I trekked down to Philly with Beth
and Chris to see Anthony Bourdain talk and then sign his new book. We got there fairly early, so our seats for the event were fabulous, but the general cluelessness (or, as Chris put it "Phillyness") of the Free Library staff meant that Beth and I were among the last in line for the actual signing. Dork that I was, I managed to stammer out that I use him as an example in my writing class and that I think his Salon piece on being trapped in Beirut
is a stellar example of a personal essay. It bears witness to something and isn't completely self-absorbed. He was "flattered." There's a bad cell phone pic (thanks, Beth! and that is not at all snarky...) and now I have an autographed copy of his new book.
I don't feel as bad about my stammering as I might have since the questions in the Q&A portion were ridiculous. I really wanted him to tear into the girl who was in her second year of culinary school and was asking him for advice on "how to break into food television." Instead, he subtly insulted her while pretending to give advice. (The gist: Don't even bother with culinary school. Look at Rachael Ray--straight from the supermarket aisle to the Food Network.) There were a couple of vegetarians who were defending their choices (Bourdain thinks it "rude" when you turn down food offered to you from people of other cultures for just about any reason) and the random 54-year-old who had to proclaim him "sexy."
He's speaking again in NYC tomorrow and I think I'm going to head over there because Michael Ruhlman will be there as well. If you've seen the No Reservations
episodes about Las Vegas or Cleveland, you know this is going to be good.
And yes, our way back included a slight detour through Fishtown and other bits of North Philly, as well as a flat tire in Cherry Hill, but we got back in one piece. Beth and Chris are fine road trip companions. Plus, they know that Pat's is the correct choice in the cheesesteak wars.
Labels: books, heatha's celeb crushes, popular culture, television