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Posts Tagged ‘Erica Jong’

Susan Orlean Interviews Erica Jong

When Fear of Flying was first published in November of 1973, no one – including author Erica Jong – knew exactly what had been wrought. During her recent conversation with fellow author and New Yorker¬†staff writer Susan Orlean, she began by recalling that she only knew she had concocted “something outrageous.”

As is customary with west coast conversation series Live Talks LA, video of the event is now up about a month following, for many more to enjoy. It’s fascinating to take a step back, on this 40th anniversary occasion, to a time when there was no Amazon, female novelists were a rarity and a writing instrument of choice was an IBM Selectric typewriter.

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Erica Jong’s Big Mistake: Suing Julia Phillips

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Erica Jong trashes Oscar-winning producer Julia Phillips without naming her in a HuffPo interview:

Fear of Flying had been taken over by a woman who was a drug addict, and who was not a director, but decided she wanted to direct it herself. And I sued to stop her, and get the rights back, and it cost me a fortune, and I didn’t win, and it really hurt me badly for the rest of my career.

Phillips might not have been a director, and she was a heavy drug user by her own admission, but she did produce Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Sting for which she won an Oscar. She had a deal to produce and direct at Columbia. Jong wraps herself in self-righteousness, invoking those arbitrageurs of all things moral, the French:

…the French have something called droit morale, where you can’t buy a book as if it were a sack of sugar, and take possession of it. The author of the book has to approve the movie that’s made from her book.

Which is why Julian Schnabel adapted a book whose author is conveniently dead.

Phillips got her own back, though, writing of Jong:

looks like Miss Piggy when her face is in repose

Phillips, who died in 2002, also said that Flying didn’t make it to the screen, due to Hollywood’s male-dominated power structure.

Last spring, rumors floated that Diane English was adapting the novel for Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Jong also gasses on about how swell things are in Europe for authors:

I think that our laws of intellectual property are not nearly as forward looking as what exists in Europe and exists in the Berne Convention

But she used to complain that she didn’t get royalties:

My books were huge bestsellers in Yugoslavia before the war,I would walk down the streets of Dubrovnik and people would yell, “Erica Yong, I love you!” But publishers went out of business. I never received a single zloty.

A zloty is the currency of Poland, and she probably didn’t get any of those, either.

Lunch At Michael’s: A ‘Roomful of Bitches’

lunch_at_michaels_logo.jpg[EDITOR'S NOTE: Sure, the media world shuts down in late August — and our Lunch At Michael's column takes a breather to regroup — but we wouldn't let those of you chained to your desks down. This week and next we're running favorite columns from the past year, handpicked by our LaM scribe, Diane Clehane.]

We’re always kept more than occupied checking out the bold faced names in the main dining room on our weekly visits but today our radar was truly put to the test when the usually celeb-free Garden Room was the hotbed of activity with an estrogen-fueled, invitation-only lunch hosted by Peggy Siegal for Arianna Huffington. The luncheon (where no one touched dessert) brought out the most head-spinning cross-section of alpha females, power blondes and social swans we’ve seen in a long time.

The Gotham gals we spotted: Joni Evans, Karenna Gore, Naomi Wolff (who must be so proud of Al Gore‘s newfound mojo), Zoe Baird, Nora Ephron (who seemed to be traveling incognito in her dark sunglasses while checking out the dining room on her way inside), Fern Mallis, Dayle Haddon (who somehow lost her cellphone in the fray), Fran Drescher, Karen Duffy, Arlene Dahl (sporting her favorite black patent leather newsboy cap!?!), Deborah Roberts, Erica Jong, Maria Cuomo Cole, Somers White and InStyle‘s Cindy Weber Cleary. Lunchtime chronicler Diane Clehane, who was dining with OK! editrix Sarah Ivens, got the lowdown on the crowd from Joan Rivers, who summed up the afternoon thusly: “You’re better off out here! That was a roomful of bitches in there!”

Here’s a rundown of the rest of the crowd:

Table 1. A pow-wow of beauty industry bigwigs: GCI (Global Cosmetic Industry) editor-in-chief Karen A. Newman, Marc Rosen and a table full of colleagues. A photographer from Cosmetic World/Beauty Fashion hovered nearby to capture the big doings.

2. Uberagent Esther Newberg, who was spotted picking at the plate of her guest.

3. John Josephson.

4. Herb Siegal.

5. Stanley Schuman.

6. Henry Schlieff toting a Hallmark goodie bag to his lunch with newsgals Lynn White, Rosanna Scott, Jane Hansen and Penny Crone. The tireless showman was overheard asking Charles Stevenson who was seated at David Patrick Columbia‘s table about his golf game and promising to hit the links with him soon .

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The Search for America’s Next Great Pussycat Novelist

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FBLA loves to flip back and forth between tv shows, especially when the two shows elaborate on the same theme.

The Search for the Next Pussycat Doll on the CW and PBS’s Novel Reflections on the American Dream fit together surprisingly well. Once an English major, always an English major.

Exploring Sister Carrie and The House of Mirth while indulging in the struggles of Chelsea and Anastasia and Asia et al. was a wonderfully symbiotic experience. Lily Bart would have too proud to be a PCB, but not Carrie.

And Erica Jong and Robin Antin appear to have been hit by the same shovel.

Fun Fact: Robin’s brother, Steve, once dated David Geffen.