On Jan. 27, literary aficionados attended inaugural gala to celebrate the House of Speakeasy’s first year’s success at City Winery. With a sold-out event, Speakeasy introduced their Seriously Entertaining series with “Plays with Matches, a literary cabaret of sizzling ideas” that will take place at the same venue throughout this spring.
The new non-profit is an arts initiative that is focused on uniting cultural entertainment with a community outreach. The night began with The Borowitz Report creator, Andy Borowitz. Borowitz gave comical commentary that made the house burst in applause constantly. "Happy families all alike, unhappy families, they are all Russian."
Adam Gopnik from the New Yorker was the first writer to present and with detailed storytelling, the crowd sympathized with his forgetful anecdote about pluralism and individualism.
To add diversity to the night’s repertoire, the next author was also from the New Yorker but this time it was Susan Orlean, a red headed woman like she joked about. Orlean told a story about when she had just moved to New York City, and how “part of the nature of New York is that you simply accept things.” Her confusion about royalty papaya named hot dog stores was simply refreshing and fascinating to hear.
Uma Thurman went on stage right before intermission. The actress hosted "Tip of My Tongue"; an intellectually challenging trivia for literary lovers which included passages from "Frankenstein," "Moby Dick," and "Fire and Ice" by Robert Frost.
Next up was Simon Winchester, presented as a British spy for the Falklands war by Borowitz. His story had perfect timing. It involved a detailed grotesque telling of his job of prepping corpses at the local morgue, and it was told right when dinner was served.
Singer-songwriter Dar Williams closed up the night with melodically tunes, while guests enjoyed dessert in a corpse-free environment.
Estefania Garcia-Correa contributed reporting.