Immediately, my aspirations are not set very high. Having the party right in Kansas City would be perfectly fine by me. I think I’d invite Martha Stewart to come plan the event and she could send her TV crew in to do all the work – in return they could film the party, kind of like Oprah’s Legends party except I’d the recipient of all the good gifts.
I wouldn’t be picky about the theme of the party but I would prefer it be held indoors. Late May in Kansas City can be pretty darned hot and I don’t look my best bathed in sweat. Since I was born in 1946 an appropriate theme might be Flashback to the Forties. Martha could design the perfect homemade invitations, we could serve good old comfort food like mac and cheese, meatloaf, and potato salad. We would all dress in the appropriate 1940’s clothing but we’d make it a very casual affair. We'd start up around 5 p.m. with some Old Fashions maybe and we would party until we all got tired which, based on the average age of this shindig, would probably be before 10 p.m. – but actually five hours at a party is a long time. I’d want to hire a photographer for the event because the guest list, now that would be spectacular!
My celebrity guest list (and remember everyone would come because this would be THE party) would include:
-- Bill and Camille Cosby, education activists – since both Cosby’s have their doctorates in education, I’d enjoy sharing opinions on improving public schools with them. Dr. Bill says things the rest of us are thinking but are afraid to say out loud and he does it with enough humor to make the message palatable.
-- John Irving, author – my favorite modern novelist, Irving has written books I revel in reading. Even when his books are turned into bad movies I enjoy them. I’d want to discuss the themes of his novels with him: feminism, New England, abortion, wrestling, and, of course, bears. He could also tell me about the real Robin Williams (The World According to Garp) or Michael Caine (Cider House Rules).
-- Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court justice - as a strong advocate of women’s rights, it would be great to hear her comments on her last ten years on the Supreme Court. I’d especially want her to share nasty anecdotes on Clarence Thomas.
-- Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman, actors – the tales they could divulge about their movies would be fascinating. Equally interesting would be their philanthropic involvements during the last 20 years.
-- Whoopi Goldberg, comedian and actress—how I love Whoopi! I adore her style, her humor, her movies (even the bad ones), and her irreverent outlook on life. All during the eighties, aften I'd seen one of her films I’d go out and buy her wardrobe: yellow high tops or huge oddball pins for my overcoat. Now I never miss the reruns of Jumping Jack Flash or Burglar on cable. The Color Purple is one of my all-time favorite movies, partly because Whoopi was the perfect Miss Celie.
-- Rosie O’Donnell, comedian and host – another woman who tells it like she sees it. With Whoopi and Rosie as guests, the joint would be jumping.
-- Hugh Grant, actor – I’d definitely want some hunky eye-candy, and Hugh would be both a stunningly handsome and funny guest. Plus, he’s got that controversial edge going for him. We’d all be watching to see how he reacted to women in the group.
-- Barack Obama, politician – who wouldn’t want to hear from Obama just what his political aspirations really are? Does he think our country is ready for an African-American president? How many death treats has he received since he became one of the most visible minority politicians?
-- Bill and Hillary Clinton, politicians – oh, yeah, baby! If you haven’t realized yet just how liberal this child of the 1960’s really is, having the Clintons at my party would certainly be the tip off. I love Hillary. She’s been my hero since I first read about her when Bill was running for President. I want her to become President of this country. I want to believe that we have moved far enough from our bigoted past to elect a woman to the White House. I don’t think either Barack or Hillary can survive (either politically or physically) for me to see that happen, but how I want to believe that it can. I also happen to think Bill Clinton was a really good president – maybe not a perfect man – but as president, he did a fine job. Hillary stood by him – and you can claim that was only for political reasons, but there really are people who, after making a commitment to love, honor, and cherish a mate, stick with it even when the mate doesn’t always deserve the loyalty. She deserves to be praised for that, not vilified. She kept her marriage vows no matter what and it certainly wasn’t easy with all that nasty publicity.
-- Chris and Paul Weitz, brothers, movie producers, and directors – the movies these guys have made span the generations – from American Pie to About a Boy. They seem to have gauged the pulse of the movie-goer and then produced movies, which if not always art, are nearly always upbeat and entertaining. Also Hugh would have somebody to talk with besides American politicians as he starred in their About a Boy.
-- Helen Thomas, reporter – this old broad tells it like it is and won’t sacrifice the good-graces of the current office-holder when she asks the tough questions. She makes me proud of the White House press corps. Plus, she’s known and covered presidents since John Kennedy.
Andrew Wyeth, artist – the oldest guest at my party, Wyeth, 88, could tell us about his famous Helga paintings, his favorite New England haunts, and with Irving, share stories of New Hampshire.
-- Jubilant Sykes, baritone – singing both classical and contemporary music, this American singer might agree to provide grand entertainment for my party, plus Hubby would really enjoy a duet with this cat.
-- Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino, writers and producers – I have so loved the TV show Gilmore Girls. I know that often the guys just don’t get it but I want to move to Stars Hollow and live with all those eccentric, beloved residents. I want to have a mother / daughter relationship like Lorelai and Rory Gilmore. I so understand the problems Lorelai has with her own mother and I love that nothing on the show is completely black and white / good or evil. I’d want to know how the writers feel about watching their show go on without them, now that they have been cut loose from it and I’d want to hear what they have in development. And I’d want to know if they can talk as fast as the dialog flows on the show.
-- Jim and Virginia Stowers, philanthropists – cancer survivors and founders of the Stowers Institute in Kansas City, MO this couple has dedicated a vast fortune to supporting basic research on genes and proteins that control fundamental processes in living cells. The institute’s goals are to unlock the mysteries of disease and find the keys to their causes, treatment, and prevention. They have created a state of the art facility in my city, offering incredible resources to those involved in finding long-term solutions for gene-based diseases. I never see them flashed all over the news; they have quietly dedicated enormous sums of money to making life better. I’d really like to know who these people are and share their vision for the future.
-- Charles Gusewelle, columnist, Kansas City Star – oh! How this man can write a short essay (500 words maybe) and just break my heart, or make me stand up and cheer, or send me down memory lane. The man does "slice of live" better than anybody! Moreover he is a native born Kansas Citian so we share the same experiences and reminiscences.
-- Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, Vermont businessmen – two regular guys who made a fortune from ice cream – and if they brought some to the party that would be just another bonus of having them attend.
So that’s 24 celebrity quests, 25 if Martha would abandon her hosting duties and join us, which I hope she would. We’d crack ugly on the Bushes and their political ilk and make fun of the right wing conservative Christians, who certainly must be finding it more and more difficult to support their own leader’s political stands. We’d dream of a future where women and minorities would wield equal power with the white man and really upsetting the white father figures of the conservative right. We’d cheer on gay marriage and figure out how to withdraw from the Middle East. Illegal immigration wouldn’t even be a topic at my party. We’d sing songs, swap hilarious stories, and eat good food. I bet I’d get 25 really cool gifts, too. Now this party would make a 60th birthday one to truly remember.