Gore Vidal with Leonard Lopate (and Susan Sarandon)

Oct 21, 2009 by     3 Comments    Posted under: City, Culture, Photography




Gore Vidal was at the Union Square Barnes & Noble to be interviewed by Leonard Lopate to discuss his life and his photographic memoir, Gore Vidal: Snapshots in History’s Glare.  He was spectacular, although he did not raise the headlines that he did at the 92nd Street Y.  From New York magazine:

Accused anti-Semite Gore Vidal is scheduled to speak at the 92nd Street Y, and former mayor Ed Koch is convinced that “those who invited him are, as Jews, either most forgiving, or schmucks.”

In attendance was Susan Sarandon, whom I photographed at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival, and Dick Cavett.  I also had shot Eva Amurri, Sarandon’s daughter.  After the event was over I introduced myself to Ms. Sarandon, and told her that the photograph at the top of her Wikipedia article is mine, and that it was a pleasure to have the opportunity to meet her.  The atmosphere at the book store was very relaxed.  There was a huge crowd and people were milling about to get out.  She looked at me and after a moment or two said, “I’m sorry, but I don’t know what ‘my Wikipedia article‘ is.  I don’t know what is Wikipedia.  But it’s a pleasure to meet you nonetheless.”  Then she returned to her friends.

Usually Wikipedia makes for a good ice-breaker, as it did with the aforementioned Ed Koch.  Not this time.

Then because of the way the crowd moved, Susan Sarandon was right behind me on all four escalators down.  Thankfully I was standing next to a pudgy Chatty Cathy of a man who had to talk about all the other times he had seen Gore Vidal. The moment I glanced at this guy in line he launched into Vidal lecture stories. I didn’t want Susan Sarandon behind me on the escalator to think, ‘Oh, shit, now I’ve got to talk to this Wiki whatever person four floors down.‘  I acted so into the conversation that I must have made the man’s night, but I don’t remember a thing he said except, “Gore looks on his last legs. I’ve seen him look better…”

At one point I glanced back and made eye contact and then quickly turned back around, just so she didn’t have to worry that maybe I hadn’t seen her; the introduction was pleasant and rewarding enough.

Nobody else noticed Susan, and where there was a pile-up beginning at the bottom of the escalator to the second floor because people wouldn’t move, it was Sarandon who called out, “Come on people, we have to move, this is dangerous.”  That’s a New Yorker, although I imagine the headline “Susan Sarandon Crushed in Tragic Bookstore Escalator Pile-Up” wasn’t an appealing thought to her, either.

Gore Vidal makes few public appearances now; below are Creative Commons photographs I released under the 3.0 attribution license that are now found on Wikipedia and my Flickr Creative Commons stream.

File:Gore Vidal 3 Shankbone 2009 NYC.jpg

File:Gore Vidal 2 Shankbone 2009 NYC.jpg

File:Gore Vidal and Leonard Lopate Shankbone 2009 NYC.jpg

File:Gore Vidal 4 Shankbone 2009 NYC.jpg



3 Comments + Add Comment

  • This gives me faith that there is in fact room to grow then ;-)

  • Oh, I know. I always find that argument that we’re not growing to be weird and funny. Andrew Sullivan picked up this post under his ‘News of the Weird’, as did well-known editor Durova.

  • Oh David. You should never trust old people’s knowledge of the Internet.

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