s skippy the bush kangaroo: skippy looks at books - festival edition

skippy the bush kangaroo

Saturday, April 29, 2006

skippy looks at books - festival edition

today was a perfect day to attend the latimes 11th annual festival of books on the lovely ucla campus. so, that's what skippy did.

aside from vicariously feeling the joy of reading from the thousands of bookphiles that criss-crossed the quad, skippy spoke at length with some interesting authors and attended some fine panels.

one such panel consisted of original saturday night live writer alan zweibel and noeveau novelist seth greenland, talking about satirical fiction (moderated by snarky be-hatted patt morrison).

patt asked about keeping satire contemporary, especially with lag time in publishing to be considered. alan shot back with the observation that when the president of the united states declares in public 'i'm a decider,' and when the vice-president shoots someone in the face, and the victim apologizes to him, there's no way satire can keep up with reality. alan mused that if the great monotheistic religions of the world had more stand-up comics, things would be better. "if mohammed had a good ten minutes," he said, "the front pages of the newspapers would be quite different."

as hilarious as that panel was, it was just a warm-up for gore vidal talking with arianna huffington. mr. vidal opined on various subjects, most of which were related to the terrible shape the world is in, and most of which was the fault of the current administration.

arianna asked what the opposition party could do, and gore corrected her with a glib "you're assuming that there is an opposition party." he went on to tell how, in the 60's, he and dr. spock attempted to form a third political party, a "people's party," but he soon realized that for there to be a third party, there first had to be a second party.

vidal pointed out that a good way to approach politics now is at the lower levels, and he endorsed marcy winograd, who is currently running against jane harmon for congress in the primaries in skippy's own district in west los angeles. vidal mentioned targeting the lower seats in politics is how the repubbbs started to gain power 20 years ago.

he also, at arianna's instance to say something about al gore, who might be running again for president, opined that "cousin albert is intelligent, which would be a welcome break from what we have now."

the audience which filled royce hall (one of the bigger auditoriums at ucla), interrupted the two speakers with spontaneous applause several times. but reaction was mixed at the mention of hillary clinton's name. several boo's and hisses resounded when arianna first spoke of the democratic senator of (not "from") new york, and, conversely, several people applauded when gore spoke highly of her (for her attempt to create a universal health care system when her hubby was prez).

however gore did express the opinion that hillary should have run for congress in her home state of illinois ("chicago is everything new york wants to be" he said, "a truly great city." hey, new yawkers, don't blame us, we're just reporting here). and when arianna asked why gore liked hillary so much, she said that hillary was very bright. "then have dinner with her" arianna said. "don't vote for her for president."

all in all, a great hour spent with two very opinionated, and articulate people (three, if you count skippy).

on a totally non-political note, skippy got a chance to speak at length with actress-turned-murder-mystery-author harley jane kozak, about the difficulties of writing, getting published, acting, and not getting acting work. ms. kozak was charming, and enjoyed much of what skippy had to say. skippy was charmed, and returned the favor.

tomorrow: carl reiner! you can't beat that!
posted by skippy at 7:51 PM |


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