If you shop at Talbots, you probably had a pretty hard time deciding what to do last night. Martha Stewart was giving a talk at the DAR Constitution Hall, Annie Leibovitz was doing a signing at Politics & Prose, and—-as a part of the media tour promoting her new memoir Then Again—-Diane Keaton was at Sixth & I. Addressing the overwhelmingly female sold-out crowd (“Is this a room full of extras in a Nancy Meyers film?” I whispered to my friend upon arrival), Keaton proved to be exactly what you’d expect: charmingly self-deprecating (“I’m a mom, I’m not that charming”), prone to trailing off mid-sentence (“Today I went to the Lincoln Memorial, and oh! I saw the National Gallery, oh, but you don’t care about this…”), and brimming with anecdotes about kissing Jack Nicholson.
She also turned out to be an uncommonly powerful storyteller. The portion of Then Again from which she read focused on a period of Keaton’s life around the early 1990s, a time when she was navigating the contradicting emotions of turning 50, adopting her first child, and watching her mother’s drawn-out struggle with Alzheimer’s. The tone lightened a bit during the audience Q&A, but all in all the evening proved to be a kind of anthropological study of the Washington woman who has probably watched Something’s Gotta Give at least once in the past year. “If you’ve never had a kosher brownie before,” I heard one of them say, “then tonight is your night!”
Female/male ratio: 9:1
Over 50/under 50 ratio: 6:1
Biggest applause line: “I never thought I’d be cast in another romantic comedy, let alone kissing Keanu Reeves.”
Biggest ironic-laugh line: “You all know Woody, he keeps…uh…evolving.”
Worst audience question: “I wanted to ask you who you’d rather take with you on a desert island, Woody Allen or Warren Beatty, but I knew you wouldn’t answer that. So I’ll ask instead: who would you rather take on a desert island, Alvy Singer or John Reed?”
Keaton’s diplomatic answer: “I would take my two children.”
Keaton’s nail polish choice: Matte silver with crosshatch decals (“Sally Hansen,” she informed me. “Try it!”)
Overheard in the dessert reception area: “There are so many good shoes going on in this synagogue right now.”
Best dessert: Kosher brownies. Duh.