The Date: April 25, 2007
The Venue: The Campbell Apartment, Grand Central Terminal, New York
The Crowd: An intimate collection of journalists, PR professionals, GQ publisher and party host Peter King Hunsinger and Mr. Verklin. We believe co-author Bernice Kanner -- who died last October just as work on the book was wrapping up -- was there in spirit.
The Food: Mini crab cakes, mini quiches, lots of meat on a stick trussed up on a bed of skinny mushrooms and flowers
The Drinks: Wine, both red and white, both disappointing, and Kir Royales, open bar.
Considering the many public appearances that preceded this book launch -- Mr. Verklin's hour-long speeches at both the 4As conference last week and Ad Age's Marquis Marketing event earlier this week, multiple invites and multiple mailings of advanced copies -- the Freeloader was expecting a massive ego-petting fanfare. The intimate gathering at the tiny little alcove that is the Campbell Apartment was anything but.
Velvet rope and bald bouncer aside, the party was an underwhelming affair that sported more journalists from Women's Wear Daily, USA Today, Maxim and Portfolio than heavy-hitting media and advertising mavens. As it turns out, even GQ's editorial staff was absent, all 15 of them having traipsed to the it's-so-cool locale of Austin, Texas, for an annual editorial retreat. (Last year's trip to Amsterdam must have really lacked cultural flavor.)
No, this was a gathering hosted by one friend (Mr. Hunsinger) to celebrate the latest accomplishment of another friend (Mr. Verklin). They dispensed with toasts and speeches (for which we were all grateful) and they, gasp, just hung out. The 30 or 40 attendees were encouraged to drink, eat and quietly peruse the book or GQ's May issue.
As we departed at the early hour of 8 p.m., we were offered copies of the book at the door. It being Freeloader's third copy of the book, we politely declined. (In a fit of pique the morning after, we checked out the soft launch of "Watch This" on Amazon. Released five days ago, there are already 12 used copies for sale. Nuff said.)
Freeloader arrived at our first GQ event dressed to kill and left decidedly nonplussed. We know GQ throws good parties -- it must -- but we obviously aren't invited to them.