The passing of the great Nora Ephron brought to mind her excellent essay on the time she was in Las Vegas with Steve Wynn who was showing off a famed Picasso painting he was getting ready to sell for a record $139 million.
That was, of course, until Wynn accidentally poked his elbow through the canvas.
“I felt that I was in a room where something very private had happened that I had no right to be at,” Ephron wrote. ”I felt absolutely terrible. At the same time I was holding my digital camera in my hand – I’d just taken several pictures of the Picasso – and I wanted to take a picture of the Picasso with the hole in it so badly that my camera was literally quivering. But I didn’t see how I could take a picture – it seemed to me I’d witnessed a tragedy, and what’s more, that my flash would go off if I did and give me away.”
Ephron had a great eye for detail. The essay is worth reading though it is not as good as her classic piece in Esquire about breasts. But this is a gambling blog so it is best to stay as close to the subject matter as possible.
The New Yorker magazine also did a beautiful job chronicling Wynn’s colossal screw-up, which can be read here as well. Ephron’s writing is brilliant and she will be missed. But one detail worth noting in her essay is how little time she spent gambling in Vegas. It seems as if the trip was built around one of her other passions: food.