Anthony Haden-Guest is a writer (sometimes for this magazine), a fighter, and generally a man about town. He’s also supposedly the inspiration for Peter Fallow, the journalist character in Tom Wolfe’s novel, Bonfire of the Vanities. In short, the septuagenarian has lived. But two years ago, much of the accumulated evidence of that life was summarily sold off. Haden-Guest had his personal papers, along with an art collection valued at more than $1 million by some estimates, sold off after he’d failed to pay $1,350 worth of storage charges. Haden-Guest, a Brit by birth, was in London when Public Storage sold the lot to a professional storage-lot profiteer for $630. (Haden-Guest says he was only notified once, by e-mail.) Now, the new owner says he’s selling off the stuff, and Haden-Guest is trying to prevent that from happening. The problem: He’s got to come up with $350,000 to stop the guy from doing it, the amount at which the court valued his art collection. The solution? The famous partygoer is going to throw a party!
He’s charging $30 admission to the Maritime Hotel’s Hiro Ballroom on February 15, during Fashion Week. Famous and less-famous performer friends will do readings and sets, including his cousin Matt Katz Bohen, the keyboardist from Blondie. Haden-Guest will read a bit from his poem-in-progress Public Storage Blues.”I think it’s a pretty good idea, don’t you?” Haden-Guest asked Intel. (Rather depends on who the “major performer,” whose identity Haden-Guest is keeping secret “as a shameless exercise in excitement-building,” according to his press release, might be!) He doesn’t expect to recoup the $350,000 — “could be 2 people; there could be 2,000” — and he’s pursuing legal action, which seems more likely to yield fruit than the benefit party.
But mostly, Haden-Guest just wants to draw awareness to his cause: the tyranny of American storage companies in this space-starved city. “If you ask around, you’ll find many, many, many people have had horrible storage experiences. It’s just one of those New York things.” So what does he do with his excess stuff now? Has he been too burned by storage to avoid it? God, no. “I have lots of stuff in storage in the U.K. I’m always falling behind. They don’t mind.”