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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Meanwhile ... back east

Those of us without tickets to the TCM Classic Film Festival were still fortunate enough to spend a night out at the theater.

New York's Hudson Theatre, specifically. Sandwiched between 44th and 45th Streets, the theatre is just a chip shot away from Times Square. That's where Booker Prize-winning (and Emory Distinguished Writer in Residence) Sir Salman Rushdie headlined an EAA Faculty Destinations event on Thursday, April 22.
Some 200 guests came out to meet Rushdie and listen in on his creative conversation with Deepika Bahri, associate professor of English, director of Asian studies, and curator of "A World Mapped by Stories," the exhibition celebrating the opening of Rushdie's archive at Emory.

We'll have full coverage of that conversation in the May issue of EmoryWire, which hits the web (and emailboxes if you are an Emory alumnus) on Tuesday, May 4. Today, I'm just interested in the atmosphere.

One of the great benefits of my job is that it takes me to places like the Hudson Theatre, a venue with a pretty impressive bio. Opened in 1903, the theatre has hosted Broadway shows, spent some time as a rock club and was even home to The Tonight Show. It's now part of the Millennium Broadway Hotel, whose low-key facade (it's easy to walk right by) belies its snazzy interior.

And considering it's more than 100 years old, the Hudson Theatre still looks mighty pretty. Of course, it'd look pretty if had opened last Thursday. Three stories straight up, red velvet seats and curtains, it reminded me of classy, Old World European opera houses. (I've only been to one, but I've seen pictures).

The stage was stark--two chairs and a table lit by simple spotlights--which only made Rushdie's and Bahri's words more prominent. And their conversation, which included references ranging from why anyone would want to read the contents of the aforementioned archive to the inherent coolness of Darth Vader, was riveting.

But like I said, more about that next Tuesday.

Decorations included large, poster-size renditions of Rushdie book covers and other assorted memorabilia. Following the Rushdie-Bahri conversation, a drawing was held to determine who would take those posters home. Rushdie kindly stuck around to sign them and chat up alumni and their guests (if you click on the photo above, you can just barely make out Rushdie's signature at the bottom of the poster).

The crowd was electric and the signing line (which included fans who brought books ... Rushdie signed those, too) was so long that it crashed into the dessert line. But judging from the constant hum of conversation, no one appeared to mind.

-- Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

Photo by Annemarie Poyo Furlong 90C

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