BEA: On the Town

By Carmen Comment


As always, the convention is only part of the BEA story, with parties filling in the gaps. So as promised, reports mixed with more blurry cameraphone photos follow of some of the parties I attended over the course of the weekend.

After our our party Thursday night, Mary Reagan and I cabbed across town to 60 Thompson Street for William Morrow‘s bash, where I finally met Pittsburgh Post-Gazette book editor Bob Hoover and proceeded to gab for twenty minutes about Canada, theater and the amazing Sidney Crosby (see, you can talk about subjects other than books at BEA. In fact, it’s a necessary tonic.) After that was the Litblog Co-Op party which was even more packed than the previous two as a plethora of literary bloggers celebrated with the likes of Richard Nash, Colson Whitehead, Sara Ivry, Katharine Weber, and (though I didn’t spot him) Morgan Entrekin.


Alas, no picture of the Friday’s New Yorker party – the lighting at Chinatown Brasserie was too poor – but I went in expecting stuffiness and found a perhaps surprising conviviality. I introduced Ed Champion to Joshua Ferris, who proceeded to compare notes on podcasts and The Hold Steady and later picked up Folio Lit’s Ami Greko and Scott Hoffman to go down to DUMBO for the Powerhouse Independent Press party. Gawker’s “hot or not” post rather sums up the evening, as I don’t think I’ve ever seen more hipsters per square inch, let alone that many people sitting on steps begging in passive-aggressive fashion for celluloid immortality.


Saturday brought a couple of party miscalculations – as in, what was I thinking going to the two parties attached in part to Perseus when they’ve done so much damage to the publishing industry this year? – but at least there was some degree of entertainment at both. At the Independent Press party, Soho Press‘s Sarah Reidy, Katie Herman and Ailen Lujo expressed excitement at Craig Davidson‘s upcoming rumble with Jonathan Ames while Crimespree‘s Jennifer Jordan made the acquaintance of several small press publishers amidst the sweltering heat on the China Club‘s terrace. Then onto the early part of the PGW party where the Dapa-Kings put on a great show to an audience in desperate need of a sense of humor and fun – hey publishing types, it’s okay to dance to danceable music. Really. At least Bill Bryan, former Night Court writer and current author of KEEP IT REAL, knew how to have a good time but that could have been the supply of vodka & OJs and White Russians being fed to our small group…

Miscalculations they may be but even if the greatest party in the world is happening somewhere else, missing it isn’t such a big deal because the stories people tell the morning after often prove to be more fun in the end.