Live in New York long enough, and you become accustomed to seeing our most decorated novelists, journalists, poets and playwrights sit on various stages to discuss their work. Uptown places like 92Y and Symphony Space in Manhattan get the lion’s share, while a smattering of smaller venues like Housing Works in SoHo regularly host bestselling authors.
On May 9 in Brooklyn, inside a small gymnasium called Camp Friendship on 8th Ave. in Park Slope, the “Progressive Jewish Community” Kolot Chayeinu, led by one of the Forward’s most inspiring rabbis, Ellen Lippmann, got in on the action by hosting America’s most decorated living playwright, Tony Kushner.
Billed as an evening of “Art, Politics, and Being a Jew,” Kushner answered questions posed by Lippman that ranged from what his process for writing is (“I hate writing. I try to avoid it as much as possible”), to his work with Steven Spielberg as the screenwriter for “Lincoln.” They also discussed Kushner’s politics, which have caused controversy in the past, most notably when the City University of New York voted to block Kushner from receiving an honorary degree, due to Kushner’s positions on Zionism and Israel (the decision was eventually reversed). But in the middle of Park Slope, Kushner was among friends.