Thursday, July 14, 2011

Algonquin Round Table

The Algonquin Round Table. Dorothy Parker: (1893–1967): Vanity Fair drama critic, New Yorker critic. Celebrated poet, short-story writer, playwright. Wrote Hollywood screenplays. Champion for social justice.

If you look at Dorothy, the author of "Concrete Blonde" and many other writings, in this photo of her with members of the Algonquin Round Table, you have to admit, she was kind of hot for a chick from 1919 until roughly 1929. The Algonquin Round Table were a group of her contemporaries who met at the the Algonquin Hotel which is still up and running (the hotel not the table). They simply got to hanging out there and at some point, had to get a larger table, which was done.
"The Algonquin Round Table was a group of journalists, editors, actors and press agents that met on a regular basis at the Algonquin Hotel in New York. [Gathering initially as part of a practical joke, members of "The Vicious Circle," as they dubbed themselves, met for lunch each day beginning] in June 1919 and continued on a regular basis for about eight years. There has never been another group quite like them in American popular culture or entertainment.The group contributed to hit plays, bestselling books and popular newspaper columns. Their impact is still felt today."

This was a rather prestigious group, the core of which was, Dorothy Parker; Alexander Woollcott; Robert Benchley, and Edna Ferber. Then there were the others: Harpo Marx; Murdock Pemberton; Herman J. Mankiewicz,  Press agent, early New Yorker drama critic; cowrote plays with Kaufman, produced Marx Brothers movies, won an Oscar for co-writing Citizen Kane; Harold Ross (founded The New Yorker magazine with his wife Jane Grant); and yet others. Many of these members were to become Pulitzer Prize winners.

There is a film, "Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle", which was a critical but not financial success. I enjoyed it greatly, even with its flaws

Even in being a part of a group like this, we can see Dorothy was pretty normal in some very normal ways, albeit in many ways she was far from normal in many other ways. Her self doubt can be exemplified in this telegram she sent:

Writer's write, they say, but even writers have moments that keep them from writing, or allow them to write but what they write is simply not up to par for them. We all go through it. It's okay.

To this day, there are groups interested in the Round Table and Dorothy, as in the Dorothy Parker Society which was founded in 1999. The Mission of the Society:

1. To promote the work of Dorothy Parker;
2. To introduce new readers to the work of Dorothy Parker;
3. To expand the fan base of Dorothy Parker;
4. To have as much fun as possible;
5. To take part in service projects in the spirit of Dorothy Parker.

I have enjoyed many of her writings for a long time and some of her words are humorously legendary. And so I will leave you with some:
  • A little bad taste is like a nice dash of paprika.
  • Brevity is the soul of lingerie.
  • I don't care what is written about me so long as it isn't true.
  • I might repeat to myself slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound - if I can remember any of the damn things.
  • I've never been a millionaire but I just know I'd be darling at it.If all the girls who attended the Yale prom were laid end to end, I wouldn't be a bit surprised.
If wild my breast and sore my pride,
I bask in dreams of suicide,
If cool my heart and high my head
I think "How lucky are the dead. 
  • If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.
  • Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves.
  • The best way to keep children home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant--and let the air out of the tires.
  • This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.
  • That would be a good thing for them to cut on my tombstone: Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment.

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