Talks and Readings

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

"The Lost Lectures" Series Reminds You Lectures Can Be Fun

Posted By on Tue, Apr 29, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Choire Sichas lecture at the Lost Lecture series first event in NYC
Sometimes lectures ask a lot of you: maybe you have to wake up at 7am and trek across campus. Maybe you paid thousands of tuition dollars for the privilege. You have to share the fluorescent-lighted lecture space with hundreds of semi-disinterested peers, while a professor talks at you for an hour or more. Or maybe you’re crammed into a boardroom, as your boss clicks through a presentation of third-quarter earnings and fourth-quarter goals. By the time you’ve reached the age at which interesting, free lectures are available to you, maybe you’ve just lost interest.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Matthew Barney: "Homoerotic? I've Always Thought of My Work as Autoerotic"

Posted By on Wed, Apr 2, 2014 at 11:40 AM

matthew barney artist norman rosenthal 92y river of fundament
  • Joyce Culver
Norman Mailer once said he met two geniuses in his life: his father, and Matthew Barney. So said Norman Rosenthal, a notable English curator, by way of introducing the artist at the 92Y last night, whose Mailer-influenced film epic River of Fundament has been showing all over the world. (In New York, at BAM six weeks ago.) Many critics were conflicted about Barney's shit-soaked, six-hour nu-opera—and watching its 15-minute opening scene of self-mutilation, sodomy and sewage-swimming in the 92Y auditorium was slightly awkward—but Rosenthal adores it.

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Friday, April 5, 2013

How to Celebrate National Poetry Month in Brooklyn

Posted By on Fri, Apr 5, 2013 at 3:52 PM


April is National Poetry Month and Brooklyn is celebrating. You should celebrate too because you love Brooklyn and you love poetry and you love Brooklyn poetry. You love all those things, right? Of course you do. But if those aren’t good enough reasons, there is also the fact that the 23rd is Shakespeare’s birthday. So what better time to get down with some mead (and by mead I mean beer) and some poetry? So this month, check out a few of these events and really get into the spirit of April.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Send Us Your Short Fiction! (Literary Upstart Has Returned)

Posted By on Wed, Feb 6, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Brooklyns Lit Scene
  • The magic of storytelling (and booze).

Dear Writer Types, (and those of you who know and/or love writer types)

With an elemental regularity not dissimilar to the annual flooding of the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta, our beloved short fiction contest, Literary Upstart, is happening once again this spring, for the ninth year in a row, in Brooklyn, New York. Specifically, at the most wonderful PowerHouse Arena, in DUMBO (go there now and buy books, you jerks).

In order for the contest to be its usual highbrow/lowbrow fun-time spectacular, we need your submissions of short fiction NOW. If we like yours, you'll end up reading it in front of the fanciest NYC literary people who ever lived, all for a chance at fame and riches. For more details, see below.

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Monday, October 8, 2012

"Rereading David Foster Wallace": Thoughts on the Life, Death, and Work of Someone Who Was a Whole Lot Smarter Than Any of Us

Posted By on Mon, Oct 8, 2012 at 9:28 AM

David Foster Wallaces notes on Don DeLillo. You cant do this if you read on your iPad.
  • David Foster Wallace's notes on Don DeLillo. You can't do this if you read on your iPad.

I had a creative writing teacher in college who, to be quite honest, I'd never really respected that much because all of the short stories she assigned had clearly been culled from the MFA program she'd just finished a year before, and even though they were very good short stories and worth reading, it wasn't an original list and you really got the feeling —or at least I really got the feeling—that each story was the only thing that she had read by any of the authors. It was like she made us a mix that was comprised of "Space Oddity" and "Two Weeks" and "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Empire State of Mind" and "Kiss" and "Sweet Jane" and "Creep" and, I don't know, "Let It Be" and those are all perfectly good songs and maybe totally representative of all of the artists who sing them but they are not really very interesting choices for someone to make when putting together a mix. Like, at all.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Reminder: The Pussy Riot Reading Is Tonight

Posted By on Thu, Aug 16, 2012 at 2:14 PM

Just a quick reminder about tonight's Pussy Riot event. On the eve of the final verdict for Maria Alekhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Ekaterina Samucevich—the three 20-something women arrested for "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" when staging a brief public protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin at a Moscow church—Riot Grrrl pioneer JD Samson, along with art teacher and historian Robert Lieber, have organized a reading to show support of the band.

A slew of writers and activists, including one Chloe Sevigny, will read the touching closing statements of the detained women, as well as some of their prison letters and translated observations from people inside the court room during the trial. The event's free and open to the public (and also set to stream here), making it incredibly easy to show support just like Paul McCartney. At the very least, it'd be good to take a moment to acknowledge the freedoms so many of us here in the States take for granted.

The when and the where:
Liberty Hall at the Ace Hotel (20 W 29th St), doors at 7:30pm, FREE and open the the public. Visit and/or follow @freepussyriot on Twitter for more info on the trial happenings.

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Brooklyn Art Weekend: Distant Futures and Dancing Robots

Posted By on Fri, Jul 20, 2012 at 3:31 PM

Finished? Unfinished? Decide at Regina Rex tonight. Photo courtesy Regina Rex Gallery.
  • Finished? Unfinished? Decide at Regina Rex tonight. Photo courtesy Regina Rex Gallery.

Friday, July 20th:

Performance & discussion: Triple Canopy, Amaranth Borsuk and Erica Baum

Billed as The In-Between, this evening with author-artists Borsuk and Baum, in collaboration with LA-based Siglio Press, will challenge various standards of artistic forms and mediation. One look at Borsuk's recently published Between Page and Screen should evidence that these folks are posing proper questions—and that 'in-betweens' are ripe places for probing.
155 Freeman Street, doors at 7pm

Opening: Regina Rex, Practices Remain

In this 12-artist exhibition with organizational roots in Miami, a particular moment in the creative process will adhere the works on display: a moment one might describe as incomplete completion. Spearheaded by artists Alexandra Hopf, Odalis Valdivieso and Marcos Vallela, with critical endorsement by Rene Morales, Associate Curator at the Miami Art Museum.
1717 Troutman St., 7-10pm

(Saturday and Sunday after the jump.)

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Brooklyn Art Weekend: From Group Showings to Horn Blowings

Posted By on Thu, Jul 12, 2012 at 3:53 PM

Judith Brauns work will be featured along with works by Antonia Perez and Hilda Shen in Pressing Matter, opening this Saturday at Parallel Art Space.
  • Judith Braun's work will be featured along with works by Antonia Perez and Hilda Shen in Pressing Matter, opening this Saturday at Parallel Art Space.

Friday, July 13th:

Opening: Slag Contemporary, Claudia Chaseling: Infiltration

While recent solo shows at Slag have featured a lot of abstract figures, this show of works by Claudia Chaseling will feature abstracted plants and landscapes. Also, according to the press release, radioactive poisoning factors into this somehow.
56 Bogart St., 6-9pm

Opening: Janet Kurnatowski, Summer Snacks

For this savory group exhibition, curatorial wiz Janet Kurnatowski has gathered works on paper by about 20 artists from her fathomless roster.
205 Norman Ave., 7-9pm

(Saturday and Sunday after the jump.)

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Monday, June 25, 2012

The Architecture of Exhibits Opening This Week

Posted By on Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 5:21 PM

So many axonometries in a design that is hardly axonometric. Image courtesy Storefront for Art and Architecture.
  • So many axonometries in a design that is hardly axonometric. Image courtesy Storefront for Art and Architecture.

We mentioned a thing or two last week about galleries going heavy on group exhibitions come summertime, and about how at times these tendencies can make for some savory exhibitional treats.

Two similarly deep group exhibits opening this week—though not quite the 'gallery roster' genre, given the fonts of their artist lineups and greater conceptual probities—sound very similarly promising. They also dovetail with one another by dint of architectural bases.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Franklin Park Turns Three

Posted By on Tue, Mar 13, 2012 at 12:00 PM

The Franklin Park Reading Series' motto is to be "provocative, poignant and hilarious," curator Penina Roth said at last night's third-anniversary reading. She brought it up after Shalom Auslander read. Dressed in a denim-colored shirt, buttons undone and sleeves rolled up, Auslander, with his mop of curly graying hair, looks like he used to write for Rolling Stone in the 70s, even though he was only born in 1970. "I don't know why people come to these things," he said as he took the microphone. "It seems kind of sad." (Auslander loves to bemoan the travails of book-promotion.) The self-professed misanthrope's debut novel, Hope: A Tragedy, tells the story of a present-day upstate New Yorker who finds Anne Frank alive and hiding in his attic. It's philosophically cutting—he read a lengthy section on the perniciousness of optimism—but also funny, as the neurotic narrator frets over the trouble he could get into (in the eyes of history or worse, his mother) if he reported the old woman. And then there're just sentences like, "'Blow me,' said Anne Frank."

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Art Historian Hal Foster at The Kitchen: "We Live in the Age of Trauma"

Posted By on Tue, Nov 29, 2011 at 8:58 AM

Hal Foster speaking last night at The Kitchen.
  • Hal Foster speaking last night at The Kitchen.

Last night Hal Foster, Princeton professor and 20th century art historian, spoke at The Kitchen in Chelsea and read from his two new books, The First Pop Age: Painting and Subjectivity in the Art of Hamilton, Lichtenstein, Warhol, Richter, and Ruscha and The Art-Architecture Complex. The soft-spoken historian, author and editor of innumerable volumes that appear on art history syllabi the world over, began humbly: "It's bad enough to have one book coming out, but it's really embarrassing to have two."

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Young Writers Upstaged Old Masters at Franklin Park

Posted By on Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 1:55 PM

Colson Whitehead
  • Colson Whitehead
Electric Literature curated a line-up at the Franklin Park Reading Series last night that included some literary heavies: Jim Shepard, Colson Whitehead, and Ben Greenman. But they were upstaged by a pair of up-and-comers. Matt Sumell, who was referred to Electric Lit's editors by a friend, lived up to his introduction as "brutal, hilarious, and heartbreaking." He read a story called "Toast," which he said was inspired by advice from Jim Shepard to "follow your weird." "No one likes this story," he said. "No one will publish this story." But the audience, even larger than usual, adored it; with a page and a half left, he asked if he should finish the story, to which the crowd responded with a resounding yes. The story, which Sumell read with dry perfection, was packed with comic dialogue, clinical and mean descriptions born of astute observation, as it chronicled a relationship, a break-up, and the aftermath.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Colson Whitehead's Zombie Autobiography

Posted By on Thu, Oct 20, 2011 at 1:08 PM

Colson Whitehead didn't just read from his new novel at Greenlight last night—he first delivered a long, autobiographical comic monologue that traced, from childhood to present, how he became a writer. He described his younger self as a shut-in. "I would have preferred to be a sickly child," he said, "but it didn't work out that way." At home, he read comic books and Stephen King novels, watched The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. He wanted to write "the 'black' Salem's Lot." In college, he read more high-brow 20th century stuff and lived the writer's life—just without the writing. "I wore black," he said. "I smoked cigarettes."

After graduation, he snagged a job at the Voice, which he said has changed since, though one thing has remained constant: "whenever you were there was its heyday; whenever you left, it was downhill." He started out writing about television, branching out with more assignments until he was confident enough to start writing fiction.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

David Levithan's Psychologically Unbalanced Teenagers

Posted By on Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 3:13 PM

Jonathan Farmer, left, with David Levithan
  • Jonathan Farmer, left, with David Levithan
David Levithan sees little of himself in the main character of his latest novel, Every You, Every Me. "He's really messed up," he said last night at a panel of YA authors hosted by Powerhouse Arena called "Falling Apart, Coming Together." The absorbing book, on which Levithan collaborated with the photographer Jonathan Farmer, tells the story of Evan, a psychologically unstable teenager who lost his best friend and has recently begun receiving ominous photographs that provoke his longing for her—and his guilt over what happened.

Levithan enlisted Farmer to help him with his idea for a "photographic novel": Farmer would send the photos one by one, around which Levithan would construct the story, never sure where he was going next. He wouldn't let Farmer read any of it so that the narrative wouldn't influence his photographs; it took five years to finish. ("We did many other things in the interim," Levithan said.) The photos are printed in the book, often in rich four-color—28 all together, or roughly one for every person who came out to Powerhouse.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

An Unforgettable Reading at Franklin Park Last Night

Posted By on Tue, Oct 11, 2011 at 1:56 PM

Blake Butler
  • Blake Butler
Scott McClanahan gave a reading last night at Franklin Park that few who witnessed it will soon forget. Taking the microphone, the West Virginian spoke in a panting monotone, like a terrified child, but it turned out to be part of a masterfully calculated persona; this was a reading, not a recitation. He ended by walking away from the podium and moving into the crowd, speaking without amplification, playing a bagpipe song on a portable recorder that he'd later toss to the ground, exhorting us all to join him again next year to the day, "alive and not dead, alive and not dead," and promising, I think, that we'd meet again that night, in our dreams. It was rousing, unifying, and unforgettable, less like a short-story reading than a secular sermon—less written in advance than passed down on the spot from some Holy Spirit of literature.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Starlee Kine, A.J. Jacobs, Ben Greenman, Others to Bare Their Souls in Public Tomorrow Night

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 1:19 PM

In the spirit of reflection and atonement—tis the season, after all—a few select writers and performers will recount some of their biggest regrets of the year tomorrow night, live, onstage, for your amusement. The likes of Starlee Kine, Ben Greenman, A.J. Jacobs—and yours truly—have been invited to read at "With Regrets," an evening of confessional storytelling hosted by Jessica Chaffin and Jessi Klein, under the broader auspices of 10Q, Greenman's online high holiday interrogatory machine (just click on that link).

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Arrested Development Cast Reunion Coming to The New Yorker Festival, Conan Also Coming to NYC

Posted By on Tue, Sep 20, 2011 at 4:19 PM

The New Yorker Festival announced a late addition to the lineup yesterday, a family reunion to end all family reunions: a panel reuniting the cast of the prematurely canceled cult comedy Arrested Development with series creator Mitchell Hurwitz. Screw the forever-circulating rumors of a movie, this is for real happening; maybe the best surprise in a week full of surprise announcements (apologies to Radiohead and The Shins). Moderator and New Yorker television critic Nancy Franklin will navigate the "exclusive" family get-togehter set to feature all the Bluths — Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, Michael Cera, David Cross, Portia de Rossi, Jeffrey Tambor, Jessica Walter, Alia Shawkat and dear sweet Tony Hale — on Sunday, October 2 at Acura at SIR Stage37. Tickets go on sale here noon tomorrow. NOON TOMORROW. I'm already panicked.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Foer, Oates, Obreht and More at the Brooklyn Book Festival

Posted By on Mon, Sep 19, 2011 at 8:57 AM

Books, and the people who read them
  • Books, and the people who read them
More than 260 writer types participated in more than 100 panels at yesterday's sixth annual Brooklyn Book Festival, held in and around Borough Hall in Downtown Brooklyn. I spent the whole day there and I only saw six panels! (I also bought a few books and ate lunch from a food truck.) If you're wondering what the writers looked like, or what they said, there's a slideshow after the jump! With quotes and colorful details!

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Beat the Heat By Drinking Many, Many $2 Cans of Miller High Life at Literary Upstart Tonight

Posted By on Thu, Jun 9, 2011 at 12:09 PM

Jesus Christ it's hot. (How hot is it?) So hot that everybody's clothes are soaking through and curling and disintegrating like the labels on so many bottles of Miller High Life.

Which is why tonight, at Literary Upstart's Grand Championship Super Final (TM) (at Galapagos), the Miller High Life will be served in cans. There will be 400 of them, on sale at $2 until they run out, for to quench your thirst. This should get interesting.

There are reports, unconfirmed as this blog post went to, um, press, that L Magazine Editor-in-Chief and Upstart host Jonny Diamond plans to shotgun one on stage.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Myth and Magic at Franklin Park

Posted By on Tue, May 10, 2011 at 1:40 PM

Ned Thimmayya reads a ghost ghostly shadows!
  • Ned Thimmayya reads a ghost ghostly shadows!
"A lot of times," Helen Phillips said, "magic can serve to make a metaphor literal." She made the remark before reading five stories "full of monsters and stuff" from her new book, And Yet They Were Happy, at the Franklin Park reading series last night. The event was called "Myth and Magic," and featured five authors whose work, in some way or another, transcends reality—though, as the hostess said, "fantasy really is a comment on our reality."

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