Remembering a Seducer—A Dylan Thomas Centennial in New York

Dylan Thomas on Manhattan:

“It’s a nightmare, night and day; there never was such a place; I would never get used to the speed, the noise, the utter indifference of the crowds, the frightening politeness of the intellectuals, and, most of all, these huge phallic towers, up & up & up, hundreds of floors, into the impossible sky. I feel so terrified of this place, I hardly dare to leave my hotel room.”

This Sunday, Oct 26, 92Y Poetry Center celebrates Dylan Thomas’s centenary by turning our Kaufmann Concert Hall into a studio for a free reading of of Under Milk Wood broadcast live on BBC Radio Wales. You can listen here.

Michael Sheen will direct the reading and lead a cast of all Welsh actors (including Kate Burton, Karl Johnson, Mark Lewis Jones, Francine Morgan and Matthew Aubrey).

The Poetry Center presented the premiere of this “play for voices,” with Thomas himself leading the cast, in May 1953. 


Newsweek Feature Stories: Forced Fracking (by 92nd Street Y)

On September 9, 2009, Suzanne Matteo’s neighbor knocked on the door of her home, a former schoolhouse built in the 1800s. The house, painted white, sits on four acres in rural Pulaski Township, Pennsylvania, surrounded mostly by fields. With a panicked look, the neighbor told Matteo that she had to get down to nearby New Castle with the deed to her land. A drilling company, Hilcorp, was giving landowners in Matteo’s area $3,000 per acre they owned, plus the promise of royalties on gas production, in exchange for their signatures on drilling leases. 

They said no. 

Read the full story.  


~ thorin6277

I wanted to share some thoughts.

For years now, Richard has been promoting his work on others’ projects that he is involved in - films, television shows, etc.

Some of the promotion is contractually required or requested by an entity who writes a check to pay Richard for his work, time and attention. So when he goes to a public promotional event (pick almost any in the last 3 - 8 years) he is subject to handlers who are paid to keep things on schedule and meet someone else’s agenda for the promotion of a project that requires even more money to make.

He has been very good about accommodating their agendas, in addition to his own promotion and his needs as a career actor.

What is wonderful here - tonight - is that he has the forum and some power to put the brakes on the “handling” and see fans on his own time.

This is why tonight is such a fantastic night - not just for us, but for him.

~ crystalchandlyre


Now that I’m still suspended in disbelief-limbo, here’s a rundown of what happened; before I lose the ability to type and function in general:


This is the Pinter/PROUST reading in NYC that featured Richard Armitage~ :3

From what I could perceive the audience was composed of many very elderly couples, and the rest was filled in by LOTS of Armitage Army people. In the play itself he towered over all the other actors, and even from the balcony was recognizable by The Nose. (๏∀๏ ) He had a couple of different roles, and one of them was a gay prostitute who got returned by a client for not being enthusiastic enough when tying the client up; and he also kissed another guy and smacked his butt. XD …At one point he also had an eyepatch and a German accent. His main role however was a more stern and vaguely Thornton-esque character.

There was quite a bit of confusion caused by a tweet from the 92Y theatre that mentioned a chance to greet the cast in the theatre’s gallery after the show, but when I asked around it turned out to be a private event. A lot of people also found out sporadically but a good number of us hung around after the show to see if they’d let him poke his head out for a moment. After about 20 minutes of the show ending, he came out and spent a TON of time greeting and interacting with EVERY SINGLE PERSON who was there to see him. It totally wasn’t in his schedule but he took photos, gave hugs, signed stuff, and was just absolutely lovely to everyone who approached him. I do believe he actually got through everyone who wanted to meet him since the crowd had mostly filtered out by the time he went back in. WHAT A LOVELY HUMAN. ; w ;

I gave him a picture of The Last Supper with 13 dwarves replacing the original figures (by adlpictures on DeviantART) to sign, and when I was taking a selfie of us he ended up taking the phone from me because he had longer arms. X’D RA TOOK A SELFIE WITH MY PHONE WOW LET ME JUST DIE FOR A MOMENT. A bit later he gave me a hug before he had to go back in. *aggressively throws up flowers and glitter* WERBDFSKHSDF

On the subway ride back I met and chatted a bit with some Hobbit fans who were also there to see RA and exchanged URLs with one of them; also met a girl who went there with her mom, who was fangirling equally as hard. XD 

I was at the NYC hobbit fan event a short while back and never thought that’d I’d get to meet him in person so soon, especially since that event didn’t give us a chance to interact with any of them. *___* 




“If we write about human beings, in the most humanly way we are able to, I think everybody will understand us. I find humanity as one family. People really are very much the same in their reactions, in their feelings. I know the whole world. I can’t find much difference in the way men react to others’ unhappiness, disasters, tragedies, happiness. Writing for one man, you write for everybody.”

Listen to Ryszard Kapuściński on the art of travel writing.

Find the original and several others at :
(I hope it’s OK to use your sweet pic…)

There he is…the dude who inspired the whole idea of SpReAd the Love, doing exactly that. Jazzbaby and I are crediting RA’s mini fanfest after the 92Y Pinter/Proust event in our kindness totals…we couldn’t help but notice the tidal wave of happiness and goodwill that rushed out from it into our little piece of the cosmos.


Marc at the 92nd Y

paula deen, y'all

Paula Deen has been the “Two and a Half Men” of celebrity chefs for me—both are beloved by millions of Americans, none of whom are my friends, and produce things that are not-very-good-for (and possibly harmful to) the country.

Or so I thought.


I don’t remember how I came to this assumption about Paula Deen, because all I knew about her is that she uses lots of butter. I figured, eh, Americans don’t care about nutrition and have bad taste in food. But I knew there had to be more to the story, which is why I was excited to see her at the 92Y this week. 

The bottom line is: I have a new hero, y’all. 

What I missed about Paula Deen (besides everything) is that she isn’t just peddling recipes and Smithfield ham, she’s selling hope and home and faith. Her story is an inspiration to anyone who has ever felt too old, too worn down, too burdened, not smart enough, not educated enough, not-whatever-enough to get ahead. 

Her trajectory from single mom to celebrity chef is epic and apparently every fan knows these facts: She got married at 18, and was an orphan by age 23. The death of her parents triggered a battle with crippling agoraphobia that lasted for twenty years. It was so severe that she wouldn’t leave her house for months. She didn’t even know there was a name for her disease—or that other people had it—until she saw a Phil Donahue special. 


After a divorce in her early 40s, she was a single mom of two boys, with almost no work experience. The only thing she could do was cook, and so she started her catering business called The Bag Lady with $200 and a list of family recipes. This did so well that she landed a TV show in her early 50s. 

If I’d just stopped at her Wikipedia page, I’d be impressed with this lady. 

But in person, Paula Deen is so much more than a talking hard-luck story. The woman can work a room! I go to lots of talks at the 92Y, but I’ve never seen a crowd so wonderfully manipulated by the guest.

When she talked about losing her Daddy, the auditorium was so still I could hear people’s breathing. Minutes later, she had us laughing at how she was proud to be named Maxim’s Hottest Female Chef, even though the magazine didn’t run a picture of her but instead used a photo of butter.


Her stories are punctuated with huge smiles to the audience. She laughs at her own jokes, and often adds lines like, “I’m kiddin!”—even when the crowd is laughing with her because she’s obviously kiddin’ —as if she’s afraid of hurting anyone’s feelings. This is how I imagine Southern manners to play out—it’s all my positive stereotypes in action. She stretches words like “spin” and “Yeh-esss” into two syllables.

“Do you pinch yourself?” the moderator, Gail Saltz, asked last night.

“I’m black and blue under this outfit, Gay-ul!”  

When she talks about her past, and how she couldn’t afford health insurance, or when she and her husband were “asked to leave our homes four or five times,” she frames this as the backbone of her success. “That’s the kind of crap that keeps you on your toes.” 

I was charmed and inspired by this woman, and I remembered reading a Frank Bruni piece from a few months ago called “Unsavory Cultural Elitism.” Basically, Tony Bourdain slammed Paula Deen, and Bruni made it part of a bigger article about how the cultural clash in the food world mirrors the Red State/Blue State divide. Bruni writes: 

“When Deen fries a chicken, many of us balk. When the Manhattan chefs David Chang or Andrew Carmellini do, we grovel for reservations and swoon over the homey exhilaration of it all. Her strips of bacon, skirting pancakes, represent heedless gluttony. Chang’s dominoes of pork belly, swaddled in an Asian bun, signify high art.”

At the time I thought it was a strange use of Bruni’s new platform as a columnist, but now that I’ve seen Paula Deen in person, I think it’s quite a brilliant summation of the liberal smugness I so often embody. 

Paula Deen isn’t trying to wow you with "foo foo prissy food" (as she calls it), she’s trying to make you feel loved and nurtured.

"What I do, when I feed you, and I look at you," she said, pausing for dramatic effect, "I get immediate gratification from the look on your face." 


Exactly. What a refreshingly unpretentious way to approach food: it can bring us together and make us happy.  

I love it. 

(Does this mean I need to see “Two And a Half Men”?!!)


“To write a good book you have to have certain qualities. Great art is connected with courage and truthfulness. There is a conception of truth, a lack of illusion, an ability to overcome selfish obsessions, which goes with good art, and the artist has got to have that particular sort of moral stamina. Good art, whatever its style, has qualities of hardness, firmness, realism, clarity, detachment, justice, truth. It is the work of a free, unfettered, uncorrupted imagination…” —Iris Murdoch, at the 92Y


Connor Ratliff for President: He’s Old Enough!

Connor Ratliff, member of Upright Citizens Brigade improv team The Stepfathers, is running for President. What makes him qualified? In his words, “I’m 36 and that’s old enough to be President.” He’s been traversing the Isle of Manhattan to make his case, from a press conference in Battery Park to General Grant National Memorial (Grant’s Tomb), featured here in a video for 92nd Street Y’s Campaign for the American Conversation. His story serves as a reminder that we are living the Constitution every day, as the Founding Fathers intended. Drunk and hot.

André Leon Talley Holds Court at 92Y

Photo by Steve Eichner

After an exhaustive, rapid-fire recap of his career Tuesday night at 92Y, André Leon Talley was only surprised by one thing — that the crowd stayed interested for two hours.

His fast-marching conversation with Fern Mallis was laced with laughs, thanks to his off-the-cuff commentary on a career working with Diana Vreeland, Andy Warhol, John Fairchild and Anna Wintour. Talley’s chapter on Vreeland was among the most entertaining: “How she talked about marabou — it was literature,” and, “We used to have the most compelling conversations for four hours about French espadrilles.”  For More