Long Branch — She was a media celebrity, decades before they invented the phrase. A hard-partying rehab veteran, back when such things were kept strictly confidential. A crusader for civil rights, in an age when that was considered career suicide. An Oscar nominated screenwriter, back when a serious author simply didn’t socialize with THOSE people.
If you’d asked Dorothy Parker to her face, she would have insisted only that she was a true New Yorker — and would never have owned up to being born inside a summer cottage in the West End section of Long Branch. But on November 13, ready or not, New Jersey claims Dorothy Parker as its own — when the eminently quotable essayist, storyteller, poet and pundit is inducted for all time into the state’s Hall of Fame.
The embrace of Parker as a favorite daughter of the Garden State is exciting news to Parkerphiles on the Jersey Shore, where Dorothy Rothschild was born in the “crossfire hurricane” of colliding coastal storms on August 22, 1893 — and where a local event celebrates her legacy in the lead-up to the Hall of Fame ceremony.
On Thursday, November 13, the Long Branch Arts Council invites the public to an evening of readings from Parker’s vast and varied body of work — with a series of guest readers serving up a smorgasbord of selections from the author’s comic poetry, critical reviews, correspondence and quotable commentary.
Scheduled for 7 p.m. inside the Long Branch Free Public Library at 328 Broadway, the event features special guest speaker Kevin C. Fitzpatrick of the Dorothy Parker Society, reading from The Algonquin Round Table New York: A Historical Guide, his forthcoming book on the legendary literary circle of which Parker was a charter member.
Following the conclusion of the Library program, Mix Lounge at 71 Brighton Avenue invites attendees to meet for an informal cocktail reception, during which the Dorothy-themed specials are sure to flow as freely as the witty bons mots, the rapierlike repartee and the potent quotables.
That same evening, Dorothy Parker will be among the famous sons and daughters of New Jersey honored at the annual Hall of Fame ceremony, taking place inside Asbury Park’s iconic Convention Hall. She’ll be joining a Class of 2014 that also boasts NBC News anchor Brian Williams, jazz great Dizzy Gillespie, basketball superstar Patrick Ewing, 19th century activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, former Governor Jim Florio, actor James Gandolfini and several others, during a program that promises a Shore-shot of surprises.
The Long Branch Arts Council and the City of Long Branch are sponsors of the Dorothy Parker events in Long Branch, with co-sponsorship assistance from the Long Branch Free Public Library, The Long Branch Council of the Arts, The Long Branch Historical Association and the Long Branch Chapter of the Dorothy Parker Society.
LBAC members thanked Kevin C. Fitzpatrick and the members of the Dorothy Parker Society for their vigorous campaign in getting Dorothy Parker nominated to the New Jersey Hall of Fame.
More information on the New Jersey Hall of Fame is available at njhalloffame.org.