String Theory

I have to believe a Beethoven
string quartet is not unlike
the elliptical music of gossip:
one violin excited
to pass its small story along
to the next violin and the next
until, finally, come full circle,
the whole conversation is changed.

And I have to believe such music
is at work at the deep heart of things,
that under the protons and electrons,
behind the bosons and quarks,
with their bonds and strange attractors,
these strings, these tiny vibrations,
abuzz with their big ideas,
are filling the universe with gossip,
the unsung art of small talk

that, not unlike busybody Beethoven,
keeps us forever together, even
when everything’s flying apart.

 — Ronald Wallace, “String Theory”

Quotable: Fran Lebowitz

That I am totally devoid of sympathy for, or interest in, the world of groups is directly attributable to the fact that my two greatest needs and desires — smoking cigarettes and plotting revenge — are basically solitary pursuits. Oh, sure, sometimes a friend or two drops by and we light up together and occasionally I bounce a few vengeance ideas around with a willing companion, but actual meetings are really unnecessary.
Fran Lebowitz

September wedding

My dear friend Roxie, aka Teresa Wright: Potato Killer, got hitched yesterday in NJ, on a perfect autumn day. (Ahem, henceforth I shall only attend autumn weddings. This is not negotiable: plan accordingly.) The reception was at the Highlawn Pavilion in West Orange, which offered some spectacular views of New York City. (Sarah and I getting our first view as we crested the hill into the parking lot: "Ooooooh!" before we remembered we live there.) 


Photo hogs here:

I pledge allegiance

I disagree with Mark Zuckerberg on almost everything. I think Facebook is the sarlacc from Return of the Jedi (“In its belly, you will find a new definition of pain and suffering as you are slowly digested over a…thousand years.”). I hate the “people you may know” prompts. I hate the good morning reminders (I wear a watch, Mark Zuckerberg!) and “on this day” memories (I remember things just fine on my own, Mark Zuckerberg!). I hate the interests and the feeds and the pokes and the assumption that I would ever in any universe hand over my payment information, that I need Facebook scheduling events for me, that I need it wishing me happy birthday. Every time I log in (of course I log in), I think, screw you and your pathetic ploy for world domination, Mark Zuckerberg!

So I was all ready to bang on this headline this morning (“Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan Pledge $3 Billion to Fighting Disease”), because Mark Zuckerberg can’t save the world from disease. Neither Mark Zuckerberg nor his wife nor his billions can solve everything. The arrogance! Who the fuck does he think he is? And then I stopped for a minute and collected my self-righteousness and my cynicism and my lazy assumptions, and I thought about my favorite lines from my favorite Lorrie Moore story, and about this dear, sweet, beautiful girl, and I thought okay, Mark Zuckerberg. By all means use your billions for that. Yes and yes, and as fast as you possibly can. Go now, GO.

Cal’s son, Eugene, is seven and has cystic fibrosis. Eugene’s whole life is a race with medical research. “It’s not that I’m not for the arts,” says Cal. “You’re here; money for the arts brought you here. That’s wonderful. It’s wonderful to see you after all these years. It’s wonderful to fund the arts. It’s wonderful; you’re wonderful. The arts are so nice and wonderful. But really: I say, let’s give all the money, every last fucking dime, to science.”

Lorrie Moore, "Dance in America," from Birds of America

The return of Janet McTeer

Janet McTeer and Liev Schreiber did a TimesTalks tonight [insert hyperlink here] to promote the soon-to-open Dangerous Liaisons [insert French title here] on Broadway. Harriet Walter did not appear, although it's possible she was hiding in the rafters [there were no rafters].

Janet McTeer on being told as a young actress that she'd have trouble getting parts because she's tall: "Make the fucking stage bigger!" [She's pretty tall.]

Liev Schreiber on what it's like to work with Janet McTeer: "Any road Janet takes me down is going to be better than the one I was on." [Liev Schreiber: also tall.]

Anyway: drama, costumes, wigs, looks smokin' hot. Attend, attend!

The word from Arcadia

I want very much to get a cool new tattoo, something meaningful and indicative of my current state of mind, but I can't for the life of me figure out how to fit this whole speech from Arcadia on my arm:

Thomasina: Oh Septimus!—can you bear it? All the lost plays of the Athenians! Two hundred at least by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides—thousands of poems—Aristotle’s own library brought to Egypt by the noodle's ancestors! How can we sleep for grief?

Septimus: By counting our stock. Seven plays from Aeschylus, seven from Sophocles, nineteen from Euripides, my lady! You should no more grieve for the rest than for a buckle lost from your first shoe, or for your lesson book, which will be lost when you are old. We shed as we pick up, like travellers who must carry everything in their arms, and what we let fall will be picked up by those behind. The procession is very long and life is very short. We die on the march. But there is nothing outside the march so nothing can be lost to it. The missing plays of Sophocles will turn up piece by piece, or be written again in another language. Ancient cures for diseases will reveal themselves once more. Mathematical discoveries glimpsed and lost to view will have their time again. You do not suppose, my lady, that if all of Archimedes had been hiding in the great library of Alexandria, we would be at a loss for a corkscrew?

— Tom Stoppard, Arcadia

I guess I could boil it all down to the corkscrew.

Mandatory Tom Hanks

CV and I were faxing to & fro last night about this & that and I mentioned she should go see Sully—as should everyone, it’s a wonderfully restrained picture for grownups and people who need pharmaceutical-free “mood lifters”—and we both agreed Tom Hanks is the best (she used the emoji of many hearts and I just typed “hubba hubba”).

Tom Hanks, winner of multiple Oscars. Tom Hanks, proprietor of the “gimme five” lost-glove Instagram. Tom Hanks, inventor of the elegant typewriter app. (“Is it necessary? No, not really. Is it enjoyable to use and well-made? Well, yes.”) Tom Hanks. Hanx! I like to think Nora Ephron would approve.

I’m not of the mind that all men get better looking as they age, any more than all women do—we all just become more of ourselves, I think—but Tom Hanks is at the top of the list of men about whom this myth is 100% accurate. (I’ll pay $1 billion to anyone willing to diagram that last sentence.) I am no stranger to the man’s aspect: I was there for Bosom Buddies, and Joe vs the Volcano and Turner and Hooch and Splash and Big, etc., etc., and this is definitely one joker well served by a little weight gain and a little hair loss. Would that we could all be so lucky! Would that we could all be Tom Hanks!

p.s. You know what else is a good movie starring Tom Hanks? A Hologram for the King. My stylist and I both agreed on that on Sunday.