so... salman rushdie addressed the chicago humanities festival here sunday, nov. 13. chicago writer studs terkel gave him a meaty and hilarious introduction. rushdie took the stage, saying terkel is one of those writers who he could just listen to indefinitely.
rushdie joked about his fatwa, thanked people for coming, humiliated that he had a death threat on his head. "this is my 37th city in 2 weeks," he said. "here i am again, risking my life."
the audience laughed. you get the sense that they'd run to the stage to defend rushdie should anything happen, but of course, nothing did, and with that, you wonder if they really would run to the stage to help. i kept my cell and camera handy, but i just wanted to hear him speak. i wrote down just about every word he said, now i have to decipher my handwriting.
after the talk, ulanmaya got her books signed. ulanmaya's persona when in front of writers is this little girl who can't grow up with all these questions and things she wants to say crowding the front of her head. even though she wants to be taken seriously, what comes out of her as she addresses rushdie is, "i read your hauron," she said.
"oh yea," rushdie said, pleased. he signs her second book. ulanmaya realizes she's on her own up there, no one else is in line coz everyone else is still buying books. she wonders if she should fill the silence. she realizes she'll regret it if she doesn't.
rushdie takes her last book. "but i still think gogol and kafka are readable," she blurts.
rushdie laughs. ulanmaya can't believe she just said that. the volunteers struggle not to howl. some of them shake for trying to stifle happiness.
what's better is that ulanmaya has her camera out, and she takes a pix. rushdie finishes signing her last book.
"so why do you like gogol and kafka?" she attempts a second time. the volunteer looks about to throw her from the stage, where the signing took place, because there's no space otherwise at the merle reskin theater.
rushdie proceedes to the next book. "well, they make me laugh," he said.
ulanmaya realizes there is much, much more to learn about the world, and, in her usual laughing way, steps back. "thank you," was all that she said. she stumbles down the stage, the volunteers thanking her and saying goodnight, and she trots to her friends across the theater still waiting to buy a book.
"guess what i said that made him laugh," she giggled to them.
the chicago humanities festival sold out all of rushdie's books except for his latest, "shalimar the clown," a harbound number at $17.13 on amazon.
and no, dammit, i paid the $6 to get in there. i thought it would be like $65, like how much you'd pay to hear regine velasquez belt out whtiney houston's songs. ahahaha. i've never been inside the reskin from the blacony before, it was quite an experience, ahaha. i thought, i'd jump off the balcony if i didn't pay. ahahaha.
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