Appropriately enough, the award-winning recording artist Moby, nicknamed for his ancestor Herman Melville's great white whale, joined the Young Literati's party Thursday to read to the group from the classic American novel.
"My dad gave me the name 10 minutes after I was born," said Moby, who is actually named Richard Melville Hall. Calling the nickname ironic, owing to his tiny size at the time, he later said, "I don't think that either of my parents thought that 47 years later, I would still be saddled with my infant joke nickname."
Other "readers" at the Annenberg Beach House in Santa Monica included actor Colin Hanks, of "Dexter," "Orange County" and "Parkland"; author Mark Z. Danielewski of "House of Leaves" and "Only Revolutions"; and author Attica Locke of "The Cutting Season" and "Black Water Rising."
Dhani Harrison, son of the late Beatle George Harrison, and his band, thenewno2, came to perform, while artist Shepard Fairey served as the night's DJ.
The cocktail party celebrated Amanda Fairey's new role as chair of Young Literati -- a support group for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles -- which is targeted at Angelenos in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Previously, Amanda and her husband had been honorary chairs.
Although the term "honorary" quite often means "in name only," in the past two years the couple has helped recruit Russell Brand, Sarah Silverman, Demetri Martin, Jack Black, Busy Philipps, Miranda July and Eric Garcetti, among others, to give readings at the YL's annual "Toasts."
During the evening Locke talked about "Moby-Dick," which others have described over the decades as "poetic, brilliant, a magnificent mess, provocative, confounding and the greatest American novel." In a contemporary note, she added that that more than a quarter-million users of Goodreads.com rated "Moby-Dick" higher than "The Scarlet Letter" and lower than "Fifty Shades of Grey."
The 300 guests also included Doors drummer John Densmore; artist Gary Baseman; John Nein, senior programmer for the Sundance Film Festival; city librarian John Szabo, and library foundation president Ken Brecher.
Unofficially, the night also launched "What Ever Happened to Moby Dick," or what organizers described as a "Moby Dick" moment in Los Angeles. The month-long look at the author and his novel will also include programs at city libraries, a screening at the Hammer Museum, and a multimedia event on the Broad Stage.