All That Glitters
Shining bright this week: Deepti Kapoor, John Maher, Naheed Patel, Lizz Schumer, Nnenna Odeluga, Elizabeth Nicholas, Sarah McGrath, Jynne Dilling Martin, Ed Cara, Jim Spanfeller, Molly Taft, Arielle Angel, Lisa Levy, Daniel May, Rebecca Alter and many more…
Summer is officially over and it’s starting to get cold again, which means the autumnal party season is in full swing. This week a relentless whirlwind of parties, from the rooftops of Manhattan to expansive yards in Brooklyn, made up the stuff of life.
OUT AND ABOUT
A little after 6 p.m. on Wednesday, novelist Deepti Kapoor stood by the bar on the sixth floor of The Jane Hotel with Booker-prize-winner Marlon James. They were there to kick off celebrations for Kapoor’s forthcoming novel Age of Vice, which won’t be published until January. “I’ve been flown over from Lisbon, so I’ve been here this last week and it’s been very surreal and strange and exciting,” Kapoor said. “Lisbon is a great city, but it’s tiny. I moved there in 2018, so it still feels like Delhi is home.” She’d spent her 20s in India as a trends correspondent, “which is basically drive the streets, smoke cigarettes, look for stories, don’t really work, go to a lot of parties at night,” she said. “Over the course of those many years, I collected stories, met people, and all of it went into the book.” In the crowd, spilling out onto the hotel roof, were Publishers Weekly news editor John Maher, The Guardian and Scroll contributor and novelist Naheed Patel, and Good Housekeeping senior editor Lizz Schumer (“I always tell myself I’m going to make a friend who has a boat, and every summer I realize I don’t run in boat circles”). A contingent representing bookish corners of social media clustered together indoors, among them “bookstagrammers” Bernie Lombardi and Nnenna Odeluga and TikToker Dakota Bossard(I’m not going to put TikTok on my name tag because that’s weird”). The roof was filled out by a large group of Riverhead staff including Megan Mills, Chrissy Heleine, and Julia Blumert, all of whom had taken the suggested dress code — “wear a touch of gold” — very seriously. Inside, a board was put up with an invitation for attendees to “Name Your Vice.” Most of the contributions were pretty tame, including such staggering admissions as “pumpkin pie,” “vanity,” “potatoes,” and “eating until I can’t walk.” “I wrote my actual vice,” said Elizabeth Nicholas, a contributor to The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and Vogue. “I wrote ‘I still heart cigarettes,’ then I looked at everybody else’s vice and I was like, ‘Okay then.’” Poet Kyle Carrero Lopez pitched in, “I was like, ‘Should I be honest?’” Fellow poet Janelle Tan was charitable. “Do you think that’s because we’re the guests here?” she said. “And everybody else works here?” “Oh right, it’s a work event,” said Lopez, “you can’t write ‘coke’ at the work event, or like ‘railing ketamine’ at the work event.” But even the most innocent of topics could take a dark turn. Riverhead editor-in-chief Sarah McGrath, whose father Chip recently spoke with The Fine Print, started off a conversation about pets with a perfectly charming story. “I have a 9-year-old cat, and we got a puppy a year and a half ago — the combination of the cat and dog is actually like a love story that we’re watching in slow motion. The dog is in love with the cat, and the cat spent a year, almost to the day, hiding in a bedroom upstairs,” she said. “It was like, ‘I’m just gonna wait it out, it’ll go away.’ Then 12 months later, the cat was like, ‘Okay, that has just failed, I’m coming down.’” Deputy publisher Jynne Dilling Martin chimed in with a potentially darker story about her cat, Disco, who likes to wander the woods of the Catskills. Martin’s call for Disco is extremely high-pitched. “I read that cats hear higher pitches better,” she explained. “Our neighbor, just one house up, also calls his outdoor cat with the same high-pitched cadence. This was already weird enough, but then — I don’t know how we didn’t learn this for our first several years living there — it turns out that neighbor is Brad Dourif, who is, among other things, the voice of Chucky in all the Chucky movies. And now when he calls his cat, all I can think of is the Chucky voice, and I picture Disco getting confused and running into Brad’s house, and there’s Chucky.” As the party wrapped up, Kapoor stood at the bar with her friend Shweta Rawat, who she’s known since middle school. How did this party compare with the Delhi book parties they’d been to? “In Delhi, they party behind closed doors,” Kapoor said. “I think alcohol consumption might be a bit higher in Delhi,” Rawat added.
Alcohol consumption didn’t seem to be a problem at The Cutting Room in midtown later that same night when Gizmodo threw its 20th anniversary party. “I’ve only been to one other Giz party a few years ago,” said Gizmodo reporter Ed Cara. “I’m surprised it’s as fun as it is.” Later in the night, one of his co-workers reached a more emphatic verdict. “We’re all very drunk on a Wednesday, we’re having an amazing time!” they shouted over the raucous live band. Another shouted: “There’s going to be no one in the fucking office tomorrow!” In attendance were NBC News deputy editor for technology Ben Goggin, Gizmodo tech news editor Blake Montgomery, Gizmodo breaking news reporter Kyle Barr (“I’ve had two drinks and I don’t know what this is,” he said, looking down at his third), Gizmodo reporter Angely Mercado, Adweek media reporter Mark Stenberg, and G/O Media CEO Jim Spanfeller, who was looking forward to a diving vacation around Indonesia’s Forgotten Islands. “I’m a very ardent diver once every six years,” he said. How deep had he gone? “I’ve probably gone to 120, 130 feet, and then looked at my gauge and freaked the fuck out. ‘What the fuck am I doing here?’” “I like my co-workers which is the corniest thing you can admit. I like everyone at Giz,” said climate reporter Molly Taft. Even Spanfeller? “No comment, bitch.”
On Thursday night, at the Chilo’s across from Greenwood Cemetery, Jewish Currents celebrated its second issue launch in a row at a yard with a taco truck. There was only one bartender, but there was plenty to talk about. The day before, the magazine had published an open letter to Jewish intellectuals by Edward Said, which the late Columbia professor had believed was too incendiary to publish during his lifetime. “The guy who wrote the intro, Nubar Hovsepian, is writing a book specifically about Said and particularly about attacks on Said, from what I can tell about the book. He’s an older, Armenian-Egyptian guy and he had this unpublished essay, and he reached out to Peter [Beinart] with it,” said Jewish Currents editor-in-chief Arielle Angel. “It’s pretty great because it reached its audience. It was intended for the Jewish community and it’s a perfect fit,” she added. “It’s very sad reading it now, obviously, because it’s still very relevant and nothing’s getting better, but here we are drinking micheladas.” The sound of a bingo game crackled out from inside the bar. “Stop trying to do bingo at our party,” Angel protested. Lisa Levy, an unlicensed psychotherapist, provided free psychoanalysis for any party attendee willing to lay down on a cot between two tables in a corner of the bar. Angel insisted that The Fine Print give it a try. This reporter lay shivering on the cot as the cold wind blew, trying to engage honestly, but Levy soon expressed frustration. “This is kind of funny, because I’m trying to draw you out and I’m having a bit of countertransference because I feel like I’m working hard to get information but I don’t feel an emotional connection here, which is fine. But I feel like you’re resistant, which is fine. Maybe this is a professional thing and you don’t really want to expose yourself. Why would a party reporter want to give away deep secrets to a stranger without a therapist’s license?” she asked. It wasn’t a matter of licensing, The Fine Print replied. “I feel a little bit like you’re testing me,” Levy said. “I’m not saying you are, and you’re a delightful young man, but you have a job, you’re at work, and I respect that.” At the end of the session, she handed over a prescription note which read, “I cannot psychoanalyze you properly because you are at work. You seem pretty healthy as that is an appropriate response.” Also working at a Jewish Currents issue launch party for the first time was recently appointed publisher Daniel May. “I hadn’t worked in media at all, but I’ve been involved in organizing Jewish left politics. I started off as a community organizer and did tenant organizing, and then immigrant rights organizing and labor organizing,” he said. May stepped in when the previous publisher left to drive a UPS truck and get involved with the Teamsters union. “There’s a ton to learn, but I think the question of how to build collective responsibility for how to engage a wide group of people and sharing responsibility for a collective project to shift political power,” he said, “I see it as definitely part of the same work that I’ve been involved in.” Chilo’s large yard was big enough that the crowd looked a little more sparse than at the previous issue launch party, but it was still plenty crowded. Representing Jewish Currents were operations manager Cynthia Friedman, contributor Dylan Saba, senior reporter Alex Kane (“She started to say ‘dada,’ but she’s not connected it to me,” he said, updating The Fine Print on his daughter’s progress. “I think ‘dada’ is a relatively easy thing for her to say, so she doesn’t know, I don’t think, what it means. But she does say ‘dadadadada’ a lot”), board member Naomi Dann, newsletter editor David Klion (“Dave’s everywhere. He’s always at the bar on my block,” said contributor Britta Lokting. “I’ve seen him there now maybe three times.”), contributing editor Sid Mahanta (“Put me in, coach,” he said when informed that his silver beard, a fixture in this column, would make another appearance), and assistant editor Mari Cohen. Also present, but not officially affiliated with the magazine, were Cohen’s former housemate, Vulture writer Rebecca Alter (“I actually need help because company-wide we need to write our own little author bios that are going to run on every story, and the guy was like, ‘Don’t do a jokey one.’ They were like, ‘For example this one where it’s like so and so was shortlisted for a Pulitzer in this year and they’ve written for this, this, and this,’ and I’m like, ‘Well, I don’t have things to say like that’”), Borscht Beat record label impresario Aaron Bendich, poet Gabriela Orozco, Bloomberg global business editor Graham Starr, New York Immigration Coalition press secretary Reed Dunlea (“I went to the better taco truck down the street before I came here. I went to Tacos El Bronco”), and Vox senior foreign policy writer Jonathan Guyer, who just moved to New York from D.C. last week.
Monday ➾ 7:30 p.m. Polina Barskova will discuss her debut fiction collection, Living Pictures, with New Yorker staff writer Masha Gessen and translator Catherine Ciepiela at the Greenlight bookstore in Fort Greene. Wednesday ➾ 7:30 p.m. Stephanie LaCava will discuss her new novel I Fear My Pain Interests You with New Yorker contributing writer Merve Emre at the Greenlight bookstore in Flatbush. Thursday ➾ 6 p.m. Vanity Fair special correspondent Joe Hagan will celebrate the release of an album he produced, Earl’s Closet: The Lost Archive of Earl McGrath, at a gallery in SoHo. ➾ 7 p.m. Former InStyle senior news editor Alyssa Hardy will be launching her new book Worn Out with a conversation with Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Versha Sharma at the Strand’s Rare Book Room.
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