Well people of OS – Here is my reportage on the Soiree, aka The Salon, of Salon that took place last night, Thursday, April 16, 2009 in New York City, from approximately 6:30pm to 9pm (or at least that’s when I left to go to work – half in the bag as they say, but that’s nothing new; my employers kind of expect from me), after which, Lord knows what happened.
[I have to apologize for the quality (or lack) of the pictures; I suck at this, and although I like to take pictures, either me or my camera doesn’t have the hang of it and so I was glad when Frank took my camera and took a few, that were equally blurry or red-eye-ish, so don’t be mad!]
It all started with courtesy and excitement of meeting new people, fellow Manhattanites, Brooklynites, NJers, Connecticuters and some other areas that I’ve vaguely heard of, all writers, all witty, urbane, sophisticated and mature.
The site was a midtown bar, conveniently located near Penn Station so that should something untoward happen one could escape quickly, with or without one’s purse, wallet, or dignity.
In my nervous apprehension I’d had the foresight to connect with OESheepdog, sharing my cel phone number with the Shaggy pup so that when I arrived, I would have someone to find, and sit with, and with whom I imagined, I could sit with our backs against the wall, picking out this one and that one, guessing at who they were, and trying to remember who wrote what, and did I ever comment on that one’s blog, and feeling bad and guilty if I hadn’t.
Sheepdog sent me back a cel number and for reasons that will become obvious, I was so glad I didn’t discuss what we were wearing and if Sheep thought I would be trying too hard if I wore a skirt…
I was the third to arrive – after the famous Kerry Lauerman and Thomas Rogers:
...both of whom I recognized immediately and greeted as you would any celebrities, with much more familiarity than was prudent, since one always feels like you know them, even though to them you’re one of the masses: unknown, seeking love, recognition, and approval. They were kind and welcoming; albeit, perhaps a little nervous as well, since after all, half of us are unregistered nuts.
They gestured to me to join them upstairs, but I had to get a beer before I could possibly be expected to offer any of the clever repartee that comes so easily in 4-sentence comments on a blog, and yet is always stuck in the back of my throat when it comes to meeting actual humans. So I got my ($7!) Sol (much like a Corona for those who like their beer in yellow-tinged bottles) at the downstairs bar, and thus fortified, made my way upstairs.
Awkward at the start but it’s amazing what a few beers ($7 for a Sol!) will do to lubricate a party. Soon after everyone’s third drink, it devolved into shouting, fist-fights, making out under the table, broken glasses, accusations of Troll-nicity and at least one cream pie thrown from close range. Not really; in fact, I was kind of hoping for that kind of action, but it was, in fact as civilized and polite as you would expect a party of probably essentially shy writer-type adults to be.
I had expected there to be 20, 30 maybe 40 of us, milling around like blind people who can finally see! But actually it was a small crowd – and then I realized that the meat of OS is not in NYC but really scattered all across the country, and the world, when you think of Padraig and the Canadians and a few New Zealanders (et al), which when you think of it is so cool, and makes OS so much more interesting.
I found that almost no one had heard of me, or if they had, it was: "oh you're dvd!" or "you're ddt!" or "you're add!" or "you're dtv!".
And soon I found my pen pal and cel phone partner, OE Sheepdog, who was to my consternation (I couldn’t remember what I’d written to him, thinking that he was a her…) that he was in fact, a HE! An attractive and warm gentleman who would have had (I assume) so little interest in my outfit that thank God I didn’t burden him with that conversation.
Next I introduced myself to who I, in a fit of total illogic, thought must be Padraig (even though he's on a mountain in Sri Lanka), and found out was Frank Apisa who is just as handsome as Padraig, and could have pretended he was he, since I was so befuddled by OESheepdog's being a man, that I would've believed anything.
Cindy and Frank (above).
Then I introduced myself excitedly to Verbal Remedy, who turned out NOT to be Verbal Remedy, but in fact Cindy Capitani, who must've thought I was an idiot, but was herself charming and gorgeous and gracious and kind.
Bob and Cindy - sorry so dark!!
So! In this group we had appearances by: OESheepdog, Bob Eckstein, Kerry, Thomas Rogers, Cindy Capitani, Redstocking Grandma, Frank Apisa, Marco Acevedo, Katina Choovanski, BenSen, BlogOCentrism, and Alex Zola (and maybe one or two others whose names I didn’t get… forgive me and someone send them to me please).
Red Stocking Grandma made a slightly late appearance, wearing bright red - and I even thought maybe it was Redstocking Grandma and was thrilled when she actually was! Man, meeting the actual people behind the avatars is so damn cool, that I'm thinking of replacing my own photo with one, because the reveal is just so sensational.
RSGrandma is hilarious and witty, and has the most amazingly beautiful hair and glowing skin, you want to have yourself sanded down to be able to take a photo next to her. Also a wonderful meeting with Katina Choovanski, there in the back - had to catch her off guard.
(I liked this photo, even with eyes closed - RS with her wonderful laughter!)
Frank, me, and Red Stocking Grandma (above).
Bob Eckstein is as handsome and gentle as he is in his posts; a gentleman and a gentle man.
Bob Eckstein (famous author of the wonderful book "The History of the Snowman") and me (above).
We wondered what was going on in the mid-west, up east and far-west parties: people riding in on horses, gun-play, duels, making out with cowboy hats or pork-pie hats or Joan/Aretha hats (or whatever the local rage is), and in fact Katina Choovanski was attempting when I left, to connect with the San Francisco group, which would have been so cool – I must leave it to her to report on whether that came to pass.
After about a half hour, it was turning into a real party; guys leaning against the railing (thank God there was a railing):
Kerry and BenSen (above) who I did not hardly get to talk to - too bad!
Frank, BenSen and Kerry (above).
Cindy and Bob (above).
Marco Acevedo and Frank Apisa (above).
All in all, we had a swell time, gossiped about everyone (some interesting secrets revealed, which shall not be shared by me) and had some yummy appetizers, fried this, and battered that...
... paid for by (I hope) Kerry, but more likely by the last person there (always leave a little early I say!), and if so, and I owe you money, let me know, last person.
Kerry departs with secrets of OS safely ensconced in glowing briefcase... (above).
We also broke at least one glass (YAY!) which everyone denied doing and no one would stand near the shards so I could get a picture, acting as if it had happened spontaneously, which was wonderful and a highlight in my mind.
Suggestions for next year: someone else handle the camera; we must have a theme song to sing together with arms around shoulders, a funny centerpiece, harder, cheaper alcohol ($7 Sol!!), and gag gifts.
(NOTE: I took more pix than this but if they weren't good - eyes closed, blurry - I didn't include them... sorry if shots are missing that people expected to see - you'd thank me, really!)