Last night, media types, people with Tumblrs and others braved the oven-style heat to attend the “First Kiss” reading at 92Y Tribeca, the downtown incarnation of the 92nd Street Y. The reason for attending: Journalists and authors would be talking about formative sexual/romantic experiences. People really wanted to hear those stories; tickets had initially sold so fast that 92Y had to move the reading to a bigger performance space.
The event was tied to the release of the one-off First Kiss zine, edited by Marisa Meltzer and Elizabeth Spiridakis, who co-hosted and performed.
For an evening ostensibly focused on first kisses, there sure was a lot of talk about “fingering” (another word for manual stimulation of female genitalia). In fact, there was much more discussion of “fingering” than of basically anything else, kissing included. It was kind of intense, but probably good for the cause of sexual frankness and liberation.
Anyway, first kisses are tough to write about, and several speakers elected to incorporate others’ versions of their stories into their performances. Ex-Gawker blogger, And the Heart Says Whatever author and current literary cooking show host Emily Gould led off the night by reading a Facebook message she had solicited from the boy she first kissed when she was nine. Village Voice senior associate editor Zach Baron, meanwhile, reenacted his first kiss with New York Times writer Jon Caramanica, drawing the script from an actual email exchange between Baron and his first kiss. An initial plan to reenact the scene with the actual woman, and then have her current love punch Baron in the face, had fallen through.
One of the event’s most creative moments came in the form of a video produced by two teenage bloggers, Spencer Tweedy and Tavi Gevinson. They dressed up as old people reminiscing about their first kisses. It was better than it sounds, even if you already think that teenagers dressing up as old people is a hilarious idea.
The final performance was a screed by Vice founder Gavin McInnes. He mentioned the practice of “fisting” and recalled his confusion as a teenage boy about the actual location of women’s private parts.
Other readers on the bill included freelance writer Doree Shafrir and the New York Observer‘s Leon Neyfakh.