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.
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.
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.
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 freepussyriot.org and/or follow @freepussyriot on Twitter for more info on the trial happenings.
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.)
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.)
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
Obreht, the youngest of the New Yorker's "20 Under 40" list at 26, published a raved-about short story called "The Tiger's Wife" in that magazine in the spring of 2009; the literary world has been waiting for the subsequent novel ever since. It took her more than three years to write. "I used a lot of outline but stuck to almost none of it," she told the crowd during a post-reading Q&A. (She ended every answer with a chipper "thank you!") Time Out New York has called it the hottest book of the spring.
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