Designer Chip Kidd’s Band Gives Live Happy Ending

Kidd demonstrates his technique. Photo: Alex Littlefield

Love was in the air at the Happy Ending Music and Reading Series last night: The crowd was feeling it for book super-designer Chip Kidd and his Potter-esque eyewear; Kidd for his boyfriend; and series founder Amanda Stern for — who else? — Sufjan Stevens. “We’re betroothed. Betrothed? Whatever, we’re gonna get fucking married,” she randomly gushed during the night's introduction, before admitting to being “fucking drunk” (“I had two drinks on an empty stomach”). Drunk or not, Stern insists each Happy Ending artist take a risk onstage, and Kidd stepped up to the challenge by unveiling artbreak, a band he formed with bassist and fellow Penn State alum Marco Petrilli — and whose guitarist and drummer were found at the last minute. But everything went smoothly. Kidd, who has created jackets for such luminaries as Cormac McCarthy, David Sedaris, and John Updike, introduced original tunes like “Filigree” (“a love song for my boyfriend”) and “Asymmetrical Girl” (“the big new-wave dance number — the Go-Gos meet Joy Division”) before sinking into a Chet Baker croon for the Peanuts classic “Christmastime Is Here.” It was a fine cover, even by the designer's standards. —Alex Littlefield