My Lunch With Eartha Kitt


By Editors

Needless to say we panicked. First of all we didn't have a car. Blake had borrowed his friend's beat up old Toyota to take me to the show the night before which quite impressed me but I couldn't imagine Eartha Kitt or a down-in-the-dumps-divorcee (who I vaguely recall being referenced to as 'the mother of Andre Agassi -- don't say anything about that though'') -- I couldn't imagine either of them crawling into the back seat of that particular model of gas efficient vehicle.

Secondly, how long would it take us to pick up all those people by 1 o'clock -- even if we did have a car -- and, most importantly, how long would that leave me to wash the sex and booze off me, do my hair and make-up and work a fierce day look appropriate for a lunch I couldn't possibly afford at Trader Vic's with Miss Eartha Kitt et al?

We were young. We were enthusiastic. We were scrambled. Somehow we did it. Blake borrowed his mother's very nice late-model four door sedan WITH air-conditioning. I showered, slapped and grabbed a 'Pucci-inspired' linen zip-front dress out of my closet and we were off'

As instructed we picked up Jerry who, in another place and time, would be referred to as a 'walker' but who in this case was more of a 'pointer' as he led us up those crazy weeny-windy roads to Christobel's house. I don't know what I expected Andre Agassi's (but don't say anything) mother to look like but Christobel was this very beautiful 'plus-sized' woman in a black and white caftan with pink birds of paradise on it and a salt and pepper top-knot, gorgeous sweeping eyebrows and a LOT of perfume. She took the front seat and I was seated in back with the 'pointer'. We all gaily set off for the Oakland Park Plaza Hotel.

As we approached the hotel Christobel began to wonder 'which Eartha we were going to get.'

'Which Eartha?' I inquired.

'Yes, 'Glamour' Eartha or 'Earth' Eartha.'


When we got to the hotel, Miss Kitt came out through the sliding doors wearing a purple, teal and white jogging suit and a matching turban with no make-up.

''Earth' Eartha it is!" proclaimed Christobel.

When she got into the car she sat -no crouched- between Jerry and I poised and tensed like an athlete. She had been up since five and had worked out and was very hungry. Charming and intense she began to regale us with her upcoming projects.

'They want to me to come to Edinburgh to the Festival to play Molly Bloooom.'

'Will you be singing?' asked Christobel.

'Of course! When people come to see Eartha Kitt they want to hear her sing!!!'

'What will the music be. Will the songs be originals for the production?'

'Yes. They are commissioning the music especially for me,' she purred.

'Who will be writing it?' I asked.

She took a deep breath for dramatic effect and then slowly released the word, 'Aznavourrrrr''

I would have been completely beside myself except there was no room for another me between myself and Eartha Kitt! Words cannot express how hard I was trying to play it cool. Basically I just tried to keep my mouth shut and let Christobel, who by now I absolutely adored, keep up the interrogation.

'Who's managing you now Eartha? Do you have a manager?'

'No, I don't have a manager. They just take your money and do nothing. Kitt [her daughter] is my lawyer and she handles all of my contracts.'

That was interesting to me. You didn't need a manager if you had a lawyer or -- more precisely -- a daughter who was a lawyer. Duly noted.

'It seems there is a musical being written for me as well by' I can't think if his name' The one who writes such wonderful vehicles for women? Tell me his name!'

And just then she poked me in the ribs with a very hard, bony finger.

'JERRY HERMAN!' I spat out abruptly having no idea how or why I came up with that name' I mean, Jerry Herman?!?

She looked impressed, 'Yes. That's it. The project is still in the early stages of development.'

As all of this was happening poor Blake was desperately trying to find Trader Vic's. The Pointer wasn't quite sure where it was. Finally we pulled into a parking lot and' Trade Vic's had gone out of business.

Instead Blake suggested we go to Chez Panisse, an organic and extremely expensive (at least to us at the time) restaurant in Berkeley.