Smiles and Teeth
Reveling through the fall: Christine Smallwood, Keith Gessen, Emily Gould, Jen Percy, Andrea Long Chu, Meredith Simonoff, Eric Simonoff, Kevin Lozano, Jianying Zha, Alec Ash, Howard French, Miranda July, David Byrne, Elif Batuman, Tavi Gevinson, Nicholas Thompson, Katie Drummond, Bill Wasik, Ben Mullin, Katia Bachko, Mark Allen and many, many more…
For much of October, moments of revelry were shadowed by an awareness of mounting horror, and not for the usual reasons. Rather than falling into bewildered paralysis, the stuff of life circulated through New York’s media community with a quickened pace and a renewed urgency. It was a good month to find yourself in a crowd, whether to feel a surge of solidarity or just hash out shared realities.
OUT AND ABOUT
Teeth are a minor motif in Hernan Diaz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Trust. “Seized with toothache. Loose molar,” runs one snippet. “Lost offending molar. Don’t think there’ll be time for the hole to close,” runs another. Dentistry was a major, insistent even, concern for Diaz at n+1’s annual cocktail fundraiser N Plus Ultra on September 27. “I got a molar pulled two weeks ago. It still hurts like a motherfucker,” he said. “I asked to be put under for the procedure, and they said, ‘Well, in that case, you have to come back next week. Otherwise, we can do it right now.’ ‘Do it now.’ Tears were shed — by me.” A tooth had also been shed by The Life of the Mind novelist Christine Smallwood, who received n+1’s Anthony Veasna So Fiction Prize that night. “Last year, I had nine dental appointments in the fall. I wound up needing a root canal because I went to the dentist, and they put in a filling, and then they fucked up the filling, and then I had to go to a different dentist,” she said. “Now I have a gold tooth.”
In accepting her award, Smallwood gave a speech that looked back on some of the earliest n+1 parties. “I remember when n+1 first appeared in New York because it was right around the time that I first appeared in New York. This was the mid-2000s. Back in that dark age of magazines, n+1 had a rivalry with a website called Gawker. I know I’m dating myself here, but I had a friend who worked at Gawker. And when Gawker posted and mocked a party invitation that n+1 had sent out, Keith Gessen accused me of being the leaker. I told him I hadn’t forwarded the invitation to Gawker. But no matter how many times I denied it, he refused to believe me,” she told the crowd. “There was some static between us. I think now is a good moment to say just for the record that yes, I did send the invitation to Gawker.”
(More recently, Emily Gould, the former Gawker writer who Gessen married in 2014, announced on October 20 that she had gotten “a new wedding band to replace the one I lost in the chaos” and that the couple was calling off their previously announced divorce.)
Francesco Pacifico, the Italian novelist behind Class and The Women I Love, leaned up against the bar at 501 Union in Gowanus, far from the shuttered Jane Hotel ballroom, the setting of last year’s N Plus Ultra. “I’ll have a glass of wine because I’m jet-lagged. I think if I drink a cocktail now, I’ll go to sleep,” he said. He’d flown in two days earlier. “The older I get, the weirder the jet lag experiences. And the more anxious I get. So I feel like I’m about to fail all the time. Completely sober, leaning on the bar. So maybe wine is the wise choice.” He hadn’t come to town just for the party: He had a bit of editorial business as well. “I’m doing an interview for The Paris Review,” he said. “Who’s your interviewer?” “No, I wish, man. But thank you. I should have been drunk while you were saying that. ‘Oh, yeah, that’s actually me. And who will be interviewing me? Don DeLillo will be interviewing me.’ No, I’m interviewing Jhumpa Lahiri. We did two days in Rome at her gorgeous place,” he said. “Since I was very long-winded in my — there were no questions, there were long-winded points. So we have 35,000 words worth of our conversation, a little novella, but now they need the basic questions to attach these musings to.”
Filling the ostentatiously converted industrial space were n+1 co-editors Dayna Tortorici and Mark Krotov (“I love Bosch. Have you watched Bosch?”), n+1 co-founder Gessen and New York magazine features writer Gould (“I’ve almost finished all fifteen seasons of ER,” Gould said. “I got to the point late in the show where it’s totally given up and it’s just abjectly bad”), Paris Review top editor Emily Stokes, Grove Atlantic deputy publisher Peter Blackstock, novelist Rumaan Alam (“I’m very conventional, I’m a very boring cook”), New Yorker staff writers Gideon Lewis-Kraus and Rachel Aviv, literary agent Chris Parris-Lamb (“I’ve been in chats with more than two people, but I hear people talk about the joys of a groupchat and I definitely don’t have that”), novelist Caleb Crain and Travel + Leisure features editor Peter Terzian, Triple Canopy editorial assistant Simone Liu, MoMA architecture and design curator Carson Chan, Nation associate literary editor Kevin Lozano, New York Times Magazine contributing writer Jen Percy, n+1 web editor Lisa Borst (who was psyched that Richard Hell would be reading at an event at n+1’s office in Greenpoint later that week. “It’s a real teen dream for me,” she said. “Literally a dream in that I dreamed that Richard Hell would be in my workplace”), novelist Megan Nolan, Columbia professor Bruce Robbins, n+1 senior editor Charles Petersen, n+1 managing editor Tess Edmonson, and New York University professor Zach Samalin. “Did you ever meet my friend?” Samalin asked Rest of World head of audience Gabriel Boylan. “Her mom, who now lives in Montana, was, before we were all born, may be one of the coolest people in New York. She knew everybody. She knew Andy Warhol. She was just this super cool Iranian woman who showed up in New York after the revolution.”
Also milling about were artists David Levine and Andrew Norman Wilson, Baffler editor-in-chief Matthew Shen Goodman, Riverhead Books vice president and deputy publisher Jynne Dilling Martinand Russian-translator Louis Saletan, Avid Reader Press associate director of publicity Alexandra Primiani, The Man in the Gray Flannel Skirt memoirist Jon-Jon Goulian (Is he happy? “Always, dude, always.” How does he stay that way? “By going to Vermont a lot, that’s where I’ve been for the last ten days. My family has a house there. That’s not sexy”), literary agent Alia Hanna Habib, New York state senators Julia Salazar and Jabari Brisport, New York state assemblymember Emily Gallagher, Pennsylvania state senator and former n+1 editor Nikil Saval, Bookforum editor Lizzy Harding (“I’m very hungry, just because I forgot to eat before I got here, not because there’s not enough little toasts. I liked the little toast I had”), former T features director Thessaly La Force, Jewish Currents senior editor Ari Brostoff, New Yorker associate editor Marella Gayla, New Yorker and Columbia Journalism Review contributor Robert P. Baird (“I lived in Uganda for a year with my wife. She would go to work every day. I stayed home and wrote. To be honest, I spent a lot of the time decompressing from graduate school, trying to get my head back screwed on straight. It was a really hard year in a lot of ways.”), Baffler editorial fellow Arielle Isack, Jewish Currents contributing editor Dylan Saba, and literary agents Meredith Simonoff and Eric Simonoff. “Many, many, many years ago, when I was a baby agent, the literary editor of The New Yorkermagazine was Bill Buford. He had this tiny apartment, and he would have the nascent New Yorker festival parties at his apartment. And it was what you would imagine if you were a kid from outside of New York, which I was, showing up at a literary party. That was that party,” Eric recalled. “William Trevor was in a corner talking to John Updike, who was talking to [Norman] Mailer, who was talking to Lorrie Moore,who was talking to Jhumpa Lahiri. It was that party, and I was like, ‘I didn’t know this was actually a thing.’”
New York magazine book critic Andrea Long Chu talked about her ego-boosting visit to Wesleyan University in Connecticut to give a talk as part of a series organized by New Yorker contributing writer and criticism professor Merve Emre. “The students are great. They self-select. The ones that are most interested come to the talk, and then the ones that are really the most interested hang around afterward or get to be special and come to the dinner. I remember doing that,” she said. “It’s also not that hard to enjoy yourself when everyone is just so excited that you’re literally physically there.” Now that Emre’s had the aggressive, hilarious profile treatment from Insider, does she feel like she’s on notice? Chu took a long pause. “Merve has the Insider piece, and I got a couple minutes on Megyn Kelly when I won the Pulitzer,” she said. “So I don’t know who’s winning there.”
Aftersun film editor and n+1 contributor Blair McClendon was keeping his options open by wearing a turtleneck under his suit. “I fuck with the turtleneck heavy at all times. The moment the temperature drops: turtleneck. I like to think that what I’m always doing is advertising myself to France. Anytime they’re trying to draft somebody, think about it: I speak French, I’ve got turtlenecks. We could just make it happen anytime. And you never know, maybe a French person is in the room tonight,” he told The Fine Print. “One of the things I’m really keeping tabs on — people don’t like to talk about this — way more French people in Brooklyn than there used to be. I’m always paying attention to this. What are they doing? Why?”
“I used to tutor some French children. They all lived in Brooklyn Heights, right by the river,” said New York Review of Books associate editor Daniel Drake. “One of them, the parents were both chandelier makers. That was their fortune. They made chandeliers for hotels and shit. I was working four different jobs and desperate to get this tutoring money, showing up half-shaven, ‘Alright, let’s get your essays.’ Jesus.”
In plenty of other places, Americans are the invasive nationality. “In the fancy pseudo-bohemian areas of Mexico City, one of the main sources of gentrification is American expats. What’s amazing is some of them are annoying tech bros, but many of them are the precariat. It’s folks that got priced out of Bushwick and then were like, ‘Well, we should move to Mexico.’ I don’t blame them. I would too. But it is kind of funny because they don’t realize that the average monthly wage in Mexico City is 4,600 pesos, which is like $3,000 a year,” said Nicolás Medina Mora, a senior editor at Nexos and the recipient of this year’s n+1 Writers’ Fellowship. “So somebody who might make a salary that would be difficult to live on in New York, like $34,000, you move to Mexico City, and they’re immediately a member of the one percent. And what’s amazing is they don’t know it.”
On Thursday, October 5, the little magazines Lux, Jewish Currents, and Hammer & Hope, and the podcasts This Machine Kills and Time To Say Goodbye hosted a happy hour, with an open bar from 6 to 7 p.m., at the newly opened Francis Kite Club in Alphabet City. The bar was so packed that several attendees contemplated crossing the room, momentarily struggled to, and gave up.
Making up the crowd were This Machine Kills host and Logic(s) Magazine finance editor Edward Ongweso Jr., celebrating his 28th birthday in a black and white West African tribal print jacket, Jain Family Institute chief executive officer Michael Stynes, London Review of Books U.S. editor Adam Shatz, Jewish Currents editor-in-chief Arielle Angel, Ari Brostoff, Dissent co-editors Natasha Lewis and Timothy Shenk, Hammer & Hope editor-in-chief Jen Parker (“I have to write my wedding vows”), Wiredfeatures editor Camille Bromley, Harper’s senior editor Joanna Biggs, New York Times and Nationcontributor Atossa Araxia Abrahamian, artist and writer Molly Crabapple, New York Times Magazinecontributing writer Rozina Ali, Columbia professor and Financial Times contributing editor Adam Tooze(“I was just in Paris with the right person to be in Paris with”), Baffler and Lux contributor Sarah Aziza, New Yorker contributing writer and Time to Say Goodbye co-host E. Tammy Kim (“I just got a really nice dip pen, like an old-fashioned pen that you dip in ink. I had to buy ink for it separately. It was a gift from my dad, and I’m really into it. I’m writing letters to friends with my new dip pen”), Kevin Lozano, Jewish Currents board co-chair Mark Egerman, New York Times opinion staff editor Neel Patel and editorial assistants Isaac Scher and Rollin Hu, and Vox senior foreign policy writer Jonathan Guyer, who has steadily adopted elements of Henry Kissinger’s lifestyle since arriving in New York last year, from showing up at every party to haughtily declining comment.
Also present were Defector vice president for revenue and operations Jasper Wang, former Reuters national affairs correspondent Julia Harte, Notes on the Crises newsletter writer Nathan Tankus, Lever news editor Lucy Dean Stockton, Lux cover photographer Camilo Fuentealba, Harper’s contributor Sam Sussman, Hellgate co-publisher Max Rivlin-Nadler and writer-editor Katie Way, Guardiancontributor Sharif Abdel Kouddous, former Patriot Act news producers Jenna Sauers and Alex Yablon (one of about a dozen members of a Slack-based Diplomacy game in attendance), Washington Postinvestigative reporter Evan Hill, former New York Times international reporter Max Fisher, Insider associate editor Jenna Gyimesi, Bloomberg News senior editor Siddhartha Mahanta (“I went to Ireland for ten days. I did a fair amount of Irish literature and history study in college a million years ago, and I’d never actually made it over.” Did he catch Bloomsday? “We just missed it.” He also just missed the 7 p.m. last call for the open bar.), Insider tech features editor Tekendra Parmar (who also missed last call, though a friend set aside a drink for him), and Baffler fiction editor J.W. McCormack (no relation to Bafflerpublisher Noah McCormack), who wore a full suit and tie. Was McCormack sweating in the crowded room? “Sweating? No. I’m wearing the same number of clothes as you are.” True enough. How was his summer? “I was just sweating.”
The happy hour was the first of a planned ongoing series. Subsequent editions included appearances from Odd Lots podcast co-host and executive editor of news for Bloomberg Digital Joe Weisenthal, Chapo Trap House co-host Will Menaker, Discourse Blog co-owner and former Elle features editor Katherine Krueger, New Republic senior editor Alex Shephard, Nation literary editor David Marcus, New York Times Book Review contributing essayist Jennifer Wilson, Daily Beast reporter Kelly Weill, and Rolling Stone correspondent Jack Crosbie. “We really just wanted to get everyone together to cross-pollinate our big side of the Left, and there seems to be demand, so we’ll be doing this every other Thursday,” Lux editor-in-chief Sarah Leonard told the crowd. “Bring your friends in the future, bring your enemies.”
To celebrate its launch, China Books Review, the new web journal from the Asia Society and The Wire China, hosted a series of panels on Thursday, October 12, at the Asia Society’s New York headquarters on the Upper East Side. Though it seems unlikely they coordinated this beforehand, the panelists on each panel wore the same type of shoe. The first panel — featuring New Yorker contributor Jianying Zha, former U.S. ambassador to China Winston Lord, and China Books Review co-publisher Orville Schell on China-watching from the 1960s to 1989 — wore comfortable, padded shoes, with lots of support. Those on the second panel about the ’90s through the 2010s — co-founder of The Wire China and former New York Timesreporter David Barboza and former Wall Street Journal reporter Ian Johnson — were in sleek black dress shoes. For the third, on the 2010s through today, New Yorker staff writer Jiayang Fan and Guardianand Wired contributor Yangyang Cheng wore matching high heels. Editor-in-chief Alec Ash introduced each panel wearing hiking boots with his jacket and tie. “I’m traveling, and so I need to walk all around town to meet the most interesting people, so I apologize if I’m not sartorially highbrow enough for New York, but I’m new here, so I’m learning,” he told The Fine Print afterward at the cocktail reception, adding that he’d be moving to the city in January.
In the second panel, Barboza identified Johnson as one of about a dozen Western journalists who were expelled from China in 2020. “One of the many own goals of the Trump administration,” Johnson noted. “By expelling Chinese journalists that invited an inevitable retaliation. Fifty-eight Chinese journalists got expelled. Richard McGregor said it’s like in chess when you’re exchanging rooks for pawns because the whole US press corps was gutted.” Barboza asked, “What does it mean for journalism from the West or from the U.S. to cover China with almost no one on the ground?”
There were just about as many prominent China watchers in the audience as on the stage. Among them were New York Times “New New World” columnist Li Yuan (“I ran like ten miles last Sunday”), former BBC Beijing correspondent Adam Brookes, New York Times investigative reporter and former Hong Kong correspondent Michael Forsythe, and former New York Times Shanghai bureau chief Howard French. Did French think the new Review might fill the coverage gap created by the more restrictive reporting environment? “Not really,” he said. “They may do book reviews by people who have spent extensive time in China or have recently been to China — Ian was recently, I was recently in China, last summer — but I don’t think by its nature a book review can get very far down that road.” Ash saw his publication filling a different content gap. “There are so many outlets which focus on politics and policy and the headlines because they don’t have the bandwidth to report feature writing on society and culture. That’s also true for book review sections at The New York Times and The New York Review of Books, where they can only cover a handful of the great stuff being written about China,” he said. “But because we’re exclusively focused on China, broadly conceived, we can fill in all of the gaps.”
Conversations at the cocktail reception wandered from reporting predicaments in China to recent meals. “I went to a very nice Basque restaurant in Chelsea last night. It has a very hard-to-[say] name. It’s a Basque word. Extraordinary food,” said French, presumably referring to Txikito. “They had an eggplant on ricotta with tarragon, and it was just unbelievable. And they had an octopus carpaccio that was very good. I wouldn’t have normally thought of those as particularly Spanish dishes. I’m sure they are, but I never thought of them. Then they had this incredible beef. It’s certainly not very good for you, but the fat of this beef was the best fat I’ve ever tasted in my life.” Though Jiayang Fan was getting over a cold she believed she’d caught at The New Yorker Festival, she’d recently checked out Friend of a Farmer on the Upper West Side. “I don’t know how to cook, so eating with friends and friends who are writers is a big part of my social calendar,” she told The Fine Print. “I am out more than I should. Not every meal, but just about every other meal, which is really not great.” What does she do for her meals in? “A lot of frozen peas and boiled eggs,” she said. Hard or soft-boiled? “It depends on how long I forget that I’ve left the stove on. Solid eggs and some salt and pepper thrown on top.”
Guests were offered one of two name tags at the cocktails in The Library at The Public Theater for Miranda July’s novel All Fours, set to be published in May. The choice on Tuesday, October 24, was between a scene with a warm autumnal glow or a cliff. Who’s choosing the cliff? The first person The Fine Print saw as we walked in was musician David Byrne. Was there anything that had made him (the founder of a positive news site called Reasons to be Cheerful) happy in the last few days? “Oh, that’s good,” he said. “Yes. I think maybe 40 states are going after Facebook and Instagram for wrecking children’s mental health. It’s been known for years that these platforms are harmful to children, and finally, the government’s doing something.” Did Kevin Lozano say hi to Byrne? “Oh, that’s who that old guy was,” he said. “He sucks. No, I’m not going to say hi. I love the Talking Heads, but there’s a lot of reasons. I won’t say any specifics, but I think he knows what he did.”
July spoke about her book, passing a microphone back and forth with fellow novelist Elif Batuman. “It’s really so special to actually meet the people who will be selling the book and talking about the book,” July said in front of a table piled with shrimp, pasta, and a veritable grazer’s cornucopia. “You’re also talking to someone who grew up in a publishing company that my parents ran out of our house. My parents are both writers. So there’s a way where I’m like, these are the real adults.” Batuman had recently moved to Yorkville and was getting into the Upper East Side fitness scene. “I just went to my first Zumba class today after many years, and it was me and a bunch of people who are 80. I was admiring the Thriller move, and then they were like, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s for the Halloween class. And if you like that you have to go to the other instructor’s class. He has Phantom for his Halloween routine,’” she told The Fine Print. “So I might make it to the Phantom Zumba.” Would she be required to wear the mask? “No, not that I’m aware of, but I hope the instructor will be wearing it.”
Perambulating the room were actress Busy Philipps, T deputy editor Kurt Soller, Riverhead editor-in-chief Sarah McGrath, Jynne Dilling Martin (“As a short person, it’s a catastrophe hosting parties. You’re like, ‘I don’t even know who’s here’”), McNally Jackson owner Sarah McNally, Alex Shephard, Wall Street Journal associate editor for books William Tipper (“I saw a friend of mine perform at The Loser’s Lounge doing a classic Peter Gabriel song. He killed it”), New Yorker staff writer Alexandra Schwartz, literary agent Angeline Rodriguez, Drift co-editor Kiara Barrow, New York Timescontributor Kate Dwyer, The Maris Review podcast host Maris Kreizman (“My dog just had her cone taken off, because she’d hurt her eye and she was really grumpy. Now she’s back to her happy self.” How have they celebrated? “We haven’t and she deserves it”), Kirkus Reviews editor-in-chief Tom Beer, Lithub’s Emily Firetog (“I’m the deputy editor, so I’m the yeller.”), New York Times Book Review staff editor Miguel Salazar, and poet Melissa Lozada-Oliva.
On a couch in a corner sat Wall Street Journal and n+1 contributor Natasha Stagg, who was looking forward to celebrating the release of her new book Artless with July at McNally Jackson Seaport the following day. She was also looking forward to Halloween, but, she said, “I don’t think I’m going to have a costume.” Her seatmates on the couch hadn’t given up the search. “My boyfriend asked me to do a couples costume,” said actress and New York contributor Annie Hamilton. “Are you going as Taylor, and he’s going as that guy with the football?” asked New York Times Styles editor Stella Bugbee. “That’s not a bad idea,” Hamilton replied. “That’s the perfect couples costume. We may or may not have written about that at The New York Times Styles section. Why don’t you go as Travis, and he can go as Taylor?” Bugbee suggested. “I’m struggling to find a costume, and I feel like without plans, a costume is so hard,” said artist and curator Aria Dean. “You have plans now,” noted Hamilton. “Maybe I have plans. I don’t know,” Dean said. “My boyfriend and I were talking about doing a really high-level John and Yoko, but I think it looks overused no matter what we do. Or Funny Games.” Bugbee jumped in. “The last costume I had was a couples costume, Cellino & Barnes,” she said. “I think I was Cellino.” She pulled out her phone to show a photo. The costumes were so convincing she had to clarify, “That’s a bald cap.”
Stagg had settled into the role of longtime New Yorker. “Sometimes I’m in Tompkins, and I’m like, I’m not so young — I’ve been actually living here forever, and I have three books published. I work out in the jungle gym area with a bunch of old punks. That’s just who I am now,” she said. On the following Saturday, she was set to introduce a favorite film about the city at Metrograph. “Every time I mention it, people say they’ve never heard of it. It’s so weird. It’s called New York, New York, and it’s by Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro,” she said. “Also, it’s where that song came from, but it seems like nobody knows that.” This was a crowd that knew the film. “There was just a musical based on it on Broadway. It’s adapted by Lin-Manuel Miranda,” said Rookie magazine founding editor and actress Tavi Gevinson. “It’s weird because the movie feels like it’s a cynical version of an old musical, and this was like, what if we made it not cynical? It defeats itself.”
A few galleys of July’s book were strategically scattered around the room. “We learned that the books are actually decoration and not party favors,” Gevinson told actor Bobbi Salvör Menuez. “I literally have one. It’s going to be fine,” Menuez said. “Totally fine, there just aren’t enough for everyone,” Gevinson replied. “Well, no one knows my name because I didn’t have a name tag,” noted Menuez. “There’s writing on your jacket. What does it say?” Gevinson asked. “It says ‘Dry Clean Only,’” Menuez said. “That’s my name.”
On Thursday, October 26, Atlantic CEO and former Wired editor-in-chief Nicholas Thompson and New Yorker writer Charles Duhigg hosted the latest iteration of their 15-year-old party series Drinks with Journalists at Lavender Lake in Williamsburg. Omicron had scuttled their last attempt to revive the series in 2021, but this time it went off without a hitch. The occasion was Katie Drummond’s appointment as the new editor-in-chief of Wired. “I think that Wired magazine is one of the most important publications in the world. I love it,” Thompson told the crowd. “I loved the many years I worked there. I loved the years in 2008 and 2009 when young Katie Drummond worked with a few of us who are here. I’ve loved watching her career develop, and I was thrilled when she was named the editor-in-chief.”
Rolling Stone editor-in-chief Noah Shachtman wandered up just as Drummond was working up to giving her speech. “Hard to overstate what a nightmare this is for me right now,” she said. “I just want to say thank you to Nick, who hired me in 2008, even though I had no social skills and didn’t make eye contact during my entire interview, which Noah Shachtman very helpfully pointed out at the time and told Nick not to hire me as an intern and then proceeded to kick my ass for three years, with a year in between to work at Rupert Murdoch’s iPad magazine. And I also want to thank my mom, who is dead, but she is the reason that I became a writer, she is the reason I moved to New York, and she’s the reason I ended up at Wired. She would be pretty psyched to see this tonight. Please let this be over.” Some of the loudest applause we’ve heard in the course of reporting this column followed.
Drummond, who previously served as senior vice president for global news and entertainment at Vice, is, like Shachtman, one of a very modern breed: a digital media chief placed in charge of a print magazine. Her first issue features the hilarious-in-that-context cover line: “a magazine cover? lol.” It hasn’t received as much of a reaction as she’d hoped. “It got lost in Israel-Hamas, which is totally fair. But it was a bummer because we were all really excited about it,” she said. “It was like a new era is here.” It is also a new era for her closet. “I went shopping, I bought some new clothes,” she said. “Before I got this job, I had two pairs of pants and one pair of shoes, so I upgraded. I have five pairs of pants, I have three dresses, I have three pairs of shoes, and I just alternate.”
Drummond’s Wired staff circulated, including executive editor for news Meg Marco, editor-at-large Steven Levy (What’s made him happy recently? “It’s hard to say that when my baseball team laid down and died for two games. I can tell you what made me miserable.” Where did he find solace after that? “Listening to old vinyl records of the Newport folk festival in the early 1960s”), senior associate editor Zak Jason, and platforms and power reporter Vittoria Elliott. Among the guests from outside the Wired fold were Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Versha Sharma (“My baby turned nine months old. She’s crawling everywhere, literally everywhere.” Is she wearing Teen Vogue merch? “Not yet. Baby Vogue is coming”), Insider investigations editor John Cook, one5c newsletter publisher and former editor-in-chief of Popular ScienceJoe Brown, New York Times Magazine editorial director Bill Wasik (“Ah, right, the most awkward party reporter I have ever met. I can tell it’s a schtick, to be clear. Or maybe not, sometimes crippling social anxiety becomes a professional strength.”), New York’s Intelligencer deputy editor Justin Miller, former Eater executive editor Matt Buchanan, The New Yorker’s Deirdre Foley-Mendelssohn, Aboard co-founder and Wired contributor Paul Ford (“This is like high school reunion, this is rough. Do you know who that guy is right there? I’d known him really well, but I can’t remember his name.”), Outside correspondent Tim Sohn, New York Times publishing reporter Alexandra Alter, media reporters including The Daily Beast’s Lachlan Cartwright, Semafor’s Max Tani, and The New York Times’s Ben Mullin (Cartwright and Tani had both been in Ibiza recently. What about Mullin? “That’s not really my speed, as you can probably tell from my ghostlike appearance”), Bloomberg Businessweek staff writer Drake Bennett, GQ and Runner’s World contributor David Alm (“I know Nick [Thompson] from years ago but through the running world. We were on the same track team for a long time, and we would occasionally do workouts or races together”), and a crew from global tech site Rest of World including editor-in-chief Anup Kaphle, head of product Michael Donohoe, U.S. tech editor Russell Brandom, and executive editor Michael Zelenko. “The Rest of World team went bowling at Chelsea Piers,” Zelenko said. Who were the star athletes? “Hanson O’Haver, our social media guy. Also, [reporter] Andrew Deck killed it.”
“Do you want me to tell you about my ceramics? I started taking ceramics classes,” former Racket Teensenior editor Katia Bachko told The Fine Print. “I’ll buy some of your ceramics,” said Wired deputy editor for features Michelle Legro. “My art is not for sale. It’s something I do for myself. It’s a personal art practice,” Bachko said. “Monetize your hobby,” insisted Legro. “I’m starting a new job. The problem with my new job is that it’s going to take away from my ceramics practice,” Bachko said. “I’m going to cover a parental leave at The New Yorker.” Legro explained, “Katia is the queen of parental leaves.” “But I don’t want to be the queen of that! I want a job,” Bachko protested. “I feel you and hear you. This was literally my life for three years,” said Legro. “I was like, ‘I don’t want to do fucking leaves, I want a real job.’” “But it’s fine, I’m going to be at The New Yorker for a while. I’m excited to be back,” Bachko said. “As of several months ago, we would have been on the same floor,” Legro noted. “But now Wired is banished from The New Yorkerfloor. Now we’re on the Vogue floor.”
On Monday, October 30, ubiquitous media type Mark Allen hosted drinks at his Fort Greene apartment to celebrate new and forthcoming books by his friends Tara Isabella Burton and Brent Katz. Burton, a former Vox religion reporter, will publish her third novel, Here in Avalon, in January, and she’s already planning a set of “vintage jazz cabaret-style book parties” for it. Katz, head of development at Best Case Studios, co-edited I Am Code, a book of poetry produced by an AI that came out in August. (Werner Herzog read the audiobook.) Crowding into Allen’s cozy apartment were former chief of staff to the late Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Susan McCue, director of digital content for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Noisey founding editor-in-chief Benjamin Shapiro, How to Live newsletter writer Amanda Stern, New York Times culture reporter Alexis Soloski, Camille Bromley, Best Case Studios producer Izzy Evans, Jen Percy, International Crisis Group deputy director of policy and former Foreign Affairs senior editor Alexandra Starr, and Daily Beast senior reporter Emily Shugerman. Allen had laid out a table full of cheese, cold cuts, hummus, guacamole, an abundance of crackers, and a shockingly sturdy cheese dip.
Tuesday, November 7
➾ 7 p.m. Washington Post international investigative reporter Shibani Mahtani and Atlantic contributing writer Timothy McLaughlin will discuss their new book Among the Braves: Hope, Struggle, and Exile in the Battle for Hong Kong and the Future of Global Democracy with New York Times investigative reporter Michael Forsythe at McNally Jackson Seaport.
Wednesday, November 9
➾ 7 p.m. Guernica will celebrate its Whiting Literary Magazine Prize win with an evening at KGB Bar’s Red Room in the East Village.
Monday, November 13
➾ 7 p.m. New York Times contributor and Emory University professor Dan Sinykin will discuss his new book Big Fiction with n+1 co-editor Mark Krotov in the Strand’s Rare Book Room.
➾ 7 p.m. Guardian and New York Times contributor Lauren Elkin will discuss her book Art Monsterswith New Yorker contributing writer Merve Emre at McNally Jackson Seaport.
Wednesday, November 15
➾ 6 p.m. Vanity Fair special correspondent and CNN’s former Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter will celebrate the launch of his new book Network of Lies: The Epic Saga of Fox News, Donald Trump, and the Battle for American Democracy with a party in Midtown.