Thursday, January 18, 2007

Remembering Art Buchwald

I just learned that the humorist Art Buchwald died this morning. Some of you who are younger probably won't remember him, because he hasn't written that much in recent years due to ill health. He's enshrined in my memory, though, as my undergrad commencement speaker.

Usually Georgetown University has someone Serious, August and Sober to address its graduating classes--like George Will. However, in l979, they tapped Art Buchwald, who conveniently lived just across the Potomac from the G-town campus. He came over and brought the house down with a comedic monologue for the ages. I don't remember too much of the speech, because the tradition at that time among the distinguished graduates was to drink Champagne before, during and after the service(i think that is, um, frowned upon and Not Done today). I do remember him telling us that we should look forward to the future, blah, blah, blah, but if we didn't want to do that, just go out and pretend today is yesterday and have yourself a hell of a good time. That was pretty neat...you usually don't remember much of what was said on days like that, but it's always a great thing to know that you laughed.

If I remember correctly, the next class--l980--had as their speaker a fellow graduate and Rhodes Scholar(G-town '65, I think) who had just launched a political career in Arkansas, his home state. His name was Bill Cllinton.

7 comments:

LaPopessa said...

Was a fan as a kid. I always remember him talking about the Sans Souci restaurant in DC. When I moved here I couldn't afford to go to it, but walked by from time to time. By the time I could afford to go, it had closed and a McDonald's had opened on that spot.

And just like Sans Souci, so many of the writers who followed Buchwald have been little more than McDonald's-level writers.

moville said...

Amen to that...I too always had Sans Souci on my list of must-sees. I knew it had disappeared, but...a Mickey's on the spot?!

jodmeister said...

There was a live discussion today on WaPost.com with Jennifer Buchwald today as well as a tribute discussion by Ben Bradlee. You will probably have to look in the live discussion transcripts by now.

german said...

what kind of place was sans souci anyways/ just curious hopefully a motel 6 won't replace the watergate hotel.

moville said...

Sans Souci is one of those fancy-shmansy restaurants where you didn't go so much for the food as to see and be seen, like the Russian Tea Room, the Algonquin and/or Cafe des Artistes in New York...a celebrity restaurant for the 70s crowd. People always went to the Russian Tea Room in hopes of seeing Jackie Onassis dining with Rudolf Nureyev.

LaPopessa said...

Sans Souci was the Signatures of its day. What is Signatures you ask? Best to ask what WAS Signatures. It was Jack Abramoff's restaurant here in DC and at one point the place to go and see all of his friends enjoying their rape and pillaging privileges.

moville said...

Did "Signatures" have any decent food on offer? and what would you say are the Democratic DC restaurants vs. the Republican eateries? is there a partisan culinary divide?