Hello, Zoners! You don’t have to tell me why I DO like Mondays! Sure, it’s a day almost everyone dreads, but for us it means a new Report–and that’s always good. And we must savor every show now, because very soon the holiday break will come, leaving us bereft.
What a great lineup this week, including two Pulitzer Prize winners, a Tony Award winner, and one of my favorite novel writing, bluegrass-playing comedians ever.
Monday December 6: Garry Trudeau
Happy 40th birthday, Doonsebury! Garry Trudeau debuted his cutting-edge, politically satiric strip (the continuation of his earlier, deliciously titled Bull Tales) in 1970, when the Vietnam War still raged and the cultural strife of the 60s remained explosive. For his unique work, Trudeau received the very first Pulitzer Prize ever awarded to a cartoonist. Doonesbury has also been adapted for TV and stage.
In 2004, Stephen and Trudeau appeared together on a panel about comedy:
Stephen Colbert, Drew Carey, Garry Trudeau: Political Humor and Campaigning Part 1 (2004) You may also remember Mr. Trudeau earned a “Wag of the Finger” from Stephen in May 2006.
Fract: Family ties–He is related (albeit distantly) to the former Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Trudeau, and is married to journalist Jane Pauley.
Tuesday, December 7: Julie Nixon Eisenhower & David Eisenhower
This should be an fascinating evening. Stephen has said that he admires President Richard Nixon and he reportedly has a poster of Nixon hanging in his office. So even though I do not share this sentiment, I’m really interested in seeing how a visit from Nixon’s daughter Julie and her husband, David Eisenhower (grandson of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and director of the Institute for Public Service at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication) will play out. The couple recently collaborated on the book Going Home To Glory: A Memoir of Life with Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961-1969, which examines Ike’s post-presidential life. This is David’s second book about his grandfather; the first, Eisenhower at War, written in 1987, won the Pulitzer Prize. Julie has also written several books on her own, including a biography of her mother, Pat Nixon.
Fract: Despite her firmly Republican lineage, Julie Nixon Eisenhower supported Obama, not McCain, in the past election.
Wednesday, December 8: Steve Martin
Happy, happy, joy, joy: I love Steve Martin! On his last visit to the ‘Colbert Report’, he and Stephen parodied Christian Bale’s on-set meltdown, and it was pure comic gold. The versatile Martin is one of the few comedians (along with Stephen, of course) who has astonishing verbal flair (as evidenced by his novels and plays), amazing physical comedy skills, and superb dancing ability. He’s also an incredible Grammy-winning musical talent, which he showed off recently on Austin City Limits. His newest novel, An Object of Beauty: A Novel, was recently released to rave reviews.
Fract: In a somewhat shocking incident, the 92nd Street Y offered a refund to everyone who attended a recent conversation between Martin and Deborah Solomon. Apparently, the audience was upset that the two talked about art (the subject of An Object of Beauty) rather than, say, what Stephen Baldwin was like on the set of It’s Complicated. Martin has tweeted about the uproar as well as wrote an op-ed about the incident in this Sunday’s New York Times.
Thurday, December 9: Julie Taymor
She’s a director of theater, fllm, and opera; a designer, and a songwriter: Julie Taymor’s many talents have earned her two Tony Awards, a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Costume Design, an Emmy Award, an Academy Award nomination for Original Song, and other honors too numerous to mention. Although she began her career working on experimental theater rather than commerical productions, Taymor is best known for successfully bringing Disney’s The Lion King from the screen to the stage. Her newest project is even bigger: the multimillion-dollar theatrical version of Spider Man: Turn Off The Dark , which very recently previewed to positive buzz after several years delay and many cast changes. The opening is now scheduled for January 2011. Also scheduled for an opening: Taymor’s film version of The Tempest, which does a little sex-change magic, transforming Prospero into Prospera (played by Helen Mirren), debuts on the 10th.
One of my personal favorites, for those who haven’t seen it, is her film Across the Universe, set to Beatles’ songs. It’s visually stunning meditation on the 60s.
Fract: Thanks to a grant she received, Taymor spent time studying puppetry on the Japanese island of Awaju. She put that knowledge to good use when she created the amazing life-size animal puppets for Lion King.
Enjoy the shows, and let me know what you think about Stephen’s guests!