The Atlantic Holiday Party, La Bibliotheque, New York
December 14, 2010
Many moons ago, I worked at IBM. Many moons later, we broke up. During the break-up, I was determined to become more well-read, pay more attention to politics, and polish up my wit. Suddenly The Atlantic started showing up at my first Manhattan apartment, courtesy of friend and mentor Christopher Barger (who has since left IBM and is now Director, Global Social Media at GM). I remember opening it up and huffing, "dang, that's a lot of words," because up until then I only read Garfield. I will always have a special spot in my heart for The Atlantic, so I was downright giddy when I received the invitation to their holiday party.
The Atlantic chose La Biblioteque for their venue, and it was a superb choice. Lush black leather couches to squeeze into warmly, long raw wood tables lined with candy canes and holiday runners, and a big fat Christmas tree. The works. Tucked under the tree were Suzy and Johnny's favorites: The Atlantic!
Let's get to the nitty-gritty, the real deal, the most important part of any cocktail gathering: the food. Dear sweet merciful gods of passed plates, this party may have had the best food ever. Juicy, tangy pulled pork was piled upon thick fried discs of either potato pancake or corn bread. Plopped on top of the pork was some sort of creamy dollop of heaven, sprinkled with chives (or scallions?). Pork's neighbor was from the sea, and while awkward and embarrassing to bite, the fish tacos with their smoky chipotle schplorp had me drooling on my toes. Mouth-poppable sushi bites, bowls of instantly replenishing guacamole, and mini-steak-fajita things were bountiful. According to my notes (because these are the things I note), the photo-avoiding Nick Denton, Gawker Overlord, may have demolished an entire wood block of tuna tacos.
I reunited with my date, Attention's Karen Ram, over wordy conversation with Geoff Gagnon, senior editor at The Atlantic. I also met Pickles and Ammo, a snarky duo who obviously gave me fake names. They sound like an Adult Swim cartoon, where Pickles is an obese hamster hellbent on shaving the world (yes, I said shaving) and Ammo is his trusty narwhal sidekick.
I also met Jay Lauf, publisher of The Atlantic, who has been a subscriber for 13 years, 3 of those spent most recently at The Atlantic. Lauf was talking with Bret Sanford, a marketing consultant, when I interrupted. While the publisher was away on the other side of the room, the Atlantic interns were playing by the food table. I met Alicia Garty, a design intern, and Rachel Meltzer, a marketing intern. They were hanging out with Sarah Harvey, assistant to the publisher, and Angela Fuccillo, sales planner at The Atlantic.
I had a great time talking to Adam Rathe, arts editor at The New York Press, which when heard I didn't recognize it, but when I later Googled, I recognized the logo. I'm a visual person, what can I say. Adam and I traded stories about the parties our writing lead us into. Adam's may trump mine in oddities with his art world parties, performance art showcases, and well... art, man. I imagine our paths will intersect again and I look forward to it!
Mediabistro's Donya Blaze was also celebrating The Atlantic holidays and she was the one who alerted me to Nick Denton's presence. I hunted him down like a hungover NYU student hunts down 99 Miles To Philly. Of course he begged off an organized photo, but I sniper-shot him later.
I also ran into the always vibrant Erin Carlson. I last saw her a good year ago at the Notional Launch (or something Ricky Van Veeny), back when she was at Business Insider. She now calls Yahoo Entertainment her home. It is important to note that via her Twitter bio, she's an Olsen Twins Expert. Olsen Twins Expert > Social Media Expert.
Adnan Brankovic of Initiative, Tito Peligro of the United Nations, and Felix DiFilippo of The Atlantic were also there, lingering near the bar.
I was sad to leave, there were so many interesting people to talk to. "I could have talked my face off all night," agreed Karen, also noting that you couldn't swing a cat in there without hitting someone intriguing. By far my favorite conversation of the night, though, included the phrase, "Oh, well, I kind of thought if photography was your job, you'd have a different camera." William H. Macy, what provokes people to say such things!