Steve Martin isn't the same wild and crazy guy he used to be, according to Manhattan's 92nd Street Y. The New York Times reports that the Y offered to refund all 900 attendees their $50 entrance fee to an interview of Martin by Times writer Deborah Solomon. Why? Because they talked about his new book, Object of Beauty, and about art. Martin has been collecting art in a studious and intelligent manner for decades. According to the story, the Y sent up a note asking for less art talk, apparently responding to emails from those watching a remote broadcast. This is odd, because the 92nd St Y is known for bringing damned intellectuals together to talk about damned intellectual stuff. Go figure. Martin noted in Twitter,
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.Extra points for identifying the headline's paraphrase. Update: A number of people who say they attended the event, including some commenters on this post, explain that the problem wasn't Solomon and Martin talking about art and the new book, but Solomon making a hash of her role as interviewer. Martin Schneider wrote in with a link to his lengthy analysis of the evening, which concludes with a fascinating paragraph that encapsulates the broad issue of spectatorship and reporting:
A counter-narrative has arisen that is in complete conflict with this picture of events, a narrative that serves Solomon and Martin's agenda. It would be a disgrace to let that counter-narrative become the final word on this fiasco. Do not believe it.