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December 29, 2004

Truman Capote Would Understand Perfectly

by Ron Hogan

NYT reporter Julia Chaplin discovers that there are hip kids at the National Arts Club...only a month and a half after Jessica Joffe of the NY Observer broke the news. The big difference in the pieces (apart from Chaplin getting to crash more and better sounding parties) is that while Joffe was content to let the twentysomething gals behind the Accompanied Library sound like airheads, Chaplin is apparently more interested in eliciting goofball statements from National Arts Club president O. Aldon James, who says of those residents upset by the noisy, smoky parties, "Maybe they're just upset because they didn't get an invitation." My fave quote:

"The girls really understand the social dynamics of living and working with other people at the club. [Iris Brooks] came down and helped us with our Hawaiian-themed night for new members. She wore a grass skirt and did this wonderful dance. Everyone was so impressed."

Keep in mind that our Miss Brooks is, at this writing, twenty years older than six, which means that unless this "wonderful dance" was on the order of Isadora Duncan, it probably wasn't all that impressive. But I can't ride the National Arts Club too hard, because it's still a great place to hear authors read; just last week, I got to see Dawn Raffel read a new, unpublished short story while Binnie Kirshenbaum read a hilarious passage from An Almost Perfect Moment and Lowell Handler shared an early chapter from his memoir of living with Tourette's, Twitch and Shout. (Mind you, I'm awfully interested how it is that, if the Times reporting is accurate, people are smoking at a bar, because last time I checked, New York's draconian laws applied to private clubs, too. More's the pity, because when I could smoke and drink at the same time in this city, the NAC was so perfect a setting to have a cigar and a martini it was almost a cliché.)

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