Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Michael Chabon and Jon Carroll with a little Ayelet Waldman too

There is no doubt Michael Chabon draws a crowd.

In Monday night’s conversation with San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll, Chabon attracted more than 400 people to the Thrust Theater at Berkeley Rep. (Of course, Carroll has his own large following.) Carroll has interviewed a number of notable authors as part of a benefit series for Park Day School in Oakland –Anne Lamott, Leah Garchik, Michael Pollan – and Chabon probably was the most popular.

It was a broad and amusing discussion about truth and lying, the state of childhood today, and other topics. Here are some tidbits I gleaned from the evening:

Chabon, who has three children at Park Day School, is working on a “naturalistic” novel about two Berkeley families. He has written in the past about the homogenization of the suburbs, what makes Berkeley unique and at times insufferable, and how he regrets his kids cannot just go out and play in the neighborhood after school, so readers may see some of these themes in the novel.

The film version of the Mysteries of Pittsburgh has finally found a distributor and it should be on movie screens in the near future.

In contrast, the film version of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay is not going anywhere.

Chabon didn’t talk about The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, but the directors Joel and Ethan Cohen have bought the film rights.

He was greatly influence by the 70s progressive rock bank “Yes.”

Ayelet Waldman, Chabon’s wife, was also at the benefit with her own news:

She and Michael raised $1.4 million for Barack Obama. When she was first approached to raise funds she thought she would be lucky to raise $25,000.

The couple will be attending Obama’s swearing in ceremony.

While in Washington, Waldman will be doing a benefit with Alice Waters, Ruth Reichl, Danny Meyer, and other chefs to raise money for soup kitchens in the DC area.

Shooting has just wrapped up on the film version of Waldman’s novel, Love and Other Impossible Pursuits. It starts Natalie Portman, Lisa Kudrow, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who played Denny in Grey’s Anatomy. The director is Don Roos, who also directed The Opposite of Sex. Waldman said the film should be released in about six months.


Anonymous said...

Michael Chabon liked (or was "greatly influenced by") YES? That is so cool. I am a huuuge closet YES fan. Last year I bought this double DVD reunion-concert set and the entire audience was made up of bald guys in their 50s.

I wish I'd been there to hear more about that!!

James G. Leventhal said...

what a wonderful summary. The two of them are great reps for the East Bay, in life has overlapped with the two of them in funny ways -- grew up in the same town in Maryland as Michael and he knew my brother; Ayelet went to the same year in Israel kibbutz program as my sister...and they lived just blocks from where I work. They;re both so grounded and so boggles the mind. kinda glad-to-share-the-planet-with-them type people.

Frank Anthony Polito said...

Keep in mind that, while THE MYSTERIES OF PITTSBURGH film finally being released might sound like a good thing, the film is really NOTHING like the Chabon novel.

No gay Arthur, Phlox is next to nill, and who really wants to see Art Bechstein getting it on with Cleveland and/or Jane for that matter?

Check out the official MOP Film Boycott for more info!

ayeletw said...

My kids have NEVER met the Obama girls! Where did you ever get that idea, Frances?????


Frances said...

Sorry Ayelet, I thought you mentioned they were together on Election Day. My mistake. I will take that comment down.