31 December 2010

The Cupcaker Awards Are Here!!

Welcome to the most prestigious awards reception of the year, "The Best 'Best Of 2010' List of 2010!" In honor of James Franco's co-hosting gig at the upcoming Oscars, my spirit animal (James Franco) will be presenting this year's awards:

JAMES FRANCO: Hi, it's me James Franco, and welcome to Becklectic's Best of 2010 List. My innate grace and zest for knowledge have made me a shoo-in for this first category-

Best Spirit Animal of 2010: I can't...I can't believe it! It's me, James Franco! Thank you so much. Now that I'm up on stage and can make my thank yous, I want to do a little joke - What's the sound of one arm clapping? Haha, because of 127 Hours and also because of philosophy, which may be something I'm getting a master's in right now. I can't say for sure. Thanks and let's get onto the next category.

Best Car of 2010: Born in 1996 and still purring like a 14 year old kitten, Gabe Kotter the Camry wins again. Lately he's getting to know a new trickle charger. Gabe, you old tech nerd!

Best New Blog of 2010: Although I, James Franco, don't have a celebrity lookalike yet, I am presenting this award to Becky's newest endeavor, Celebrities That Look Alike. The girl from Modern Family and Mila Kunis? Wow, truly a great call.

Best Zombies of 2010: In spirit [animal], Becky & I watched 6 episodes of the newest, awesomest zombie show on tv: The Walking Dead. Based on an extended graphic novel series by Robert Kirkman, the tale of Zombiepocalyptic survival is both scary and addictive...just like ___'s personality.

(ring ring)

JAMES FRANCO: Wait a sec- my phone. (picks up) Hello?

FAT CATS AT CORPORATE: Yes, James Franco please.

JF: This is he.

FCAC: Ah yes, James. Would you like to tell us what that blank joke is supposed to be about?

JF: Blank joke? Oh, you mean the insert-your-own thing at the end of the Walking Dead award?

FCAC: Affirmative.

JF: What about it?

FCAC: If you value your livelihood, you will turn in your jokes in a 100% complete format. We can't expect these people to come up with their own punchlines. It's New Year's Eve, for Christ's sake! They're already drunk!

JF: But it's only 10 til noon, not that I'm judging.

FCAC: Give it a rest Franco! Fill in the blank and then give it a rest!

JF: Ok...how about...well, let's see. Who has an addictive and scary personality? Lindsay Lohan? I wouldn't say that's scary. Gaga? I could see her scaring people into becoming addicted to her, but that's not really right.

FCAC: You've got ten seconds before this whole place gets blown to smithereens. Decide!

JF: Ok, just wait a second! Teen moms? The Tea Party? Natalie Portman? Why haven't I seen Black Swan yet?!

FCAC: Five...four...three...


FCAC: (long beat) Approved. (click)

JF: Which brings us to-

Best Heinously Miserable Surprise Celebrity Meltdown of 2010: One day Becky plans to read transcripts of Mel Gibson's marital rants to her babies to help them fall into deep, misogynist slumber.

Best Article Readership of 2010: This celebrity breakup post garnered 7800 page views in the half-month it's been around. Congratulations for unlocking the formula, Beck! And sorry to all the famous people whose personal romantic failures are the nourishment upon which we survive.

Best Dream Job of 2010: To write for Sesame Street.

Best-Used Present of 2010: An ice cream maker from Matt (technically from Chanukkah '09), which has so far helped create:
Strawberry Ice Cream
Eggnog Ice Cream
Cinnamon Basil Ice Cream
Sanka Ice Cream
Dutch Chocolate Ice Cream
Basil Gelato
Pistachio Ice Cream

Best Jersey Shore of 2010: If memory serves, all Jersey Shore that has ever taken place has been within 2010. Oh, nope - preliminary research into Wikipedia shows that the first season premiered on Dec. 3, 2009. This doesn't really matter because it's all swirling into the same toilet drain: ALL of The Jersey Shore was the best of 2010. And I can't wait for season 3, which premieres in something like ONE MERE WEEK.

A humble suggestion: clearly it would be a tall order to change the name of the show, but maybe it's possible to call it "Jersey Malapropisms" one or two times? No one would notice the graphic. For instance, when Sammi wants to beat up a girl, she says "Like when I left Karma, I didn’t even know what was going on in my head, like I’m gonna fucking knock a bitch up." Aw! That's about as cute as Amelia Bedelia at her most confused.

Best Roommates of 2010: My roommates!

Best New Twitter of 2010: A tie between my roommates' new twitter (@TheModelHome) and Matt's cool new account (@YonesSays). Congratulations, short and to-the-point wit!

(ring ring)

JAMES FRANCO: God damn it, just a second. (answers phone) What is it?

FAT CATS AT CORPORATE: Is it you talking now, or is it Becky?

JF: James Franco, obviously. Do you mind? This award show is prestigious-

FCAC: Just wanted to double check. Your roommates, they're cool?

JF: What? I don't have any roommates. I'm a rich actor.

FCAC: Oh really. Then whose roommates won the Best Roommates of 2010 award?

JF: Becky's!

FCAC: But it's all in first person, and you're the host.

JF: People will get it.

FCAC: 100% complete, Franco...100%.

JF: I'll give you 100%!

FCAC: That's the right attitude. Carry on (click).

BECKY (OS): James?

JF: Becky? Is that you? Where are you? I can't see you!

B (OS): I'm but a disembodied voice here, James. I'm here to help you.

JF: Help me? But I'm your spirit animal. Shouldn't I be the one helping you?

B (OS): Oh, pish tosh.

JF: It's these fat cats, they're such sticklers.

B (OS): Maybe they're baiting you.

JF: That's not it. It's their greed. Their corporate greed.

B (OS): Come now James. Think. Why would the fat cats at corporate bother you like this?

JF: (thinking very hard, then getting it) (simultaneous with Becky's disembodied voice) BECAUSE EVERYONE WANTS A PIECE OF JAMES FRANCO!

B (OS): Bam!

JF: You are the best, Becky.

B (OS): No James, you are.

Best Spirit Animal/Blogger Pairing of 2010: James Franco & Becklectic. THIS is why it mattered so much that I find a spirit animal. And THIS is why Becklectic Takes Manhattan has this year's Best "Best of 2010" List of 2010!


29 December 2010

Check Out My New Blog Project!

It's called Celebrities That Look Alike and it will make my life more full! Possibly yours too.

25 December 2010


My family is talking about Mel Gibson and what the hell happened. And we are watching Scrooged, and now suddenly I'm defending Zach Galifianakis with my entire life.

18 December 2010

In Honor Of The Repeal Of DADT

My apartment is watching In & Out tonight. Congratulations, everyone!

14 December 2010

Another GG Tricap, Right On Time

The thing about recaps is that they're most useful/interesting/appropriate when they're published within a few days of the episode. Since I took notes on the last three Gossip Girls but still haven't written anything about them, I'm going to have to present a useless/boring/irrelevant one. JUST KIDDING OBVIOUSLY THIS WILL BE GREAT!

Three Weeks Ago: "Serena has Fallen, but Not the Parts of Her You Might Expect"
(Juliet tricks Vanessa and Jenny into helping her destroy Serena at some sort of saints and sinners ball that Chuck is inexplicably hosting)
  • At one point Blair gets a pedicure while she's on the phone with Chuck, who is also getting a pedicure. I believe it is the same pedicurist, or a twin.
  • Serena tells Lily, "You know, you just let yourself get blackmailed for no reason." Yes and no? I guess if I had unlimited money, I'd throw it at any/all persons who seem like they might actually have something on me/my progeny. Or I wouldn't? I don't know, I guess. I guess that's why I'm not Lily van der Woodsen.
  • This episode contained Serena's now infamous line to Eric: "You're my little brother. You're not enough." ZING, BIG SIS! She still hasn't apologized.
  • There were so many things wrong with Juliet's ultimate plan to take down Serena: 1) Neither she nor Jenny look like Serena, completely disregarding her face. 2) She kept her "ether" in some sort of potion bottle, which even I would have been suspicious about and I'm not even paid security. 3) You can't withdraw from Columbia via text or email or anything that could issue forth from a phone. I'm pretty sure someone has to sign something, somewhere. 4) It all takes place alongside Taylor Momsen's band's terrible single. 5) No one cares that Blair and Chuck are dating. 6) YET SOMEHOW IT ALL WORKS OUT LIKE GANGBUSTERS! Juliet comes out of that smelling like a rose! How?

Two Weeks Ago: "The Tate Donovan-Directed Episode"
(Serena wakes up surrounded by pills and her mother commits her to a mental institution without even asking if it really happened or if her daughter was framed or what!)
  • The main thing about this episode is Vanessa "Tofu Stuffing" Abrams's technicolor navajo peacoat. It's the main thing because when you see it, it makes you barf and you end up missing the entire rest of the episode due to being so sick. 
  • Rufus has been in such top-form lately. In this episode he both tells Lily he "thought she was over this" and corrects Lily about the possibility that Serena takes antidepressants. Of course Serena doesn't take antidepressants, dummy. How would she know to get them? Oh, and then Rufus spills all of Serena's secret beans in the hospital to whomever will listen.
  •  Oh man, when Chuck spots Jenny walking into the Ostroff Center it's like watching a zombie pass by. Speaking of, you can always find my Walking Dead season 1 recaps here!
  •  And finally, it took a few thousand slow-motion rewinds but I got to the point where I could make out the check Lily hands to Juliet as hush money - and it's only $5000. Blah blah, it'll be $5k every month, but come on. This is a van der Woodsen. Come on.
One Week Ago: "The Very Beginning Of The Best Best Friendship In The World: Blain!
(Blair and Dan travel to Connecticut together to solve the mystery of Serena's teacher fiasco at boarding school. On the way they run into Draco Malfoy Damien and he spills his guts.)
  • There is a dictionary in Blair's room that appears to be glowing.
  • Lily wears not one but two red power dresses in this episode. Wait a minute, red? Like as in evil?! Wait, guys, I think they're trying to say something about Lily...but what?
  • "It's a little early in the day for that, don't you think?" says Rufus to Lily, mistaking himself for Sandy Cohen and her for Kirsten yet again. She's a businesswoman, Rufus. She's allowed to drink during the day.
  • Serena's like, the best ever at making absinthe apparently. Everyone's good at something!
  • One for the show bible: Blair Waldorf can't drive. But probably Chuck can.
  • "Eric, somewhere between a Marlins jersey and the absolute truth lies the better part of decorum. Becoming an adult is about learning the distinction." See, Rufus? Rich women are allowed to get a little tips during the day! That is when they give the most coherent advice to their sons.
  • It should be noted that everyone forgives Juliet immediately when they could probably stand to be like "Hey, how did you sneak into the Ostroff Center?" or "Which drugs exactly did you give Serena?" for a few minutes.  
  • Friendship eyebrows!!
  • Until January 24th, the best we can hope for is that Rufus has roadtripped off to find his true love Vanessa and that Serena roadtripped off to give a great big apology to her old teacher, boobie-style.
Thanks for hanging in there!

A Whole Slew Of Gather Articles!

Hi guys,

Here are more gather posts I've written, which will earn me small amounts of money if you click through them. The good news is that, according to math, all large amounts of money can actually be broken down into small amounts, such that one day all my small amounts of money might equal something big.

PS I got a few HTML books out of the library so maybe some changes are headed for Becklectia? We shall see!

Posts I've Written Lately (please to click!)
1. AMC's "The Walking Dead" Episode 5 Recap: Wildfire
This is my penultimate recap of The Walking Dead season 1. It has a great picture of Andrea's sister Amy waking up as a zombie as well as some particularly biting wit sprinkled in throughout.

2. Bob's Burgers Is Coming! Watch a Preview for Fox's Newest Animated Show, Premiering January 9th 
I am so excited for this show, mostly because I am so excited for everything H. Jon Benjamin does. Plus we got Kristen Schaal and Eugene Mirman over here, HEY! Seriously everyone, this is going to have some great voice talent in it. I can't quite speak for the plot yet - my impression from the trailer is that Kristen Schaal's girl must be the narrator at least sometimes and Eugene Mirman's boy looks like he's going to get into some serious trouble which could be funny - but frankly plots are for suckers.

3.  AMC's "The Walking Dead" Episode 6 Recap: TS-19
This is my recap of the season finale of The Walking Dead, which was sort of underwhelming. Look, I loved watching The Walking Dead and I learned my lesson from the finale season of Lost - don't get your hopes up when you love a show based on mysteries. No one has the answers, and you're the only one who will end up with a broken heart. So here's the deal: It's cool that they visited the CDC when it wasn't even mentioned in the comics (since Kirkland famously "didn't know that's where the CDC was"), and the whole thing ended as a big invitation to join them on the road again next summer/fall/hopefully sooner than that. So that's what it was, and that was okay.

4. Watch a Preview of Holly Flax's Return to The Office: Welcome Back, Amy Ryan!
I wrote this as soon as I heard what was to be. What an episode! I mostly enjoyed Erin's mistrust in whatever Michael sees in Holly Flax. Mindy Kaling wrote the episode and is obviously the smartest gal in LA. Actually I would bet that's true.

11 December 2010

We Don't Need No Stinking Girlscouts

Today is Josh's birthday so I have made him a present influenced by his favorite girl scout cookie: The Samoa. This isn't his actual birthday cake and I didn't have any candles or anything, so don't get your hopes up and then let my negligence get you feeling down. I made him a present!* That's great!

I got the recipe from a blog called Crepes of Wrath, who got it from Baking Bites, who got it from Margaret Mead, who got it from the Samoans in the 1900s. Here it is (as printed in Baking Bites):

Here are the ingredients I used!

Homemade Samoas Bars
Cookie Base:
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

First, make the crust.
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan, or line with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand. The dough does not need to come together. Pour crumbly dough into prepapred pan and press into an even layer.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping.

Here is how mine looked. The edges looked browner than this but thanks for trying, camera.

3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
12-oz good-quality chewy caramels
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp milk
10 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips are ok)

Preheat oven to 300. Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula.

Put dollops of the topping all over the shortbread base. Using the spatula, spread topping into an even layer. Let topping set until cooled.
When cooled, cut into 30 bars with a large knife or a pizza cutter (it’s easy to get it through the topping).

The bag of coconut I bought only had 2 2/3 cups of coconut in it, so I think the topping turned out a little skimpy. Or it would have, if I hadn't added extra caramel to fix it.

Once bars are cut, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. Dip the base of each bar into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment or wax paper. Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt a bit of additional chocolate, if necessary) into a piping bag or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle bars with chocolate to finish.

Here is another picture of mine! Boy did I have 99 problems with the melted chocolate. First of all, its bowl got ridiculously hot in the microwave, and then the chocolate melted my plastic bag when I was piping it over the bars! That just meant that two of them were mega-chocolate ones, which is actually great. It's a birthday miracle!

 Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.

Makes 30 bar cookies.
Note: You can simply drizzle chocolate on top of the bars before slicing them up if you’re looking for yet an easier way to finish these off. You won’t need quite as much chocolate as noted above, and you won’t quite get the Samoas look, but the results will still be tasty.

Happy birthday, Josh!
*I also got him an autographed picture of Michael C. Hall (Dexter, himself) and some secret gifts that haven't been revealed yet but do exist and in fact I'm only waiting on the last third of it to come in the mail.

09 December 2010

Other Great Moments From U.B. & Their Influence On My Life

1. The time Uncle Buck makes a huge breakfast for Miles's birthday.
For years, I haven't been able to look at a stovetop without seriously considering how I would finagle it to cook huge pancakes. Also, the pat of butter on the pancakes looks like four sticks of butter side by side. This isn't necessarily an impact on my life, but it's in my brain probably 41% of the time. The other 59% is subway maps and muppet trivia.

2. The time Uncle Buck tells Maizy's principal to go downtown and have a rat gnaw the mole off her face.
This is the height of zealous principal-mockery, of which I only dare dream when I'm asleep and dreaming.

3. The time all the pots and pans crash down in the kitchen and Uncle Buck is like "shit!"
Thank you, John Hughes, for teaching me that sometimes you just have to be like "shit!" and that oughta do it.

4. The time Maizy tries to saw her eggroll in half with a chopstick at the dinner table.
This is a great idea.

5. Everything Amy Madigan ever does or says.
Just ask Ed Harris!

Alright, enough already. Let's all just watch Uncle Buck right now.

U.B. Meets Marcie Dahlgren-Frost

Marcie Dahlgren-Frost: Marcie Dahlgren-Frost. Dahlgren is my maiden name, Frost is my married name. I'm single again, but I never bothered to remove the frost. And I get compliments on the hyphen.

You're The Best In The Biz, Uncle Buck!

Buck: Hey, I stopped smoking cigarettes.
Cindy Russell: Oh, good.
Buck: Isn't that something? I'm on to cigars now. I'm on to a five-year plan. I eliminated cigarettes, then I go to cigars, then I go to pipes, then I go to chewing tobacco, then I'm on to that nicotine gum.

Once Again, Uncle Buck's Dialogue Makes Kindergarteners Of Us All

Miles: Where do you live?
Buck: In the city.
Miles: You have a house?
Buck: Apartment.
Miles: Own or rent?
Buck: Rent.
Miles: What do you do for a living?
Buck: Lots of things.
Miles: Where's your office?
Buck: I don't have one.
Miles: How come?
Buck: I don't need one.
Miles: Where's your wife?
Buck: Don't have one.
Miles: How come?
Buck: It's a long story.
Miles: You have kids?
Buck: No I don't.
Miles: How come?
Buck: It's an even longer story.
Miles: Are you my Dad's brother?
Buck: What's your record for consecutive questions asked?
Miles: 38.
Buck: I'm your Dad's brother alright.
Miles: You have much more hair in your nose than my Dad.
Buck: How nice of you to notice.
Miles: I'm a kid - that's my job.

Uncle Buck Day Continues

Buck: Did you brush your teeth?
Miles: Yeah. You can even feel my toothbrush.
Buck: You know, I have a friend who works at the crime lab at the police station. I could give him your toothbrush and he could run a test on it... to see if you actually brushed your teeth... or just ran your toothbrush under the faucet.
[Buck leaves, as Miles gawks]
Maizy: If that's true, we're gonna REALLY have to start brushing our teeth.

Today I'm Going Uncle Buck Style

Maizy's Teacher: Does anybody have a special story to tell the class about something that happened this week?
[Maizy raises her hand]
Maizy's Teacher: Maizy?
Maizy: My uncle was microwaving our socks and the dog threw up on the couch for an hour.
Maizy's Teacher: Honest?
Maizy: Mm-Hmm.
Maizy's Teacher: Why was your uncle microwaving your socks?
Maizy: He can't get the goddamn washing machine to work.
Maizy's Teacher: BLASPHEMER!

03 December 2010

Ok, 92Y, Good Joke. Because This MUST Be A Joke, Right?

A few nights ago, Steve Martin (a professional comedian, maybe you know him) went to the 92Y to talk about a few of the other sundry things he's interested in/talented at doing. This time, it was going to be art. He'd recently written a novel about art (or at least taking place in the art world), and he was going to be interviewed by Deborah Solomon (who generally uses her Journalism degree to talk about art). Why, then, did some PA scoot onstage halfway through to hand Solomon a note that said "MORE COMEDY!!! TALK ABT SNL MORE!!!" or whatever it actually said? Because whoever's in charge of the 92Y must be either severely overwhelmed or otherwise fully stupid.

Linda Holmes wrote a great article for NPR about the situation:

Steve Martin Isn't Predictable Enough!: This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things

Steve Martin tweeted last night, "So the 92nd St. Y has determined that the course of its interviews should be dictated in real time by its audience's emails. Artists beware." Ouch.
Here's what happened, according to reports from, among others, The New York Times: Martin sat down at the Y (which is famous for its lecture series and other cultural events) the other night for an hour-long chat with interviewer Deborah Solomon. The discussion apparently displeased some of the people in the audience by focusing too much on art, which forms the backdrop for his new novel, An Object Of Beauty. [UPDATE: I think it's fair to note that later reports have suggested that the issue wasn't as much that they were discussing art, but that they were discussing his new book about the art world in a significant amount of detail. Possibly even boring-er than previously reported.]
Midway through the interview, a Y representative brought a note to Solomon — on stage! — telling her to talk more about his career. Presumably, she was supposed to ask more stuff about what it was like making Three Amigos and The Jerk. In other words, stop talking about the things people aren't used to hearing Steve Martin talk about, and get back to having him answer questions people could easily find the answers to if they cared to use Google. (Martin has said this redirection was the result of real-time e-mails coming from people watching on closed-circuit TV; the Y apparently hasn't confirmed that.)
Now, without having heard the interview, it's impossible to say whether it was good or bad, and it's entirely possible that it was boring. It certainly bored some people.
But the way the Y responded was stunning. Not only did it chastise and undermine an interviewer and a guest in the middle of a live event, but the next day, it offered everyone who was there a full refund in the form of a credit toward a future event. Not because the lights went out, and not because there was an outburst of profanity that was winding up on YouTube or anything of that nature. No, closest the Y came to explaining what substantively motivated the refund (other than the very fact of people complaining) was, "We planned for a more comprehensive discussion."
When you go to hear someone speak, and you have no guarantee of the agenda, you do not get your money back because you didn't like the subject areas. Listening to a human being speak and being put out that you didn't get what you ordered as if you've gone to KFC and gotten Original instead of Extra Crispy is ridiculous, risk-averse, and (coincidentally) deeply chicken-hearted behavior.
It is exactly — exactly — like demanding your money back because Elton John didn't play "Rocket Man." Too bad, so sad. Nobody promised you the cookie-cutter experience that every other audience seeing every other similar event has ever seen. When you see an artist perform — and even more so when you hear an artist interviewed — there is no guarantee of the content; that's the exact point of going. Why would you go to hear someone speak if you already knew what he was going to say? If you want to read about how Steve Martin feels about acting and comedy, couldn't you find several looseleaf binders full of that stuff? The guy is not a recluse.
What on earth ever happened to encouraging audiences to pay attention to things that may be different from the things they were expecting? Steve Martin is not just an actor in movies and stand-up. He's a playwright and a novelist; he's been doing that for years. He's a serious bluegrass banjo player. He's passionate about art. Acting, in fact, has fairly clearly taken a back seat to some of his other interests in recent years. Anyone who paid $50 to see Steve Martin speak and didn't know these things about him, or that he might talk about those things, frankly has his or her own limited understanding to blame.
Hearing new things is supposed to be positive. It's supposed to be what interviews are for. If you want to hear Steve Martin say "wild and crazy guy" for you, there are clips. If you want to read about his experiences in comedy, there's his autobiography. This was an opportunity to hear him talk about something about which he's deeply knowledgeable that he doesn't often talk about, but his passion for which drives the new book that, frankly, anyone could have expected him to be most interested in discussing. A public figure isn't a talking bobblehead; you're not necessarily going to hear what you anticipate every time you push the button.
Maybe the audience had every reason to be disappointed; maybe Martin was boring. But if he had given boring answers to questions about Saturday Night Live, would anyone have concluded that they were entitled to their money back? Would the 92nd Street Y have indulged that particular demand?
It really doesn't matter whether the talk was about the right topics or not (and indeed, that seems to be the only dispute), and it doesn't even really matter whether rolling your eyes on the way out and saying "Well, that was boring!" would have been a perfectly reasonable response. Attending a live discussion is a risk. So is live theater, so is live music, so is dance. Sometimes you don't like it, and that's part of the experience. When you encourage audiences to feel entitled to get from a live performance or discussion what they get from a CD or an on-demand episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition — that is to say, an experience they could have outlined for themselves ahead of time — you kill the entire point of having people work, speak, or perform live.
Why promise people the worst kind of celebrity interview — the one where an actor is forced to choose between bland endorsements of past co-stars and spicy griping about them? When Martin recently appeared on Talk Of The Nation, he got calls with questions about his music, his writing, his interest in art — that's the entire point of talking to an interesting guy. Why make him seem less interesting than he is by demanding that he talk about the things you already know about?
But even more, why be so rude to your own guests? What writer or actor is going to go to the 92nd Street Y for a public interview knowing that the next day, the institution might say, "We realize that was a totally boring discussion and are happy to give you your money back"?
This is what makes the world boring, quite frankly: the absolute refusal to risk that anything might be disappointing, and the accompanying conviction that if you are disappointed, you've been wronged. It's the entitlement of the incurious, and it does nothing good for anyone.
If you want to know more about Steve Martin the comedian, you should read Born Standing Up and watch all the videos of him you can possibly find. If you want to hear him get interviewed by an art journalist about his upcoming [art] project, go to the 92Y. If you want to hear him play banjo, just pick up the phone and call him. I'm sure he would oblige.