The Smart Set: Lauren Cerand’s weekly events

The Smart Set is a weekly feature, compiled by Lauren Cerand, that appears Mondays at 12:30pm 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 send details to lauren@maudnewton.com by the Thursday prior to publication, with the event’s date in the subject line.

MONDAY, 3.20: Currently I’m in D.C., where award-winning (and yet still underrated) author Tayari Jones [full disclosure, as always: one of my clients] will be celebrating the publication of The Untelling in a new paperback edition, joined by her friends, fans and the reading public for a party at Busboys and Poets on Monday night. 6:00-8:00pm, FREE.

TUESDAY, 3.21: Also in D.C., at The Textile Museum, “Harpies, Mermaids, and Tulips: Embroidery of the Greek Islands and Epirus Region includes approximately 70 embroidered textiles created between the 17th and 19th centuries for bridal trousseaux and domestic life…[and aims to] explore how and why people living so close together produced such divergent styles of embroidered textiles, offering a unique window into Greek island societies at the intersection of two worlds: the Latin West and Ottoman East.” Highly recommended, although I was stunned to read on one of the gallery text notes that partial funding came from Stavros Niarchos. As in, Paris Hilton’s equally fug boyfriend? Thankfully, no. The museum’s hours on Tuesday are 10:00am-5:00pm, $5 suggested.

WEDNESDAY, 3.22: Bruce Benderson, subject of my favorite literary escort memoirs ever, reads from The Romanian — which earned him the distinction of becoming the first American to receive the Prix de Flore — as part of the PAGE Series at The National Arts Club. With Dana Spiotta, author of Eat The Document. A very sexy line-up! I am so there… 7:00pm; FREE, but jacket requested. And via the Hotel Chelsea Blog, “A big Chelsea evening at the Lincoln Center. Pianist Bruce Levingston, one of this country’s leading exponents of new music , will be joined by renowned composer/performer Philip Glass in an evocative piano duet from Mr. Glass’ Orphee. Ethan Hawke will read Mr. Glass’ setting of Allen Ginsberg’s poem Wichita Vortex Sutra. Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. $50, $35, $20 or splurge for tickets to the gala.”

THURSDAY, 3.23: Clay McLeod Chapman’s performance, with his Pumpkin Pie Show ensemble, of junta high at P.S. 122 is followed by a discussion, “with Michael F. Oppenheimer, Paul Rieckhoff and Thomas R. Lansner, of ‘Perception v. Reality’: An in-depth conversation about government policy, public perception, media representation and what’s happening on the ground in Iraq – as well as the crucial role of arts in addressing this ever-widening disconnect.” Highly recommended. 8:30, $20. And, at Housing Works Used Book Cafe, “Touré (Never Drank the Kool-Aid) and Jeff Chang (Can’t Stop Won’t Stop) discuss Hip-Hop, with music by Qool DJ Marv. Also recommended. 7:00pm, FREE. Also, The Way It Is, an exhibition of photographs by Addie Juell, opens at downtown art space jen bekman, [Full disclosure, as always: I am the gallery’s p.r. director]. 6:00-8:00pm, FREE.

FRIDAY, 3.24: The Cooper Union hosts (in The Great Hall) “an Evening of Dramatic Readings from Voices of a People’s History of the United States Kurt Vonnegut, Erin Cherry, Brian Jones, Deepa Fernades, Harris Yulin, Suheir Hammad, Leslie Silva, and other special guests.” 6:30pm, FREE. In Chelsea, ” Maya Stendhal Gallery is pleased to present Fluxus: To George With Love, From the Personal Collection of Jonas Mekas. The exhibition has been curated from the personal collection of Jonas Mekas, avant-garde filmmaker and writer, founder and artistic director of Anthology Film Archives. He was a longtime friend and collaborator of George Maciunas, ‘chairman’ of Fluxus. Maciunas coined the term Fluxus in 1961 from a Latin etymological root meaning ‘flow’, in order to describe a movement with origins in Futurist performance, silent film, Zen, comedy, Vaudeville, and Dada. Fluxus set out to question time-worn notions of authorship and value, challenging ostensibly firm distinctions between artistic genres, and raising the question ‘who owns an idea?'” The gallery’s hours on Friday are 11:00am – 6:00pm, FREE.

SATURDAY, 3.25: The 15th Street Quaker Meeting House hosts the latest stop on “The Antiwar Tour,” with a discussion of Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal, which strives to elucidate “a clear vision for the antiwar movement.” With Howard Zinn, Anthony Arnove, Amy Goodman, and Robert Baldridge. 1:00 – 3:00pm, $5-10 suggested donation. Saturday evening, Paul Werner stops by Bluestockings to read and discuss his ‘Museum, Inc. Inside the Global Art World,’ which goes beyond a critique of the present system of the arts to analyze a larger system of cultural distribution and consumption. Werner holds a Ph.D. in Art History, an MA in Art Criticism and a DSFS (Danger to the Security of the French State) in Troublemaking for his part in the May ’68 uprising.” Highly recommended. 7:00pm, FREE.

SUNDAY, 3.26: Why not dedicate your bookish tendencies to the benefit of someone less fortunate? I recently learned that my younger brother, a stockbroker, spends time each month reading to underprivileged schoolchildren in an afterschool literacy program. I was impressed and inspired, and have earmarked Sunday afternoon as the perfect time to research the perfect volunteer opportunity. One I just turned up that sounds quite suited to the typical erudite and compassionate reader of The Smart Set: The Bowery Resident Committee seeks volunteers for “Creative Writing/Letters Home,” noting that “Although homeless, quite a few of our clients do have families throughout the city, if not the country. In an effort to keep their lines of communication open, they are encouraged to write letters or send cards to their loved ones and friends. One unfortunate truth, however, is that a number of these individuals are at a limited or low literacy level, thus they are unable to convey their thoughts and hopes adequately.” Can we help them out?


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