The Smart Set is a weekly feature, compiled by Lauren Cerand, that usually 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 email@example.com by the Thursday prior to publication, with the eventÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s date in the subject line.
MONDAY, 9.18: In response to the current crisis in Israel, Palestine and Lebanon, an illustrious group of authors — Diana Abu-Jaber, David Gates, Masha Hamilton, Natalya Handal, Binnie Kirshenbaum, Bernie McFadden, Wendy Orange, Evelyn Shakir, Joan Silber, Leora Skolkin-Smith, Cathy Sultan, Katharine Weber, Grace Paley, Robb Forman Dew, Masha Hamilton, Leora Skolkin-Smith and Susan O’Doherty, Ph.D — have organized a benefit reading, with donations and book sale profits to go to Seeds of Peace, a non-profit which brings together teenagers from conflict zones, especially the Middle East, to teach skills aimed at advancing reconciliation. The reading (readings will be short, wine and refreshments will be served) will take place at McNally Robinson. Highly recommended. 7 pm, FREE. And, The Reader’s Room welcomes short story writers Greg Downs (Spit Baths), Kevin Moffett (Permanent Visitors) and Karen Russell (St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves) to Mo Pitkin’s. 7:00pm, FREE. Additionally, New York-centric film blog The Reeler presents a sneak preview of Jesus Camp — which “follows Levi, Rachael, and Tory to Pastor Becky Fischer’s ‘Kids on Fire’ summer camp in Devil’s Lake, North Dakota, where kids as young as 6 years-old are taught to become dedicated Christian soldiers in ‘God’s army'” — at Makor, followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers. 7:30pm, $15.
TUESDAY, 9.19: Barnes & Noble presents this month’s edition of “Upstairs at the Square,” held at the Union Square B&N. The series features journalist Katherine Lanpher in conversation with established and emerging authors and musicians, who will read and perform their work. Tuesday eveningÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s guests are Dito Montiel, director of A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (and author of a companion memoir of the same name), and singer-songwriter Jesse Malin [full disclosure, as always: I am the PR consultant for this project]. 7:00pm, FREE. And, Laird Hunt reads from his new novel, The Exquisite, best described as “an East Village noir,” at Bluestockings [full disclosure, as always: Laird is one of my PR clients]. 7:00pm, FREE.
WEDNESDAY, 9.20: The Strand presents “An Evening with Great New York Voices: Ian Frazier, Rich Cohen and Robert Sullivan,” plus a reception to follow. 7:00pm, FREE. Also sure to promise “an evening with great New York voices” is the Mehanata Bulgarian Bar Party at Spiegeltent, where “Dj Joro-Boro will be spinning all you favorite music.” 11:30pm, $10.
THURSDAY, 9.21: The best thing going on Thursday evening is The Brooklyn Rail Fiction Anthology (Hanging Loose Press) book launch, at Supreme Trading in Brooklyn, naturally. With (oddly beguiling, actually) Fur Cups for Teeth. 7:00pm, FREE. If you’re determined to dance to a decidedly different tune (or don’t care to make the trek to the 718), there’s always Scottish Country Dancing: “Learn traditional dances done in 18th century Scottish assembly rooms and new dances done in 21st century ballrooms around the world. No partner, no experience, no kilt necessary.” 7:30pm, see site for fees.
FRIDAY, 9.22: “Come Out & Play is a festival dedicated to street games. It is three days of play, talks, and celebration, all focused on new types of games and play.”
SATURDAY, 9.23: “The story of Spank Rock is a story about Baltimore, but then again, it ainÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t…” So wait, what’s “Put That Pussy On Me” about then? Ask the hard questions at Northsix. 8:00pm, $10. And, the modern musician’s love of sampling meets “a tribute to John Cage for between 1 and 42 CD players” at Neues Kabarett. 8:00pm, $10.