It is so rare that one has the opportunity to have experiences that match exactly the glittery fantasy of adulthood one had as a 13-year-old. When I was thirteen, I had this very clear idea of what my life would look like once I shed my Dorothy Hammel/Farah Fawcett hairdo, once Dr. Pomerantz (he of the massive uncorrected underbite) removed my Spanish-inquisition braces, once the large zit perpetually decorating the tip of my nose healed, once I traded in my acid-green cowlneck sweater and teacup-sized Magen Dovid for designer duds. I would live in NY or Los Angeles, a fabulously successful and respected actress - think Meryl Streep not Goldie Hahn -- with a darkly handsome intellectual husband on my arm. I would be stupendously wealthy, of course, and I would preside over a long dining table full of scintillating guests.
Twice in the last 44 years has my life actually, for a moment, approximated that fantasy. (Actually, I pretty well nailed it in the husband department, but other than that, not so much). The first time was at the home of my friends David Ziff and Alan Bell. David and Alan are caterers and David, a former lawyer, is one of the best chefs I know. One evening, after Michael had an appearance at the 92nd Street Y, we went to David and Alan's and had a long delicious meal standing at the island in the middle of their caterer's kitchen. The company was cracking witty and wise, the food was beyond amazing, and it was at once casual and utterly divine. Even as I stood there I said to myself, "This! This is it!!"
Last night was the second time. I was on the host committee for another of Alice Water's amazing dinners. This one was in LA, at this house. Yes indeed, this little old material girl from NJ got to cavort (or, well, eat) at Madonna's old house. Let me repeat that. MADONNA'S HOUSE. Not to mention Bugsy Siegal. I kept expecting Scott Baio to jump out from behind a pillar.
The food was out of this fucking world. (Profanity demanded by the quality of the fried chicken). A Southern church supper prepared by the legendary Scott Peacock. There was the aformentioned fried chicken. There were devilled eggs (best I've ever had, except maybe for David's lobster devilled eggs). There were peas and dumplings. And -- god bless the South despite its sordid history and hideous politics -- there were biscuits. BISCUITS that like to make you die, honey.
So the food rocked. But the thing that made it so incredible, beyond climbing to the top of the tower to see the best view in the entire city, or stepping into the octagonal bathroom which has made it so that I will never be happy taking a crap anywhere else as long as I live, or sipping fabulous wine by the side of the pool under the arbors groaning with magenta bougainvillea, was the company. My lord, the company.
First the astonishingly talented Jeffrey Blitz, but hell, I can hang with him any old time. (This is a moment for an aside. Jeff is not only talented, but he's one of the dearest men I know. He's brilliant, sexy as all hell, and sweet sweet sweet. And, he's forgiven me for fucking him over once many many years ago. Gotta love that.) Then Davia Nelson, who knows everyone, knows everything, and it pure bliss to be around. And a decidedly cute guy with a bald head who was doing the very polite and kind thing of flirting with me, sort of like the flight attendant in the previous post. And Matt Groening who has my vote for best dining companion in history. And...wait for it people...Eric Idle. ERIC IDLE. Be still my heart. At the end of the meal it was all I could do not to rush up to him holding a sliver of chocolate and saying, "It's wafer thin!"
See? I'm telling you. What a night, man. Now my life goes back to normal. Bad hair, weight watchers points, my dear dear but decidedly not Monty Pythonesque friends. Oh yeah, and my kids. All good, don't get me wrong. Better than good. But dudes. I ATE DINNER IN MADONNA'S HOUSE!!!!!