Last evening, Marisa Meltzer and Doree Shafrir went to the 2010 PEN Literary Gala at the American Museum of Natural History and then made their way to Terminal 5 to see a performance by the rock group Hole.
Doree: I feel like last night was sort of a quintessential weird New York night. I had so much fun.
Marisa: Me too. I was sick all weekend And then I was like, “Oh, I’ll just go out and have one glass of wine. Maybe two!” And then I ended up having like six and getting home at 3 AM.
Doree: And next thing you know you’re at a party in the West Village you can’t talk about.
Doree: I was totally having a Lucky magazine day-to-night clothing crisis.
Marisa: We both had real sartorial challenges. Should we discuss our outfits?
Doree: You looked hot!
Marisa: Okay, so I had on a Maria Cornejo dress and tights (NOTE: not slutty ones, unfortunately) and old Mayle wedges.
Doree: No, I was wearing the slutty tights last night (NOTE: not Parisian, unfortunately).
Marisa: They were super-slutty.
Doree: Straight from the lingerie section at H&M.; They were also too big and kept bunching up. But no matter! I was also wearing this dress with zippers on it that I randomly purchased in Philly.
Marisa: I love that dress so much. Everyone loves that dress.
Doree: It’s a great dress. I wore it to your book party!
Marisa: I know, I was going to say that and then I didn’t want to be all, “Oh, my BOOK PARTY la la la la la.”
Doree: We were both somewhat alarmed to discover, upon arrival at the Museum of Natural History, that the PEN gala is, in fact, black tie. Which, I realized later, is something I knew deep in the back of my mind because I remember Leon Neyfakh freaking out that he didn’t have a suit when he had to cover it.
Marisa: Leon doesn’t have a suit?
Doree: He didn’t like 2 years ago.
Marisa: Leon, buy a suit!
Doree: I think he has one now.
Doree: Completely. So everyone was super fancy.
Marisa: Why didn’t we get the black tie memo?
Doree: They had some publicist issues.
Marisa: I mean, I think we looked cute but I could have used a “P.S., Many people will be wearing tuxedos and in fact one woman will have on a feather boa” e-mail.
Doree: “And one woman will be wearing sequin pants and a non-matching sequin top and a head wrap.”
Marisa: You got a little feisty with the publicist for a sec.
Doree: Well, it didn’t help that the press publicist had abandoned the front desk to go enjoy the party, and the other one wouldn’t let us in? I was annoyed, she kept saying she saw him downstairs?
Marisa: That woman! She was like 90 and wearing sequined pajamas and a turban.
Doree: And I was like, “Why don’t you use your little walkie talkie headpiece thingie and get him up here so we can go stalk Salman Rushdie?” I had to regulate.
Marisa: So attendees: There was that guy in the jaunty vest. Also the token woman in sari who is at every literary gala. (“Every”=”two we’ve gone to in a week,” obvs.)
Doree: Though Jhumpa Lahiri was not in a sari, I don’t think?
Marisa: Katie Roiphe was in black patent pumps. You know what? They were kind of a hot look for a gala.
Marisa: So high.
Doree: SO high.
Marisa: Then there was the woman who was literally wearing a wedding dress.
Doree: It was also sort of inappropriately low-backed.
Marisa: Like, “Sweetie, you can’t wear a white bias cut floor-length gown in public and not be taking marital vows.”
Doree: If I squinted I think I could have seen her butt crack.
Marisa: And I am all for recycling
Doree: No, I am fully with you
Doree: Wasn’t there a velvet tux situation?
Marisa: Oh, yes. Do you think those people all owned their tuxes?
Doree: I think if you’re wearing a velvet tux you probably own it.
Marisa: Do guys own tuxes? Or have I watched Metropolitan too many times?
Doree: I mean, can you rent a velvet tux? Seems unlikely.
Marisa: The hors d’oeuvres looked decent. Thessaly was eating some kind of pizzaish flatbread. Not that we ate any.
Doree: The bar was well stocked but the cocktail hour was too short.
Marisa: There was a scarcity, I strongly agree.
Doree: Though I guess most people were going to dinner.
Marisa: The cocktail hour should have been two hours.
Doree: Agreed. They had trouble moving everyone to dinner.
Marisa: I mean, there was serious people watching opportunity.
Doree: We should really be party planners.
Marisa: How did we feel about the space? I like that space, the Planetarium.
Doree: Well, yes.
Marisa: I like that it’s round.
Doree: Though, I didn’t really feel like I was at the Natural History Museum.
Marisa: Wait, is it round?
Doree: It was round-ish.
Marisa: Or was everybody standing in a circle?
Doree: There was a big circle in the middle. Who else was there?
Marisa: Salman! And a young lady. Also Susan Orlean, per her Twitter.
Doree: Yes. David Remnick.
Marisa: Margaret Atwood, supposedly.
Doree: Stephanie LaCava of Vogue.
Marisa: Patti Smith performed at dinner but was so not there for cocktails.
Doree: Oh, totally not there.
Marisa: Various people who noted that they read our LRB thing.
Doree: Oh yes. The woman who I thought looked like Traci Lords is apparently named Amelia Michelle-Black.
Marisa: Who is she?
Doree: She has suspiciously few Google results.
Marisa: I refuse to Google. I just want to imagine.
Doree: I think that’s a fake name.
Marisa: Good call.
Doree: Paul Auster and his hot wife Siri Hustvedt were there and Irina told the story of how he’s the only one who’s flat out turned her down for a quote.
Marisa: Oh right. I kind of respected him for that.
Doree: Patrick McMullan thinks that Sebastian “Younger” and Paul “Oster” were there.
Marisa: Somehow my first instinct is to defend the poor party photographers. But I have no idea why.
Doree: Haha, fair. There’s something about publishing galas that are always funny to me.
Marisa: And then, just like that, they were called to dinner and we were forced to leave.
Doree: So we had some time to kill, and being on the UWS we had no idea where to go.
Marisa: You used your Yelp app!
Doree: I did. And we found a bar called the Dead Poets Society.
Marisa: The Upper West Side is SO weird. Like, people live there.
Doree: Or the Dead Poet? What was it called?
Marisa: It was The Dead Poet. Because, remember, if you shared your birthday with a poet you drank for free?
Doree: Or just a regular old writer. Like, Harper Lee was on the list for April. So in fact it was sort of fitting that we went there after the PEN party.
Marisa: Full disclosure: We ate chicken tenders! And they were delicious!
Doree: Well, I will agree with you that they were fried.
Marisa: Also I think you said it best when you said it was the kind of bar where you could pick up a reg.
Doree: Oh yes, I did say that. The bar was filled with dudes.
Marisa: And people on weird first dates
Doree: The girl behind us was talking about how privileged she felt to have gone to the best schools in the country.
Marisa: She was totally onto my eavesdropping. I wasn’t being very subtle
Marisa: Then, in kind of a When in Rome moment, we went and got Tasti-D-Lite, or whatever it was called. The generic version.
Doree: And wondered why there are always pay-as-you-go internet-access-computers at these establishments. Who uses them? Who is paying like $3 for 5 minutes of Internet at 79th and Amsterdam?
Marisa: Truly, a question for our times.
Marisa: What flavor did you get? I got “brownies.”
Doree: I got a mix of brownies and french vanilla, with mini chocolate chips on top, in a waffle cone. It was an intense situation.
Marisa: So, then, Hole.
Doree: The crowd was not what I was expecting. Though to be fair… what WAS I expecting? Hundreds of people who looked like us, I guess.
Marisa: there were a lot of guys there. Also Debbie Harry. And Chloe Sevigny. And Adam Green.
Doree: And that group of girls standing next to us, one of whom was wearing a tiara.
Marisa: Left over from her bachelorette, obvs. Actually? I do own a tiara. But it’s from the 90s. I think I wore it to my 22nd birthday.
Marisa: I bought a Hole logo necklace. Because, as Kara said, I love merch. And then the band came on.
Doree: Courtney looked amazing.
Marisa: Her hair is looking very Bazaar 1997 all over again. The pageboy. Her outfit, as Emily noted, was very Stevie Nicks. Black with bell sleeves.
Doree: The second outfit I thought was even more Stevie. And her gesturing!
Marisa: I believe Emily said, “All she needs is a top hat and some doves.” So, the songs: Bits of Pretty on the Inside. A delight.
Doree: Totally. I had had “Jennifer’s Body” in my head all day, but she didn’t play it.
Marisa: But she played “Violet” and I was so entertained. I mean, that’s what you go for, right?
Marisa: I wanted more between song banter, a la SXSW.
Doree: She played “Malibu” and also “Pacific Coast Highway,” which is from her new album.
Marisa: But not “Olympia,” sadly.
Doree: NOT “OLYMPIA!” WTF was that about?
Marisa: I guess I’m okay with that. I LIVED it. “Miss World.” “Doll Parts.”
Doree: Yeah, she did play some classics. Which I appreciated.
Marisa: But it was SO short.
Doree: SO short. Like, almost insultingly short.
Marisa: Like, the whole show including encore was 45 minutes, tops?
Doree: Yes. Barely.
Marisa: And I like things short.
Doree: I mean, the old lady in me appreciated that they started on time. But they didn’t need to end before 11.
Marisa: Exactly. It did leave us enough time to go to the Ace for a drink, which was nice.
Doree: That was nice. I enjoy the Ace. Jon met us there and we learned about his 3 levels of unbuttoning his shirt, which Elizabeth promptly Tweeted about.
Marisa: “Work, summer, and party.” Perhaps we should end on that note. I want that to be the theme of my life: work, summer, and party.
Doree: Right now the theme of my life is work, work, work and I am fucking tired.