging word about African-Americans. But he was still a product of his place and time, and my father could not have pulled that lever for Obama, no matter what party held his allegiance. I sat in my house last night, while my two sons were sleeping in their room, and I knew that they will never have any idea what a huge seismic shift had just occurred. To them, it will just be President Obama. To my father, it was an impossibility. I am so deeply happy that the link in that chain is broken forever.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Thank you, thank you, thank you, God. What an amazing and transforming night to live through. Especially as a Southerner, to watch this country put Obama into office, and leave behind so many years of strife. To finally let go of those differences and be united by beliefs. I have never been more proud to be an American. God bless Obama, and us all.