A highlight of the festival are the special events for artists of film and their subjects to connect with the general public. I attended the Tribeca Talks: After the Movie, Beyond the screens: The Artists Angle for the documentary featuring famed entertainer Elaine Stritch.
A packed out theater the film audience screened the documentary and enjoyed conversation with a moderator (Charles Isherwood), the director (Chiemi Karasawa), Elaine and Elaine’s pianist of 15 years Rob Bowman. Here is just an excerpt of the Q & A session after the movie:
Q- How did you liked the film?
Stritch - I liked it! It’s me! Me being my age and who I am. I felt good about it.
Honesty has always been a part of Stitch and her performance. She admitts that she was so busy being afraid. To fight against her fear it was alcohol that gave her courage. She was fooled! She proudly announces that she has been sober for 25 years. And, on top of the world!
Q- Why did you want to keep going?
Stritch - I wanted to keep up with culture. I love being accepted. I know what I am doing with my life. I love my profession of entertaining and making people laugh.
Q - When will you retire?
Stritch - Never. But, I am going to take it slower. Easy does it! That’s what I’m looking for now.
The stats of her performances over the last seventy years is overwhelming. It depicts a grueling schedule naturally controlled by herself. She loves her work! And, her work loves her! Stritch’s regular gig was at New York’s Café Carlyle where she performed a series of farewell shows before moving back home to Birmingham, Michigan. It was from this town she left seventy years ago for the bright lights of New York.
Q- What will you miss about New York?
Stritch - I will miss the holidays in New York. I love ‘em. I want to celebrate something all the time and New York has holidays for every day of the week, practically.