I played a gig at the Cornelia Street Cafe in New York City recently where I had my first gig in 1979 and was part of the village folk scene that culminated in a recording, The Songwriters Exchange (1981 – Stash Records). After the show, the owner Robin Hirsch wanted to trade books: my cookbook Artist in the Kitchen for his Last Dance at the Hotel Kempinski.
I am savoring his memoir as much as any of Mary Karr’s, of whom I am a huge fan. A Jewish Fulbright scholar from England, he finds himself in some hilarious and also somber situations in the deep south of the American 60s. His relationship with his strict father, a survivor of Nazi Germany, is the undercurrent of this beautiful book that has kept me enthralled.