“We filled it!” said Paris Review editor Lorin Stein, watching his guests stream into Cirpriani 42nd Street for the Paris Review Revel on Tuesday night. “We filled it to capacity.”
A young woman pulled the editor away, but he bounced right back.
“One of our writers is telling me to offer drugs to another of our writers for tonight,” he explained. “Can you catch me afterwards?”
The hall was filling up with rich donors and literary things, young and old but mostly old. This was the Paris Review's annual fund-raiser gala to build the endowment that supports the magazine.
“I hadn’t thought about the evening in terms of excitement,” said Fran Lebowitz. “Basically I thought about it in terms of, it’s raining again. I tend to look on the dark side of things."
Author James Salter, the guest of honor, was lingering in the wings in a khaki suit, reminiscing about his first party at Paris Review founder George Plimpton’s town house on 72nd Street, where the basement was filled with “interns’ bicycles and rejected manuscripts.” It was slightly different from this affair, where there were a few hundred people on hand. There were “various alcohols” and scotch.
“I remember going up the stairs. That’s all I remember," he said, trailing off.
Marie Claire editor Joanna Coles stood near the entrance to the banquet hall contemplating a more current matter: what life at Hearst will be like once Robbie Myers, and Elle magazine, join the corporate family officially.
“I think that we have different readerships, actually. Elle is very much exclusively about fashion," she said. "Marie Claire is for readers who want fashion in their lives — but it’s fashion with a life. I think of Harper’s Bazaar and Elle as exclusively fashion.”
“I’m sounding quite earnest, aren’t I?” Coles continued.
She reconsidered: “I think I will be the pantomime dame!”
“Do you know what that is?” chimed in Barneys' ambassador at large, Simon Doonan. “It’s a whole weird thing English people do at Christmastime — they do these commedia dell'arte abortions that are called pantomimes....My roommate used to play the back end of the horse.”
The comment incited an indecipherable game of one-upmanship between Coles and Doonan over their knowledge of different pantomime characters. “I’m happy to play Dandini to either Glenda or Robbie!” Coles said.
“Dandini’s a tranny character,” explained Doonan, shrewdly. “It’s a tranny.”
Coles spoke over him. “You really should be comparing us to Joe Zee, not Robbie!” she said finally. She tossed back her Bellini.