The Smart Set: a weekly events listing by Lauren Cerand

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

MONDAY, 4.11: Raphael Sperry, president of Architects Designers and Planners for Social Responsibility (whom I recently interviewed) gives a talk entitled “Crime and Architecture: The Case for The Prison Design Boycott“, and discusses critical issues with experts including Eric Cadora of the Justice Mapping Program. At the Center for Architecture, located at 536 La Guardia Place. 6:30pm, with a reception to follow; $15.

TUESDAY, 4.12: Immigrant History Week is celebrated in star-studded style with a reading by the talented trio of Susan Choi (American Woman), Azadeh Moaveni (Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America and American in Iran) and Akhil Sharma (An Obedient Father). At the International Center, 50 West 23rd St., 7th floor, between 6th Ave. and 5th Ave. 7:30pm, FREE. Elsewhere, Junno’s reading series presents a special roundtable discussion on “Iraq and the future of the Middle East.” Highly recommended. 7:30pm, FREE. And, in a discussion at the CUNY Graduate Center (co-sponsored by the excellent Poets House), entitled “Poetics and Violence,” “contemporary poets talk about how they handle violence in their work and why.” Featuring Maggie Nelson (Jane: A Murder), Claudia Rankine (Don’t Let Me Be Lonely), and Eileen Myles (Cool for You). In the Segal Theater, 365 Fifth Avenue, at 34th Street. 7:00pm, $5.

WEDNESDAY, 4.13: Rene Steinke (Holy Skirts) and Paula Kamen (All In My Head) read from their work at Cupcake, the reading series for New York’s best women writers (that I co-direct). 7:30pm, FREE. Also, Diana Abu-Jaber reads from The Language of Baklava, her memoir of growing up with an American mother and a Jordanian father, at 192 Books. 7:00pm; FREE, reservations requested: 255-4022.

THURSDAY, 4.14: The L Magazine presents “Literary Upstart, the Search for Pocket Fiction,” a competitive reading to win cash and publication in the magazine. Judged by the dream team of the New Yorker‘s Ben Greenman, Nan A. Talese/Doubleday editor Coates Bateman, Regal-Literary agent Peter Steinberg and The L columnist Rebecca Schuman, at the Baggot Inn, 82 West 3rd Street between Thompson and Sullivan. 8:00pm, FREE. Elsewhere, Work Magazine fetes Issue #2 at Serena Bar, below the Chelsea Hotel. The party starts “after work,” and $5 gets you “free beer (until it runs out)” and a copy of the magazine. And, the boys at n+1 attempt to have their cake and eat it, too, as the PAGE series’ featured readers at the National Arts Club. Jacket required. 7:00pm, FREE.

FRIDAY, 4.15: The Poetry Project presents the Poetry Game Show, “the only poetry event that allows you to play ‘Name the Poet,’ ‘Fictionary,’ ‘Caption the Slide,’ and ‘Whose Novel Is This Anyway?’ Douglas Rothschild hosts with adjudicators Joanna Fuhrman and Erica Kaufman. Also featuring a slide presentation by Cathy Hannan and live music by Bethany Spiers.” 10:30pm, $8.

SATURDAY. 4.16: Last Saturday night, I planned to stop by La Fleur en Papier Dore, the cafe in Brussels’ Marolles neighborhood where Belgian Surrealist painter Rene Magritte and his circle used to hang out back in the day. Instead, I stumbled over my schoolgirl French and got confused by the difference between ordering a glass and a pitcher of wine during dinner at Bonsoir Clara, leading to a grand evening that included the waiter teaching me how to say “Do you have a light?” en francaise and an invitation to join the next table over from three American guys in town for a bicycle race. This weekend, when I’m not scheming on ways to get back to beautiful Antwerp, I’ll probably mosey on over to the Met for the retrospective of Parisian-based Surrealist mastermind Max Ernst, which includes drawings and illustrated books as well as paintings and other works. The museum’s Saturday hours are 9:30am-9:00pm, $12 suggested.

SUNDAY, 4.17: The Sunday Salon’s last uptown reading before its move to Brooklyn features Tsaurah Litzky (Baby On The Water), Alix Strauss (The Joy of Funerals), Ken Levinson (Traveling in Anhedonia) and Amy Ouzoonian (White Horses: Poems for Tsunami Relief). 7:00pm, FREE.


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