MONDAY, 9.6: Even if you don’t stand a chance at winning any “Worker of the Year” awards, you’ve probably still got a day off on Labor Day. Why not spend it commingling with the bourgeoisie and other working stiffs at that great mixing bowl, The Met, open on Monday with special holiday hours? Contemplate our collective obsession with professions amidst the stark realism of August Sander’s breathtakingly ambitious photographic study, “People of the 20th Century,” (through 9.19). 9:30am-5:30pm, $12 suggested.
TUESDAY, 9.7: With all the spin (and swift boats…so many swift boats!) on the airwaves, it’s getting hard to give a damn in today’s media age. Tune out the distortion and listen in when brilliant scholar Cornel West explains why “democracy matters,” as he discusses his new book of the same name at Hue-Man Bookstore & Cafe. 6pm, FREE.
WEDNESDAY, 9.8: In a New York state of mind? You can take your pick of three separate events on Wednesday evening: The Whitney’s New York Black, New York White; Paul Goldberger, the New Yorker’s architecture critic, in conversation at the New York Historical Society; and The Fear Factor: The Political Use and Abuse of 9/11 in 2004, at The New York Society For Ethical Culture. Times and costs vary. Also on Wednesday, media critic and professional bright young thing Bryan Keefer (aka Mr. Lauren) discusses his new book All The President’s Spin on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show .
THURSDAY, 9.9: You’re going to have to change out of your pajamas sometime today, freelancers – you lovable scamps, you! – so reluctantly slip into something less comfortable (e.g. a jacket, as requested) and make an appearance at the National Arts Club for what promises to be a lovely Thursday evening. Ben Marcus, editor of the much-admired Anchor Book of New American Short Stories, will introduce contributing writers, including A.M. Homes, Mary Caponegro, and Gary Lutz. 15 Gramercy Park South, 8:00pm, FREE.
FRIDAY, 9.10: Party like it’s 1989 at powerHouse on Friday night, in honor of the Too Fast For Love book and related exhibition. It ain’t no heavy metal parking lot, but with DJ Princess Superstar tearing it up, this party will probably be rockin’ like dokken all night long. 6:00-8:00pm, FREE.
SATURDAY, 9.11: Own up to your own dark roots and get your big hair on for White Trash Debutante, the new play by New York Press columnist Jennifer Blowdryer, at the Bowery Poetry Club. 10:00pm, $16 (followed by the cooler-than-cotillion White Trash Debutante Ball, featuring Gawker-favorite Haunted Pussy .)
SUNDAY, 9.12: The Magnetic Field Cocktail Lounge house reading series hosts God Save My Queen (as in the band, not the broad) author Daniel Nester, and So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star memoirist (and former drummer for the band Semisonic) Jacob Slichter. 7:30pm, FREE.
The Smart Set is a weekly column, edited 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 before publication for consideration.