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 susanne vega interview

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PostSubject: susanne vega interview   Thu Jan 03, 2008 2:53 pm

Folk singer Suzanne Vega struck gold in the 1980s with hits “Tom’s Diner,” “Left of Center,” and the ubiquitous radio hit, “Luka,” which was one of the
first popular songs to tackle the subject of child abuse. Vega is still making quality, critically acclaimed albums, such as her latest, "Beauty & Crime",
which she has described as a love letter to her hometown of New York City. We caught up with her on her cell phone recently while navigating the United
States on yet another tour and talked travel.

Q: Your new album is all about New York, and one of the songs deals with the aftermath of Sept. 11. Is the city a safer place to travel now, more than six
years after that day, and what haunts should people check out?

A: In some ways, this city is safer than it was before. Now, for example, if you go to Central Park, it’s a beautiful place to visit. It wasn’t always that
way. But there’s so much to do and so much to see. You can go highbrow to the Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art), which is always beautiful no matter what
they’re showing. Also, MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) has been revamped. Central Park is glorious. All the shopping is amazing on Fifth Avenue. And if you
want to go funkier, you can go to the Lower East Side. There’s still a music scene down in the (Greenwich) Village, too. It’s sad that quite a few musical
landmarks have closed down, like CBGB and The Bottom Line, but the Cornelia Street Café is still thriving and doing well, and the Sidewalk Café is still
there, too.

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Q: You’re doing an “on the road” blog on your Web site. What have you discovered around the country on this tour that you’re going to make sure you come
back to, travel-wise?

A: There’s a Tom’s Diner in Pittsburgh that I saw from the outside, but everybody says it’s not really so great. The original Tom’s Diner is not so great
either. I wrote about it because it was a little funky dive at 112th Street and Broadway in New York. It’s the one they filmed from the outside in those
“Seinfeld” scenes. It’s actually become very famous in spite of the quality of the food. There’s another Tom’s Diner in Brooklyn that boasts that it’s
the one from the song. I’ve never been to the place. At some point I’ll have to take the train out there. Everyone says it’s got great food and it’s a
real mom-and-pop kind of place. But I’ll have to figure out how to get there, because Brooklyn to me is a foreign country.

Q: Do you seek out different kinds of food when you’re on the road?


:: I do love food, and I do get a lot of comfort from it. Is it the first thing I think about when I’m in different places. There are countries where I’m
always excited to eat. Basically, anywhere you go in Italy — any truck stop, anybody’s house, anywhere — it’s really high-quality, delicious food. French
food is really good, but my stomach is a little delicate. I also love Japan — the sushi, the fish, the rice. I love rice. I grew up eating a lot of it.

Q: What does the ultimate Suzanne Vega vacation include?

A: It’s funny that you would ask me that because I went on a vacation in March of this year and I hadn’t been on vacation in 17 years. I just don’t do it
that much. I usually just work. But we went to Hawaii and I thought it was great. We didn’t have one of those great old-fashioned Hawaiian luaus, but if
I could have I would have. I’m recently married to a man I’ve known for 25 years and also have a young daughter who’s 13. We’re still learning each other’s
vacation styles, and we figured a few things out. The first is that none of us want to stay in a condo again where you have to do your own cooking, shopping
and cleaning. My daughter has done a bunch of Club Meds with my sister, and they like the buffet style, so maybe we’ll do something like that next. All
of us love snorkeling and love the beaches, so that was something that we all definitely agreed on. And we went to the volcanoes, which we all thought
were great. It was a mixture of active stuff, reading time and just relaxing. I think I’ll have to go on more vacations to keep figuring this stuff out.
Maybe I can get my accountant to agree with that.
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