The lectures and other events at NYC’s 92nd St Y are a varied lot and can range from intellectually stimulating to downright hilarious — and can be, on rare occasions, both. And that’s what many in the audience to see comedian/actor/author/banjo-player Steve Martin were expecting.
But what the crowd got was a discussion of the art world and his brand new novel that apparently didn’t raise so much as a chuckle from those in attendance.
Part of the problem was that [host Deborah Solomon] narrowly focused on An Object Of Beauty for the majority of the discussion, despite it only being released a few days prior, making it near-impossible for those who hadn’t read it yet to follow along.
As the audience in the auditorium and online grew restless, a note was passed to the host to liven things up with some questions from the audience, a move to which the intellectual genius behind “King Tut” took umbrage:
“So the 92nd St. Y has determined that the course of its interviews should be dictated in real time by its audience’s emails. Artists beware,” he Tweeted after the event.
Even with the small bit of audience interaction, many were left just plain bored. So to make nice with their ticket-buyers, the 92nd St Y has offered refunds of the $50 tickets. In an e-mail, the organization wrote that it had “planned for a more comprehensive discussion and we, too, were disappointed with the evening.”
Ms. Solomon expressed her own disappointment with the Y, telling the NY Times, “I think the Y, which is supposedly a champion of the arts, has behaved very crassly and is reinforcing the most philistine aspects of a culture that values celebrity and award shows over art.”