Attending Church With Father Glenn O’Brien: Last Night’s ‘Penance’ Celebration

The candlelit storefront at the Chelsea hotel couldn’t have been a more perfect venue for Glenn O’Brien’s Penance book signing. More than vaguely resembling the inside of an old church with its massive pillars and its decrepit, exposed ceiling, the pews, confessional, and candles only drove home the already apparent theme. Guests including the likes of Olivier Zahm, Nemo and Kacey Librizzi, and Natalie Joos gathered at the “church” so as to have “Father” Glenn O’Brien resolve their sins by way of a signature on a copy of their books.

Bread and wine were served as customary of mass. Patrons lounged on pews, kneeled on a Prie-dieu placed before “Father” Glenn (who was seated in an overstuffed leather chair) and chatted about in small groups all toting freshly bought copies of Penance.

O’Brien conceived the idea of hosting a modern-day confessional back in 2012, a place where he would offer penance and absolve sinners within the sacred walls of the Chelsea Hotel. However, unlike a traditional confessional, artworks by Richard Prince were on display within the booth and swimsuit model Michelle Vawer was dressed as a nun acting as his assistant.

Penance is a collection of transcripts of the confessions as collected by O’Brien. The book is wrapped in a full-size Richard Prince poster and includes a baseball card featuring O’Brien in full priest regalia.

The crowd gravitated around O’Brien all evening, each individual waiting their turn to have their book signed and to offer their words of admiration to The Style Guy. The wine flowed freely all night, which helped to combat the freezing weather that awaited patrons outside of the cozy storefront. And can I get a hallelujah for that?

GLENN O'BRIEN Penance Book Signing  GLENN O'BRIEN Penance Book Signing

Images courtesy of BFA

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