The Smart Set: Lauren Cerand’s Weekly Events

The Smart Set is a weekly feature, compiled 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 by the Thursday before publication for consideration.

11.8: John Ashbery, Arden Corbett, Robert Dash, Anne Dunn, Nathan Kernan, Carl Little, Eileen Myles, Charles North, and Simon Pettet read correspondence between poet James Schuyler, recipient of the 1981 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for The Morning of the Poem, and his friends, John Ashbery, Joe Brainard, Fairfield Porter, Frank O’Hara, John Button, Barbara Guest, Harry Mathews, Ron Padgett, Kenward Elmslie, Anne Dunn, Darragh Park, “and a who’s-who of poets and artists central to the downtown New York art scene from the early 1950s until Schuyler’s death in 1991.” The reading, at The Poetry Project, celebrates Just The Thing, a new collection of Schuyler’s letters, edited by William Corbett and just out from Turtle Point Press. 8:00pm, $8.

11.9: Sheila Kohler and Amy Hempel discuss “the ways in which writers use and transform their own lives in fiction, often altering ‘facts’ to create imaginative truth,” at the New York Public Library. 6:00pm; FREE, but preregistration is required. At Scandinavia House, art critic Nicholas Fox Weber discusses Louisa Matthiasdottir, subject of the Painter’s Painter exhibition currently on view at the museum. 6:30, $10. Buzzed-about debut novelists Martha Witt and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie read from their work at Cupcake, the reading series for New York’s best women writers, co-founded by yours truly. Immediately following the reading, journalist Katherine Lanpher (currently co-host of Air America‘s The Al Franken Show) moderates a brief discussion with Witt and Adichie. 7:30pm, FREE.

11.10: “Shirley Hazzard‘s friendship with Graham Greene began in a restaurant on Capri, when she overheard him quoting a poem by Robert Browning, and finished the stanza after he had stopped.” In tribute to the writer’s centenary this year, Hazzard discusses her friendship with Greene, documented in her memoir, Greene on Capri, at The Mercantile Library. 6:00pm; $5, reservations are required.

11.11: “Black Style” is discussed (third item) by some of its noted scholars at The Studio Museum in Harlem. 7:00pm, FREE. Downtown, cultural historian Joan Scott delivers a lecture on “French Universalism in Crisis” at The New School. 6:00pm, $10. Later on, The Land Grant College Review hosts a fall fundraiser and gives the kids what they want: beer, cigarettes, and a show by an indie-rock band. 9:00pm, $10.

11.12: Peter Gay delivers a lecture on “Modernism and Its Problems,” at The New School. 8:00pm, FREE.

11.13: Have yourself a starfucking good time when JT Leroy’s new illustrated novella, Harold’s End, is feted at Deitch Projects with a reading and performance by the author and friends, including Lou Reed, Shirley Manson, Tatum O’Neal, Asia Argento, Nancy Sinatra, Arthur Bradford, Chris of Dashboard Confessional, Pink, Mary Karr, Cherry Hood (illustrator of Harold’s End), Hernan Bas, Matt Greene, Jane Gilday, Danny Hobart, Violet Hopkins, Nick Lowe, Ted Mineo, Paul P. and others. Live Music by Leroy’s band, Thistle LLC. 8:00pm, FREE. Also on Saturday, Dharma Punx memoirist Noah Levine leads a one-day workshop on “The Buddhist Path of Rebellion,” at Tibet House. 10:00am-5:00pm, $130.

11.14: Sona Books presents a quartet of authors from its Chapbook Series 2, as poets and prose writers Alicia Askenase, Ellen Baxt, Jennifer Firestone (…Panorama of Gucci, Prada, legs, waist/smoke and butter funneled to a rich scene. Are you looking in–washing glass that’s dirty…), and Joanna Sondheim take the stage as part of the Readings at the Field Series. 7:30pm, FREE.

NOTE: I am going on a little trip, and in the spirit of adventure and in order to shake things up a bit, would like to expand the scope of the next two installments of The Smart Set, which will be combined and posted next Monday in a special “Going Places” edition spanning two weeks instead of the usual one. New York events will still be included, and the column will go strictly local again upon my return. Please send in notices of any intriguing literary and cultural events, absolutely anywhere from Marfa to Madrid and back again (if you’re organizing a drunken puppet show to amuse a couple of your colleagues in Antartica, or Ithaca, I want to know), taking place between 11.15 and 12.1 for consideration, by this Saturday. Gold stars for anything international, unusual, or just plain off the beaten path.


You might want to subscribe to my free Substack newsletter, Ancestor Trouble, if the name makes intuitive sense to you.