Authors John Irving, John Ashbery, Frank Conroy and Clarissa Pinkola Estes each gave a reading at the Literacy Volunteers of New York City's 10th anniversary gala. Barbara Bush also gave a reading -- a passage from her memoirs, which are due out this year. "I'm always reading something," Bush said at the dinner in the State Theater. "But I don't really have a favorite author. I'm an ecumenical reader."
Saul and Gayfryd Steinberg were honored for their contributions to literacy, although Saul said, "I didn't do anything. I just wrote the checks, and that's the easy part."
On the following evening, the crowd at The Creative Coalition salute to Robert Kennedy Jr. and HBO's Michael Fuchs was also well-spoken -- in a different kind of way. The Coalition's founder, Ron Silver, and high-profile members Christopher Reeve and Mercedes Ruehl gave schmaltzy speeches -- as only actors can -- about how entertainers are affecting the political environment.
But Rosie Perez told it straight. "I showed up because Michael Fuchs asked me to," she said. "Look, I want to work with HBO again." Billy Baldwin's just as eager. That's why he was walking around with a goatee and his hair standing straight up.
"I'm playing young Trotsky in an HBO film," he said. "And I have to say, this hairdo has gotten me a lot of attention tonight."