The Year In Interviews

<em>This Old House</em>'s <a href="">Norm Abram</a> talked to us as he renovated the show's first ever New York City home (which we even had a chance <a href="">to visit</a>!).

<p>In September former DNC chairman <a href="">Howard Dean</a> talked to us about his book, <em>Howard Dean's Prescription For Real Health Care Reform</em>, and Gov. Paterson, of whom he said, "I personally like David Paterson a great deal. I would consider him a very good friend. He's terrific, he's a wonderful human being, and it's impossible for me to be objective about David. I really like him a lot."</p>

<p>Actress, and every indie boy's crush, <a href="">Zooey Deschanel</a> told us she subscribes to The New Yorker on her Kindle... and we told her that her album <a href="">with M.Ward</a> was coffee-shop approved here in New York.</p>

<p>Sisters <a href="">Emily and Sarah Kunstler</a> spoke to us about America's most famous radical lawyer... their father. They directed the film <em>William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe</em>, and plan to make a film about something other than their family in the future. Emily said of her dad: "When I close my eyes, I see him with a stack of papers and a yellow legal pad. That’s who he was. But he loved to have us around. He used to call Sarah and me his life insurance policy, he thought that we kept him young."</p>

<p>NY1's <a href="">Pat Kiernan</a> told us his magic wake-up time is 3:17 a.m. (yikes!). But he still makes time for fun — a few months later he took some of our readers <a href="">out for poutine</a>.</p>

<p>In November, actress <a href="">Olivia Wilde</a> told us all about her love for the Brooklyn Flea, where she had recently scored "a fantastic set of deco lamps and a great '60s vanity with a matching stool, all for under $300. I also ate the best taco of my life."</p>

<p>This September we talked to WNYC's <a href="">Brian Lehrer</a> as he celebrated the 20th anniversary of his show. He told us his strangest moment broadcasting was when "a cell phone caller got stopped for jaywalking while on the air. The cop might have been a fan, because when the caller told him what she was doing, he let her go without a ticket."</p>

<em>The Hurt Locker </em>director <a href="">Kathryn Bigelow told us</a> that "what's unique about<em> The Hurt Locker</em> for me is the adherence to reality. That was the fundamental inspiration: Mark [Boal's] reporting and ensuring its authenticity and accuracy."

<p>Playwright <a href="">Young Jean Lee revealed</a> that she wanted to evoke "slightly enhanced paranoia" among white audience members during her play <em>The Shipment</em>. "I say that a little bit tongue-in-cheek. I think one issue that came up again and again is that there's a lot of resentment from white people, who feel like they sort of have to tiptoe around black people and racial sensitivity, political correctness. People are just really defensive and upset about being accused."</p>

<p>Actor <a href="">Michael Jai White talked about his role</a> in the film <em>Black Dynamite, </em>a raucous, absurdist homage to '70s blaxploitation films. When asked whether he found the original blaxploitation films to be offensive or racist, White replied, "God, no. When it first started it was an incredible thing of pride for African-Americans, who only had subservient characters as representations of them in years prior... It only became exploitative later when Hollywood realized you could make these movies in a matter of two weeks and with a very little budget."</p>

<p>Sonic Youth frontman <a href="">Thurston Moore explained</a> that the title for the band's most recent album, The Eternal, came from "listening to a lot of sick underground black metal records and the concept of 'the eternal' is used in a lot in so much of the titles and lyrics on these records. Mostly through the eternal damnation of eternity through the welcoming of Satan and his legions."</p>

<p>Inimitable playwright and actor <a href="">Wallace Shawn said</a>, "I don't read the New York Times in public because I think it sets a bad example. I wouldn't be reading it in here. I'd be carrying it, but if i were eating here by myself, I would not be reading it. I would read The Nation, and secretly I would go and read the New York Times.</p><p></p>"But now that it's threatened, of course, one has to say that this would be a tragic thing in the sense that yes, we would lose a fountain of complacency, which washes the bourgeoisie every day in a way that could be described as harmful, but we would also lose a lot of facts that the reporters at the New York Times have uncovered and that will not be replaced. How will that be replaced?"

<p>Actress <a href="">Marin Ireland spoke with us</a> about her Tony-nominated performance in Neil LaBute's <em>reasons to be pretty</em>, in which she portrayed a woman described by her boyfriend as "regular.": "[One of the ushers] walked right up to me and said, 'You know, you're totally miscast in this part.' I'll take that as a compliment. He said, 'You walk out there and it's like, 'She's hot, what is he talking about?'" Agreed!</p>

<p>A frequent <a href="">Whole Foods shoplifter divulged</a> the tricks of his trade, and explained how he was almost caught once, but "managed to unload the goods before they approached me and I played it out because I knew it was no longer in my bag. They didn’t see me taking it out but they clearly saw me putting it in, so I created a huge scene. I called the manager and I was screaming that I was outraged and so forth."</p>

<p>Director <a href="">Terry Gilliam spoke with us</a> about his new film <em>The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus</em>, which features the last performance of actor Heath Ledger. "The weirdest thing, I was thinking, only a few months ago I noticed this, the tarot card that Parnassus has of the hanged man, he's hanging upside-down by his feet, and that's the last image of Heath in <em>The Dark Knight</em>," said Gilliam. "There's a lot of that kind of stuff, I could go on for a very long time about these strange coincidences. I don't draw conclusions from them, but they're just facts."</p>

<p>While he was on tour with Georgia musician Vic Chestnutt, <a href="">we interviewed Guy Picciotto</a>, the talented singer/guitarist/songwriter in the currently-shelved DC band Fugazi. Sadly, Chestnutt committed suicide less than two months after our interview; at the time, Picciotto had this to say about his friend: "The thing about Vic that makes him really interesting to me as a musician is that it can just be him and a guitar, and it can be the most powerful thing you've ever seen, but also his music, the complexity of his chords and depths of his lyrics, and... What he brings to the table also really lends itself to arrangements and lots of different styles, and he's got a really disparate catalog with all kinds of different approaches to what he does."</p>

<p>The great indie director Whit Stillman (<em>Metropolitan, Barcelona, The Last Days of Disco</em>) <a href="">told us that</a> "Owen Gleiberman is the only [film critic] I know and he comes into my local Dunkin Donuts. I write at Dunkin Donuts, one downtown, and normally it's a place that provides delightful anonymity. Occasionally I get a cup of java. He gave <em>Metropolitan</em> a C+"</p>

<p>Gregarious yet serious chef Wolfgang Puck's California restaurant Cut is famous for featuring giant celebrity faces on the menus. After Kanye West crashed Taylor Swift's VMA speech, it was reported that people didn't want to have the Kanye menu. <a href="">Puck told us</a>, "I don't know about that. But you know, the only thing we do there, when Jennifer Aniston comes, we take away Brad Pitt's and his wife's menu. Aniston has a menu too! But I'm nervous they're going to give her Angelina's menu."</p>