Bloomberg View columnist Virginia Postrel is the author most recently of The Power of Glamour: Longing and the Art of Visual Persuasion. Before talking about why we need glamour, she talked up her most glamorous shoes (red of course) and her thoughts on the most glamorous places in Los Angeles in the Zócalo green room.
What profession would you like to practice in your next life?
That’s a thought that has never occurred to me. I’ve never thought about that. Maybe a historian.
Where do you come up with your best ideas?
Either while almost asleep or almost waking up, in that sort of in-between stage, or while getting a massage. Fortunately they’re cheap chair massages!
What’s the most glamorous pair of shoes you own?
I have a couple of pairs of red suede pumps—they’re slightly different from each other—from Sergio Rossi that are pretty glamorous. Red shoes promise to take you to great places or something. But I don’t tend to own shoes that I can’t actually wear or walk in. I’m pretty practical that way.
What do you love to hate?
What’s your most prized material possession?
I have an Ed Ruscha print called “Sea of Desire” that I really love. I could say—in terms of an individual object—something like my library, but it’s not any individual book, it’s the collection. That’s certainly the material possessions that are out of control.
What question did you get asked most often about donating your kidney?
If people just hear that you’ve donated a kidney, the first question they ask you is who the other person was—was it a close friend, was it a relative—because basically they’re trying to ask, why would you do a crazy thing like that? And then the second question they ask, if they heard the story is, are you OK now, has it been all right for you? And the answer is fine. No problem.
How do you pass the time when you’re stuck in traffic?
I try to avoid being stuck in traffic. If I’m stuck in traffic alone I either listen to the radio or listen to books on my iPhone. The problem is you sort of have to plan the books thing; it’s not something you can just hit a button and have happen.
What’s the most glamorous place in L.A.?
I haven’t been everywhere. It really depends on who you are. The Getty is very glamorous because of the vistas. I was in the Stahl House, which is the house in the famous Julius Shulman photo of Pierre Koenig’s Case Study 22, and it doesn’t really exactly look like the photo, but it kind of lives up to it in certain ways. The kinds of places that are not glamorous to people that live here are the kind of places that tourists think are glamorous—Hollywood Boulevard.
What’s your favorite condiment?
Is arugula a condiment? No, probably not. Well, not cilantro. I have the anti-cilantro gene. Mustard, I like mustard. I’m not sure what exactly the definition of condiment is, how expansive it is …
What comforts you?
My husband. It’s not his only function, but …