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Wednesday, June 01, 2011
92Y Culture Klatsch: Q&A With Elliott Kalan

imageOur friend Elliot Kalan, host of Closely Watched Films, is screening Son of Frankenstein tonight at 92YTribeca, with special guest Sara Schaefer. You might remember Elliot from his star turn in our web series, 92Y Show & Tell.

He’s also the latest subject to take part in the 92Y Culture Klatsch Q&A, our twelve questions that delve into the media and culture consumption habits of the interviewee. As you’ll learn below, Elliot is obsessed with staying up to date on “the progress of the Washington Square Park redesign,” and will occasionally daydream about cowboys and dinosaurs. 

Where do you go for news when you start your day?

NY1 is the alpha and omega of news for me—I can wait to hear the national stories, but I absolutely must know about the progress of the Washington Square Park redesign RIGHT NOW.

What are your favorite websites?

I spend a lot of time at Talking Points Memo for political news and the Onion A.V. Club for entertainment news. Otherwise I’m mostly looking for information about obscure movies, comic books, or cartoons, so I head to Mike Sterling’s Progressive Ruin and Mark Evanier’s News From Me

How much do you use Twitter and Facebook (or other social networking services)?

I read Twitter a lot in order to see what my favorite celebrities are eating for lunch and how annoying the table next to them is. I tweet jokes or announcements whenever I think they’re deserving of wider attention—so I average about three tweets a week. I know, this is completely defeating the purpose of Twitter, which is to tell people what I’m eating for lunch and how annoying the table next to mine is.

What book are you currently reading (or the last one you read)?  Print or digital?

I’m currently reading Our Crowd: The Great Jewish Families of New York, about the wealthy German-Jewish families of New York in the late 19th century—the Lehmens, Goldmans, Sachses and so forth who started as immigrant foot-peddlers before building the banking houses that would one day come close to destroying America. Before that was a book of essays on King Kong. Both were print editions—I haven’t yet been able to wean myself off of ink forcibly pressed into processed tree-pulp.

What magazines do you subscribe to?

The New Yorker, because I’m slowly turning into my grandmother, and WHIM Quarterly, the best humor magazine being published in America today.  I don’t subscribe to Time Out New York but somehow still receive two copies every week in the mail anyway.

What are your current (or all time) favorite television shows?

“Mystery Science Theater 3000” is the greatest television show of all time. It’s a show AND a movie AND it’s funny AND it makes fun of bad movies but underneath it you can sense a real love of filmmaking and the film form AND it has robots.

What’s the last movie you saw?

Thor, which is 2/3 of a fun movie. Unfortunately, I was forced to see it in fakey 3-D, so it was like watching the “Thor Cut-Out Paper Puppetshow Theater”. Which actually sounds amazing. I now have to detox from “Thor” with about 18 hours of movies from the 30’s.

What’s the last performance (dance/opera/theater) you attended?

I’m sad to say it was Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark.  I’m a complete slave to the Marvel Comics entertainment machine. I enjoyed it for its exuberant goofiness, though it failed to really thrill me in the way that Spider-Man, the closest thing to my heart to a mythological deity, should have.

What’s the last music purchase you made?

That’s a very good question. I think I bought the re-release of Raw Power by Iggy & The Stooges last year.  Since then…most of my knowledge of new music comes from whatever I hear at the grocery store.

What radio shows or podcasts do you listen to?

I listen to my own podcast The Flophouse because I’m an egotist, but mostly my coworkers tell me what happens on other podcasts.  I also hear a lot of NPR radio because my wife listens to it.

What’s your favorite piece of art on display in your home?

I have an original cell from Bill Plympton’s 1987 short Your Face, which holds a lot of sentimental value for me. It’s also the first thing I ever had professionally framed, which really made me feel like an adult.

Where do you go/what do you do to “disconnect”

I don’t disconnect.  I’m a pathological thing-doer. The closest thing to disconnecting is when I’ll suddenly stop paying attention to a conversation and stare off in the distance and think about cowboys or dinosaurs. Or, preferably, both.

Elliot Kalan’s screens Son of Frankenstein, with special guest Sara Schaefer, tonight at 92YTribeca, 7:30pm.

Visit 92YTribeca Film online and follow 92YTribeca Film on Facebook and Twitter. You can also join their eNews list.

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