Thursday, October 30, 2008
He Talk Funny One Night

Monday night saw Kelley and I join the literary and hipster crowd for a reading by David Sedaris at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco. Beforehand we met Kelley's excellent friend Shelby for dinner at Farmer Brown, a soul-food restaurant that makes a fine pulled-pork sandwich, and prodded her to join us for the reading. Add another of Kelley's friends, Alison, who was there as well, and you have four people who rather enjoyed themselves.

We made our way up to the balcony, and Sedaris began with a piece about undecided voters. I'd yet to get around to it, but Kelley had read this one, and her doubling over in laughter at a seemingly innocuous point of the story had me at first confused but then braced to join her (the literal side of the when-she-is-happy-I-am-happy coin). Indeed it was a good passage:

To put [undecided voters] in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. “Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?”

To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.

In an interesting sidebar, he told us the original version put it as "human shit," but an editor at the New Yorker thought that inappropriate. The next time, at work, that I am haggling with a writer about an empty athlete quote or statistic, I will recall with some longing how much more fun the job can be.

Sedaris went on to read some unpublished material--about how Americans dress when flying ("It's as if the person in the seat next to you had been cleaning a pig before suddenly deciding, Fuck this, I'm going to Los Angeles!"), looking gay in Costco, and his adventures while on a book tour--and to take a few questions. Kelley and I could not recall an hour and a half passing so quickly or enjoyably. (For a sense, watch this video of Sedaris on the Letterman show reading Kelley's favorite story.)

We stayed over at Shelby's, and the next day bummed around the Sunset neighborhood of the city, eating a crap breakfast and ducking into a bookstore or three, before heading for the Museum of Modern Art. We had always seemed to be in the city on a Wednesday, when the museum is closed, and so were eager to finally have a look around. Alas, it was a bit underwhelming. The Frida Kahlo exhibit was gone, but it turns out now it's at the San Jose Museum of Art, and Kelley already has us going. (sigh) The things I do for ...

Posted by Chris at 10:08 AM | 0 comments