Vital Moments

Oh, the Hangovers We’ve Seen

Out and about this week: Jacob Shamisan, Jessica Pressler, Emily Palmer, Katie Drummond, Mitch Moxley, David Gauvey Herbert, Preya McMahon, Katie Gee Salibury, Sam Sussman, and more…

In the twilight of May, oscillating between paralysis and frenzy doesn’t seem unreasonable. The news is grim, and too much of the discourse should be unspeakable. Yet, there’s still joy to be found in the ebb and flow and moments of unexpected illumination, like a mosquito catching an otherwise invisible ray of sunlight. This week unconventional artists, ex-pat reunions, fashionable aspirations, intoxicating jetlag, and religious impresarios made up some of the stuff of life that was lived…


On Thursday, May 19, the artist and “scammer” known as Anna Delvey, legally Anna Sorokin, opened her first solo show at the Public Hotel on the Lower East Side. Insider correspondent and longtime Sorokin chronicler Jacob Shamsian was referenced in two of Sorokin’s artworks, so he had to be there, though he was nervous about the dress code. “I just have no idea how to dress for an art show like that,” he said, so he sought the advice of a friend who’d worked in the art world and ended up going with “a dark-gray sweater and these really sick houndstooth pants.” His night started with a dinner at the hotel’s restaurant organized by Sorokin’s art dealer Chris Martine. Shamsian keeps kosher, so he didn’t eat anything, but he indulged in the drinks. They moved on to another part of the hotel for the show. Sorokin’s art was paraded around by models as Kanye radiated from the speakers. Spotted among the attendees were Jessica Pressler, who wrote the New York story that was adapted into Inventing Anna, the Netflix show about Sorokin, Emily Palmer, who covered Sorokin for The New York Times, three Daily Beast staffers (“I think two of them were there for fun, one of them was actually writing about it,” said Shamsian), and Drunken Canal co-founder Gutes Guterman. Not present was Sorokin, who’s still imprisoned upstate in the Orange County Correctional Facility in Goshen.

The night ended with an afterparty on the hotel’s roof, which was still going when Shamsian left around 11 p.m. “Even though I’ve covered Anna for so long, and maybe because I’ve covered Anna for so long, it’s sometimes hard to understand her appeal and who precisely she appeals to and in what ways,” he said. “She’s not a normal celebrity. She isn’t a regular artist. She’s not some other famous person who then just does art. She’s famous for her criminal conviction for her scam, which she’s appealing, and she’s turned that story into her artwork. Her artwork pokes fun at her own image as a scammer and as someone who’s behind bars, and as someone who has created this whole show from behind bars. She has done that and the art is still about her doing that. It’s just a lot to take in and I remember talking to other people about how crazy it is that she’s pulled this off and that she’s made such a big event out of it.”

Also last Thursday, Vice senior vice president of global news and Vice News global editor-in-chief Katie Drummond gathered with co-workers and others at Vice News’s emphatically off the record summer party at their Williamsburg headquarters.

On Wednesday, May 25, Penta magazine senior editor Mitch Moxley and Bloomberg Businessweek, Esquire, and New York contributor David Gauvey Herbert hosted the second edition of their storytelling series The Night Editor at The Malin, a co-working space in SoHo. In the office kitchen, before the start of the readings, interviews, and performances, thirsty attendees thronged around a counter with wine, gin, and a treacherous purple concoction. The Fine Print had two glasses of the latter, maybe three, a glass of wine, and a Guinness, as far as this reporter can recall, and was slightly surprised to wake up with the worst hangover this social column has produced so far.

On the scene were the three performers, Preya McMahon (“I’m the jetlagged Australian. I literally got in last night,” she said. “I got in at 10:30, went straight out for drinks and I was sort of sitting there like, ‘Whoa, this is cool. Maybe. I don’t know where I am. Luckily other people are paying for the drinks.’ I was just sort of floating.”), Vice, The Ringer, and Marie Claire contributor Katie Gee Salisbury, who’s at work on a book about the early Chinese-American movie star Anna May Wong (“A lot of my research is reading Hollywood gossip columns”), and Harper’s contributor and potentially Bob Dylan’s son Sam Sussman. Also present were too-many-affiliations-to-list Siddhartha Mahanta (whose silver beard caught Sussman’s admiration. “It makes you look wise, man,” he told Mahanta. “So wise, like Socratic.”), Foreign Affairs executive editor Stuart Reid (who wakes up earlier than his eight-month-old daughter to work on his book about Patrice Lumumba. “People put their kids to bed too early, I think,” he said. “We put her to bed at 9:30, she wakes up at 8:00, and I wake up at 6:30. It works out.”), New Yorker and Harper’s contributor Michael Ames, Airmail contributor and Substacker David Yaffe, Atria senior editor Nick Ciani, an events organizer at a Cobble Hill synagogue (“I feel like I’m a religious impresario,” he said), and a contingent of bankers and lawyers, including Michael Pontone who’s known Herbert since they were ten. (When The Fine Print asked what sort of dirt he had on Herbert, he said, “The dirt I have on Dave goes miles deep and I can never share, because while Dave would sell me down the river in a hot second — he’s just a talker, so I’d never tell him anything I want to keep secret. Conversely, I don’t know if its an Italian-American culture thing or a lawyer thing, I’m very much like, ‘Okay, it’s in the box.’ But if he ever crosses me…”)

For the readings and interviews, the audience sprawled on couches, stools, and the floor in what The Malin calls The Library. The appellation isn’t totally apt. The shelves are sparse, with many books’ spines turned away from browsing eyes, though Renata Adler’s Speedboat and The Encyclopedia of New York City are prominently displayed. After they wrapped up, Moxley invited the crowd to an afterparty at Onieal’s, a bar down the street. “Last time there was a limo, there was some karaoke, so if anybody wants to get crazy,” he said. “If you’re thinking about doing DMT, Preya will walk you through it.” At the bar, it became apparent just how many of the attendees had known Moxley and Herbert when they were ex-pat reporters in Beijing. “I was in Beijing flying a private jet for a Chinese dude,” said a pilot. “People who have the money for it are generally not very cool in many ways. It was just a dude who was probably a proxy for the Party to go out into the world and buy mining assets.”


London Review of Books, New York Review of Books, and Financial Times contributor Rosa Lyster and 1843 contributing writer and The Fence fiction editor John Phipps are visiting New York from London this week. “I’m just seeing the museums, just walking around, gawking at stuff like a country cousin,” Phipps said. He spent seven hours at The Met on Tuesday. “It was like being inside an Edwardian cliche about the Orient or something,” he said. “I had no idea that there could be a jewel box so densely crammed with treasures.” He does have at least one ambitious plan for his and Lyster’s time in the city. “I’m trying to persuade my girlfriend that we should buy matching Ugg boots,” he said. “New York is so fashionable, I thought only Ugg boots would do.”


Wednesday: At 7 p.m., Defector’s Normal Gossip podcast will have a live show, with guest Slate culture writer Rachelle Hampton, at Caveat on the Lower East Side.

Thursday: At 7 p.m., the Karl Ove Knausgaard podcast Our Struggle will have its first live show at KGB Bar in the East Village. “As people seem to enjoy the podcast because they feel like they’re overhearing a convo between friends,” co-host and New York, Foreign Policy, and The Economist contributor Lauren Teixeiratold The Fine Print, “we will do our best to not acknowledge the audience even once.” The dress code is bar mitzvah uncle.