Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Evening Out

This is the present my daughter found for me at Powerhouse Arena during the recent New York trip she made with her husband. They were able to see the Kandinsky show at the Guggenheim, which I missed by one day on my trip last month. I probably bored the group at dinner, pumping them for every single Kandinsky/Guggenheim detail they could recollect, but at least I ended up that way with a vivid second-hand impression. The tiny wooden sedan was designed by Patrick Calello.

After dinner we all repaired to Herbst Theater, where Margaret Atwood was making a San Francisco appearance to "launch" her new novel, The Year of the Flood, a dystopian sci-fi sequel to Oryx and Crake. What admirable technique she has developed over the years for overcoming the inherent difficulties of the required Q&A session with the audience. Like a polished politician Atwood invisibly slides away from the actual question and delivers a long amusing answer to a more congenial question similar to but not the same as the one that was asked. Wrapping up each of these "answers" she beams at the entire crowd and innocently asks, "Does that help at all?" Her own question is then invariably answered by applause.

Above, color woodcut of the author, represented by Lisa Brawn as a stained-glass Saint of Literature.