“We’re having a lot more fun than we did on Liberty Island!” said Tina Brown, the czarina of The Daily Beast, at her Web site’s launch party last night in the Meatpacking District.
No, it didn’t quite have the extravagance, say, of that 1999 Talk launch party on Liberty Island, where more than 800 movie stars and celebrities—invites went out to everyone from Henry Kissinger to Madonna—mingled and got drunk in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty.
Well, those were different times.
Ms. Brown’s launch party last night was at… Pop Burger on Ninth Avenue. Maybe this is the New Media reality.
At this party, Harvey Weinstein didn’t make the guest list, but “Fast Eddie” Felsenthal, the executive editor of The Daily Beast, sure did (and that was his nickname at The Wall Street Journal, we’re told!). And instead of nearly a thousand arriving by ferry, this one had a few dozen people who had to take the ACE or the L. Everyone went home by a quarter to nine.
There were free sliders.
“I’m loving the party!” Ms. Brown said. “I’m loving all the kids who write for us. It’s a time to celebrate.”
She said The Daily Beast rented out the back end of this restaurant—and mind you, in the front, you could still order a burger and onion rings even if you weren’t on this invite list—because it was so close to the Web site’s home at the IAC/InterActive Corp Building.
“We didn’t have to go very far,” she said.
Ms. Brown stressed her excitement for the Web. She said that she “would never go back to print.”
Since we’re curious about the changing nature of the web, particularly when it comes to this week’s story on Hillary Clinton, we asked her what she thought about the prospective Madame Secretary—especially since she’s completing a biography of her.
“I think they’re trying to figure out legally, and in every possible way, the ways for Bill [Clinton] to divest,” she said. “There’s a need to nail down that there are no conflict of interests. I think Hillary will do the job if it can be nailed down, that’s what I think.”
She said that Senator Clinton will bring a “great deal of star power and she’ll hit the ground running.”
And does she think that Hillary actually wants the job?
“I think she does, yeah,” Ms Brown said.
With that settled, we moved to President-Elect Obama and his family. Ms. Brown is responsible for transforming our image in the 1980s of the First Family. They’re royalty too! Just like the British. Do the Obamas have the same star power as the Reagans?
“I think the President is always the most powerful person in the world,” she said. “But I think the Obamas, as the first black family, are going to be extraordinarily historic and glamorous and iconic, and by being the first that will always make them exceptional.”
And can we expect any famous photos from The Daily Beast like the Harry Benson shot of Nancy dancing with Ronnie in 1985 for Vanity Fair?
“We do do a lot of galleries now,” she said. “There are already so many fantastic pictures out there.”
Share the wealth!
Eventually, it was time to go and Ms. Brown went over to a bench with a pile of jackets toward the front of the restaurant. She started digging through the coats on the banquette and murmured, “I thought I left my husband’s coat here… He’s going to kill me.”
Ms. Brown eventually went to the coat-check and returned with two coats in hand, along with her husband, Sir Harold Evans. They were out the door, very quietly, at 8:41 p.m.