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.
11.1: Tingle Alley editor, Carrie A.A. Frye, tipped us off to a reading by the “very sharp, very funny” Justine Larbalestier. She reads from her first novel, Magic or Madness, in the good company of fellow scribe Barry N. Malzberg, as part of the New York Review of Science Fiction series. 7:00pm, $5.
11.2: VOTE. Do it first thing if you can. Later on, instead of going to Starbucks for your third coffee of the day, take 10 minutes to write a letter to your congressional representatives asking that they propose that Election Day be made a national holiday so everyone can join in the fun next time around. All day, FREE. Laugh or cry with the clever new friends you’re certain to make at the Upright Citizens Brigade election night party. 9:00pm, FREE. People cooler than me have heard about tons of other parties all over town, so no matter what you decide to do Wednesday morning (cough, move to Canada, either way, cough), there’s no excuse for drinking alone on Tuesday night.
11.3: Get cozy with The Bitch in the House and The Bastard on the Couch as contributors to both anthologies read at the New School. 7:00pm, $5. At the French Institute, collector (semi-related: what makes collectors collect?) Jack Rennert discusses and presents a slide lecture of images from his new book, The Posters of Leonetto Cappiello, which “celebrates the Italian-born and French-hearted father of the modern advertising poster.” In English. 7:00pm, $5.
11.4: The Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture at Columbia University presents a lecture entitled, “Too Close to the Sun: Korean Writers Under Japanese Rule.” 6:00pm, FREE. While you’re there, don’t miss Godzilla Conquers the Globe, an exhibition of movie posters currently on display that “focuses not only on Japanese and American materials, which are the most widely known, but on the local reception and transformation of Japanese monster imagery in a variety of other cultural contexts, including Western and Eastern Europe, South America, Africa, and Australasia.” Also, graphic novelist Ben Katchor, author of The Jew of New York and Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer, discusses his work with Joshua Brown, author of Beyond the Lines: Pictorial Reporting, Everyday Life, and the Crisis of Gilded Age America, at The Graduate Center. 7:00pm, $5. [second item via Arthur]
11.5: Eminently quotable master poet Charles Simic — first published in 1959 at age 21 — reads at The Graduate Center. 6:30pm, FREE. [Thanks to Chris for the tip] And, students from The Writers Studio’s Master Classes read from their work along with alumna Martha McPhee, a National Book Award Finalist for Gorgeous Lies, at the Village Community School auditorium, 272 West 10th Street (between Washington and Greenwich Sts.). 7:00pm, $5.
11.6: Zoo Theatre is a new company started by a few freakishly talented friends of mine — all under 25 — among them Jonathan C. Kaplan (nominated for a 1992 Tony Award at age 11) and David Mishook (recently co-wrote a new adaptation of Kiss of the Spider Woman for Manhattan Ensemble Theater). Dreaming of Norton, a world premiere, is their first production. Says Jonny, “With beautiful logic and wit, the play explores the universal theme of being alone.” Saturday night marks the third of four performances (the play opens Thursday and ends with a Sunday matinee). 8:00pm, $15.
11.7: According to Nicholas Fox Weber,”Josef and Anni Albers were like a two-person religious sect, this couple who had been nurtured in such totally different worlds but who came together at the Bauhaus. In every aesthetic choice they were allies. They believed that the accoutrements of life embodied intelligence, even wisdom, and imparted fabulous charm in a world where so much else was uncertain, even treacherous.” Invite someone who totally “gets you” to check out Josef and Anni Albers: Designs for Living at the National Design Museum. Sunday hours are noon-6:00pm, $10 general admission.