Sunday, October 11, 2009

Curating the Dinner Party

At the Opium Live launch Todd Zuniga asked Anya Ulinich what dead writers she'd have over for dinner. She picked Nabokov and Grace Paley. Two great choices if you asked me and they could counterpoint for the other.

My mom always liked to play this game at gatherings. She didn't frame the question what writers she'd ask over to dine, but what people? Coco Chanel, the Mahatma, Virginia Woolf, Winston Churchill. Okay, so sometimes a literary luminary popped onto the list. My mom has always been very fond of Dorothy Parker and the Vicious Circle.

Some people aren't into these games. Not all of my relatives and certainly not all of her friends. But, the ones that are game can give delightful results. I remember once being over at friends of ours. The new boyfriend, Michael, of my mom's friend's sister was a real card. He mentioned people I had never heard of. I was only eight at the time. Michael was convinced he bore an uncanny resemblance to George Plimpton. He didn't. But, he knew a lot about him I would later find to be true. Michael also had a particular interest in Gore Vidal and André Gide. He also had a penchant for collecting trilobites which I was absolutely smitten with. I was still in my paleontological phase. He draw a pretty nifty sketch of a Devonian-aged fish and I gave him a thumb's up.

Why do I bring this up? I really never saw the guy again. My mom's fiend's sister dated regularly and had moved onto somebody else, but I kept asking about Michael. He'd piqued my curiosity. I don't know if he is alive or dead, but he is the kind of guest I would love to have at a dinner party.

And since I'm on the topic of curating dinners for lively corpses I'd be hard-pressed to find better company than Oscar Wilde, Samuel Johnson, and Benjamin Franklin. I really think I'd hit it off with Thomas Jefferson Too. I never really did get over my paleontological phase.

1 comment:

  1. First of all, kudos for the dead people (you did read my "If I could see dead people" post, no? Anyway, I forgot to put Dorothy Parker as one of my favorites, but she is. And even stranger than that, you won't believe this, but sometime around the time that movie came out (94ish), I was in the SF airport on my way to the bathroom, when two ladies followed me in and asked me if I was Jennifer Jason Leigh. I didn't even know at the time who that was, so when I said, "Who is that?" they laughed and told me to see the Vicious Circle movie, which BTW, I have yet to see. I rented it once, but never had the chance to sit down and watch it. Maybe I'll try again this week since I'm on Fall break till Monday. Since then, I've only seen Jennifer in Dolores Claiborne and in one other deranged role. Unlike Michael, I don't think I have an uncanny resemblance to her, but others do. Hmmm...I feel a blog topic coming on...