Apparently, Steve Martin’s conversation with the New York Times’ Deborah Solomon at the 92nd St Y in NYC earlier this week didn’t go so well. It went so poorly, in fact, that the Y offered full refunds ($50 each!) to the entire audience.
“Frankly, you would think that an audience in New York, at the 92nd Street Y, would be interested in hearing about art and artists,” Ms. Solomon added in an e-mail. “I had no idea that the Y programmers wanted me to talk to Steve instead on what it’s like to host the Oscars or appear in ‘It’s Complicated’ with Alec Baldwin. I think the Y, which is supposedly a champion of the arts, has behaved very crassly and is reinforcing the most philistine aspects of a culture that values celebrity and award shows over art.”
Why? Because they talked about the art world the entire time instead of, you know, Steve Martin’s career. But it’s OK, because Solomon seems to really get it:Yes, you philistines! Why, you should be happy to hear a comedian talk about the value of new painters’ works! I don’t care that you’re a fan of his movies! Don’t you know that movies are well below us New York intellectuals? By the way, just a reminder that tickets are going fast for my upcoming talk with Jon Lovitz about the use of folk music in Shostakovich’s The Nose!
Midway through the conversation, a Y representative handed Ms. Solomon a note asking her to talk more about Mr. Martin’s career and, implicitly, less about the art world, the subject of his latest novel, “An Object of Beauty.”The audience cheered when Ms. Solomon read aloud the note. Still, Ms. Solomon said she had thought until that moment that things were going swimmingly. She said she was “appalled” to have their conversation publicly criticized by the Y and found deserving of a refund.
The whole thing does sound pretty awkward:
The real irony of her idiotic reaction to pretty much everyone hating her interview is that to assume people want to hear what Steve Martin thinks about art just because he’s famous is pretty much “reinforcing the most philistine aspects of a culture that values celebrity.” You’re part of the problem, Deb!