Seeing as Marisa Tomei was the honorary chair of the Brooklyn Artists Ball at the Brooklyn Museum on Wednesday night, writer Evan Mulvihill decided to ask her whether she ever makes it back to Flatbush, her place of birth. They were in nearby Prospect Heights, after all.
Said Tomei: “Well, I do, because, you know, DiFara Pizza is, you know, one of the best pizzas in the five boroughs. But I’m sure you’ve heard! But now the word is out. [True: Grub Street covered this yesterday!] My local—now everyone goes, but I still go back.”
After the interview below, where she describes how the Brooklyn Museum shaped her childhood and more, she came up to me, unprompted, to add: “I think you were asking why they chose me, and I was thinking, I was hoping that they chose me because I’m a feminist, but they probably chose me because I’m a Brooklynite. I’m proud to say I’m both!” I told her they weren’t mutually exclusive, then sidled up to the bar to order a very dry gin martini.
Do you have any family still in the neighborhood?
No, no, no, my parents live around the corner from me in the city. [laughs] In Manhattan. [laughs] We stuck together!
Movin’ on up!
Hey! A little elitism on your part. [laughs]
What do you love about the Brooklyn Museum?
Well, I grew up coming here. My mom brought me to this museum, and also going to the free arts classes and crafty things with my very good friend Celeste. I haven’t seen her in years but I was thinking about her today.
Did you take acting classes here?
No. We did all kinds of painting and crafts classes. And Christmas too is like special things you could make for decorations for your Christmas tree. Special things for the holidays.
What’s different about the Brooklyn Museum than Manhattan museums?
The humanity in its leadership. It really is for the people. Particularly, of course I’m obsessed with the Sackler Center. And so thrilled when it opened five years ago. Celebrating women’s contribution and a place to hear women’s voices that surprisingly hadn’t been built anywhere else in the world.
Are you happy with the state of feminist art?
That sounds like a crazy trick question.
Evan Mulvihill is a freelance writer who lives in Brooklyn Heights and makes occasional jaunts to Carroll Gardens for South Brooklyn Pizza. Follow him on Twitter, Tumblr, and/or Facebook.
Photograph by Eric Weiss Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum