NEW YORK — Parkerfest 2007 was another fantastic event that took place all across Manhattan: The East Village, Midtown, Upper West Side, Gramercy Park, and wound up in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge. It was a weekend of cabs and subways for the crowd, some of which came from Alaska.
The Dorothy Parker Society teamed up with the Robert Benchley Society, and took part in the awarding of its annual humor prizes. We welcomed RBS President David Trumbull and his wife, Mary, along with RBS vice president Chris Morgan, from Boston.
Parkerfest began Thursday night at Mo Pitkin’s House of Satisfaction, a bar and restaurant on Avenue A. Titled “The Potable Dorothy Parker” it was co-produced by Celia Bressack and Stephanie Sellars. It also featured Prudence Heyert and Andy Horan. Highlights were Bressack reading Parker’s essay “My Hometown” and Sellars performing “In the Throes.” Heyert and Horan played it up in the short story “The Sexes.”
Friday evening the members of the DPS gathered at the Algonquin Hotel for happy hour drinks in the lobby. It was a nice turnout as we tucked into a corner for cocktails and laughs. The Benchley Society brought out its big guns, the always-charming Jimmy and Eileen Keck from Providence. Later in the evening, many adjourned to a decadent party at a sumptuous apartment on Central Park West. The highlight was the appearance of Molly Crabapple and two of her burlesque models, Lucy and Ian. The party featured a life drawing class modeled on Molly’s successful Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School classes. The last guests left at 4 a.m.
Saturday was a long day for the attendees. We began at 11 with the Algonquin Round Table Walking Tour. It was made extra special by the attendance of Anthony Adams, oldest son of Franklin P. Adams (FPA). Tony told the small group some wonderful stories about his dad and his memories of old New York. We followed up the walk with luncheon at the Round Table. This was a fantastic chance to make new friends and renew old acquaintances.
The big banquet was held at Pete’s Tavern, which claims to be the oldest neighborhood bar in the city. There is some debate about this, but it did not matter how old it was to those who had a fine meal in the upstairs private room. We also welcomed Dan Montville from Illinois, who wrote the winning entry in the Benchley Society’s annual writing contest. We left Gramercy Park full.
Following the dinner, we headed to the Bridge Café, a small restaurant that is on Water Street, right next to the Brooklyn Bridge. Most of the crowd was in Roaring Twenties attire, and looked fabulous. We danced to an excellent trio, the Blue Vipers of Brooklyn. These guys blew us away. It was a fantastic time (and an open bar) at what research says is a business that has been dispensing liquor since 1794. They did a nice party for us.
One of the discussions at Parkerfest was if the event should be held bi-annually. We are talking about it. If the next one is held in 2008 or 2009 we do not know yet, but keep checking the news page for updates.