Rumpled khakis, corduroy jackets and artfully disheveled hair were on frequent display at the Tenement Museum on Thursday night. The McSweeneys set had gathered to watch Ben Greenmana New Yorker editorread from his new super-stylishly bound object darte book, Correspondences.
Only 250 copies of the elaborately folded volume of postcardsa kind of Choose Your Own Adventure for adultswere pressed and they go for $50 each. It could have been three times more expensive, Aaron Petrovich,the publisher, explained, adding, We didnt want to be too exclusive.
Even Olivia, a visiting Brit in a green pea coat, wasnt buying. Id buy the book if the pound wasnt rubbish right now, she said, handing me a Rothman. I told her it was still cheaper for visitors than natives. You get free alcohol at these things over here, its amazing! she said happily. Here take some fags I mean cigarettesfor later.
Back inside, the man of the hoursporting stubble, a boxy jacket and yellow tiewas gladhanding. Yeah, well do lunch, Greenman told a partygoer with a slap on the back. Hey, Ben, doesnt this focus on design highlight that fiction is in a world of trouble? Theres some amazing stuff going on with cell phone fiction in Japan, he answered. Right, thanks.
A preppy girl in a red dress stood by the door holding a box of postcards. Up-and-coming essayist Laura Wilkinson works in marketing for the books publisher. Most of my friends only care about beer, she said. Look, Bens checking on me to make sure that I dont give away any secrets, she joked as Greenman circled around us. Had she managed to score one of the ornate tomes for herself? I would, but I dont think I can afford it.