Ever since they debuted with an issue that featured Hubert Selby Jr. and Mary Gaitskill, plus art by Jeff Koons, Open City has been one of the best literary magazines around. And since 1999 Open City has also been publishing books, including David Berman’s Actual Air, Sam Lipsyte’s Venus Drive, Rachel Sherman’s The First Hurt, and Edward St. Aubyn’s Mother’s Milk, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize and named a New York Times notable book in 2005. Open City is either about as cool as prestigious things get or as prestigious as cool things get. I’m not sure which, but I guess it doesn’t matter. The point is, they’re awesome–but for how much longer? The thing about Awesome, see, is that she’s always hungry, and so Open City is holding a benefit to raise some much-needed scratch so that Awesome can eat during the next fiscal year.
The Open City Spring Benefit is happening May 21, 2009 at the National Arts Club in New York City, which if you’ve never heard of it, is just about as prestigious as prestige gets, to the point where “cool” no longer even figures into the equation, except inasmuch as you think to yourself “Wow, how fucking cool is it I’m actually at this place?” There will be an open bar and hors d’oeuvres (that’s pronounced “Aww dervs”), a reading by Billy Collins, AND you’ll get to mingle with and pester the Open City benefit committee, which includes Noah Baumbach, the aforementioned Lipsyte, and Ben Stiller (I don’t care what anyone says–I think Cable Guy is the best work Jim Carrey ever did, and Ben brought it out of him).
All you have to do is click over to their website and pony up the cash for a ticket. Regular price is a hundred bucks, and there are several options for higher levels of giving (if you’re feeling committed and valiant) but as of yesterday there are now also a limited number of half-price tickets ($50) for writers/artists.
I know, I know: times are tough, “in this economy,” etc etc. But listen, those shoes/meals/drugs you were going to buy aren’t tax deductible donations, and this is. So why don’t you come to the thing, but just don’t bring a date. Fly solo, and meet some other solo-flying open-bar-binging literature-lover, and have yourself a gin-soaked tryst. You: “God this is SO much like John Cheever’s journals!” Him/her: “Yes, and so unlike Flannery O’Connor’s biography.” Seriously, when was the last time you had an anonymous sex partner who you could talk with like that?