Daddy issues were on display at this week’s meeting of Café Society, an unusually stylish self-described literary salon that operates out of Amy Sacco’s Chelsea club, No. 8. It was the group’s second-ever reading, and the theme was “Daddy’s Girls, Divorce and Displacement,” an alliterative and timely pre–Father’s Day follow-up to its first outing, “Coming of Age.”
The Cut asked Café Society hostess and Who Town novelist Susan Kirschbaum what her father read to her growing up. “He used to make up a story for me before bed every night about two little girls, Sally and Susan,” she said. “I was Susan, of course.”
Who was Sally?
“Oh, a neighbor girl. I always kind of liked Sally better … ” Kirschbaum began, before getting interrupted by hostess duties.
Parker Posey held court in a booth behind the podium — “stage directing,” the invite said — and told the Cut that her father is a natural storyteller. “He was telling made-up stories to me ever since I was a tiny little girl,” she said. “He told me and my twin brother that he was an Indian a hundred years ago. And in kindergarten, when they asked what our dad did, my brother raised his hand and said that our dad was an Indian a hundred years ago.”
Socialite and filmmaker Arden Wohl, the group’s “poet-in-residence,” was out owing to dental surgery. But her understudy, Monique Erickson (daughter of the Erickson Beamon jewelry designers), was a dead ringer for Wohl, in a jeweled headband, a bohemian pink dress, and white canvas sneakers. Former “Page Six” gossip Paula Froelich read a piece of childhood memoir that provided ample context for her recent travel diary about enduring a week at sea with her “born-again, gun-collecting tea partier” dad, published in the New York Post.
Oprah.com editor Leigh Newman read from Still Points North, her memoir of growing up in the Alaskan wilderness with her father, a spinal surgeon and pilot who hunted Caribou. She said it was her papa who introduced her to Papa. “From an early age, he was reading Hemingway to me because he basically is Hemingway,” she said. Another important text was Roald Dahl’s Danny, Champion of the World. “It’s about a young boy poaching pheasants in the forest, and at that time, my dad and I were running around on the tundra. I had a little .22 rifle. I gave my 7-year-old the book and he’s like, ‘What the hell is this, mom?’ He’s such a city kid.”
The open bar was serving nearly lethal vodka cocktails, and by 10 p.m. the audience was too rowdy for a planned Q&A between Newman and Kirschbaum. Posey grabbed me on my way out to add, “My dad also told me, when I was 5 years old, that I was never going to grow any taller.”