The lighting in the lounge itself, as night approached, became low and atmospheric--an interesting challenge, and one that proved critical because I had decided, unusually, to do a good deal of reading from the book. The event had been billed, after all, as a "reading," so I thought I should make good on that promise; and, not having read very much at past events, I decided that this would be an interesting change of pace. So I watched the daylight disappear at the skyline outside with some concern, and wondered what to do about my plans. They were clearly going to need some modification.
We started promptly at 8PM, with a nice introduction by Paige Wery, the publisher of Artillery magazine, co-sponsor of the evening with the hotel. There had evidently been an unsuccessful search for a lamp for me to read by, and the only solution to the problem turned out to be a flashlight, with which Paige valiantly volunteered to stand behind my shoulder to cast light on the book. So we started out that way, a bit confused as to whether to sit or stand--Ellie signaling unambiguously from the back that I should stand--and I read the first passage I had selected to describe the predicament of the creative person in today's money- and celebrity-dominated cultural environment. But I soon concluded, even as I was reading the passage, that this was not going to work; and abandoned my plan in favor of a series of riffs on the contents of the chapters I had planned to read.
It went well. I was happy to see a number of good friends, along with several unexpected faces and a gratifying supply of new ones. Unexpected--and a delightful surprise--were the long-time, well-respected art dealer Gail Feingarten and her husband, Jerry; Peter Shelton, of established reputation as one of the most innovative and powerful artists working in the medium of sculpture today; Tom Bussler, a man I know through his dedication to work in the ManKind Project. Old friends included Judy Karfiol, a doctoral student from my days at USC in the 1970s, and a dear friend since then; Carey Peck, skydiver extraordinaire; and Jayme Odgers, well-known as a prominent designer back in the day, now devoted to his work as a painter. New(er) friends and wonderful supporters included Gregg Chadwick, fellow-blogger, whose monk paintings I reviewed just a few days back in The Buddha Diaries; the young Iranian-born artist, Ardeshir Tabrizi; and Lisa Adams, the painter.
So, thanks to Paige and Jenni Boelkens, art director at The Standard, all went well. I left feeling truly gratified and privileged to be able to attract such gathering of wonderful and diversely talented people. I was happy, too, to have my two new collaborators with me for the evening: Emily, my new assistant; and Craig, to whom I have given the title, in my mind, of Master Navigator for my online work in spreading word about "Persist."
Oh, and before we left, the DJ from the lobby stopped by--to buy a book!