This past Saturday I had the privilege of participating on an author panel with fellow Yale alumni as part of a weekend long “50 Shades of Blue” celebration. It was exciting to share the stage with a group of talented, funny, and thought-provoking writers. Topics ranged from authors who wrote their best work after the age of fifty (Tolstoy, George Eliot and Milton, not bad!), to irreverent anecdotes about the mishaps of the writing life, with much fellowship and inspiration throughout.
The author panel was graciously hosted by Julie Bradlow and her groovy mom, Frieda, in their eclectic and art filled West Village brownstone, and brilliantly organized by Pamela Erens, fiction writer and essayist, author of two novels, most recently The Virgins.
In addition to Pamela, the panelists included Tina Kelley, poet, former NY Times journalist, and author of Almost Home:Helping Kids Move from Homelessness to Hope; Sarah Lyall, veteran New York Times reporter; Donna Minkowitz, columnist on LGBT politics and culture, and author of Growing Up Golem: Learning to Survive My Mother, Brooklyn and Some Really Bad Dates; Jonathan Rosen, essayist and author of fiction and non-fiction books including The Life of the Skies: Birding at the End of Nature; Edward Vilga, director, yoga guru and author of seven books, most recently Downward Dog; and our wonderful moderator, Lelia Wardwell Mandell, author, senior production editor for HarperCollins, and industry insider.
The weekend events began Friday evening with an elegant reception at the Upper West Side townhouse of Randy and Rona Nelson, who generously provided citrus-infused, white wine sangria and a delicious array of hors d’oeuvres and dinner to enjoy in the company of their stellar art collection. It was a challenge to come up with conversation as scintillating as the surroundings, but we did our best!
On Saturday morning Barney Schechter led a walking tour in lower Manhattan, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War Draft Riots. I heard his talk was fascinating, although I was unfortunately unable to attend.
The weekend culminated with Saturday night’s extravaganza at the Empire Rooftop Bar and Lounge. Surrounded by the glittering views of Lincoln Center, the Yale Class of ’85 toasted our collective 50th birthday to the clinking of glasses and the bubbling cheer of our classmates.
A huge thank you to our hardworking and inspired organizers, Erik Kulleseid, Leisle Lin, Tamar Sadeh, Joe Vittoria, and guardian angels, Rosie Reardon and Maria Burton!
Now, back to the garret…