Events like the tribute to Bruce Conner, at your friendly neighborhood upstart experimental film venue Light Industry. Conner, you'll recall, is the seminal cine-collage artist (and visual artist and photographer and music video director) who died this summer; tonight, something like two dozen experimental filmmakers (you might not know their names but if you do you know they're big deals on Madonna Street) will present new "works inspired by and in tribute of Conner."
Also tonight, Direct Arts — "a new, progressive, intercultural theater and film company, dedicated to promoting and producing plays and films that explore the intersection of different cultures" — has a new monthly series, Take Two, focusing on film and theater, and tonight at Jimmy's No. 43, Take Two presents the short film The Projectionist, about China's Cultural Revolution, and a reading of Emma, Howard Zinn's 1975 play about the anarchist Emma Goldman. The reading will be "accompanied by a klezmer violin virtuoso," so, um... um.
Mark: my favorite part was when she was talking about not always writing men that fully, and male authors not always writing women that fully, and saying it's hard to get that far outside your self, unless you're a really good writer. emphasis added, because i love that really definitive merging of the craft of writing and knowledge of life. this one time i was in a salvation army... no, a goodwill, looking at a paperback copy of Madame Bovary, and it had this guy's address in the front and notes and underlines -- which is itself fascinating to me -- and at the front was something, i couldn't tell if it was the book's owner or copied from a lecture, something like "a psychologist before psychology... [something something]... He knew life superbly." of course, about halfway through the book in the margins he had written out the number of pages in the book and the page he was writing on to see how much more he had to read, but i've always thought "s/he knew life superbly" is a good description for what's often a really subjective and intuitive discipline
Sharon: yes, like when she was talking about making sure her stories gave readers that "thrill" even if they were terribly sad
Mark: and starting from an image or an incident, and figuring out who's involved and what else must then follow from that. a thought experiment, is a phrase i've found myself using a lot lately
Sharon: i was so shocked to learn she could write from start to finish, but play with time simultaneously. that's one of the hardest things to do -- although it's funny how she thinks novelists have it tougher.
Sharon: she was so charming.
Mark: she was. and very well-dressed, cut like your mom's younger sister but made of your stay-at-home grandma's fabrics
Sharon: yes! and heels. can i tell you two of my favorite things she said? i typed them up.
Sharon: On writing: "I write for myself. I write the story to make it exist in the world."
Sharon: On relationships: "I don't have an opinion on love. I just know that sometimes people throw away good, loving relationships. And sometimes they should have."
Mark: yeah, those're great
Sharon: i could NOT STOP STARING AT DEBORAH TREISMAN'S GLITTERING WEDDING RING. it blinded me, mark. but i thought she was an incredibly good interviewer and very sensitive about her follow-up q's... it flowed so well.
Mark: huh. she's hella married, apparently. i bet she has a flower behind the "taken" ear most times... treisman did a good job, i thought, starting with her biography, it informs a lot of stuff. especially the being a creative person in a practical place, which tends to be the case with a lot of artist/observers, it seems. (a phrase that shows up in both "The Bear Came Over the Mountain" and in one of the memoir-y bits in Castle Rock is a white-collar literary person thinking that a tacky, hardscrabble woman is intimidating because she must be "good in a crisis"... which seems a pretty fair way of thinking about how both the small-town people and the Girl Who Got Out can be both condescending and condescended to)
Sharon: it's nice to know that alice is juliet, basically
Mark: yes, it is. did you go up to her with your copy of Runaway, speaking of?
Sharon: no, i did not. i didn't see her afterwards...
Sharon: but after malcolm gladwell...well let's just say he was mobbed by girls my age attacking him with pens and their free copies of Blink
Sharon: i hovered on the fringes and scurried away
Mark: i am so the opposite of surprised to hear that. what did you think of the questions put by the audience to our alice?
Sharon: i thought they were very thoughtful, and there was a point where i will presume to think deborah treisman and i were smiling over the same thing, which was that the lines to the mic were all girls in their 20s. we are alice's posse, yo
Mark: i know, it was fascinating.
Sharon: what did you think about what she said re not being able to build up a thick skin, even after all these years?
Mark: i was thinking i wish people would occasionally, just occasionally, ask writers if they pay much attention to good press. especially given as alice chalks so much of her process up to intuition, i wonder what she thinks of close readers of the meaning and implications of individual storytelling choices -- does she put much stock in that, et cetera. but i do think that makes sense, to take criticism too seriously, given that she's still in awe of those Serious Novel Writers
Sharon: definitely... there's just something about that, the fact that it still bothers her, and yet she attempted to give up writing and be "normal" but wasn't capable. that and the fact that she revises and revises -- the anecdote about how she'll somehow know herself what isn't working, and rework the page without being told and pages back to Treisman...
Mark: yeah, i was interested in the revision, and also in her statement that she doesn't go back and read old stuff very much -- the implication being that it'd occur to her how she could have done it better (I'm generally embarrassed by the apparent naivete and infelicitous style of anything i've written not within the last six months, so i can only imagine what somebody with her lifelong project of knowing people thinks of the silly young woman she must have been to write such and such a thing all those decades and experiences ago)
Sharon: i feel the same way about my writing
Mark: yeah. which is sort of the point of the whole thing, innit? (feeling the same way, i mean)
registering to exercise your right as an American citizen, that is. Feel your chest swell with some gosh-darn earnest, patriotic pride.
Election Coverage 2008
Spend an evening with some smart people who can tell you exactly which daily newspapers they consume, and why! Rolling Stone's Matt Tiabbi (The Great Derangement), The New Yorker's Hendrik Hertzberg (Politics: Observations and Arguments) and The Huffington Post's Rachel Sklar will lead an educational discussion on the many and varied WTFs of this campaign. It's a great time to be 18 and over! (Get your mind out of the gutter. We mean for VOTING.)
8 pm October 8 (that's tomorrow, not today, aagh!); visit www.cencom.org to register. NYU, Abbe Bogen Faculty Lounge, 11th Fl, Kaufman Management Center, 44 W 4th St, at Green St
The Moth StorySLAM debuts their first Brooklyn event with this week's "Blood" theme. Get up there and tell a story (or just watch some brave sod do it for you) about but not limited to any of the following: scrapes, scratches, vampires, doctors, dentists, office throwdowns, jousting matches, shiv attacks, and that E.R. episode you saw one time that made you want to look away.
8 pm; $6 at the door. Union Hall, 702 Union St, at Fifth St; themoth.org
Everyone at The L HQ pretty much has notebooks covered in poetic frontman Will Sheff's name. With hearts drawn around it. Totes crushing. you know. They're just GOOD. Listen and cry and bop your head and frown and maybe play eye-hockey with someone you will never speak to. With Crooked Fingers and Black Joe Lewis & the Honey Bears.
7pm; $25. Webster Hall, 125 E 11th St, between Third and Fourth Aves; webster-hall.com
Just go home, make yourself something nice to eat, or just eat the CW for dinner. It's very satisfying. By the way: I do not forgive that man-hussy Dan Humphrey for being a judgmental douche in sensy-boy's clothing. TEAM SERENA, ya'll.
8 pm; Free. Your Awesome Living Room.
I'm familiar with exactly one song by Floridian indie-crunkers the Black Kids: "I'm Not Going To Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You," and I still don't know whether I love it because it's synthy and empty and cutely accusatory and or if I hate it for the same reasons. I'm sure you have very strong feelings about the Black Kids either way to helpfully counteract my vague non-opinion. So perhaps you'd be interested in dancing at their show with your very coordinated significant other because you quite like them. Or maybe you prefer your piano stylings delivered by pop music everyman Ben Folds Five (who is playing the second of two shows at Terminal 5 tonight). Anyway, the Youngs in the neon clothing are performing at Webster Hall with the Virgins and Magic Wands, both of whom have whimsical band names that remind me of Erin Fetherston dresses.
7:30pm; $20. Webster Hall, 125 E 11th St, between Third and Forth Aves; webster-hall.com
Hey, remember when Salman Rushdie was snubbed by the Booker Prize committee for his novel The Enchantress of Florence,
which the judges hated as much as you maybe hate the Black
Kids? Well, dude's on the rebound hawking his other project, The Best American Short Stories 2008,
which he guest edited. During his talk, "Selected Shorts: A Celebration of the Short Story," he'll discuss his
favorite picks from the collection and maybe have a conniption if you
ask him what he thinks of the six short-list winners. Be nice!
7pm; $27. Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway, at 95th St; symphonyspace.org
French Kicks, Passion Pit, Salt & Samovar
I know French Kicks are headlining, but all I really care about right now is that Passion Pit song "Sleepyhead," which is MGMT's "Kids" except slightly frozen for fall temperatures. You need it in your life.
8pm; $15. Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancy St, at Bowery, boweryballroom.com
Alec Baldwin in Conversation with Janet Maslin
The Times book and film critic (who also penned my favorite thing ever written about the Gossip Girl novels for The New Yorker) interviews the actor about his latest book, Promise to Ourselves: Divorce, Fatherhood, and Family Law. There's a separate singles mixer after the event, where you will probably meet a terrible person to have a rebound with. Happy hunting.
8pm; $27. 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave, at 92nd St, 92y.org
Happy Ending Music & Reading Series
Amanda Stern hosts Roland Kelts, Linda Robertson and Porter Shreve, with music from Howard Fishman. Consider this training for LitCrawl.
8pm; $5 suggested donation. Happy Ending, 302 Broome St, at Forsythe St, happendinglounge.com
Kenny Shopsin: Eat Me
Have you read the feature Carey Jones wrote about Kenny Shopsin for us yet? Well, get to it, it's a race, it's a fucking race! And then get yourself over to the Strand, because the chef is going to gently whisper all his views on philosophy and food in your ear: "I don't cook bad shit." He can't kick your ass out of the bookstore the way he can in his restaurant, so Q&A away!
7pm; Free. The Strand, 828 Broadway, at 12th St, strandbooks.com
One of the things we at the L really value about our annual Literary Upstart readings is the sense of community at the events, so often lacking in this variegated city's cultural scene. (Also: booze, so much booze.) So it's exciting for us to present a Best of Literary Upstart reading, featuring 2008 Lit Up winner Lauren Wilkinson and finalists from years past, this Saturday as part of Lit Crawl NYC.
Q: Wait, what's a Lit Crawl NYC?
A: Well, basically, it's a three-neighborhood bar crawl, with literature.
Ever since Gutenberg invented the printing press in the basement of his Prospect Heights brownstone, Brooklyn has been the center of the literary universe. Hence, the annual Brooklyn Book Festival, which I believe originated with a memo written by Marty Markowitz to his top aides: "Guys, it's too expensive for anyone not in finance or public housing to live in Manhattan, so lots of creative types and authors live here in relative comfort and camaraderie. What can we do to play this up?"
The answer, as it turns out, is an all-day event around Borough Hall this Sunday, featuring a lot of free readings and discussions with Brooklyn authors, named Jonathan and not. "You'd have to be a bit dense to confuse a geographical and economic accident with an aesthetic movement," as a Card-Carrying Brooklyn Writer has pointed out for us, in presumed response to people who'd corral literature produced in America's fourth largest city into any kind of movement; what's good about the Book Fest — aside from all the, you know, talks and readings and such — is that it treats the Brooklyn literary scene not as something far too vast and varied to be qualified as a, you know, scene.
In the current issue of the L, we draw your attention to a reading tonight, at the Cornelia Street Cafe, for the anthology Submerged: Tales from the Basin, a book comprised of stories (real and made-up) and art by two-dozen-plus women in response to Hurricane Katrina, with a percentage of proceeds benefitting relief efforts. Well, with the whoo-hoo less catastrophic than it might have been Hurricane Gustav still causing flooding and keeping people exiled from their homes, it may perhaps behoove you to look again at what you might do to assist the recovery of New Orleans, either via this anthology and reading, or the usual channels.
Yeah, we at the L are of the opinion that the Beijing Olympics are, ultimately, shameful, but they've created/brought attention to a really fascinating social and political moment. (Moment? Preview of coming attractions?) To that end, in a pretty specific rejoinder to the smoothed-over pageantry of the Olympics, the PEN American Center is hosting a pretty big reading, Bringing Down the Great Firewall of China, at the New School tonight. Blockquote because it's pretty straightforward:
Edward Albee, Russell Banks, Philip Gourevitch, Jessica Hagedorn, Hari Kunzru, Rick Moody, Martha Southgate, Francine Prose, and others will read new and previously untranslated statements and writings by several of the jailed writers and other dissidents and members of the Independent Chinese PEN Center.The fate of Chinese dissident writers, and of freedom of expression in that country in general, has long been one of PEN's major causes, and I can't imagine it won't be for some time after the end of the games. The reading is free and open to the public, of course.
June 29th: Three friends spend four and a half hours at the new Ikea in Red Hook. Two of those hours are spent choosing out 18 pieces of furniture from the showrooms (roughly $1,500). One hour is spent trying to find all the lumber from the lumber room. The rest of the time (one and a half hours) is spent in lines--waiting for cracked out sloth monster people in line to locate their whatever, waiting for someone to go back up into the showroom to get a printed out piece of pink paper and a signature, waiting in the home-delivery line. They are told that their furniture will be delivered on July 3 (one item was out of stock). Sounds good.
July 3: A call comes from someone in a delivery truck saying that the coffee table actually isn't in stock yet, but that they'd deliver it when the table comes in stock. "Oh. Okay."
July 6, 8, 10: Calls to Ikea get directed to voicemail, no one calls back.
July 14: One of the friends gets in touch with an actual human at Ikea Red Hook--she seems kind and vaguely competent. She says she will take care of everything. A few phone conversations later, she says that the coffee table is in stock and that everything will ship on Friday.
July 18: Nothing. Friday comes and goes. Calls to the Ikea woman go unreturned.
July 19: One friend has an interesting chat with an Ikea representative online via Ikea instant message. They provide the same number the other friend already used.
July 24: A new Ikea rep promises the pieces--minus the troublesome coffee table--to be delivered the next day between 10am and 2pm.
July 25: Nothing.
July 28: A new Ikea rep, Tracy (a man) for the first time seems genuinely upset about what's going on. He promises to figure it out.
July 30: Tracy says he has it figured out, and that the delivery company will call tomorrow to determine a drop-off time. They eventually call and determine between 9am and 2pm on Friday, August 1.
August 1, 8:38 am: Hooray, Ikea furniture!
The end. All the children are asleep.
So by now you've maybe had a chance to look over our Summer Fiction Issue, and enjoyed the stories and all that. Or maybe you haven't but are curious. Well, dig: come to the KGB Bar at 7pm for a reading of stories from the issue. Ed Park will be there to read Variations on Original Sin; April Wilder will be there to read Bring the Heat.
And, because three is a magic number, we'll be filling out the roster of the reading with Distinguished Literary Upstart Spokesjudge, New Yorker editor, author and writer of topical musical theater Mr. Ben Greeman.
So you should come to KGB tonight and have some vodka-flavored vodka with us.
So there's this thing happening tonight called Ignite NYC, which is a series of talks about anything and everything that relates to the internet or computers or generally doing things. Plus an iron soldering contest. Anyway, L Mag contributor Andrea pointed out one of their lectures:
Hey guess what, what, no guess, but I have no idea, come on guess anyway, ok um The L's Summer Fiction Issue comes out on Wednesday maybe ... what did I get it, you said you had no idea, no really I just took a stab in the dark, yeah right, why are you so pouty just because I guess right, I'm not pouty, this isn't about my guessing it right this is about something deeper isn't it?
Anyway, yeah, The L's third annual Summer Fiction Issue comes out this Wednesday, featuring brand sparkly new stories by Benjamin Percy, Ed Park and several others, along with Literary Upstart winner Lauren Wilkinson. (The other two finalists will have their stories here at thelmagazine.com.) It is really exciting for us, maybe even for you.
Also exciting is the fact that the day after the issue comes out, so this Thursday, we'll be having a reading at KGB Bar, featuring stories from the issue. Ed Park (author of the new novel Personal Days and a co-founder of The Believer) will be reading, as will fellow contributor April Wilder (whose work has appeared in McSweeeney's and elsewhere), and, as a special guest reader, Lit Up's Distinguished Spokesjudge Ben Greenman. It will be surprisingly classy, oh will it, yes really it actually will, well that's terrific then, you really don't sound happy for me, oh no I am I just don't feel the need to jump up and down and caricature myself so that you'll feel better about yourself.
Here's a feature that's been popping in and out lately where we share what we've been enjoying in our spare and/or professional time. Today it's what I'm reading now...
These aren't cutting-edge recommendations, but I just finished The Count of Monte Cristo, which basically defined the fiction thriller genre back in 1844, and as far as I know it's never been beat. 1,100 pages of murder, poison, jewels, passion, betrayal, suicide, and hashish. Took me about a month--never boring (except possibly the first 30 quick pages). $13.99 for days of entertainment.
Now I'm reading Deadwood, the National Book Award-winning novel by Pete Dexter that crushes the TV show it spawned. I gave that show a chance, like a 5-episode chance, and it fell flat. Mostly because of Timothy Olyphant's polished, affected strutting, his fake tan and his whitened teeth, his paper-thin tough-guy act, and the fact that he didn't swing his arms when he walked. Anyway, the book blows the TV show out of the water. The only bad part is that so far I can't get the TV characters' faces out of my mind when I read.
Both books are terrific, if you're in the market.
It's not a very hard code, actually. Here's what it is: if the article is about old people, cooking, health or animals, it will be on the list. For instance, here's today's most-emailed list:
1. CookiesI did it! Now I'm reminiscing about the day when five of the top emailed articles were about that smart parrot that died. Literally five.
3. Listening to people
5. Buying food
6. The trouble with playing in the grass
7. Health food
8. I almost had a heart attack
10. I should have done a better job with my elderly parents
1. ART: As far as the cool factor goes, Mika Rottenberg's interactive installation piece cum video montage, Cheese (pictured), not only surpasses any limitations set by the term "multimedia" but, really, it's like the coolest thing ever. Accompanied by a cacophony of barnyard squeals and the constant tinkering of lactating cows, Rottenberg's plywood chicken coop invariably demanded the majority of the gallery's floor space at the Whitney Biennial this year—in addition to the majority of viewers' attention. But what did it mean? Beats me. If you want some resolution, or to strengthen your visual analysis skills, or to just pass a lovely evening in the company of art aficionados, head to MoMA tonight for PopRally's Artist Talk with Mika Rottenberg. You'll enjoy cocktails, a screening of her video work and the satisfaction of 100% contemporary art comprehension. Maybe.
7pm, Theater 3 (The Celeste Bartos Theater), mezzanine, The Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building
The Cullman Education and Research Building is located at 4 West 54 St
2. THEATER: Bad news, folks, if you haven't seen Shakespeare in the Park already: you're not going to get another chance until 2009 because performances of Hamlet ended on Friday. But don't worry if you feel lacking on your soliloquy fill, you've got two more nights to see Oph3lia, a revisioning of Hamlet's gal done in three parts. The play explores the lives and times of three modern women, who, like Ophelia, are disconnected from and simultaneously subject to the ominous realms they inhabit. But in this play "To be or not to be" is not the question. Instead, Oph3lia raises questions about loneliness and isolation, and explores how words can both succeed and fail to dispel these feelings. Sounds intriguing, doesn't it?
7:30pm, $18 at HERE Theater, 145 6th Avenue (between Spring and Broome)
3. PARTYING: Who ever thought the World Financial Center would throw at Dance Party? Um, not me. But who cares how stuffy the WFC seems or how fragile and unfit for a DJed house and hip-hop rave the glass hall of the Winter Garden Theater is. Given how much of ruckus DJ duels are wont to rouse, tonight's Dub Wars could be the Winter Garden's first and last dance party. Head to the Financial District for some booty-shaking, floor-thumping, disk-scratching, glass-shattering fun. And in the spirit of general mayhem, the event is free to the public and begins at 9pm. Remember to loosen your tie.
This was the first time I've really tried to do an emoticon. I had to crane my neck sideways to make sure it looked like tears. I don't know if I really see it. Anyway.
For some heartwarmth this evening, WQXR hosts (including Jeff Sturgeon, who wakes me up so pleasantly each morning) will be reading Charles Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol at The Strand at 6pm. Bring your children, bring your friends, bring your friends who are children.
There will also be wine and cheese afterward, as well as Liz Thorpe, author of Murray's Cheese Handbook, signing that book.
To get you in the mood, here's the famous end of that story. Spoiler alert!
"A merry Christmas, Bob," said Scrooge, with an earnestness that could not be mistaken, as he clapped him on the back. "A merrier Christmas, Bob, my good fellow, than I have given you for many a year. I'll raise your salary, and endeavour to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop, Bob. Make up the fires, and buy another coal-scuttle before you dot another i, Bob Cratchit!"
Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.
He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!
Finally a good break from hectic weekdays..
I would normally agree with the other comments on this board. Or I'd simply stop…