Peter Bart’s Neurotic, Nomadic Book Party

Peter Bart couldn’t stop marveling at the caliber of guests at a party for his memoir, Infamous Players, at Upper East Side haunt Desmond’s. “Bill Maher–and Steve Kroft–and Harvey Weinstein!” he raved to The Observer, pointing out guests as they passed by. “I spent my life in journalism–I started with the New York Times” Mr. Bart said, “and then I spent sixteen years in the movie business, and now I have a show on for eight years, so it’s a pretty neurotic life.”

Mr. Bart amended: “Neurotic, or nomadic.”

His summary of his life experience, and Infamous Players itself, somewhat elides his tenure as editor of Variety, the publication now embattled by a resurgent Hollywood Reporter: “They’re different publications! Variety is a trade publication,” Mr. Bart stated, noting he still had a column there. Photographers approached to take a picture of Mr. Bart and Bill Maher together. Mr. Bart’s wife, wearing a dress emblazoned with a sequined camera, advised Bill Maher’s girlfriend: “I’m used to being pushed out of the way.”

“I’ve been reading his column for years… and I love the title of the book, Infamous Players! Could be a lot of fun to read,” said Regis Philbin, who noted that he himself was no infamous player. Was he himself looking forward to retirement? “I’m not retiring, I’m just moving on… I’m just looking for something a little different-before I PASS ON! Into the GREAT WILDERNESS! Goodbye, Regis!” Amid his job search, Mr. Philbin still reads Mr. Bart’s column: “He had a review of The Green Hornet, with all the stoners!”

Calvin Trillin said he wasn’t sure why he’d stopped by: “I left my apartment around noon–and am stopping at parties all along the way to my book group!” He lives way downtown. What was the group reading for this meeting? “I don’t remember!” Mr. Philbin might have a recommendation.

ddaddario@observer.com :: @DPD_

Peter Bart’s Neurotic, Nomadic Book Party