Tonight Kat and I went to see Phil Pullman--author of His Dark Materials--at the new Times Center auditorium. Kat got there early so we got to sit front and center--though not as front and center as when we went to the New Yorker Festival and saw Miranda July and A.M. Homes. There are positives and negatives to both sides of where to sit to watch an author talk.
The New Yorker event required the moderator (a NYer editor) to have Miranda and A. talk about deviance. Miranda wore a nice skirt suit, black stocking, and it could've been (had signature red soles) Louboutin shoes (not Mia). The thing was that her make-up made her look mannequin-ish. And I wouldn't say her suit flattered the way her neck looked--a bit prominent, which made me wonder if I was seeing an Adam's apple. Her legs were very nice though. Anyway, this is in comparison to A. who was wearing sneakers (without socks, something she highlighted and bolded by repeating it and physically pointing out) and a collage of black. A. can best be described as an English seminar professor--a bit conceited, a bit in her own world, a bit uninteresting because of both instances because she marveled in her uniqueness. (Yet, she refused to recognize deviance--and like a 13-year old girl, basically said what is "normal" if we are all a little different?) Good writer, yes--but I don't think I'll have to pay to see her speak again. (We did see her at another event--one with Steven King among a bunch of other writers--and she was very quiet. And it made me like her more when she was.)
The thing is, perhaps, many other people have seen her speak and didn't come to see her speak that night. It seemed that many more people were there to see Miranda, who turned out to be an amateur-ish public speaker. She seemed distracted and almost like she really would rather be elsewhere. It was easy to be distracted in the space that they had too--it was the theater on 2nd St. where we saw Anthony's movie, but it wasn't in the basement, but in the same space where we saw George Saunders and T.C. Boyle (at least I think that's who it was). Anyway, there was a movie that was somewhat loud going on downstairs and the buzz of the air-conditioning made it somewhat harder to hear. Miranda made comments too--as if she were annoyed; and she tried to poke fun at herself for that, but you can tell she was kind of pissed. (Oh, and her chair was broken too so she couldn't really relax or get settled as readily as the moderator and A.) Miranda tried to make the event fun and interesting by giving out tickets to the Malcolm Gladwell event by asking questions about one of A.'s books, and no one really got them.
It was a good talk, but the Phil Pullman was really good. Like, REALLY REALLY good. But Jon's here, and I have to show him the books I bought for a ridiculous amount at face value and got signed.
Note to self--Pullman does a good bear voice.
We also saw the preview for the movie (which he said he approved of and had a good experience with), which I'll leave you (Lakshmi, since I think you're probably the one occasional reader I ever get) with: http://www.goldencompassmovie.com/