Thursday, May 5, 2016
YOU ARE INVITED
Well, of course you're invited! You're reading my blog, aren't you? That means you have intelligence and excellent taste. Or, it could mean that you're desperately bored and couldn't care less how you waste your time. Whatever. You're still invited to the dinner party.
A fancy dinner party in Paris, probably in the early 1920's. Two of the guests are the eccentric American dancer Isadora Duncan and the aging Irish playwright and critic George Bernard Shaw.
Duncan, who as usual has had too much champagne, turns to Shaw and says "With my looks and your brains we could have the perfect child together."
Shaw looks at her for a moment and then replies "Yes, my dear. But what if the child gets my looks and your brains?"
I love that story. Some versions replace Shaw with the French writer Anatole France. Since France was ancient at the time and died in 1924, I am inclined to believe the Shaw version. Besides, the caustic retort sounds like something Shaw would say.
Gone are the days of elaborate dinner parties and incredible guests. Sure, elaborate dinner parties still exist, but it's not the same. We live in a pallid cookie cutter world of rampant, stale mediocrity. Everything's gold-plated, but there is little substance within.
Let's rehash an old parlor party pastime. If you could throw a dinner party and invite anyone from history, who would be on your guest list?
And the first person who says Elvis or Prince is going to be kicked out.
That's actually tougher than it sounds. There will be a lot of incredibly Big Egos in the room and personalities will clash.
Who would be on my guest list? Wow, it's impossible to decide. I'll eliminate Biblical characters, since there are too many to choose from.
Atheists are breathing a sigh of relief.
Hey, maybe I'll invite Jesus just to piss you off.
Movie stars are a dime a dozen. I wouldn't waste my time. Even though I'd love to meet Dolores Costello, Nita Naldi, Ramon Novarro, Pola Negri, Rudolph Valentino, Garbo, Louise Brooks, Frances Farmer. James Dean.
Could you imagine me and James Dean after consuming a few six packs?
You're stalling, Jon. Who the hell do you want for your dinner guests?
I'm thinking that a dinner party wouldn't be intimate enough. I'd rather meet my guests individually. Get to know them better. One on one.
This is actually an impossibility for me, since I have compiled a list of about 100.
Okay, just randomly, off the top of my head - how about (in no particular order):
Kahlil Gibran, Isak Dennison, Thomas Edward Lawrence, The Bronte sisters, Emily Dickinson, Marcel Proust, Sarah Bernhardt, Giacomo Puccini, Konstantin Stanislavsky, Isadora Duncan, Franz Liszt, Arthur Rimbaud, Tchaikovsky, Vaslav Nijinsky, Tamara Karsavina, Princess Louise (Duchess of Argyll), Anna Pavolva, Mary Todd Lincoln (and Abe), Richard Wagner, King Ludwig II of Bavaria, Alexander Scriabin, Prince Felix Youssoupov, Lady Randolph Churchill, Oscar Wilde, John Atkinson Grimshaw, Hugo Wolf, Salvador Dali, Erte, Simeon Solomon.
Oh yea - and Tsar Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra.
I left a helluva lot out, but it's a start anyway.
While I'm on a roll - how about another question:
If you could have witnessed one event in history, what would it have been?
And if you say you would have liked to see Barry Obama receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, I'm gonna personally come to your house and kick your sorry ass into the middle of next week.
I would liked to have seen the fall of Babylon: that extraordinary night in October, 539 B.C.E, when the Medes and Persians overtook Babylon - - while King Belshazzar was in the midst of the drunken feast, and the handwriting appeared on the wall.
Atheists please hold your ears.
I would also like to have been present at the Last Supper with Jesus and his apostles.
By the way -
don't forget to show up at my dinner party. If you don't get an invitation, it probably got lost in the mail. Come anyway.