Sunday, April 03, 2016

Anderson Cooper on Sunday, April 3, 2016

An interview with Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt was part of CBS Sunday Morning today:

On Friday Anderson posted dates for two new AC2 Live shows to his IG account - one being in NOLA.

He flew to NOLA this weekend and posted the following two photos to his IG account today:

Advocate staff photo by DELLA HASSELLE -- Anderson Cooper in the courtyard of the Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans on Saturday, April 2, 2016. BY DELLA HASSELLE| April 3, 2016; 4:07 p.m.

The following article/interview appeared on The New Orleans this afternoon:

Anderson Cooper on New Orleans, ‘the greatest city in America,’ his live show with Andy Cohen and his new memoir

It was a few days after Hurricane Katrina, and Anderson Cooper was in a truck with police officers stationed on North Rampart Street when they passed by his father’s old high school.

Wyatt Cooper, who briefly lived in New Orleans’ 9th Ward, died when his son was 10, so the CNN anchor has limited memories of him. But that day, they started flooding back, and the city he had barely seen since he visited it with his father as a child was suddenly familiar again.

He remembered long streetcar rides up St. Charles Avenue and visiting St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, where X’s marked a grave thought to belong to voodoo priestess Marie Laveau.

Cooper’s coverage of the storm became deeply personal, he said. It was also the blossoming of a long-term love affair with New Orleans.

“I think New Orleans is the greatest city in America,” Cooper said in an interview Saturday. “And I just think the history of it, even now to go and walk by the Convention Center and to know what happened (there after Katrina) … there are places I find it’s haunting to go to. And I’m happy to see the city is back and better than ever.”

The media darling certainly hasn’t been a stranger to the Big Easy in the past decade. He’s been so devoted to news coverage here that after the BP oil spill in 2010, he temporarily moved the show he anchors, “Anderson Cooper 360,” to New Orleans.

Come this summer, New Orleanians will be able to see him for a happier reason: a live tour with fellow TV personality Andy Cohen, who hosts the nightly Bravo show “Watch What Happens: Live” and who wrote a 2012 memoir, “Most Talkative: Stories from the Front Lines of Pop Culture.”

Called “Deep Talk and Shallow Tales,” the live show will take place June 24 at the Saenger Theatre. It’s billed as an “intimate evening” between the two stars, who have been friends for more than 20 years.

The program has been presented throughout the U.S. about a dozen times already. It usually involves tequila, videos of “ridiculous things” and lots of laughter, Cooper said.

“We want it to be a fun night out for people. Usually the audience has had a couple of drinks — I like to encourage that sort of thing,” he said, chuckling. “I like to lower expectations and raise alcohol consumption. It makes for a better show.”

Cooper made several quips Saturday about a city known for over-consumption. His personal weaknesses for fully dressed shrimp po-boys at Domilise’s and pecan pie at Brigtsen’s — duly noted on his Instagram account — have reached an “addiction” level, he said. He also has a penchant for sno-balls at Hansen’s, where he loves strawberry but has been known to eat two at once because he couldn’t decide between flavors.

But during the interview at his hotel in the French Quarter, Cooper revealed a deeper connection to a city that he escapes to, if just for a weekend, between shows in New York or Washington, D.C.

He already discussed the city in his book “Dispatches From the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters and Survival.” Written two years after Katrina, the book mapped tragedies he’s covered in the U.S. and overseas, as well as losses in his own life that first motivated him to become a reporter.

New Orleans haunts him even now, he said. He inevitably sees streets and thinks how they looked inundated with floodwater, and he is constantly trying to learn more about those who didn’t make it after the levees broke.

The 9th Ward reminds him of a man he saw the Friday after the storm, dead on top of a car, as he was reporting by boat.

And he can’t pass by the Morial Convention Center without thinking of 91-year-old Ethel Freeman, whose body was left there by her family when the buses came and who became a symbol of the government’s inadequate response to the storm. Her son had no other choice, Cooper said, but to put his contact information on a piece of paper in her pocket and cover her with a blanket.

“I try to carry with me a lot of people I’ve met along the way and whose stories I’ve told,” Cooper said. “There were a lot of people I met during those days that I think about when I close my eyes at night. To this day.”

The world saw Katrina’s impact on Cooper during an emotional on-air interview with former U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, as he broke journalistic decorum and lambasted her for praising fellow politicians rather than addressing immediate problems so apparent in the Gulf Coast.

Looking back Saturday, he defended the moment, saying the better storytellers are those who allow their reporting to affect them.

“I’m sort of the least expressive person around. I’m sort of not very emotional, and I sort of try to just ask factual questions and stuff,” Cooper said. “But I think there’s nothing wrong with showing you’re a human being.”

For someone who calls himself reserved, Cooper has made a habit of revealing emotions lately. His latest book, coming out this week, is titled “The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son on Life, Love and Loss.” In it, he discusses his brother’s suicide, his grandfather’s alcoholism and the untimely death of his father.

Co-written with his mother, socialite heiress Gloria Vanderbilt, the new book began as a series of emails after she got sick at the age of 91. The way Cooper explains it, neither wanted to leave any secrets between them before she died, especially because there was so much Cooper never got to learn about his father.

“We decided to have a conversation about all the stuff we didn’t know about each other,” Cooper said. “We sort of consciously set about doing this.”

Cooper hopes to return to New Orleans soon to promote the new book. In the meantime, he said, audience members will be able to ask him any questions they may have during the “Deep Talk and Shallow Tales” show, including about his family and about New Orleans.

“There’s some kind of touching moments and stories, so it’s a mix,” Cooper said. “And you can’t come to New Orleans and not tell New Orleans stories.”

Please click on above link for original article.

Anderson tweeted a link to the following article about his mom and their book in the New York Times today:

Gloria Vanderbilt’s Story (Reprised) 

Sometimes Anderson Cooper imagines himself as the Thomas Cromwell to his mother’s Henry VIII, the voice of reason — the tether — to her buoyant impulsiveness. And sometimes he pictures Gloria Vanderbilt, who has been in the public eye since her birth 92 years ago, as an emissary from a distant star, marooned on this planet and trying to make sense of it all.

“I always viewed my role as helping her navigate this time and place,” Mr. Cooper said recently. But in the documentary of her life, “Nothing Left Unsaid,” airing on HBO on April 9, with Mr. Cooper as his mother’s interlocutor, and in the epistolary memoir the two have made together, “The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son on Life, Love, and Loss,” out Tuesday from Harper, what instead unfurls is the ways in which this family of two has survived unthinkable losses. There was the death of his father when Mr. Cooper was just 10, and the suicide of his brother, Carter, at 23, a decade later, as Ms. Vanderbilt watched her son’s hands slip from the terrace of their apartment on Gracie Square.

In that same decade, Ms. Vanderbilt would make a fortune to rival that of her forebear, Cornelius Vanderbilt, from bluejeans emblazoned with her name, and then lose it all when her psychiatrist and lawyer colluded to defraud her of her many lucrative licenses. (It was Bill Blass who came to the rescue, writing her a check for a quarter of a million dollars.) And yet, Mr. Cooper said, “She has this enduring optimism and this sense that the next great love or the next great adventure is just around the corner, and she’s about to embark on it.”

The other day, Ms. Vanderbilt brandished her familiar u-shaped grin and her Old World accent, padding about her jewel-box Beekman Place apartment in bare feet. (Later, she would slip on a pair of gold sneakers to give a tour of her artist’s studio one floor below.) “The phone can ring, and your life can change in a blink,” she said, emphasizing that last word and concurring with her son’s assessment of her nature.

“I also believe you sort of attract what you want, what you’re looking for, and I think that one must always be in love. To be in love with a person is of course ideal, but you can be in love with a flower, a tree, an idea. Just waking up in the morning, you know. It’s an attitude, an attitude of romantic readiness,” she concluded firmly, quoting F. Scott Fitzgerald. “We have to have that.”

Ms. Vanderbilt, whose father died when she was 15 months old, has been making headlines since her birth. In 1934, the tabloids called her “The Poor Little Rich Girl.” That was the year of the bitter custody battle between her aunt, Gertrude Whitney, and her beautiful, too young, hapless mother, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, who loved parties and the allowance that accrued to her from her daughter’s trust fund. She made headlines, too, for her storied romances — to Howard Hughes and Frank Sinatra, among many others — and her four marriages, the first, when she was just 17, to an abusive Hollywood agent rumored to have murdered his first wife.

Ms. Vanderbilt largely raised herself, a kind of emotional orphan careening from marriage to marriage before finding happiness with Wyatt Cooper, Mr. Cooper’s father, a screenwriter and actor from Mississippi.

“Wait a minute,” Mr. Cooper writes in “The Rainbow Comes and Goes” of his mother’s first marriage. “You started dating a guy who was a gambler and rumored to have killed someone? That’s not usually the kind of information put in their Tinder bio to attract dates. Didn’t you think that was somebody you should probably stay away from?”

Recalling that exchange, Ms. Vanderbilt said: “Of course, you always think you can fix things. You always think you’re the one who can.”

Ms. Vanderbilt has been hashing out her story in all mediums for most of her life. In her glittering collages, faux naïf paintings and her signature “dream boxes,” there are fatherless figures, distant mothers and recurring images of Ms. Vanderbilt’s beloved nanny, Dodo, who gave her the love and constancy she craved. In many of her eight books, a body of work that includes four memoirs, a book of poetry and an erotic novel, published when she was 85 (and which Mr. Cooper, stretching the limits of filial devotion, read in galleys), she continued that interrogation.

Of the erotic novel, “Obsession,” she said: “That was so much fun. It was almost as if somebody else wrote it and it just sort of fell on the page. When I recorded the audiobook, though, I thought: ‘What have I done? Poor Anderson!’”

Clearly, Mr. Cooper’s inheritance from his mother isn’t tragedy and it isn’t money, as he and his brother were taught at a young age there was no pot of gold for them — though he and she share the same steely work ethic — it’s resilience, made springier by a sense of humor.

Both the documentary, directed by Liz Garbus, and the memoir, which is a series of emails between mother and son, have Mr. Cooper investigating the emotional landscape of his mother’s life, and in so doing examining his own.

They were a year into the documentary when Ms. Vanderbilt fell ill with a serious respiratory infection. She didn’t tell her son just how serious it was, and he left town on an assignment, never learning until his return that she’d been hospitalized. He was deeply rattled, and rued his reflexive impulse to put his work first and view any intrusion as an inconvenience.

On her 91st birthday, they began “a new kind of conversation,” as he writes, by email, which Ms. Vanderbilt takes up with characteristic enthusiasm. It is a remarkably frank and tender undertaking. In one exchange, Ms. Vanderbilt recalled her son coming out to her when he was 21, and being stricken with guilt about a derogatory comment she’d once made, that she would feel she had failed as a parent if her child was gay. As it happened, Mr. Cooper had no memory of the incident; instead, he recalled only the positive way she’d described a gay couple when he was growing up. “I rejoice that you’re gay,” she writes her son.

“She rejoices in everything I do,” Mr. Cooper said. “I was talking to Andy Cohen” — the TV and radio host — “and his mother is a tougher critic. She’ll say to him, ‘Hmm, not your best show.’ But my mom is very much a cheering section. I can do no wrong. It’s always been that way. If I told her I wanted to dye my hair blue, she’d be happy. You couldn’t rebel against her. There is nothing you could do that a) she hadn’t already done, and b) she wouldn’t be fine with.”

Both Mr. Cooper and Ms. Vanderbilt impose order on their lives through their work. Ms. Vanderbilt’s environments have long been as much a canvas as her actual paintings. “It was interesting to hear her talk about it,” Mr. Cooper said. “To hear her cop to it. If only you can change the color of the walls, everything will be O.K. But once that’s done, it feels O.K. for a day or a week, and then she realizes the carpet needs to be redone or she has to move.”

Decorating is autobiography, Ms. Vanderbilt likes to say. “Of course, everything is autobiography,” she added. Throughout the decades, Ms. Vanderbilt’s fantastical interiors — rooms layered from floor to ceiling in gingham or antique quilts — settings as intricate as her artwork, have showed up in Vogue, House & Garden, W, Life and Vanity Fair.

The Beekman Place apartment is like something out of “The Arabian Nights.” Its walls are painted in shades of pink, trimmed with glossy black. There are Russian icons, swoops of fabric, Ms. Vanderbilt’s idiosyncratic and lovely artwork and many portraits of Ms. Vanderbilt and her family.

You can count the Ninas in cartoons of Ms. Vanderbilt by Al Hirschfeld. There’s a full-length Sargent-style painting of Ms. Vanderbilt by Aaron Shikler, and another of her mother painted the year before Ms. Vanderbilt’s birth, looking pensive and sad. There are photographs of Carter and Anderson by Diane Arbus. “I’ve been told by critics that my photograph resembles a Roman death mask,” Mr. Cooper said of his baby photo. It does.

The innards of an antique desk are painted in red and white stripes, a backdrop for a dancing antique figure and a glittery peacock. In her bedroom, an enormous quartz crystal sits like a baby meteor in the fireplace, the mantel of which Ms. Vanderbilt has painted with stars and emblems and mottos, like one paraphrasing Albert Einstein: “The distance between past, present and future is only an illusion, however persistent.”

“It’s one of the great wonderlands,” Wendy Goodman, design editor of New York magazine, said of the apartment. Ms. Goodman collected many of Ms. Vanderbilt’s interiors in her 2010 book, “The World of Gloria Vanderbilt.” “It’s a constant laboratory for her. She’s always repainting and redecorating. It’s like a tonic for her.”

Ms. Vanderbilt’s enthusiasms can sometimes run amok, said her son, recalling dinner parties that grew from a few guests to more than 30, and shifting from her apartment to his at the last minute. “Things can snowball,” he said. “Or she won’t show up.” There was the year he and a partner were spending Thanksgiving on Long Island, and his mother promised to come and bring the bird. On the day, her car arrived without her, though she had a sent the turkey. “It was precooked,” Mr. Cooper said, “which I appreciated.”

Mr. Cooper’s own nature is signified by a profound wariness and a strong belief that disaster is always around the corner. He sees himself not just as a realist, but as a catastrophist. “I always wanted there to be a plan,” he said. “And with my mother, there wasn’t one. It’s why I needed to get a job as soon as possible.” (Mr. Cooper has been working since his father’s death, when he became a child model, not because he yearned to be in front of a camera, but because modeling was a profession that offered a substantial paycheck to underage laborers.)

Mr. Cooper described a trip to Studio 54 when Ms. Vanderbilt was again dating Sidney Lumet (who had also been — stay with me here — husband No. 3) after Mr. Cooper’s father’s death. The event was a premiere for Mr. Lumet’s movie “The Wiz,” and Mr. Cooper, who was 10 at the time, recalled riding in a limousine with Michael Jackson. “I remember people chasing the car, which I thought was kind of funny,” he said. “I remember watching him dance, and I actually remember turning to someone — this is going to sound insane — and saying: ‘He’s really good at this. He should pursue it.’ I was always concerned about people’s financial viability and career choices. I would always ask people how they could support themselves.”

Mother and son concluded their emails to each other just before Ms. Vanderbilt’s 92nd birthday in February. Mr. Cooper asks how she’s feeling about death, while noting that her funeral plans have always been very detailed. Ms. Vanderbilt does share a few of her instructions: If in a church, how about St. James’? If an open coffin, she’d like to be dressed in a Fortuny gown; Mr. Cooper can pick the color, and they are in the cedar closet in her apartment. Do not have the funeral cosmeticians do her face. Please ask Judy Collins to sing “Amazing Grace.”

And as is her way, she cheers for her son, exhorting him to put aside his pessimism. “Excelsior!” she writes. For her part, Ms. Vanderbilt is sanguine about her own mortality. She quotes Woody Allen, who was once asked whether he’d like to live on in the hearts of people after his death and replied, “I would prefer to live on in my apartment.”

Please click on link for the original article and additional photos.

Wyatt Cooper took this photograph of his son, Anderson, when he was about 6.


Anderson is scheduled to Guest Co-Host Live with Kelly & Michael Monday and Tuesday.  Kelly posted the following to her IG account today.  Gloria is scheduled as a guest on Tuesday, the day The Rainbow Comes and Goes is released!

AC360 Transcript
AC360 Podcast

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