Magazine article American Theatre

Twenty QUESTIONS

Magazine article American Theatre

Twenty QUESTIONS

Article excerpt

MARGO JEFFERSON is a cultural critic for the New York Times. She received a Pulitzer Prize for her criticism in 1995.

What's your sign?

Libra. People say "Oh, you're so balanced," and I say, "No, I'm always looking for balance." Or they say, "Dwight D. Eisenhower was a Libra."

Who's your favorite writer at the moment?

Italo Calvino for his essays. Eternal favorites include Virginia Woolf, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nella Larsen.

What music are you listening to these days?

The usual promiscuous mix. Always some early music, some Malian music, Brahms songs and anything I find on the radio.

What's the tackiest thing in your life?

The boxes in my apartment. They're full of books and paraphernalia that should have been unpacked four years ago. It's like being in a neurotic student's digs.

What's your greatest indulgence?

Sweets and long naps.

Who's your favorite president?

A dead one. Any dead one.

What's your ideal Labor Day?

Somewhere with friends where I'm taken care of in an easy way.

What's your ideal dinner party? Your ideal guests?

First of all, it's not at my house and I'm not cooking. My best friends are there, naturally, and some charmers from the dear dead past. Langston Hughes, Carl Van Vechten, F. Scott Fitzgerald (if he wasn't too drunk), Nella Larsen and Zora Neale Hurston--but I'd have to put them at opposite ends of the table because they'd be competing with each other. Calvino, Virginia and Leonard Woolf, Isadora Duncan, Ethel Waters, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Tallulah Bankhead.

Do you have any phobias?

I've had subway phobias, insect phobias, rotten vegetable phobias, but at the moment I'm fairly phobia-free.

What would we find under your bed?

Dustballs.

What's always in your fridge?

Fruit, vegetables, cream, homemade salad dressing. …

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