- Favorite scary movie? (If you watch this genre)
- Favorite comedy?
- Favorite TV show?
- Favorite classic movie?
- Favorite author (at the moment)?
- Favorite genre of books to read?
- Favorite book you’ve read that was recommended?
- Favorite genre of music?
- Favorite musician(s)/music artist(s)?
- Favorite concert you’ve ever attended?
Scary movie: I have a vivid memory of watching “Nightmare on Elm Street,” in the basement of a dorm, in 1986. Or maybe ’87. (I’m old.) I was very high. There is no movie I’ve ever seen that compares with the terror I felt that night. Whether that was the dorm, the weed, or the movie, I can’t really say. But it was terrifying. The other night, I watched the 1991 Scorcese remake of “Cape Fear” – I don’t know that I’ve seen the original – and it was pretty fucking gripping. In general, I prefer thrillers to gore. I love Hitchcock.
Comedy: This is tough. (And I’m not sure if you’re asking my favorite comedian, my favorite type of comedy, or my favorite comedy film.
I grew up on Steve Martin. I can recite nearly every word of every routine he committed to vinyl. (“… after the hours I spent holding up her poster with one hand…“) Steve Martin taught me about masturbation, condoms, diaphragms, STDs, grammar, and so much more. I’m eternally grateful for him, and he is, now and forever, my favorite comedian. But Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Gilda Radner, Father Guido Sarducci, Bill Cosby*, Coyle and Sharpe, and Charlie Manna all shaped my understanding of funny. [Click through the links – I’ve selected representative comedy from each, except the known rapist among them.]
Funniest movie? “The Jerk” was, in its time, though it doesn’t really hold up so well. “Porky’s” had me (literally) rolling on the floor laughing. “Life of Brian” and “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” though, are the two I’ve probably derived the most laughs the most number of times from.
TV show: “The Wire.” Followed by “The Sopranos.” Back in the day? “Hill Street Blues.”
Classic movie: Toss-up between “The Wizard of Oz” and “Casablanca.”
Author: This is tough. Maybe the psychoanalyst Stephen Mitchell (for non-fiction). I have a soft spot for Agatha Christie. I believe I should like Neil Gaiman. Norman Rush’s Mating may be my favorite novel ever.
Literary genre: I wish it were fiction. In practice, it’s non-fiction – politics and psychology are the two areas I read the most about, and the intersection, especially.
Recommended book: The Monk of Mokha, by Dave Eggers. Not a novel, but it reads like one. In fact, it reads, really, like a movie.
Music genre: Can’t pick one. Rock. Standards. Jazz. (listed in order of the amount of time I spend listening to each)
Musician: On some level, this has to be Krishna Das, if only because I have listened to him far more than anyone else in the last ten years. But a more honest answer would be Frank Sinatra. Followed by Ella and Louis (together).
Concert: August 18, 1983. Shea Stadium. Joan Jett opened for REM, which opened for The Police. It was raining. As I remember it, Joan Jett came on stage, greeted the drenched crowd with, “Are you wet for me? Because I’m wet for you!” And launched into “I Love Rock and Roll.” Other notable concerts? Leonard Cohen, not too long before his death (which I wrote about here). One of any number of Dead shows. Bruce Springsteen at the Garden two or three years ago. The Wild Colonials at Fez under Time Cafe. My Mom’s old boyfriend, at the Village Vanguard.