Just An Online Minute... Army Of Quirky Characters Answer The Gideon's War Call To Arms
Gideon's War Book Launch Party, The Morris+King Company Offices, New York
January 13, 2011
When I was younger, my dreams of adult life were fueled by Mad magazine, "Sweet Valley High", Stephen King, Sassy, "Melrose Place," Garfield, Dune, Spaceballs, "Twin Peaks", and a dash of Sylvia Plath. I thought the pinnicle of the glitzy big-city party experience was a magazine party, packed with coked-up, fainting with hunger models, sexually ambiguous photographers, skinny, cig-smoking editors, struggling actors, hangers-on, buffets of caviar (thanks, Big), and big publishing power suits. The reality is, it's not 1980, and book parties are where the characters roam. Not necessarily the characters described above.
Come to think of it, The Morris+King Company's office space flashes me back to "Melrose Place." The ocean blues, the splashes of yellow, the bright reds, the black patent leather chairs and light-grey patent-leather-topped coffee tables, and the toilet sculptures kept me prepared for Amanda Woodward's dramatic entrance and eventual bitch -slapping of Allison Parker, who was back on the bottle again (if I've lost you, catch up on your sugary '90s TV!)
Instead I happily settled for the holy-god-gimme-summa-that energy of Judith King, the King in Morris+King. She was a geyser of praise for her employees and colleagues, gushing with pride at the office design that was her doing, spattering her deluge of descriptions with "Those are my lemons, I have a lot of lemons" and "That's my best friend from school!" and "Here's my mom!" I'm still spinning.
I didn't realize, as I stood trying to find the bar, that I was being blocked by a long line of people waiting to have Howard Gordon, author of "Gideon's War," sign their books. Gordon is a Hollywood writer and producer, with shows like "24," "The X-Files," and "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" in his sack of cult-like followings and successes. This book is his first jump from screen to page, and everyone and his mother (and father, and soccer coach -- it was a family affair across the board!) came to celebrate.
In that long line, I met Lauren Spiefel and Meredith Kernan of Touchstone, publisher of "Gideon's War". Around the corner, in a room filled with the book of honor, I found PRWeek's Alex Bruell and Jaimy Lee.
By a mini veggie garden I found Morris+King COO Michael Richards talking with Peter LeSueur, a banking type focusing on fixed income sales. LeSeuer was also there with his dad, Coach LeSueur, who coached Howard Gordon in soccer, wrestling, and lacrosse in high school. He sounded like a coach. I felt like I needed to run laps after speaking with him. Later on in the evening I found the LeSueurs, who are huge "24" fans, talking with Carlos Bernard, who played Tony Almeida on "24" and provided the narration for the audio version of "Gideon's War".
I ran into Chris Young, Chairman and CEO at DBG, in one of the many hallways at M+K where we brainstormed party ideas. I'm hung up on drag queens and burlesque, so of course I blathered on about those essential party elements. In front of his parents.
I left the Youngs and bumped into Philip Kelly, who works for Mayor Bloomberg's office. He responds well to snowplow snark. He was with Kenneth Teaton, a Broadway producer currently involved with "Time Stands Still," starring Laura Linney and Christina Ricci.
Andy Morris introduced me to Peter Strongwater, photographer extraordinaire (his shot of Andy Warhol hangs in the M+K office). We were joined by Richard Mason, a wonderfully self-aware writer, who will be adding "History of a Pleasure Seeker" (which he described to Andy Morris as "a demo on the iPad") to his current novels "The Drowning People" and "Natural Elements."
In addition to M+K staples like Katie Smith-Adair and Jen Moses, Joanna Virello, event Director of Manhattan Media, was also there. She was bouncing around, grabbing Editor of New York Press, Jerry Portwood for a photo with Jamaal Young. Like a proper publiscist/marketing type, Joanna was her own hype man for an event she launched, the New Amsterdam Bicycle Show.
Everyone is a comedian at cocktail parties, but last night I met an actual comic by the name of David Goldring. Well, maybe an actual comic, but also a biz exec. I won't tell you the joke he told me. When I found him, he was talking with actor-to-be Sonya Vai and test preparation entrepreneur Frank Pomilla. In sidebar new, Howard Gordon used to work for Frank. Frank joked that coattails are a great mode of transport.
Rounding out the smartypants contingent were Dawn Barber, co-founder of the New York Tech Meetup; Ellie Rountree, formerly of Rocketboom, now of THE WORLD; and Toby Daniels, co-founder and CEO of Crowdcentric, as well as founder of fast approaching social media week.
Three of my favorite moments of the night: one guest asked me to change the way he described his job situation because "it sounds douchey"; one guest walked by, remarking to his female companion "If I did Adderall tonight, you'd know it"; and meeting Molly and Tom Dunne in the elevator, where they described an Alaskan vacation with Howard Gordon, who was so ...normal. They didn't realize who he was until they returned to their room. I imagined the Dunnes in their footy pajamas giggling and bouncing on their bed, clutching their pillows, starstruck. This did not happen. But still.