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Candace Bushnell on Sex and The City and Her One-Woman Show

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I idolized Candace Bushnell without knowing the truth. I grew up watching Sex and the city, and really, that’s enough for me. She’s the “real” Carrie Bradshaw, the ’90s writer New York Observer columns accidentally smeared with printing oil (these columns made up the best-selling essay anthology of 1997) and reaping HBO gold. Finally, after 94 episodes (multiplied by at least seven rewatches), I found the first edition of her original. Sex book (easier than you think) – inspired by news of her upcoming one-woman show, Still sex in the city?, which opens on Tuesday – and gobbles it up. It’s raw, dark humor, and sharp anthropology. Unlike Carrie, who floats from brunch to brunch with little regard for deadlines or finances, Bushnell is a freelancer who works hard and pays attention to the bottom line. Watching the stage show while previewing, I was struck by the 62-year-old’s impressive career: a life made up of using natural talent and luck at the right time and in the right place. Her 19-year-old writing deals became a lasting aesthetic empire. about sexuality and social acumen.

Her 2019 book (also titled Still having sex in CIty?) details Bushnell’s return to dating after his divorce from New York City Ballet principal Charles Askegard and saw her leave the Manhattan theater stage, at least in part, for the peace of Sag Harbor . And, well, just like that… (sorry) she’s back. It’s not quite Hello Dolly! back to the “lights of 14th Street,” but it was close enough: eight times a week, for the next ten weeks, she invited nearly 500 people into a variation of her living room reimagined at the Daryl Theatre. Roth on 15th Street (and Park Avenue, of course).

At a nearby brasserie, in between rehearsals and her 7 p.m. preview show, we met for a “quick snack,” which, as her promoter put it, turned into a leisurely meal. The two of us sat at a table for four along the restaurant’s mirrored walls, her arm draped over the empty chair beside her, almost cradling an invisible cigarette. She looks stunning with her sleek legs crossed to the side subtly, though she complains – not fishing but not exactly – about the flatness of her hair. It’s easy to see exactly why and how she hypnotized her way to the top after she hit the city in the late ’70s. As she listened, she had look: It’s insight, understanding, and a bit of skepticism. The styling gets people to keep talking until they say something she hopes will be important or impressive.

That’s what she uses to get all the insight and gory insight into New Yorkers’ sex lives for the now-iconic column, online reports we all do. Free on Twitter now. Whenever her answers to my questions turned into questions about my own life – “Everybody used to be at a restaurant, but now a club?” ”—it was hard to resist her sparkling curiosity. She seemed frustrated that the incision on my forehead that I had suffered when I walked in the door of the steam room at the gym earlier had not been associated with any temper. She was also clearly concerned that I might have a concussion. I told her I wasn’t sure.

That active curiosity can be part of the strategy. Bushnell, on the other hand, is very open-minded and self-aware – at one point she said to me, “Honey. Honey. I wrote a 150,000-word novel. This program is less than 10,000 words. I can write 10,000 words in two days”. (In the years since his literary debut in 1997, Bushnell has published nine novels including Carrie Diaries and Jungle lipstick, has also been adapted for television.) However, she remained wary of questions that appeared to her as traps despite my reassurance to the contrary. Some variation of “No Hidden Meaning” came up in conversation no less than four times during our dinner.

I told her there was a line on the show that stuck with me in the week since I first heard it: “We all know there are more than four types of women,” Bushnell said on the field. stage, referencing the now-landmark archetypes of Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha that the HBO adaptation created. “But it’s easy to organize in the event of a war.”

It was the kind of harsh, humorous comment that came naturally from her, but I wanted to know if there was some stinging social frustration behind it. “At one point,” she told me, “there were only two types of women: Madonna and Whore. Now there are four. ” Beat. “This is an improvement.” She doesn’t seem to be offended by this observation but almost contradicts herself when discussing the urge to categorize. She told me, “The first thing men do is categorize women into categories. That’s how you sell things – you put it in a package. ” I asked about her own classification system, especially in her column dealing with “modelers” and “malicious bachelors,” which contributes to a lot of the wit. on sociology in her writings. “You go out with different types of people — there is that word — of men: bankers, artists,” she said between her steaks. “Of course, I also put people in categories, because that’s what I do as a writer.”

HBO’s series, like Bushnell’s book and the column before it, are a product of their time, the post-Reagan 90s still constrained by the HW rule, when bisexual and (complain) metrosexuality is news to many people. Media coverage has gone through the usual cycles of backlash and appreciation, so we’ve received endless thoughts on why. actually the series portrays women’s friendships as feminist as we are about why Carrie’s vanilla trends are anti-feminist. If online discussion is exhausting enough, perhaps Bushnell will be exhausted from watching her work – as reinterpreted through host Michael Patrick King’s passionate eye for Manolos and the Universe – recycled. by the grueling culture wars.

She told me, “I hope everyone has flaws, and not many people worry me. I asked if this was a hard lesson to win, but she assured me she had always been. In fact, it’s that strong determination that has brought her from a quiet Connecticut suburb to a New York that, she says, is “full of characters” that people come to see and among whom she feels seen. “New York City is probably one of the few places in the world where you can see truly successful women,” she says. “And it makes you feel like you can do it. People say, ‘Hey, if this person can do it, why can’t I?’ And, that’s the internet now. “

She’s confused with her perception so many people may have 20 million followers on TikTok and lament the shift from physical image to online personality building. “There used to be a lot of poses. Now there are a lot of poses online, but there used to be a lot of live poses. ” Isn’t being online at the club just another way to record social scenes, the same way she’s doing with her column? No, she explained (correctly) because now the machine The photo is turned inward instead of outward, and she questions what it would be like to appear in the age of Instagram.

At this point, I can’t help but wonder (again, sorry): For many of us – especially young people, for whom this summer has been captured by recording. terrible acts of the public. every Single publication – sex is certainly still in the city, but is there room for the Candace Bushnell type? Is there room for Candace Bushnell herself? Both her book and her one-woman show make a strong case on her behalf, even if only as chronicles of how her miscellaneous generation has grow into the older crowd they used to date. She may not tear up the downtown scene like she once did, but she’s still the blueprint for anyone looking for a bit of glitz for their story. Flashy costume changes and behind-the-scenes stuff aside, the strongest part of her show is her own story; She insists as much on stage, and doubles as at dinner: “When I say Sex and the city is my life’s work, that’s the reality. ”

That life-long work is now our own reality as we eagerly call our no-nonsense friends the Miranda of the group or use Samantha porn as a living reference point – a goal of our own. I’m two The times in her sequence of orgasmic moans are paralleled with those of opera singers. When the completely literal (and not flashy) world comes to an end, who doesn’t want to re-imagine that bathroom encounter that left you locked in your apartment because the toilet swallowed your keys through? cosmo color lenses – i.e., as another great story about city life gone in a fun, gorgeous way? (Yes, this is a true story; no, I didn’t tell Candace more about it – I must have some respect!)

Making her part of some of my nocturnal adventures, I began to realize that I had no idea who Bushnell was going to be at the party. The implied insights are a flower of wisdom, but the vitality and immediacy of the stories suggest an agent at work, if almost chaotic. “I can always be a participant and an observer,” she told me, and I believe her. It would be ungrateful to me if it weren’t for a young gay man on the go whose love of party equals a taste for talking about it. “But if I end up in the corner watching,” she said, “just to clock Humans are extremely attractive. ”

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