Paul Constant

Seven years ago, a lovely bookstore on Pike Street called Pistil Books closed its doors forever. (The former literary storefront is now the Bimbo's/Cha Cha Mexi-Intoxicant Complex.) Thanks to the magic of the information superhighway, Pistil has been selling books online at ever since, and today the hosts are celebrating their 15th anniversary in bookselling with a party at their house, which doubles as Pistil's shipping and receiving warehouse. Guests were told to dress as a famous literary figure and bring a piece of bad art for everyone to enjoy.

Two Dorothy Parkers are here already, and the obvious Tom Wolfe has already made an appearance. Noam Chomsky is out by the barbecue, watching a man in a cowboy hat and leather vest (I ask him, "Are you Larry McMurtry?" and he responds, "Uh... sure! Who's that?") grill up some pork chops. Bookstore owners and filmmakers hobnob over a delicious drink called a Painkiller, which is a creamy, highly alcoholic concoction served out of cold mason jars.

Like every good literary party I've ever attended, there's the aggressive, small woman out on the back porch, smoking way too many cigarettes and relentlessly insulting all the boys, causing them to fall madly in love with her. She's made a dress out of a pastoral-landscape tapestry and is claiming to be Walden Pond. (Swoon!) Inside, there are tons of bad paintings, including a particularly frightening black-velvet portrayal of a child sleeping with a cow. Once the weather clears up a little, the paintings will be screwed to the neighbor's garage. As things wind down and Patty Hearst leaves, faux-McMurtry tells a joke that begins, "So two Jews are standing in front of an evangelical Christian church..." Shockingly, the joke turns out to be inoffensive. recommended

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