9.27: Gifted poets Marie Ponsot and Shanna Compton read their work at Pete’s Big Salmon. 7:30pm, FREE. Forget trashing hotel rooms; apparently, all one needs to attain rock star status as a poet these days is a blurb from John Ashbery. If that’s your measure of excellence, your golden god awaits at KGB, where Christian Hawkey reads on Monday evening. 7:00pm, FREE.
9.28: Are You There, God? It’s Me, [Your Name Here]. Relive the exquisite torture of the wonder years at Fez, when Judy Blume herself guest stars at the second tribute to her work, joined by an all new line-up of talented people who will share their embarassing adolescent episodes with you for laughs. Better them than you, right? Grab a seat up front for what will likely seem like the fall talent show at Schadenfreude High. 7:30, $10. Noted, there’s more than one youthquake scheduled for Tuesday evening, as downtown squipster Ned Vizzini attempts to Feed The Young
white boys Writers at P.S. 122. Says Ned, “we could all use the $80 hardcore.” 8:00pm, $10.
9.29: Brooklyn native, porch enthusiast and “modern traditionalist,” Robert A.M. Stern, also Dean of the Yale School of Architecture, “explores the specifically American themes” in his work in a discussion with Paul Goldberger, architecture critic for The New Yorker, at the New York Historical Society. 6:30pm, $10. Reservations suggested. Gish Jen reads from her new novel, The Love Wife, which was only partially eviscerated by New York Times reviewer Michiko Kakutani. How refreshing. 6:00pm, FREE.
9.30: Tara Bray Smith reads from her new memoir of growing up in Hawaii with her hippie mom amongst some seriously bad vibes, West of Then: A Mother, A Daughter, and a Journey Past Paradise, with L.I.E. author David Hollander, at Freebird. 7:00pm, FREE. Jean Railla, creator of Get Crafty, the stellar site that offers bikini knitting patterns and such articles as “Ten Reasons to Thrift,” has written a handbook for precisely that type of gal (or guy). Join other self-proclaimed “craftistas” to celebrate the book’s release at Bluestockings. 7:00pm, FREE.
10.1: Ladies, it’s time to break out your Marcel wave and a good alias: Jordan? Harlowe? Drew? Queenie? Gents, channel some combination of Bugsy and F. Scott and you’re halfway there, as The Dorothy Parker Society of New York kicks off its sixth annual Parkerfest in high style with a party that she probably would have loathed (although, honestly, isn’t that the point?): The Dorothy Parker Bathtub Gin Ball & Speakeasy Cruise, held aboard a 1930s-era yacht. There is also an Algonquin Round Table Walking Tour on Friday afternoon, and activities continue all weekend. Times and costs vary, so check the Society’s website for details and to purchase advance tickets, which are recommended.
10.2: Tokion magazine kicks off its second annual Creativity Now conference, starting on Saturday and continuing Sunday. I went last year, and can recommend it if your personal taste for the topics justifies the expense, which is not insignificant. Panel discussions include “Skateboarding’s Influence on Popular Culture,” “The Future of Film,” and “Persona vs. Policy: Marketing a Political Message,” featuring Joe Trippi, Gideon Yago, Laura Dawn, and John Podesta, and much more. Times and prices vary ($40-80 for day or weekend passes).
10.3: Nobody’s Lunch is an assuredly provocative new play from Obie-winning theater company The Civilians at P.S. 122, that is described as follows: “Delving into the politics of information, the company conducted extensive interviews to look at the problematic subject of how we gain knowledge and form beliefs in the current climate.” Well, “Bing, Bang, Bong,” as my friend Richard used to say when someone said something he considerered to be unconscionably introspective. Stick around after the show as media critic Bryan Keefer (disclaimer: “my boyfriend”) participates in a post-performance discussion of politics, media and society with media critic Eric Alterman and Melanie Joseph from the Foundry Theatre, who will speak on the (very cool) world social forum movement. 5:00pm performance, ticket prices vary.
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.