Girls in the Hood

The Great Neck Literary Mafia: L-R, Raship, Amato, organizer Jonathan Aubrey, Hamburg Coplan, Sonenberg, and Fertig

Well, the “girls” were all around my age, the participants were all a shade whiter than vanilla, and the “hood” was the tony Long Island enclave of Great Neck (a.k.a West Egg in The Great Gatsby), but other than that, yesterday’s event at Great Neck Library featuring the Countess was plenty ghetto. Indeed, I had to ask one of the audience members to turn down his boom box  and he threatened to “pop a cap upside [my] ass.”*

In reality the event was a smash success. Attendance was SRO (and there were over 100 seats), and the Countess held her own on the dais with WNYC radio’s education reporter Beth Fertig, free-lance journalists Nina Sonenberg and Jill Hamburg Coplan, and spoken word artist E. Amato, all of whom grew up in Great Neck [censored] years ago. The ladies talked about their lives and work and the challenges of being a writer of any sort in this rather catastrophic age when print media is dying right before our very eyes. Their audience of fans had a million questions (always the test of a good panel) and they nearly sold out the stock of books, including Plays and Playwrights 2008, which contains the Countess’s Antarctica.

How good was this event? Let’s just say I didn’t even mind missing Larry Storch’s 88th birthday party at the New York Comedy Club later that evening. I am that crazy about the Countess.

* Didn’t actually happen.


  1. I must say I wake up every morning to the sound of Beth Fertig’s voice telling me something about the NY school system (which generally doesn’t apply to me in any way).


    • Yeah, New York’s a weird town. That the schools dept is so huge there can be a whole education beat that can keep a small army of reporters busy!


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