ink-stained wretches

Go to China With ‘Times’ Reporter Allen Salkin!

Stalkin’ Salkin.Photo: newscom

Want to keep up with the exciting life of New York Times “Sunday Styles” reporter Allen Salkin? Just join his Yahoo Group, Salkin Stories!

A sporadic personal newsletter, Salkin Stories is kind of like one of those embarrassingly unselfconscious “here’s what everyone’s up to” newsletters that families send out at Christmas — except it’s all about one guy, and it goes out to a lot of people, many who don’t actually know Salkin.

The most recent epistle contains links to the Times reporter’s most recent Times stories, solicits sources for his friend Charles Duhigg as well as ukulele players (a trend piece in the works? We’ll look for it!), and invites readers to join Salkin on upcoming expeditions to Williamsburg’s Fette Sau (“I will be arriving around 6pm and would like you there not long after that”) and — thrillingly — Beijing, where one is invited to attend Olympic events with and bunk down with the Salkmeister himself. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he stresses.

Indeed. Which is why we’ve decided to make sure that you, dear readers, get a chance to board the Salkin train before it pulls out of the station. But you’d better act fast, and be on your best behavior! “I may get a lot of responses,” Allen writes. “So I will put together the most compatible group I can.”

From: Allen Salkin [redacted]
Date: July 17, 2008 12:52:41 PM EDT
To: allen salkinsstories
Subject: [salkinsstories] Must Read – Join me cheaply at the Beijing Olympics? (and a BBQ outing and more news)

Fellow Olympians,

In addition to notifying you that free lodging and face value tickets are available for 1 to 4 people to join me at the Beijing Games, I am also writing to let you know about a BBQ outing July 29th in Brooklyn, an article I wrote for the new HEEB magazine about a fascinating murder that happened in my high school, a plea for story help from a fellow reporter, and a link to some other recent stories, including one on The Who!!! Onward!

1/ Olympics. Due to job and family responsibilities, the folks who were to join me in Beijing for the Olympics can not come. What this means is I have face-value tickets to numerous events and a FREE PLACE TO STAY for a few people. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. All you have to do is get yourself to Beijing. This will be my 7th Olympics and I have done all the hard work of ordering tickets nearly two years in advance and securing a place to stay. I did an apartment swap for my place in New York, so I have a place for free in Beijing.

What I am looking for are one to four people who are interested in coming the days of August 15th through the 23rd. There is some flexibility on either side of that. I have two to four extra tickets for events during that period for events including Track and Field, Diving, Boxing, Soccer, Weightlifting, Volleyball and Archery. It is also likely that there will be some surplus tickets for other events available through official outlets inBeijing during the Games. You would pay me face value for the tickets I have, which for one person to attend 10 different events would come to about $275 total.

This is all happening in less than a month. Please write me back as soon as possible if you are interested. I may get a lot of responses, so I will put together the most compatible group I can. At this time, I am not interested in selling any of the tickets individually. I would rather have some friends along with me to enjoy this experience. So get onto Orbitz and see if you can make it work for you! (There are fares from New York for about $1,600 roundtrip, LA for about $1,200, and you can also consider Cathay Pacific’s All-Asia pass which allows you to fly to Asia and then to as many Asian cities as you can handle in a month for less than $2,000). Do I need to repeat what a spectacular opportunity this is?


2/ BBQ Outing July 29. Come!

Closer to home, it’s time to continue the tour of NYC BBQ joints, this time with a trip to the much lauded Fette Sau in Williamsburg. Deal is there are outdoor picnic tables which fill up tres fast, so we need to get there early. I will be arriving around 6pm and would like you there not long after that (but if you want to come and maybe have to sit elsewhere, can come til 7). Let me know asap if you can come, so I can get a head count. We had about 15 people last time (at RUB) and it was great (although Hill Country’s Q was much better, meat-taste-wise). Extremely delicious beer is also sold.

Fette Sau

L – train to Lorimer Street.

354 Metropolitan Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Phone: (718) 963-3404

Allen’s cell: [redacted]


3/ See HEEB magazine’s summer issue for more than just the pull-out swimsuit calendar featuring hot Jewish models (one wielding a metal detector on the beach, the other with a fishing pole that has snagged a lox.) Pick up an issue to read my article “Trouble at the Rosenkrantz Ranch,” about an infamous 1985 murder at Calabasas High School. A short preview is available here: (and note the comment, likely written by the subject of the piece, I think.)


4/ I have an article in today’s Arts section of the NY Times about The Who. For those who have known me for a long time, you can imagine what an uber thrill it was for me to interview Messrs Daltrey and Townshend. The Daltrey interview was done in the back of an SUV as we drove from a rehearsal space in Burbank to a doctor in Beverly Hills. Like everybody else smart, Daltrey has an aversion to over-antibioticking, but was finally going to take a course of ‘em to be in shape for the VH1 show which taped Saturday and is airing tonight (July 17). He also said the Keith Moon movie is on hold until he gets a script he likes. He is a fan of Arsenal. Read todays story here:

And read other recent stories, including screeds on Montauk, Christie Brinkley, Lance Armstrong, and, tangentially, Grey Gardens, here:


5/ Any Ukulele players out there? Write me: [redacted]


6/ My colleague Charles Duhigg is working on a story and sends out the following plea for help:


I’m a writer with the New York Times, working on a project about personal transformative change.

I’m examining how change occurs, and I’m hoping to find stories of people who have transformed their lives. People who, after years of bad habits or unhealthy lifestyles, found ways to change their daily routines. Or, stories of people who had healthy habits, but still found ways to make small but meaningful changes that had profound implications in their lives.

For instance, I’m hoping to find people who have lost significant amounts of weight after years of unhealthy lifestyles, or who dramatically transformed their careers, or who found professional or personal success after struggling for years. I’m particularly interested in finding dramatic stories that give readers insight into how these changes occurred and that explain what techniques or rules people used to make their changes sustainable.

Finally, I’m also hoping to find stories that have not already been covered by the media.

If you are someone who has changed your life, or you know someone who has changed their life, I would really enjoy hearing from you and learning a little bit about your transformation. You don’t have to live in New York .

Please contact me at [redacted] And, please feel free to put “Change Project” in the subject line, so your email will evade our spam filters.

Thanks. I look forward to hearing from you,

Charles Duhigg


Be well!

We took out his e-mail and phone number because we felt guilty and also because our lawyers would probably be pissed if we left them in. But if you really want to go to China with Allen … well, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Now be well!


Go to China With ‘Times’ Reporter Allen Salkin!