February's Editor's Letter

Editor's Letter
15 February 2017

The lights were up at Café Carlyle, the iconic cabaret club on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. We were there at 3 in the afternoon. I’d only seen its Marcel Vertès murals at performance time, with the lights lowered and the entire room washed in a Champagne-y glow. I wouldn’t say the space lost its luster entirely during the day, but its initial magic certainly came through at a lower frequency—at least it did until our guest, Isaac Mizrahi, started to talk and then, to sing.

The topic of his interview, conducted by the spectacularly engaging and curious Alex Guarnaschelli, was the theme of this month’s show: Desire. But not in the sense of ambition or appetite. Wanting a promotion at work or a slice of perfectly-iced chocolate cake for breakfast are perfectly good things to desire, but we wanted to go deeper. When does desire change your life? How can wanting something ultimately mean wanting to change yourself?

Isaac’s openness on the matter thrilled me as the editor of this show. He’s a natural entertainer, whether he's talking about his vanity, fear of death or recipe for tomato sauce (secret ingredient: shallots). But, his words turned out to be as moving as they were entertaining. Here’s a man seemingly on top of the world, having sold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of clothing, still doing the hard work of self-improvement. It made me wonder whether I was working hard enough, whether I allowed myself the time to understand my own desires and how they might also make things better for those around me. Other guests on this month’s show, like Christina Tosi, of Milk Bar fame, also lay it bare in a way that confirms that desire is hardly frivolous and, once shared, can act as a powerful catalyst for reflection.

When Isaac wrapped up his interview by singing "You Fascinate Me So," an up-tempo number from 1958, the mood in the room elevated and everybody felt it even though the lights were still up and we were all drinking water. There it was: that Champagne-y glow. Isaac’s voice was clear and assertive, yet still tender with hope. His song sounded like desire from deep down, personified.

I hope hearing Isaac sing stokes your own sense of desire. Episode 11 is our most personal and diverse yet.

We’ll be reaching for even more intimate conversations next month, and launching our spin-off, Live from Prince Street, a monthly interview conducted before a live audience at the Dean & Deluca flagship store in Soho. For our first installment, Bill Buford will be talking shop with Martha Stewart on March 2nd at 6:30pm. Drop by; I hope to see you there. And if you can't make it, listen on March 3rd when we’ll post the interview as a podcast, which means March will mark our move to 2 episodes per month. March's second episode, all about clean up with April Bloomfield, Dan Barber, Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley and more, posts on March 15th.

Howie Kahn

Photo by Michael Halsband.


Love or money, chocolate or wine, everything you desire, we're talking about it on this episode of Prince Street.

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