Mimi Weddell & Jyll Johnstone (BSS #192)

Mimi Weddell is the subject of Hats Off. Jyll Johnstone is the director of the film. The film opens in New York on March 28, 2008.


Condition of Mr. Segundo: Under scrutiny from his schizophrenic creator.

Guests: Mimi Weddell and Jyll Johnstone (Hats Off)

Subjects Discussed: Starting the film in Central Park and ending the film in Central Park, a documentary as a self-Rorschach test, dealing with subjects who are used to having a camera in front of them vs. those who are not, eliding moments from the film that were too candid, Mimi Weddell’s relationship with her son Tommy, visiting Elizabeth Arden’s three times a week, marching to one’s own drumbeat, rotundity vs. remaining thin, Jyll Johnstone’s concern for making documentaries involving older people, celebrating our elders, dwelling upon misery vs. “rising above it,” going to an audition right before a funeral service, acting as a physical business, being on TV with a hermaphrodite, unreasonable requests, being afraid of machines, radio, using footage under the fair use provision, Mimi’s hats, smoking vs. profanity, working on multiple documentaries at the same time, and a mystery theater poem.*


Correspondent: Mimi, at one point in the film, you say, “The older you get, the less you dwell on anything miserable that’s happened. If you do, you’re done for.” And yet there’s one moment late in the film in which you cry. In fact, you just described this notion of seeing the film and crying. And on the morning that Dick [Mimi’s husband] dies, you send your daughter Sarah off to Elizabeth Arden’s. And you yourself go off to an audition in California. So maybe this is a question for both of you. To what degree can one dwell upon misery or grief? Or is it a matter of continuing to move forward? Is this film intended to answer the question of just how much one can “rise above it” — so that mantra reads in your apartment, Mimi? What’s the deal here?

Weddell: Well, I was on my way to Dick’s service at St. Thomas. And the place was really filled. It was amazing. He was a very popular man. In any case, Sarah came down in the elevator. And they told me that this call was from California. And it was Michael Ritchie — I think it was Ritchie — who called and said, “Can you audition this afternoon?” And I said, “Sure, I’m on my way to Dick’s service, but I will certainly audition.” What else? I mean, people have been rather astonished that I would do that on the way to Dick’s service. But what else was there for me to do? Just go home and worry about the bills? No.

In any case, I did the audition and they wanted me to come to Texas to shoot the film. I said, “Fine.” And so off I went. To me, it’s not a surprise. It’s just natural.

Johnstone: You have choices in life. You either look forward or look back, have regrets or not have regrets. I think the reason why I’m attracted to Mimi is that she lives in the moment.

* — Two days after this conversation, Mimi Weddell sent me a kind note in the mail with the poem in question. But while preparing taxes, this note was filed away with other papers. When my time clears up, I will provide a link to the poem in question.


  1. Judas Rat

    Hey, Ed. This is the jerk who wrote that iTunes review. I have a hunch the intro to this episode was referencing (quite humorously) my comments regarding the Bat Segundo intros. (Maybe I’m wrong and guilty of Carly Simon “You’re So Vain” syndrome.) Anyway, I have to say I feel guilty about what I wrote and I’m sorry. Humor is very subjective, and I feel bad for urging you to make your podcast more conventional. I’m not going to say that I like those intros (maybe in part because I listened to all of your archives in the space of a brief time), but it’s easy for me to sit back and puke all over your enthusiasm for Mr. Segundo when I’m not doing diddly myself. Anyhow, you’re a talented guy and sorry again for the negative sniping. I don’t want to be that person.

  2. Geezerdad

    Jyl: You need Geezerdad author of The Viagra Monologues-The Zen Of Older Parenting who had his first kid eight years ago when he was 67.
    call after the last show! Geezerdad

  3. Gini Alhadeff

    Urgent: Italian ELLE magazine has asked me to interview Mimi Weddell for an upcoming issue of the magazine. I don’t have an e-mail address or other contact for her and would be grateful if someone would put me in touch with her.
    Best regards,
    Gini Alhadeff

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