AND THEY'RE OFF
Bookforum, once a supplement to Artforum magazine, is now a standalone publication that covers literary fiction, scholarly and trade nonfiction, and monographs about art. It will now come out five times a year.
To celebrate this fact, the magazine hosted a party at the Winner's Circle, in a lounge atmosphere above an OTB betting parlor in the Garment District in Midtown.
"I consider myself a decent jockey on a really good horse," Bookforum's editor in chief, Eric Banks, said, flashing a smile. Words like "underdog" and "real longshot" apply in both the horse world as well as publishing, he added.
Bookforum sponsored a six furlong race that evening for horses 3 years old and upwards. Literary writers, critics, and academics peered at television screens to view the race, which had a purse of $13,000. For those playing along at home, "Gram's Addiction" beat out "Hadtoomuch," "Apache Dance," "Charismatic Caller," and others.
Newark-born author Nick Tosches, who has been researching Arnold Rothstein, reclined in a striped dark suit. Mr. Tosches said, "Everybody came for a free drink and nobody caught a winner." Not quite true. While Bookforum noir columnist and New School University writing program director Robert Polito "lost big," Jason Brantley won his bet of $12 dollars. How much was the payout? "A lot more than $12 dollars," he revealed.
When asked about the connection between horseracing and literature, writer Sam Lipsyte replied, "I gamble with my life."
Seen at the packed party was an editor at Basic Books, Megan Hustad, talking with her firm's publicist, Jason Brantley. Nearby was the president of the New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation, Raymond Casey. Mr. Casey sat with others from OTB: the senior director of new business, George Hazley, the associate director of new business, George Giordano, and senior vice president Ron Ceisler. Many New Yorkers associate OTB betting parlors with their big green storefronts; fewer know the company also runs restaurants.
OTB venues hold parties for the Melbourne Cup each November, and have hosted events for the New York Racing Association - but seldom for arts events.
Also in attendance was Jordan Heller of BlackBook magazine talking with Conor Guy and Michael Dougherty. Commenting on the horseracing environment around him, Mr. Heller said publishing folk, while outwardly prim and proper, may exhibit depraved behavior.
Nearby was a columnist for the New Yorker, James Surowiecki, who has a new regular column for Bookforum, and the editorial director of the Progressive Book Club (and a former managing editor of Lingua Franca), Andrew Hearst. The fiction editor at Bookforum, Albert Mobilio, who is also working on a book about phrenology, talked with Minna Proctor.
Others seen were Nina Aron of Sterling Lord Literistic; installation artist and sculptress Carol Irving; Bookforum's former editor, Andrew Hultkrans, who has been researching the subject of surveillance; Cargo magazine's copy chief, Emily Votruba, in a light-orange dress, and an assistant editor at Simon & Schuster, Brett Valley.
Also at the party was Robert Boynton, who directs New York University's graduate magazine-journalism program, and whose book "The New New Journalism" (Vintage) is forthcoming in March. For the current October-November issue of Bookforum, he wrote the cover story about critics of integration.
Another Bookforum contributor at the party was Matthew Price, a Brooklyn-based writer who wrote on Graham Greene's "damned redemption" in the current issue of the magazine.
Intelligent, informative, and attractive describe both the crowd at the party and Bookforum itself. On its bright future, the Knickerbocker wages a large bet.
Americans for Libraries Council is a new, national advocacy organization that aims to realize the potential of libraries in the 21st century. Libraries for the Future, a programming arm of the Council, offers services and consulting to library advocates, library foundations, and others.
Christopher Cerf, president of Sirius Thinking and former editor-inchief of the Children's Television Workshop's Products Group, hosted a reception for the editor of Harper's, Lewis Lapham, who is the honorary chair of the Americans for Libraries Council. The chair of the board of directors is C. Mathews Dick Jr., who has served as president of the Redwood Library and Athenaeum in Newport, R.I. The vice-chair is Diane Filippi, who is formerly president of the Friends of California Libraries.
Among those at the event were Ann Nitze, who helped found a library in Athens, Greece, devoted to the cultures and people of the Mediterranean.
Kenneth Miller invited poet Samuel Menashe to attend the reception for the organization. Mr. Menashe was recently given the Neglected Masters Award by the Poetry Foundation. The award focuses attention on an under-recognized, significant poet, and publishes a volume of the winner's selected poems by the Library of America.
At the event, Mr. Menashe said he once visited the Greenwich Village apartment of a friend whose walls were full of bookshelves. She had so many books that they overflowed onto her windowsills, "as you might keep plants on the windowsills." He read aloud the following poem from his book "The Niche Narrows" (Talisman House):
Using the window ledge
As a shelf for books
Does them good -
Bindings are belts
To be undone,
Let the wind come -
Hard covers melt,
Welcome the sun -
An airing is enough
To spring the lines
Which type confines,
But for pages uncut
Rain is a must.
Fittingly, through a person from the Donnell Library, this poem by Mr. Menashe was once published in a journal for book conservation.