Rosanne Cash, Natalie Portman, Princess Leia and Susan Lucci—together at last? The New York Times announced this week its ninth annual Arts and Leisure Weekend, to be held at the Times Center January 7th through January 10th, and signed on for “Times Talks” are a number of accomplished (and entertaining) ladies. They made it a long weekend, and each of the four days promises new conversations between Times journalists and various representatives of the arts. On Friday, January 8th, Rosanne Cash speaks with Times music critic Jon Pareles about “The List,” an album of songs she learned from her father (that other Cash). On Saturday, Patricia Cohen interviews Harlem’s own Gabourey Sidibe, alongside Precious director Lee Daniels. Later, restaurant critic Frank Bruni chats up Top Chef’s Padma Lakshmi, Janet Maslin speaks with best-selling mystery author Carol O’Connor, and Patrick Healy hears from the very busy Natalie Portman about her work as an actor, writer, director and producer this year. And on Sunday, January 10th, the weekend closes with talks from Angela Lansbury—legendary stage actress and voice of Mrs. Potts, currently starring in the Broadway revival of Sondheim’s A Little Night Music—All My Children mastermind Agnes Nixon and the aforementioned Ms. Lucci, and Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Beth Henley (who will also be joined by Donald Margulies and Doubt scribe John Patrick Shanley). Also on Sunday, Carrie Fisher will pick up with David Carr where her autobiographical one-woman show, Wishful Drinking, left off. Whew. As this is my very first blog entry, I’m almost tired out by the talent. But if you’re not overwhelmed, take a peak at the website for tickets and more information about the Arts and Leisure Weekend. To be perfectly honest, I usually skip to that part of the paper first anyway.
Photo Credit: Tonya Plank, tonyaplank.com