Selected Shorts: Wish Fulfillment

5 segments

Guest host Parker Posey introduces four stories about needs, yearnings and flights of fancy.

Two stories by Etgar Keret show the comic side of children’s fantasies. Parker Posey, who also hosts, reads “Glittery Eyes,” in which an entitled child yearns for the one thing she can’t have, and Willem Dafoe reads “What Animal Are You?”, whose exasperated narrator—a celebrated author whose home is invaded by a public television crew—may or may not be a Keret stand-in.  He gently subverts media conventions and delights in the way children can upset the status quo. 

Both stories came from an hilarious evening at Symphony Space in which Keret, visiting from his home in Tel Aviv, shared the stage with Russian-born writer Gary Shteyngart.

Shteyngart is the bestselling author of the novels The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, Absurdistan, and Super Sad True Love Story, and the memoir Little Failure.   In “Sixty-Nine Cents,” first published in The New Yorker, he recalls a youthful passion for McDonald’s and how it symbolized becoming an American.   He and SHORTS’ literary commentator Hannah Tinti chatted about the story and his memoir in the segment below, and “Sixty-Nine Cents” is performed by independent filmmaker Alex Karpovsky, who also has a featured role on “Girls.”

Our final story is by sly fantasist Steven Millhauser, who imagines what a typical boring summer would be like with “Flying Carpets.”  Everyone in the young hero’s sleepy suburban backwater has one.  Where you go is up to you.  Billy Campbell is the reader, from the Getty Center in Los Angeles.  Campbell’s television credits include “Once and Again,” “Crime Story,” “The 4400,” and “Tales of the City.”  Films include “The Rocketeer,” “Bram Stoker's Dracula,” and “Enough.”

“Glittery Eyes,” by Etgar Keret, performed by Parker Posey

“Sixty-Nine Cents,” by Gary Shteyngart, performed by Alex Karpovsky 

“What Animal Are You?” By Etgar Keret, performed by Willem Dafoe

“Flying Carpets,” by Steven Millhauser, performed by Billy Campbell 

(This is a repeat broadcast)

The SELECTED SHORTS theme is David Peterson's “That's the Deal,” performed by the Deardorf/Peterson Group.

For additional works featured on SELECTED SHORTS, please visit http://www.symphonyspace.org/events/series/71/selected-shorts

We’re interested in your response to these programs.  Please comment on this site or visit www.selectedshorts.org

And for more thoughts on the stories in SHORTS, check out literary commentator Hannah Tinti’s site at http://hannahtinti.com