For Dorothy Parker On Her Birthday + Parkerfest

Dorothy Parker
was born today in 1893. I dedicated a post to her a few years ago, because I'm such a fan of her writing.

Last week I found an interview with her in the Paris Review just bursting with quotes showing her humor, wit, and understanding. As I read, I wondered if it was close to her birthday again. I saw that it was, so I decided to look a little more for new information about her to share with you today.

Here's an interesting NPR story on how her ashes came to rest in Baltimore. One of the people interviewed is Kevin Fitzpatrick, President of the Dorothy Parker Society.

The Dorothy Parker Society was founded in 1999. Its mission is to promote Dorothy Parker by introducing new readers to her work; expanding her fan base, to have as much fun as possible, and to take part in service projects in the spirit of Dorothy Parker.

She was a strong advocate for social justice and left her precious copyrights to Martin Luther King, Jr.  He was killed within a year of her death and her instructions were that if anything happened to him, that the NAACP should be the beneficiary.

Fitzpatrick runs the Algonquin Round Table website and leads walking tours.The tour begins at the Algonquin Hotel and visits Vicious Circle locations in the Theatre District, Times Square and Hell's Kitchen. It ends with lunch at the Round Table.

According to the hotel's history, the group of writers was talented, but underpaid, so they were treated to free celery and popovers.

The tour sounds like a fun thing to do if you're in New York City. If you happen to be there this week, starting today is Parkerfest, which lasts until Saturday. Below is more information about the event from the website.
The Dorothy Parker Society is pleased to announce the schedule for its 14th annual Parkerfest, to be held August 22-25 in New York City, to celebrate the birthday of the beloved poet, author and critic. The two-borough affair will include a walking tour of Mrs. Parker’s neighborhood, a party and tour in the Brooklyn distillery that produces a gin named in her honor, a one-woman show based on the author’s best material, and a vintage-theme jazz party in a former speakeasy. All events are open to the public.

“Celebrating Dorothy Parker is what the organization is all about,” said Kevin Fitzpatrick, president of the society. “We are thrilled to be taking Parkerfest to new venues and locations this year, starting in Brooklyn.”

As I mentioned above, the interview was full of so many great quotes, that I had to jot down a few. When Parker was asked about the source of most of her work, her reply was, "Need of money, dear."  Here are few more quotes below.

"He and I had an office so tiny that an inch smaller and it would have been adultery."

"All those writers who write about their childhood! Gentle God, if I wrote about mine you wouldn’t sit in the same room with me."

"Wit has truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words."

"It takes me six months to do a story. I think it out and then write it sentence by sentence—no first draft. I can’t write five words but that I change seven."

Happy Birthday Mrs. Parker!

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Chris O said…
Heard of Dorothy Parker but have never read anything about or by her. Will rectify that ASAP! Thanks for this post Lisa. Can't wait to check out the links and read more about her.
Lisa Johnson said…
chris - She was a lady well before her time and so talented. I'm in awe of her.

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