The Smart Set is a weekly feature, compiled by Lauren Cerand, that appears Mondays and highlights the best of the week to come. Special favor is given to New York’s independent booksellers and venues, and low-cost and free events. Please submit details to firstname.lastname@example.org by the Thursday prior to publication, with the date of the event in the subject line.
MONDAY, 1.23: Consider The Civilians’ (I am) Nobody’s Lunch — a cerebral, bitingly funny docudrama-cum-cabaret take on American political and cultural life post-9/11 — essential viewing for those curious about how exactly it is that we know what we know, as well as for those simply in the know [Related: my interview with artistic director Steven Cosson]. Monday’s performance is at 2:00pm, and tickets are $30. Through February 5. On Monday evening, Tom Bissell reads from his much-praised story collection, God Lives in St. Petersburg, at The Half King. 7:00pm, no cover.
TUESDAY, 1.24: Stop by Housing Works Used Book Cafe for “a reading and discussion of the new McSweeney’s publication Surviving Justice: American’s Wrongfully Convicted and Exonerated edited by Dave Eggers and Lola Vollen.” 7:00pm, free.
WEDNESDAY, 1.25: Bluestockings, the Lower East Side’s best independent bookseller and cafe, showcases two fresh voices in fiction, as debut authors Bill Gordon (Mary After All) and Ronna Wineberg (Second Language) read from their new books [Full disclosure, as always: Both Bill and Ronna are clients of mine, and I planned this event, so you know it will be marvelous. Do join us!]. 7:00pm, free.
THURSDAY, 1.26: Demos, “a network for ideas and action,” hosts a mid-day discussion with Tom DeLuca, co-author of Liars! Cheaters! Evildoers! Accordingly, “DeLuca will discuss the distinctly American qualities of ‘demonization,’ how their frequency and intensity has grown in the last four decades and ways in which democracy and freedom of speech can coexist in a productive, idea-rich environment.” 12-2:00pm, free. Later on Thursday in the evening, The Whitney presents “I Love Poets: Readings on the occasion of The Art of Richard Tuttle,” featuring Charles Bernstein, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Simon Cutts, Larry Fagin, Thomas McEvilley, Leslie Scalapino, Anne Waldman, John Yau. [And] Jonathan Skinner reads work by Anne-Marie Albiach, Richard Tuttle reads work by Barbara Guest.” 7:00pm, $8 (note: “Advance sales are strongly recommended, as seating is limited. Tickets may be purchased at the Museum Admissions Desk or reserved at (212) 570-7715 or email@example.com. Space is limited; purchase advance tickets online. A $2 surcharge applies per order.”).
FRIDAY, 1.27: On Friday, I’ll be minding the shop at Jen Bekman (I handle the gallery’s public relations), so stop by to say hello if you’re in the neighborhood and check out the Hey, Hot Shot! ne plus ultra show of emerging contemporary photographers. 12:00-6:00pm, free. Friday night, One Story presents Will Allison, author of Issue #47: What You Have Left (and $3 Black & Tans) at Pianos. 7:00pm, no cover.
SATURDAY, 1.28: Via our charming, anonymous correspondent at Living with Legends: The Hotel Chelsea blog: “harlem is….Music: Portraits by Carl Van Vechten features original black and white photographs of African American musicians with a connection to Harlem. If you want to learn more about the photographer Carl Van Vechten, visit his collection of online portraits which include former Hotel Chelsea residents Katherine Dunham, Thomas Wolfe, Sherwood Anderson, Charles Jackson, and Virgil Thomson.” Opens January 28. The Museum of the City of New York’s Saturday hours are 10:00-5:00pm, $7.
SUNDAY, 1.29: France’s most stylish philosopher brings his rock star status Stateside, for an evening of BHL at the Y. In conversation with The New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik, author of Paris to the Moon and editor of Americans in Paris: A Literary Anthology, Bernard-Henri LÃƒÂ©vy discusses his latest tome, “American Vertigo: Traveling America in the Footsteps of Tocqueville in which, in the spirit of another FrenchmanÃ¢â‚¬â€Alexis de TocquevilleÃ¢â‚¬â€he considers what it means to be an American and what can America be today.” 7:30pm, $25. [That’s all fine and well, but not quite the event of my dreams, which would be Justine Levy, discussing her memoir-as-novel (take a letter, “Big Jim”) Nothing Serious, life with BHL, BHLs, and her personal impression of Agnes Jaoui’s Look at Me.]