an elementary school teacher and she lives on Long Island. She said she routinely said comes into New York for these kinds of shows.
Both El and I chaffed at the authoritative attitude of the interns. They even had a young fellow monitoring the bathroom line. We could only go in three at a time. I told him that he must be angling for a real job. He told me he’s in school and works two other jobs.
We were told before being moved elsewhere to be sure and bus our tables by a large bouncer type fellow who added “and if you don’t do this right, you will be brought back here and do it again and again, that is until you get it right.” Oh my.
We then were taken down a long hall and into an open room, which on three sides were lined with chairs, bleacher style. There were numerous cameras and a multitude of bright lights on the ceiling. The front area contained a tall table with four seats, and at each seat was a coffee mug.
I felt a bit claustrophobic; there were too many people in too small an area for my liking. After a bit, the hype began. A woman, tall, thin, willowy, with long brown hair appeared from seemingly out of nowhere, and with microphone in hand, began interacting with the audience. She asked where people were from, and repeatedly encouraged us all to clap. The more she asked, the more still I became.
I noticed that each host had a camera pointed at them, and that near the audience entrance, on the side, there was a young woman, dressed in black, looking very somber.
Finally, finally, the six or so hosts of the show walked on stage amid considerable clapping. The teleprompter began rolling and co-host, Whoopi Goldberg, read off of it, and off her notes. Pre-determined conversations about the current political situation followed, with a moment of supposed levity. It was the co-host Joyce’s birthday. She was given a huge bouquet of flowers and a cake. And we all had to sing happy birthday to her.
I was impressed with Whoopi, who was wearing a flag sweatshirt, loose fitting pants, and white sneakers. Judy later said she seemed subdued. Well, we all have our days, don’t we?
The best moment occurred when Donna Brazile, a “veteran Democrat strategist,” appeared on stage and talked about the upcoming Supreme Court vote. And, when she later walked to the right of the stage, where she and Eleanor made eye contact.
We left when the show was over – and were given a gift, a book co-authored by Brazile, Yolanda Caraway, Leah Doherty, and Minyon Moore. This was clearly worth the hassle and hype involved in being audience participants. And a quick glance revealed that these four women have spent a great deal of time in Harlem.
I did not at any point think “I came to Harlem for this?” because this was a once a lifetime experience. Well, actually, it was interesting enough that I might consider doing it again.
Next: 278. 10/5/18: Part II Smoky and Friends