I chatted with Wheelock Whitney for a while at the Retreat Gala at the Metropolitan on Saturday. He and I share a deep passion for all things Asian. Fourteen years ago he told me that Southeast Asia and China were for him the most exciting and vibrant travel spots in the world, and on Saturday he told me that he has taken his grandkids there recently because he feels if you want to understand the future of our world you have to understand China. He received the George Mann Spirit of Community Award for his work raising awareness and making a difference in the chemical dependency field, a place he has dedicated himself to for more than forty years. An amazing man.
Grammy-, Golden Globe-, Emmy- and Oscar-winning composer/songwriter Paul Williams told me that he loves Southern food and that his fave po' boys in the world come from Domicelli’s in New Orleans, and that “Nashville is a great town because it’s the only place in the world where escargots come with gravy.” Nice one. He also told me that one of the greatest songs of the twentieth century song, "We’ve Only Just Begun," was originally penned with different lyrics as a bank jingle, then reworked into a song, and in his opinion not one of his best . . . then Karen Carpenter sang it and the rest was history.
Speaking of Southern food, I sent Matt and Ted Lee to Levain on Friday night and they think Steven Brown is a genius. They’re right.
I found out last week that there is in fact a bathroom on the ground floor of the Guthrie Theater. The uniformed and credentialed Guthrie staffer manning the front door—the one who sent my eighty-year-old father to the fourth floor bathroom, insisting that it was the nearest facility available to him—needs to get a lesson in personal relations. Do they have some sort of crazy policy that I don’t know about? Are those bathrooms only open at certain times, or only available to Cue patrons? We had just had a drink at the bar so I am guessing we count as customers.