1999, to be exact. On Saturday, the New Haven Review took over Lyric Hall, the antiques and restoration house on Whalley Avenue. Owner John Cavaliere has retrofitted the old vaudeville space in the back, and so what choice did we have but to throw a party to celebrate issue #5? First, we ate and drank for an hour. The mango champagne punch was swell. Then the 75 or so guests retired to the theater, where NHR editor Brian Slattery (violin, guitar, piano), Craig Edwards (violin, guitar), and Joe DeJarnette (upright bass) played backup music as local notables (“locables”) read stories by their favorite authors. (Thanks to Laurel Silton for taking the pictures.)
Actor Bruce Altman read from Philip Roth’s Indignation and The Breast.
Alice Mattison read Grace Paley.
Janna Wagner read Lorrie Moore.
Nora Khan read James Salter.
And Lisa Sanders read Ian Frazier.
And then we drank again. And we ate more. Arlene Ghent catered, with pastries by Manjares. Have you had their brownies? I ask you—have you had their brownies?
We raised some money in pledges—low four figures, since you asked—but that wasn’t the point. The point was seeing people, meeting people. Tom Gogola was there. New Haven native Darius James, late of New York Press, was there. Katharine and Nicholas Fox Weber were there. My mom was there. Pang-Mei Chang was there, seeing John Cavaliere for the first time since high school. Bruce Tulgan and Debby Applegate were there. Betty Lockhart was there.
You were there. And if you weren’t, you should have been.
Or were you home watching this?