Birthdays, Books, Engagements, Trips, and Diplomacy
Introducing our new social column, Vital Moments, tracking the ways lives are lived… featuring Allison P. Davis, Mary Childs, Jack Crosbie, Jo Livingstone, and “that guy Adam”
Spring has officially sprung, the weather’s getting warmer, and it feels like it’s time for The Fine Print to start a New York media social column… and throw a party of our own! We’ll be hosting our first party for subscribers, sources, and friends — show up to guess who is who! — on Wednesday, April 6, at 7 pm in Brooklyn at Greenwood Park (we promise it’s a bar, not actually a park). It’s free to get in and anyone can show up last-minute. We’d appreciate it if you’d RSVP here to give us a sense of how many people to expect. Now, on to other people’s parties…
OUT AND ABOUT
Last Saturday, The Cut’s vibe shift correspondent Allison P. Davis celebrated her birthday with a party at designer Ellen Van Dusen’s brownstone. Spotted among the attendees were New York diner-at-large Tammie Teclemariam, Vanity Fair’s Delia Cai and Dan Adler, Substacker Hunter Harris, and Alison Roman. “I spent half the party taking photos of the house,” Cai recalled, adding that the “Jell-O shots were good.”
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Also that weekend, CNN Business senior reporter Nicole Goodkind and Spike New York editor Dean Kissick attended the afterparty for the Drain Gang show at Knockdown Center.
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Last Tuesday, the same night The Drift celebrated its sixth issue at The Jane Hotel, Mary Childs, co-host of NPR’s Planet Money, hosted a party for her new book The Bond King. “Much better than your average book party,” said Futurism’s chief content officer Foster Kamer, who celebrated along with Bloomberg columnist and fixation for a new type of guy Matt Levine, New York’s Jessica Pressler, former Awl editor Silvia Killingsworth, host of Slate’s What Next: TBD podcast Lizzie O’Leary, and a bunch of finance people. The Drift party, Kamer observed, had been a sufficient lure for the sort of aspiring young people who usually crowd such book parties. Grid reporter Matt Zeitlin filled his dance card by dropping by Childs’s party before heading to The Jane, though Zeitlin noted to The Fine Print that he tended to go out a lot more when he worked at BuzzFeed News.
Novelist Emily Gould announced that her landlords told her they were listing her apartment while her husband, fellow novelist Keith Gessen, was reporting in Eastern Europe. “Don’t worry, I have already asked Keith if he can arrange to be, not killed or injured but just captured dramatically and roughed up a little in such a way that an article about it would definitely get optioned,” she added.
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Poet Rachel Rabbit White moved into influencer and self-declared scammer Caroline Calloway’s apartment before being intimidated out by the management. “I think it was a kind of a ditch-the-place-and-run situation until she thought she’d be able to keep her lease through me,” she told The Fine Print. “The way she left things, I don’t think the building’s happy with her.” She and her husband, novelist Nico Walker, were dropped as defendants in the suit the company launched against Calloway, and Rabbit White has been looking for a new place to live. “I went to an apartment showing that ended up being an open house. I felt so dispirited I just left. I don’t want to be a part of a market that favors overbidding and outbidding on apartments that were probably vacated due to rent hikes or evictions. That’s scab shit. I’m still looking, open to long-term subleases, and can pay cash, if anyone has leads,” she said.
“What I suggest is that everyone use the nice weather to make eviction defense this summer’s hottest party. Why not hang out in front of a beautiful brownstone and fuck up a landlord trying to kick someone out?” Many of the apartments she saw listed were on the outskirts of the city. “They were all in Brighton Beach, like way out there.” Though a sojourn in Little Odesa could be fun, she acknowledged, “it has to be a dope-ass place.”
Jack Crosbie spent February and early March much closer to the original Odesa, filing dispatches for Rolling Stone from the war in Ukraine, as he told The Fine Print at the time. But there was something he was looking forward to the whole time back home in Brooklyn. “I was supposed to pick up the ring while I was in Ukraine,” he said, “and had to push that date back a little bit because things happened.” Last Saturday evening, March 19, he proposed to Kara Mavros, an executive communications manager at the architecture firm Gensler, in front of the Seward Park Library on the Lower East Side. At an impromptu celebration that night, they were joined by friends and Discourse Blog staff members. The couple hasn’t set a date, but Crosbie’s excited to plan it all out. “I feel like doing the logistics on this is going to be a lot more fun than Ukraine was,” he said.
GAMES AND PURSUITS
Another thing Crosbie was looking forward to about getting home was resuming the running game of Diplomacy that he’s been playing on Slack with a group of friends, many of them other journalists, since the start of the pandemic. Started by Jewish Currents newsletter editor David Klion and his former roommate Manoli Strecker, the game has thirty members, many of whom participate in the game six nights a week. The members, who call themselves “sickos,” include freelance journalist and podcaster Eoin Higgins, The New Statesman’s US editor Emily Tamkin, national security blogger Kelsey Atherton, Motherboard reporter Edward Ongweso, entertainment journalist James Grebey, Texas Monthly senior editor Christopher Hooks, and Insider contributor Alex Yablon. “The cliche about Diplomacy is that it’s a game that ruins friendships because so integral to it is lying and betraying people,” said Klion, explaining where the “sicko” appellation came from. “It’s a very specific sickness where we’ve learned to enjoy deceit and making deceit among friends a regular part of our lives. It’s truly not for everyone.”
On top of the gameplay, there are a variety of channels, including some focused on movies, politics, and Dune, and members regularly hang out in person. For the sickos, it’s also been a replacement for Twitter. “It’s about wanting to spend more time with people who you feel like you actually know and are comfortable with and are worth talking to, and less time in lowest common denominator public-facing arguments,” Klion said. “I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of a global cabal of media persons that has learned to channel their online addictions toward a two-year-long game of pushing little cannons around a 19th-century map,” said one New York Times reporter in the Diplomaslack who asked to remain anonymous. “If your social feeds feel a little less annoying these days, it may be related.”
Since so many sickos in Diplomaslack were covering the war in Ukraine at work, they decided to take a rare pause in their game for the first two weeks after the invasion. “There were enough people who this was all they cared about. The community was very active, we were talking about it constantly and it was a sounding board for understanding the war from various angles, but I think people felt too distracted to play, and also it is a war game,” Klion said. “We have a sense of humor about that, but it took a minute to sort of process like, ‘Oh, a real traditional war of international conquest is going on, and maybe we should be a little bit sensitive to that, at least for a moment.”
They’ve resumed since. On returning from Ukraine, Crosbie took over a country in the game from Carol Schaeffer, who left to report in Poland. Klion was knocked out of the current game early — “I’m used to it,” he said — but Crosbie still has fighting words for him. “I want to make sure Dave knows he should eat shit and die because he’s a monster in the game,” he said. “All of Dave’s plans come to naught, and it’s entirely his own fault.”
Still out of the country is former New Republic culture staff writer Jo Livingstone, who has been visiting family in South Africa for the last two weeks. In Cape Town, they keep going back to visit When Rain Clouds Gather, a survey exhibition of Black South African women artists at Norval Gallery. “Everything is incredible,” they told The Fine Print. “There’s this artist, Valerie Desmore, who’s basically not known and her work is unbelievable.” They’re coming back to New York on Sunday.
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Drunken Canal co-founder Gutes Guterman recently returned from a trip to California.
ON THE AGENDA
This Saturday: While he has lately been too busy writing a newsletter about the trial of alleged Sarah Lawrence cult leader Larry Ray for New York to DJ as much as he used to, Ezra Marcus will be spinning dance tunes for the first time in a month or two — he doesn’t remember how long it’s been — at a friend’s birthday party. He’s not sure where exactly the birthday is taking place, and he hasn’t thought too much about what to play during his set, but he’s not worried about it. “It’s pretty easy,” he told The Fine Print. “I don’t really care if I’m good in the first place, so I don’t really care if I train wreck.”
Earlier, Insider tech editor Tekendra Parmar will celebrate his birthday near the abandoned smallpox hospital on Roosevelt Island.
Rachel Rabbit White is also looking forward to a birthday party. “There’s that guy Adam’s 30th birthday, the guy who hangs out in literary circles, works in tech, and always has good coke? He rented a townhouse for it, should be fun,” she said. “I don’t think anyone knows his last name lol, but he hosted an afterparty in Manhattan the night of the Drift party.” Drift co-editor Rebecca Panovka hastened to clarify, “there wasn’t an official afterparty.”
Date TBD: The other thing Rabbit White’s excited about is that her friend recently got hold of Mayor Eric Adams’s phone number. “There’s some people gathering to figure out what to do with it,” she said.