At film festival, art of conversation makes a cameo


During the Las Cruces International Film Festival, I missed out on shaking Ron Perlman’s hand because I was carried away in conversation.

It is rare to encounter a capable conversationalist, much less an inspired one, in our age. The art requires a love of language, skills in observation and etiquette, plus a soupçon of knowledge of many topics.

At the Double Eagle, during a luncheon for guests and sponsors of the festival, I found myself seated with people I had never met, except for a fellow Bulletin staff member: A business owner, a financial consultant who was also an entrepreneur and a television writer and producer visiting from Los Angeles.

What might have been an awkward hour of polite murmurs between courses of food was, instead, a relaxed and lively time where everyone at the table contributed stories, compared differing opinions, laughed often and questioned one other at just the right intensity for the occasion.

Good conversation is a collaboration, and we all took part; but we were assisted greatly by Don Foster.

Initially he shared only that he grew up in Alamogordo, graduated from NMSU and now lived in L.A. as a producer, writer and creative consultant. (He wrote episodes of “Roseanne,” was a producer on “Dharma and Greg” and “Two and a Half Men,” and an executive consultant for four seasons of “The Big Bang Theory,” a show that coincidentally has been streamed nightly in my home since my teenage son discovered it.)

With curiosity, wit and generosity, Foster kept the table talking, seeing to it that each one of us had an opportunity to talk about something of interest and contribute to the conversation without overtly moderating us.

Foster is a local entertainment industry success story, for sure. He is also the kind of person you want at your dinner party, and certainly who you want to land at your table in a crowded luncheon with people you don’t know.

Don Foster, conversationalist, writer, producer