Last night, around 8 p.m., Daily News gossip columnist Ben Widdicombe, lightly bearded, was in a blazer on a low couch, with Rush & Molloy's reporter Patrick Huguenin close to his right. This was at Paul Sevigny's Beatrice Inn, at 285 West 12th Street. Former Gawker and New York Observer intern and current Radar assistant editor Neel Shah, ever hunky, was holding down the other end of the couch. The night before, someone said, they'd met a woman who said that she knew four men who each said they'd had sex with John Travolta! Four! What a claim! Everyone received this short story with not particularly great interest. Mark Tusk, the former acquisitions guy at Miramax, came and sat on the arm of the couch. One thing led to another, and Ben warned the crowd, "Do not Image Google 'ocular gonorrhea.'" Boy, that's good advice. So the funny thing about Patrick Huguenin is this.
Patrick Huguenin and Chris Rovzar both went to Yale; Patrick was '06, Chris, '03. They both did time in the theater there; Patrick in Man of La Mancha, Chris in Orpheus Descending, for instance. They both worked on the Yale Daily News. They are both gay fellas. And now Patrick has Chris's old job, reporting for George Rush and Joanna Molloy at the Daily News. Also they look weirdly alike but not alike; very handsome but slight, and Chris is even taller. They both wore shirts with ties, and over that, dark-colored tops closed-up near to the knot of the tie, and those flat-fronted, thick-fabric pants. What's that look called? You've seen it in a magazine.
The Beatrice Inn has seven foot ceilings, absurdly close. The party was billed by Radar as an "intimate bash" to celebrate "our new issue." This is still the issue with Colin Farrell on the cover. Your correspondent had to be invited, due to etiquette, as he had a tiny piece in the magazine. The Beatrice has a long, dark main room, and there are two claustrophobic rooms to the east. This basement has a few paintings and a few lamps.
Chris Tennant, Maer Roshan's right-hand man, was in the three-deep get-a-drink crowd, doing that thing when you're smoking where you're not supposed to and you hold the cigarette down real low? He'd done something really successful to his hair; short and the merest suggestion of a mohawk.
One shouldn't forget that Radar's office is almost entirely male, except for the managing editor and an editorial assistant. Buxom Randi Hazan, the web designer that Radar shares with the New York Observer, comes by sometimes at least. It must have been nice for the boys to have been at a party with women. Most of them are straight, people are sometimes surprised to learn.
Nearly everyone there was a reporter, but even the Observer's media reporter Michael Calderone was never once seen with a notepad. The whole party had the sense of a tank of sharks temporarily unwilling to swim. For a good while he was talking to Vanity Fair's web editor, Andrew Hearst, who really loves a party. Tall Marcus Baram wandered by—where does he work now? Folks were calling new Village Voice editor Tony Ortega by the name "Tony Orlando" and then deciding that was probably racist.
"I must say I miss these media clusterfucks," said a former gossip reporter, smoking by the coat check. Radar publicist—current or now past?—Drew Kerr was talking Radar senior writer Jeff Bercovici's face off.
Out editor Aaron Hicklin showed up, looking a little frazzled. His former deputy at Black Book, Radar's online features editor Jordan Heller, stood behind him. Just like the old days! "I'm waiting for him to get a job at a straight magazine," Jordan said. How long could it be?
Gawker founding editor Elizabeth Spiers stood in the middle of the room with her party kitty-cat face on, the Huffington Post's Melissa Lafsky behind her, in an odd but great sharply v-cut sort of grey coat-dress. Banker-gone-novelist Dana Vachon rolled in with a white pocket square in his blazer pocket and a tall woman. "The best thing about when Dana enters a room is that everyone is all arrrgh, because his book is actually good," someone said.
Maybe getting dressed-up is back.
There's a fourth room at the Beatrice Inn, in the back, up seven steep stairs. It has the DJ booth, and a black and white diagonal checked floor, and it's ringed by red banquettes. "No Dancing" is written on a wall mirror in small red script. A shaggy man was dancing alone to "When Doves Cry."
Then Wham!'s "Everything She Wants" was playing and the man himself, Maer Roshan, was standing by the front door, talking with Rachel Sklar of the Huffington Post. He was all in black, or if not, he seemed like he was. He was in a good mood! He had a magazine.
Outside, a guy named Vince, in a cap and a houndstooth coat, wasn't on the list. "I can't come in," he said. Five women left together. "Grand Central?" one asked. "The 10:02!" another said. Oh, it's like that. And then Patrick Huguenin was working the doorman really hard for something. Good for him. He and Ben Widdicombe had gotten there early and they had a drink a few doors down beforehand, at the Cubbyhole.
Someone wondered what plans or schemes might be in store for Gawker. They were told that the new managing editor was planning to run it into the ground in two months. Maybe three months, tops! A Radar staffer had a suggestion. "You know how you could kill Gawker? Start a print magazine."