Young Literati Summer Party
The great American tale of the great white whale has remained a source of intrigue for more than 170 years.
Yet the fact that few people have actually read the book came clear at the Young Literati‘s Aug. 29 summer party at the Annenberg Beach House in Santa Monica. The agenda: celebrity readings from the 1851 classic by actor Colin Hanks, authors Mark Z. Danielewski and Attica Locke and appropriately enough, recording superstar Moby.
(Click here to read my story in the Los Angeles Times online “All the Rage” section and in print Sept. 8, in both cases accompanied by pictures by the Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Lawrence K. Ho. You’ll find more about the party and my own pictures below.)
So who’s read “Moby Dick?”
Colin Hanks of “Dexter,” “Orange County” and “King Kong” said he’s already started taking his 2-year old daughter to the library, yet the actor admitted he hadn’t read “Moby Dick.” He said the section chosen for him to read that night was the only one he’d ever read.
“Turns out, this is the book that almost everybody doesn’t finish,” said Library Foundation president Ken Brecher to the crowd, which he called “the coolest, the most interesting, smartest group of young, wonderful people in Los Angeles.” The group, mostly in their 20s, 30s and 40s, supports the Library Foundation of Los Angeles.
Brecher then confessed that he had not only graduated from Cornell University as an English major, but had also written a paper on “Moby Dick” without having read the book. “It’s terrible,” he said, “but I have now read it. I have finished it, and I loved it. I absolutely loved it.”
Of course, it’s no wonder Moby Dick hasn’t been popular in the modern age. As Locke pointed out, “Of the book’s 135 chapters, 17 are solely devoted to whale anatomy and behavior.” She then added, “I’m a writer. You have to be a badass to just think I’m going to digress here and do 17 chapters about whale anatomy.”
On the other hand, I once saw a one man show, “Sidney Bechet Killed a Man,” in which the main character reads no other book. “Why read anything else when you can read ‘Moby Dick?'” he says during the play.
And Dhani Harrison, there to perform with his group, thenewno2, said he’d read the book in school twice. In fact, he said he shares an Aug, 1 birthday with Herman Melville.
The son of Beatle George Harrison (and looking very much like a younger version) and Hawthorne native Olivia Harrision, Dhani Harrison has his own record label, H.O.T. Records in Santa Monica, the H.O.T. standing for his home town, Henley on Thames.
New YL chair Amanda Fairey and artist deejay Shepard Fairey…
Artist Shepard Fairey acted as the night’s DJ, while Amanda Fairey officially took the reigns as YL’s new chair.
Describing the stars the couple has enticed to participate in YL events over the years as “friends, colleagues, heroes of ours,” she said, “A lot of them have stayed connected with the library and that’s been great.”
A few more guests and a Moby Dick tribute…
Also showing up for this event were “Doors” drummer John Densmore, author of “The Doors: Unhinged;” artist/photographer Ildi Ko; artist Gary Baseman; Rachel Martin and her mom, Elaine Beame; John Nein, senior programmer for the Sundance Film Festival; City Librarian John Szabo; and Rebecca Rickman, executive producer of “My Moby,” which will take place Oct. 5 at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica, as part of “What Ever Happened to Moby Dick?”
That question headlines a celebration of the novel, consisting of 93 programs throughout the city, sponsored by the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Public Library and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Top photo: The award-winning recording artist Moby, a descendant of “Moby Dick” author Herman Melville, was among celebrity readers at the Young Literati Summer Party for supporters of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles (photo: SocietyNewsLA.com)
Second photo: Artist Shepard Fairey played deejay, while Amanda Fairey took over as the group’s chair of the Young Literati Summer Party for supporters of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles (photo: SocietyNewsLA.com)
Third photo: Gina Gonzalez with celebrity readers Colin Hanks, left, and author Mark Z. Danielewski, right, at the Young Literati Summer Party for supporters of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles (photo: SocietyNewsLA.com)
Fourth photo: Dhani Harrison, center, performed with the thenewno2 at the Young Literati Summer Party for supporters of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles (photo: SocietyNewsLA.com)
Fifth photo: Artist/photographer Ildi Ko and John Densmore of “The Doors” at the Young Literati Summer Party for supporters of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles (photo: SocietyNewsLA.com)
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Young Literati Summer Party
Published Aug. 30, 2013 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA