Ten living people I’d like to have dinner with

  1. Malcolm Gladwell. There are times when he can seem a little glib and clever clever but nonetheless I have always loved his mind and read all his books and articles hungrily.  I am really enjoying his new podcast, Revisionist History. I think it would be really interesting to have conversation with him , and to get his take on things I am also thinking about.
  2. David Hockney. He’s getting old, he’s pretty deaf, and probably curmudgeonly but I would love to talk to him about painting, technology, and what he thinks about about the new discovery of Rembrandt’s use of optics. And I would just love to watch him draw.
  3. The African dancing woman in the park. Every single morning a youngish woman sets up a table and some buckets and spend about an hour dancing and twirling, playing bongos, tambourines and doing , elaborate graceful African tribal looking dances. Most passersby ignore her but occasionally people stop shout with joy and hug her. I don’t know what that’s about.  She doesn’t seem to be crazy or homeless and but it seems she’s engaged in some long-standing creative ritual and I’m curious about why she does it and what she gets out of it
  4. Hope Jahren. I just read her book, Lab Girl. Slowly, savoring every word of it. She is the Stephen Jay Gould of geobiology, the Oliver Sacks of botany, and makes science  into a wild creative adventure.  I have learned so much about the trees and plants around me through her lucid and compelling words. She leads an eccentric and self possessed life, and writes so beautiful it would be illuminating and fascinating to have dinner with her.  Maybe in a  forest.
  5. Karl Ove Knaussgard. I am obsessed by everything he writes  his memoirs are so ordinary and extraordinary at the same. He both understands and is perplexed by himself and everything around him.
  6. Don Knies. He was my English teacher in 11th and 12th grade. I don’t know if he would remember me but he had a strong and formative effect on me.  I would love to revisit the time we had together to get some clarity on what those years were like from his perspective and learn about what it’s like to inspire writers for decades.
  7. Keri Smith.  I love her books that inspire people to explore and have a creative adventures. We used to be Email penpals but then she became super successful and sort of dropped off the map. She has a new book. Maybe that’s an excuse to try to renew our connection
  8. Mick Jagger. Because he is my spirit animal.
  9. Steven Soderburgh. He is creative and in so many interesting directions. Filmmaking, television, writing, even liquor marketing. He is honest about when he’s bored with something and moves on   And he seems to have integrity and a willingness to tell the monied interests to fuck off. . And his website is hilarious.
  10. Zefrank.  He is funny, insightful, creative, and mysterious. His daily videos were incredibly inspiring. He went off on i all sorts of tangents that I could relate to. He developed a unique ways to talk to a camera. He had a fantastic and supportive community. And then he basically walked away from it. He went into corporate America, working for Buzz Feed, and disappeared off the radar.  I wonder what he’s up to now. And how he continues to  nourish his creative soul.
  11. Banksy. Not just because he’s anonymous. But because he’s brilliant. And relentless. And principled.  And no doubt hilarious.
  12. Mike Pesca.  I listen to his podcast, The Gistm every day. As he explores culture, politics, bullshit, bad jokes, hits of the. 80s.   He makes me think every day.   Even when I think he’s an idiot.
  13. Barack Obama.  Because I already miss him so much.

19 thoughts on “Ten living people I’d like to have dinner with”

  1. I think you should go invite the African dancing woman to dinner. Or at last have a conversation with her. I’ve started having conversations with strangers, mostly homeless people who live in my city and it has been a revelation. I’ve even taken a couple of them to lunch. As a result I’ve learned a lot about kindness and the art of conversation. And on my birthday my husband bought me trays of cupcakes and we went into the city centre and gave them out to as many homeless people as we could find and they all asked me why – I got lots of hugs and kisses from strangers and it turned into the best birthday ever. If you’d like have dinner with those people ask them – at least ask the ones you could ask because you know how to contact them! If they say know at least you asked. If they say yes well they might turn out to be disastrous dinner dates and you’ll never ask again but they might turn out to be awesome! If they sounds way too dangerous for NYC then just start with a simple conversation. I’m so glad I did.

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  2. You got 3 people on your list whom I will love to have dinner with. The case of the African dancing woman in the park is a noble call, heartwarming and very inspirational. What a good read! Thanks

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  3. Great list Danny.
    How much TV do you watch?
    I obviously watch too much. I’ve already cut back on my unscheduled YouTube watching – Maru the cat videos (they are hilarious).
    I was raised on TV and it seems uncannily difficult to cut that cord.

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  4. I’m with you on Barack Obama. Because I miss him already but also because I feel he would have some wise words of reassurance and things might not feel so bleak.

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  5. What an amazing blog post … I like writing about wise women … but usually stick to dead ones … and I am not sure whether I would like to have dinner with them …. and writing about women who are alive seems a bit daring … one would have to get the facts right …. you have nailed it!! brilliant I will certainly look more closely at your dinner party friends … thank you

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  6. Terrific list Danny. I’m Canadian and even I miss Barack Obama already. Such a brilliant man, my suggestion all along has been when he was finished with US political life he could move here and do us some good too. Although now we’re so lucky to have Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister. Before he took office I was all for writing a pleading letter to Obama begging for him to come run our country for a few years. LOL.

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  7. To watch David Hockney draw, take a flight to Melbourne Australia and visit the National Gallery of Victoria where an exhibition primarily of his ipad and iphone drawings is running. It includes a video, projected onto a wall maybe 8 metres high, showing each stroke that made the drawing. Go on, make the trip. It’s not that far.

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  8. Just found this entry. Probably the link to Knaussgard…..the workings of computers sometimes escape me. Well i’d like to be having a meal with you, Danny, because of who you would like to have a meal with… Mostly i am delighted to find a wealth of unread blog entries to enjoy and be challenged and delighted by.

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