We had a delightful time on Wednesday night at Nick Denton’s big bash for Arianna Huffington, bloggerista success story of the summer and newest addition to the SoHo “strip,” a New York landmark on par with Museum Mile and all those Indian restaurants on Sixth Street. The Strip features the hippest names in new-media, with HQs for Nick’s highly unprofitable Gawker Media, Daily Candy, Nerve, Flavorpill, and of course our own MediaBistro HQ, just down the street from the Kate Moss-eschewing H&M.
You’ve no doubt read about the glittering event already (what with Arianna’s HuffPo accout being carried by Yahoo News, no less!). Fishbowl didn’t have a camera but we think this generic illustration effectively conveys the convivial spirit of the evening. If you want more, though, check out crack photog Nikola Tamdazic’s gallery at Ambrel.net.
We arrived at Nick’s party escorted by our dashing friend Doug, who reluctantly answers to “Dougie,” only to see the NYDN Gatecrasher and rumoured Jossip paramour Ben Widdicombe already on his way out, accompanied by a lovely young woman. Damn. Were the h’ors d’oeuvres gone already?
The answer to that, fortunately, was a resounding “not really,” but though I saw a tray with spring-roll looking things go past I was distracted by Salon’s Kerry Lauerman, Hard News author/accuracy-and-transparency-in-the-media authority Seth Mnookin (who we were pleased to see had left the frilly shirt behind), and someone named Frank who we later determined was Frank Bruni, who was younger and far less jowly than we’d imagined. I mean, shouldn’t he be a little porky with all the free food he eats? We know he doesn’t like small portions.
The first stop was champagne, because this was a classy party, which we nursed through the speeches which you can read about here. During the speeches we looked around and realized that Nick Denton had a very large apartment. He has an island in his kitchen, for God’s sake, and settees on the windowsill. And a big long table with a empty bowl on it, for show. Like a grown-up. But his stubble is pretty flecked with gray, so I guess he is a grown-up. “It’s all a little too American Psycho for me,” remarked New York’s David Amsden, who is slightly less of a grown-up (no gray, and no stubble, not without at least a week of trying). We were enjoying a mini-shrimp skewer, followed by a few spears of asparagus wrapped in luncheon meat, which I hoped was turkey. David mentioned that Michael Stipe was at the party. “Really? From R.E.M.?” We asked, confused. Why would Michael Stipe be there? Maybe David meant Moby. No, said David, that was him in the corner. If Dan Rather had been there we would have had a field day.
Circulating (Dougie was chatting with some folks with some smokes) we were overjoyed to locate the lovely and charming Elizabeth Spiers (we’d say it even if she wasn’t our boss) and equally babe-o-licious Kate Lee in the crowd. They had been hard to spot because, as they say, good things come in small packages, and they are not the tallest bananas in the bunch. Actually, a banana would have been very helpful about then, because not only does it have electrolytes or potassium or something, but it’s food, and we were on our third glass of champagne. But yes, we had no bananas.
More sightings: NY Observer lovelies Suzy Hansen, Sheelah Kolhatkar, and Gabriel Sherman, looking resplendent in a crisp pink shirt. We chatted with pretty Louisa Thomas, right-hand girl Friday to New Yorker editor David Remnick, with Slate‘s Bryan Curtis, fan of Star Wars and Star Wars-themed headlines. We chatted with Nick Confessore, had a fairly odd conversation with Sundance Channel’s Samuel Paul, and looked on with jealousy while everyone scarfed up mini-White Castle burgers. We looked with longing at Balthazar across the street. Those fries! That French Onion soup! Delicious, free bread! We don’t eat burgers, so we had more champagne.
Finally we met the woman of the hour – Arianna Huffington, who I have to say looks good. Her arms are clearly very toned. I carefully mispronounced “Kalos orises!” which means “Welcome!” in Greek, and then said “here!” and “masturbator!” in her native language (“ella” and “malaka”). She was very sweet and said, “Ooh, I love Fishbowl” which must mean that she’s going to put us back on her blogroll. Yay! Then Nick came over and whisked her away to meet Jessica Coen, which was probably a good thing, considering how often the waiters were circulating to top up our champagne. We could still stand in the place where Nick lived (though we knew that tomorrow we, like everybody else, would hurt — we’d need at least a few of these), but all in all it was a night with all the right friends. Thank you for the hospitality, Nick!
P.S. How did we only just think of this now: Denton’s Theme Song!
P.P.S. Here, Arianna mou, a song for you. Shout-out to the Children of Piraeus!