Sunday, February 18, 2007


If you could have three people living or dead at a dinner party at your house, who would you have?

This is the kind of question entertainment journalists are always asking celebrities. Having spent the last few years working closely with a celebrity, the question takes on a different meaning. I can imagine a phone call, "Hey, Manaster. Hank Aaron, Abraham Lincoln and Jesus Christ are coming to my house tomorrow night. Can you organize dinner? Jesus is a vegetarian, I think, but you should call his assistant and find out for sure. I don't have the number but I think George Clooney's assistant knows her..."

And I'd do it, wouldn't I? I'd call my boss's publicist who would track down Clooney's publicist, who would get me in contact with Clooney's assistant, who would put me in touch with Jesus's assistant, on whose voicemail I'd leave a sweet message asking about Mr. Of Nazareth's culinary demands. She would text me some hours later that Jesus is mostly a vegetarian, although he has a weak spot for lamb. Armed with this knowledge, and with the knowledge that my boss hates lamb, I would call a very good, but not too froo-froo caterer who I met at the premiere for my boss's last thing. She would be silent for a moment, thinking, and then a light would go off and she would suggest that we serve pizza and beer and salad for $95 a head. I would say, "That sounds great, I'll see you tomorrow night." And I would cancel my plans and hang in the kitchen while Jesus and Hank Aaron and Abraham Lincoln and my boss suck on hot cheese and talk sports and pop psychology.

I have dinner parties all the time, and nobody has ever asked me this question. Well, if you want something done right...

Ilana, if you could have three people living or dead at a dinner party at your house who would you have?

Hmm, a tough question, self. I'm glad you asked. I would have Iris Murdoch, Deborah Eisenberg, and Romaine Brooks. We would have fresh oysters and salad and alcohol by the truck load. For dessert there would be strawberry shortcake and coffee and more alcohol and a live gypsy band. We would laugh and laugh and laugh, and then we'd pose naked for Romaine who, giddy with drink, would paint us up as French whores.

It would be good fun. And I wouldn't call anyone's assistant.


Jeremy Faro said...

Sounds totally wonderful. I would have Paul Monette, E.M. Forster, and Evelyn Waugh, and it would of course be for cute brunch. Sadly, your Romaine Brooks link has expired, though

ilana manaster said...

Updated. Thanks for letting me know!

Yip said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Corinne said...

Do you think next time someone asks me this you could help hook me up with George Clooney's assistant or publicist or whoever so that they could get in touch with Edward Norton by way of his sister's friend's brother's dog walker? I couldn't get in track him down, so I had to settle for Martha Stewart, JFK Jr., and Hugh Hefner at my dinner.

ilana manaster said...

Ooh. Martha Stewart's a good one. She drinks, right? Do you think she'd get along with Hef? What would you serve?