The Dorothy Parker Day Committee in Long Branch, New Jersey, Mrs. Parker’s birthplace, has put out this press release about activities on Sunday, Aug. 16, 2009. If you are traveling from Penn Station, take the train to Long Branch, on the New Jersey Coast Line. A $5 cab will get you to the library and events. If you are driving, Long Branch is just minutes off the parkway, about 1 hour south of the city or 90 minutes from Philadelphia.
4th Annual Dorothy Parker Day is Aug. 16
LONG BRANCH, NJ — She was one of the most famous cynics in American literary history, and a tireless advocate for civil rights. A frequent critic of the popular culture, and an Oscar-nominated screenwriter. A continuously socializing, hard-drinking, clothing-optional sort who loved nothing more than quality time spent with her dogs.
Dorothy Parker was “complicated” back when that really stood for something. And, to further complicate her legacy, she was a “true New Yorker” who was born in Long Branch, New Jersey.
Sunday, August 16 marks the observance of the annual Dorothy Parker Day in the seaside city, presented by the Long Branch Arts Council and the Long Branch Historical Association, in collaboration with The Long Branch Free Public Library, the West End Merchants Association, and our friends at the Dorothy Parker Society.
Nearly 116 years after she made her entrance as Dorothy Rothschild (inside a West End summer cottage on August 22, 1893) the legendary fiction writer, poet, essayist, commentator and charter member of the Algonquin Round Table remains one of the most famous American women of the 20th century, and certainly one of the most oft-quoted wits of all time. And for the fourth time, the city of Long Branch, where a unique-to-New Jersey monument marks the site of her birthplace, embraces its prodigal daughter with a summer’s day celebration as Dorothy herself would have liked it; a celebration with wise words, humorous stories, lots of dogs and a gathering of good friends.
The day begins at 11:00 a.m. inside the Long Branch Free Public Library at 328 Broadway, with a free program of readings and performance pieces coordinated by Ingrid Bruck, and delivered by a collection of fans, friends from the community and even a few city officials. Actors from the New Jersey Repertory Company will perform in a skit written by Parker, local high school students will screen their original video on Long Branch in the Roaring Twenties, and refreshments will be provided at the event.
The Dorothy Parker Society’s Kevin C. Fitzpatrick will be on hand, signing and offering advance copies of his new book The Lost Algonquin Round Table, co-edited with Round Table descendent Nat Benchley. The book, a volume of previously uncollected writings by Mrs. Parker and her contemporaries, will be made available for pre-publication purchase at $20 per copy. Also reading at the event and offering copies of her books will be Monmouth County historian Helen Pike.
At 2:00 p.m., the action moves across town to St. Michael’s Church on Takanassee Lake, where the yearly Dorothy Parker Dog Parade departs from the church parking area on North Lake Drive. Deacon Eugene Somma of St. Michael’s will conduct a Blessing of the Pets, after which dogs and owners of all shapes and sizes are invited to participate in a walk around scenic Takanassee Lake and along Ocean Avenue to the site of Parker’s Birthplace marker. As always, participants are encouraged to dress their dog as a favorite literary character. There will be prizes awarded to the best-dressed canines and the first 30 dogs to attend will be given “doggie gift bags” of items from the area’s most exclusive dog boutiques. Dog-less walkers are invited as well to this fabulously free and fun event!
A number of local restaurants and taverns in the West End section of Long Branch will be joining in the fun as well, with Dorothy Day lunch specials offered between the library and Dog Parade events, and an unofficial after-party cocktail reception hosted at the conclusion of the parade. Information on these events will be available at the library program on August 16.
Beth Woolley of the Long Branch Historical Association is available for media interviews regarding this event and Dorothy Parker¹s ongoing association with Long Branch. Beth can be contacted at email@example.com. The web site of the Dorothy Parker Society has an informative section on her history in Long Branch, as well as an archived map of the Dog Parade route, and general information on Dorothy Parker Day in Long Branch can be obtained by calling (732) 229-3166.
The Long Branch Arts Council is a partnership dedicated to working with the city government, civic and business organizations and the arts community to re-establish the City of Long Branch as a thriving regional center for the arts. Our aim is to accomplish this goal by attracting artists and arts organizations, by coordinating fundraising and development efforts, by establishing arts education programs, and by presenting arts-oriented events that draw upon the natural resources, accessibility, historic assets and “people power” that are unique to our beloved city.