Don't tell Esquire editor-in-chief David Granger that the concept of "magabrands"—magazines that have "extended" their "brands" to new media, old media and non-media"—is out-of-control bankrupt. Esquire North is the magazine's sprawling Harlem three-level condo on Central Park North; each room and everything in it was decorated by an Esquire advertiser. To have the honor of furnishing arcade seats in eel skin in the gaming room, both Kenneth Cole and Intel had to purchase at least one page (ooh!) of advertising. Last night all these brands threw a party for Riverkeeper. We don't care really about fisheries on the Hudson, but we do care about Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is the main litigator for the environmental outfit. He is so boyishly handsome and so charismatic and so, well, Kennedy-like! Semi-socialite Melissa Berkelhammer stood alone near the panini bar as Kennedy gave a speech. And—was she wearing a sad pony mask?
Wait, no, she wasn't!
Bobby Kennedy spoke ardently and raspily of the need to protect our fisheries. He suffers from a vocal disorder called spasmodic dysphonia (just like NPR's Diane Rehm!) which gives his voice an intensely scratchy quality. We watched him on a projection screen though he was a few feet away. A girl wearing gold body paint fluttered her long fake eyelashes as Kennedy spoke about sturgeon.
And then we met the Esquire demographic!
As soon as Kennedy finished, the "World Famous *BoB*" took to a bit of floor in "the Versace room" and took off most of her clothes. It was burlesque. Men smoked cigars that had just been rolled for them, their collars turned up. "It's almost picture time!" one said and whipped out a digital camera. *BoB* made her tassled pasties swing in opposing circles. "Dude, that was fucking awesome," said one, high-fiving another.
After a few more women denuded themselves, Grandmaster Flash took the turn tables. He started off the set with "Rapper's Delight." Drunk Esquire-reading lads in arlequino masks wildly flailed. He asked them to say "ho" and they did. A bit later a wealthy white woman approached two large gay black men. They were wearing crushed velvet suits and dancing to Beyoncé. She held her mask in one hand, the train of her gown in the other. She began to grind against the crotch of one of the men, he shot a glance to his partner. She was being naughty and she knew it! Nearby, Bobby had taken off his jacket and rolled up his sleeves. He was dancing.
As the night ended, the partygoers grabbed their giftbags. There was: A bottle of Hennessy VS in a tall Lufthansa leather bottle bag, a pair of socks, a copy of Esquire, and the insane booklet produced regarding the apartment and its designers and fellow citizens of Planet Magabrand.
Most folks made a beeline to their waiting Town Cars. On the subway platform though, a few gift bags had been left behind. They had been divested of the Hennessy; the Esquire was left behind.