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Thursday, March 06, 2008


My Dinner With...

The Film Experience has tagged me for a rather wonderful meme, which allows me an opportunity to indulges my three favorite things: movies, cultural icons, and carbohydrates. Thus, I present: My Dinner With...

1. Pick a single person, past or present, in the film industry who you'd like to have dinner with, and tell us why you chose this person.
I barely spent more than a second thinking about who I would answer, because without a doubt it could only be...Orson Welles. Yes, most people our age know him as a blowhard, a cheap wine salesman, a failed talent...or the fat guy at the end of The Muppet Movie. But for me, he was the consummate artist of the 20th century: a theatrical provocateur (The Cradle Will Rock), cultural touchstone (radio's War of the Worlds) visionary director (Citizen Kane) and compelling actor (when he wanted to be, like in The Third Man) all rolled into one. Simon Callow's extraordinary biographies of Welles fill in the gaps of his life for me, and I'd love to discuss art, commerce, love, and passion with the master of all four...and how they slowly, over time, broke him into a million pieces. Plus I'd like to be an adoring fan, and pick his brain over an excellent malbec about my favorites in his career: the disastrously inept Don Quijote and his unsung masterpiece The Lady from Shanghai.

2. Set the table for your dinner. What would you eat? Would it be in a home or at a restaurant? And what would you wear? Feel free to elaborate on the details.
Well, as everyone knows, Orson Welles liked to eat...a lot. He was a big man by the end, and never shied away from a nice French cream sauce. So for this meal, where I want ambience, wine, and passion, I'm going to the best French spot I know...to Pergola Des Artistes, my friend Susan's favorite restaurant in New York City, tucked inconspicuously away behind the Imperial Theatre on Broadway. It's homey, unadorned, and the food is incredible...and mere blocks from Welles' battle with the U.S. government over Cradle Will Rock. I'd probably have pasta, because I'd go off the diet for this one. And we'd have to finish with pastries, I think. Mmmm. Pastries.

3. List five thoughtful questions you would ask this person during dinner.
Hhmmm. Okay, here goes:
- "Was John Houseman a complete bastard or what?"
- "It is me, or do most critics and audiences overstate the importance of that damn sled, at the expense of the rest of the movie?
- "Why, Orson, why? Why did you sign away your rights for final cut on The Magnificent Ambersons? Didn't you realize what you were onto there?
- "Can I see the footage from your unfinished King Lear adaptation? Please? Pretty please?"
- "Nobody ever fell apart the way you seemed to. What the hell happened to you, man?"

4. When all is said and done, select six bloggers to pass this Meme along to. Link back to Lazy Eye Theatre, so that people know the mastermind behind this Meme.
My fellow memeans (memians? memites?) are Barry at A Strange Interlude, Stinky at Stinklylulu, Trevor at Buffalo Void, the ephemeral Ephemerist, Zenita at Debonair Debacles, and JB of My Grey Garden.

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Blogger NATHANIEL R said...

good choice.

we both chose people who seemed to let themselves go despite HEAPS of talent.

i have never seen The Lady From Shanghai but I love both Kane and Ambersons (in particular and with a passion) so I'd best get on that.

3/6/08, 9:05 AM  
Blogger JB said...

Ooh, this will be one I will really have to think about! Thanks for the tag!

3/6/08, 10:26 AM  
Blogger Barry said...

Damn! I probably would have chosen Welles, too... Oh, well. I'll have to think about it and bring it back home later on....

Thanks for the tag.

3/6/08, 2:23 PM  
Blogger T$ said...

thanks for the tag, sir. I'll get my act together and post today.

excellent choice with Welles - it is a shame that he was so broken by Hollywood...but at least the fragments of his career are as fantastic as they are (personally, I'm a sucker for Touch of Evil and The Lady From Shanghai.

3/7/08, 9:23 AM  
Blogger jason said...

fascinating choice.

And none of that cheap wine I hope with the French creme sauces?

But he's a great choice....and quite an attractive man in his youth I've always thought.

3/8/08, 12:25 AM  
Blogger ZenDenizen said...

Just noticed this thru Technorati today, will work on it soon, thanks!

3/13/08, 1:35 PM  

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