This Week’s Top 5: Your Ultimate Dinner Guests


1. William Shakespeare – Let’s see: responsible for the most impressive canon of work in history; wrote in Old English but created phrases that so many of us use today (“mind’s eye,” “the world is my oyster,” “brevity is the soul of wit”); originated the characters of Hamlet, Juliet and Iago and dramatized fascinating historical figures like Richard III, Henry V and Cleopatra; and, finally, so little is actually known about him.  But he writes some damn good bar scenes so you know he’ll be a hoot!


2. Pat Kingsley – This is my guilty pleasure invite.  She will have the scoop on man behind THE TOM CRUISE.  And, because of her years on top of the celeb kingdom, she will likely know the answers to all of my pressing gossip questions.

3. JK Rowling – Her story is made for the movies – welfare to way wealthy in a handful of years – and she created a mesmerizing alter-universe of wizardy that I wish I knew first-hand.  She’s stayed classy and discerning in the midst of becoming the most famous author in the world.  Mega respect for her.

4. Jose Marti – What would this Father of Cuban independence say now?

5. Queen Elizabeth I – She ruled England for almost half a century, supported the arts, never married and used that to her political advantage.  I imagine she’d have loads to say about the guys in power who can’t seem to keep their dick in their pants.  Shakespeare and Elizabeth have some catching up to do, too.


1. It may be cheesy, but I would invite my BFF (K.H.) to dinner.  Who better to share this amazing experience with than your very closest girl friend?  We would be talking about this for years to come!  Plus she could assure me that this wasn’t just a dream.

2. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I remember that when a lot of people are posed this question they want Jesus to attend the dinner.  Well, in my case I would rather have Mary Magdalene attend than Jesus.  As a mysterious and powerful historical figure, she would be a real asset to the group.  I would get all the dirt on Jesus and the Apostles and I have always wanted to know the untold (edited out) stories of biblical women figures.

mary magdalene

3. I don’t know if she would currently be pegged as my favorite author, but I have always really liked S.E. Hinton and in high school she was my number one.  She wrote “The Outsiders” when she was only 16 years old, I love how her books capture teenage angst and confusion.  She is such a colorful storyteller – maybe she could make the toast.

4. While talking about philosophy, history and art would make interesting dinner conversation, we would need someone there who could liven up the party.  I would invite my absolute favorite comedian of all time, Lucille Ball.  I love her – the physical comedy, accents, imitations – I think she is a quintessential comedian.  I can just envision what it would be like to have Lucille and Mary M. sitting side by side.

5. I decided to go big and select a music icon, someone who could round out the talent repertoire – Mr. Johnny Cash.  I think his folk stories and family tales would keep us all captivated and maybe he could play a little ditty while we sipped cappuccinos and had dessert.  Of course, a male presence might be nice too.

Jen Mae

1. Oscar Wilde– I’d love to hear his critique on the state of today’s politics. His wit is timeless and his social commentary is brilliant. I imagine Wilde will be the emcee for the evening.


2. Emily Dickinson– One of my favorite poets. My grandmother introduced me to her work when I was young, but it took me a while to really appreciate it. Dickinson’s brevity can easily be mistaken for simplicity, but I always gain insight with each new read.  There is so much mystery surrounding her life.  I’d like to learn more about her, firsthand. I’d also ask her to bring me a loaf of her famous gingerbread.

3. Dorothy Parker– Now this lady can have a good time! She is another one of my favorite poets and also a talented essayist. I expect Dot to put Oscar in his place, when necessary.  I’m positive she will be the last one to leave.  She and I will stay up all night and drink entirely too much whiskey, unless she goes home with my next guest…

4. Bill Murray – I just watched a rerun of an interview that Murray did with Elvis Mitchell on TCM’s Under the Influence. In the interview, he confessed that he has a major thing for funny, smart women, but that those women are few and far between.  Guess what Mr. Murray? I have several friends who would fit the bill, pun intended! I’ve decided to adhere to my vows during this little dinner party, but I can imagine he may find Dorothy’s wit and intellect irresistible.

5. Jesus Christ– Just wanna see if he’ll show up.


1. Agnes Varda: a french filmmaker whose films have kept me asking questions about my own life for years. i feel she would bring aplomb and an intense feminine insight to the night. a matron of media and an original director of the french new wave, i’d only ask her once how much she misses jacques demy. then we’d carry on about fantasy and her cheeky filmmaking.


2. Gabriel Garcia Marquez: carrying all the history of latin america with him, the old man would bring sass, sex and full-on flavor to the night. i’d ask him about salman rushdie, jack kerouac, mark twain, lao tzu, raymond carver and octavio paz. he’d probably bring fantastic wine and weed and grab the server’s ass.

3. Henry Kissinger: i’ve had a bone to pick with him since he extended the vietnam war for 4 additional years–the time my father was forced to serve–and he’s invited solely for the shit he’d spin. a brilliant strategist and a bad man, i’d need a chaperone around this war champion and would rail him over his corporate–invested past. i hope he chokes on his entree.

4. Bill Murray: an unassuming man who has wooed the finest of women with his school boy charm and wit, he could pull my ponytails any day. i’m gonna need him to shed comical light on all the ol’ stuffies and perhaps play a delicate round of footsy with me under the dinner table. he’d sit to my right.

5. Billie Holiday: a woman of frank emotion and joy, she would sauce things up with her experience and immense talent. if she broke out in song, i would concur and cajole; the table would be set with white gardenias. i hope she’d fulfill a dream of mine: singing solo, basked in spotlight and kicking out ‘a fine romance.’


8 responses to “This Week’s Top 5: Your Ultimate Dinner Guests

  1. someone must alert bill murray’s team that he’s getting 2 nods here. that’s one more than jesus christ!

  2. Mariela, I almost invited Shakespeare instead of Jesus Christ, but I talked myself out of it. I thought there might be too much competition between Wilde and Shakespeare.

    I think we should all combine our lists and have one huge bash!

  3. Autumn, would you please suggest a good entry level Agnes Varda film?

  4. ‘The Gleaners and I,’ a personal favorite.

  5. Ava Gardner
    “I wish to live until 150 years old but the day I die, I wish it to be with a cigarette in one hand and a glass of whiskey in the other.”

    How can you NOT want this woman at your dinner table?

    Heath Ledger
    I just could listen to that voice all night long.

    What can I say. I’m obsessed. And maybe if I invite him over for dinner, he will finally to agree to be my friend so we can play together in the ocean and I can die a happy woman.

    Paul Newman
    “I like racing but food and pictures are more thrilling. I can’t give them up. In racing you can be certain, to the last thousandth of a second, that someone is the best, but with a film or a recipe, there is no way of knowing how all the ingredients will work out in the end. The best can turn out to be awful and the worst can be fantastic. Cooking is like performing and performing like cooking.”

    I’ll perform for you Newman. Also, I’d like to remind you of the time you shook my hand and how I think it’s fate that you’re now sitting at my dinner table.

    Tina Fey
    [on Paris Hilton] She’s a piece of shit. The people at [“Saturday Night Live” (1975)] were like, “Maybe she’ll be fun, maybe she won’t take herself so seriously”. She takes herself so seriously! She’s unbelievably dumb and so proud of how dumb she is. She looks like a tranny up close . . . Also, you would walk down the hall and find what just looked like nasty wads of Barbie hair on the stairs . . . Her hair is like a Fraggle.

    I think she’ll really lighten the mood and probably get along with Shamu.

  6. oh stacey, become a marine biologist already!

  7. i think she should just edit marine biology-based documentaries.


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