TN10: Alix Strauss, Award-Winning Author and Funeral Aficionado
Your Age: 54
Basic bio: Alix Strauss is a trend, culture and lifestyle journalist; an award-winning published author; and a speaker. She is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, among other publications. During the past 25 years she has written over 1500 articles. Her books include: The Joy of Funerals (St. Martin’s Press & Palagram Press), Based Upon Availability (Harper Collins), and Death Becomes Them: Unearthing the Suicides of the Brilliant, the Famous and the Notorious (Harper Collins). She is also the editor of Have I Got a Guy for You (Simon & Schuster), an anthology of mother-coordinated dating horror stories. Her work has been an optioned for several TV and film projects. Strauss lives in Manhattan.
Beyond the bio: I am a die-hard New Yorker, lover of carbs and sweets, pilferer of kitschy ashtrays from restaurants and bars (even though I don’t smoke) and I still use a paper calendar. I can also quote all three Parkers: Sarah Jessica, Posey and Dorothy; Dorothy’s my favorite of the trio. I recently got into an argument with my mother and called her a narcissist. Her retort: “I’m not, I was just thinking of myself at the time.” True story.
What makes you a grown-ass lady? That I can realize how quickly people confuse difficult with those of us who are specific; that needy is not the same as being in need; and that constantly being told “well, nobody else had a problem with this” doesn’t mean you were wrong, it means that no one else spoke up about it.
Here’s her TueNight 10
What I’m listening to: I have an “If I’m In a Coma” playlist, which should be played loudly to me if I’m in a coma. I also play it when I need to dance around the room in order to release pent-up frustration after a really stressful day. Songs include “Bittersweet Symphony,” “None of Your Business,” “Play That Funky Music,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Best of My Love,” “Under Pressure,” “All That Jazz,” and Prince’s “Kiss,” among others. Also the soundtrack from the last season of “Transparent,” which was a musical.
‘80s crush: Willie Aames who played Tommy on Eight is Enough
Latest fave find: Little unknown secret: whenever I start a book tour, I try to find an item, generally a piece of jewelry, that would hold some significance to the main character (if it’s fiction) or aligns with a specific theme (if it’s non-fiction). Then I wear it for the duration of the tour. (Paging Sanford Meisner.)
What was your first job: I was 12 and did a commercial for Chef Boyardee Spaghetti and Meatballs. The microwave was broken and so I watched them open a cold can of this gloppy, brownish stuff, slap it onto a plate and then set it in front of me. Two cans (and 42 years) later, I’ve never had it since.
What’s a misconception about getting older: That we lose our edge, that we’re not relevant, that our desire to excel diminishes, that we can’t have a second chapter or second career or even better second half of our life.
What was your favorite job of all time and why: I spent one summer in my early 20s hunting for collectible pop culture memorabilia. I loved the hunt, the education, and scoring treasured items that others had missed.
What are you most proud of: This is such a hard one because proudness has seeped into so many different areas of my life. As the world continues to be on fire, and as people continue to lose their minds, one just feels proud for getting through the day. I’m proud of my work accomplishments in an ever-shifting world that keeps telling us print is dead (which it’s not; this was the year of the book), especially when AI is nipping at everyone’s five-inch heels. I’m proud to still have relationships with the people I care about. That I still like the person I am. And that the home I’ve created feels like one.
Is there anything you’d like a do-over for in life: Oh, yes... I have an old flame that still flickers and has somehow never gone out.
Thing you miss about the past: My list is lonnnnnggggg. Life before Instagram, Facebook, X, and this thing called TikTok, which I keep hearing about. Receiving handwritten notes. Häagen Dazs cappuccino crunch coffee ice cream. The Hickory Pit, a classic Upper East Side diner on 73rd and 3rd, and the ability to drink coffee malteds and eat French fries in the middle of the afternoon with my grandmother. (Insert deep sentimentality here.) New York in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Old school movie theaters where ticket prices were $6.00. Extra-large taxi cabs that had these wacky, rounded metal seats that seemed to fold into the floor and everyone would fight to sit on them.
What are you looking forward to: Traveling to Middleburg, Virginia, where I’ve never been before, to experience a hotel whose location remains undisclosed until one commits to having an event there. It will be the first time I’m on a plane since Covid. I’m also excited to be on tour again with the 20th anniversary edition of my first novel, The Joy of Funerals.