Emdashes—Modern Times Between the Lines

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As far more organized chroniclers Ron Hogan and the preternaturally poised Rachel Sklar have already reported, Adam Gopnik and Patricia Marx read (but mostly shot the breeze—they’re close friends and live 53 steps away from each other in the same building) at the 92nd St. Y last night. They also made many new friends, game as they were to mingle among a gaggle of bloggers who, accustomed to explaining basic terminology to befuddled literati, were instead treated to cheese plates, giant blackberries, prime seats, and “Welcome, bloggers!”

I didn’t have a chance to meet everybody; could we have nametags next time, Andrew? Dorky, yes, but blogging is definitely dorky, so we might as well go whole hog. Missing from those lists of the writers and sitemakers present, by the way, were Newyorkette, a.k.a. New Yorker cartoonist Carolita Johnson; Kesher Talk’s Judith Weiss; the soulful Austin Kelley, editor of the elegantly illustrated and smartly written Modern Spectator (a “literary sports journal” that would do Audax Minor proud); and future multiplatform creator Olivia, co-star of Bumping Into Mr. Ravioli. She’s cute as a button.

Marx was as funny as I expected her to be from her Q. & A. with Nancy Franklin recently; she read “Audio Tour,” and I suddenly remembered having actually reported something: What happens when you call the phone number (212-399-4838) in the story? Gopnik was garrulous, enthusiastic (during our conversation, he spoke glowingly of Katha Pollitt, Calvin Trillin’s reportage, Trillin’s U.S. Journal, A.J. Liebling, NYC eccentrics of yore [“Now they all have agents and websites”], and the New Yorker librarians), a bit of a dandy (his wife, Martha, is a glamourpuss herself), and extremely charming. He’d been reading at Sundance—there are readings at Sundance now, apparently—and, during the talk, read from an original copy of an old New Yorker and did several impersonations. Marx seemed like a sparkle-eyed, wisecracking dame of the old school, with the attendant tender heart. PM: “Do you have anything dark to say?” AG: “I’m a perpetually sunny person.”

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