The New Yorker Festival has such a great feeling. I’m usually allergic to People Talking About Stuff On Stage, but this festival has great guests, and the spirit of the magazine is really obvious in all the events, each of which is presented by a staff writer or editor. Last night we saw Mother India and Across the Pond, both terrific.
I actually like panel presentations: instead of having to rehearse and present a single, long, coherent thesis (which, less face it, most people aren’t cut out to do), partipants riff off each other and build on each other’s ideas and stories. When they come off, I find them much more enjoyable than monologues. I also think it can be a less threatening environment for non-bloke or non-white people, providing everybody on the panel is sensitive to their own input.
Also, I just adore Zadie Smith. I want to BE her, with her gold shoes and absolutely enormous, searching brain.