Last night there was a terrific tribute to David Rakoff, held at the Symphony Space uptown. I was the host to an amazing lineup of David’s friends, who read pieces from The Uncollected David Rakoff, which has just been published by Anchor Books. I wrote a Foreward to the collection: if, like most people, you’re a longtime Rakoff fan, the book features many of Davi’s finest and most hilarious essays, and if you’re a newbie, it’s a great introduction to the Rakoff canon. The book also includes the full text of Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish, David’s masterwork, which is, of all things, a delightful epic poem.
The evenings’ stellar readers included Jodi Lennon, Dave Hill, Patricia Marx, Jackie Hoffman, Simon Doonan, Randy Cohen, Julie Klausner and Jon Glaser. I especially treasure Simon’s rendition of “The Love That Dare Not Squeak Its Name”, David’s sublime meditation on Stuart Little, the gayest mouse ever.
The place was packed, with David’s fans and family. Patty Marx and I commiserated over how, since we’re both obsessives, we’d brought two copies of what we’d be saying and reading, in case one copy was lost or stolen. Jackie did an especially sensational job with her excerpt from Love, Dishonor, speaking in verse and portraying multiple characters. All of the pieces were touching and funny and gorgeously written, so the evening was both a celebration of a wonderful writer, and a lament for a life cut tragically short, at age 47.
Here’s an especially memorable video, of David’s last appearance on This American Life: