The Smart Set: Lauren Cerand’s weekly events

The Smart Set is a weekly feature, compiled by Lauren Cerand, that appears Mondays at 12:30pm 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 send details to by the Thursday prior to publication, with the event’s date in the subject line.

MONDAY, 4.17: Stephen Elliott’s Progressive Reading Series, “a monthly literary benefit to support progressive congressional candidates nationwide,” and an established highlight of San Francisco’s vibrant literary scene, arrives in New York! At Galapagos, Anthony Swofford, Adrienne Miller, David Rees, Jonathan Ames, Paul LaFarge, and Janice Erlbaum read, with ” Proceeds to benefit The Fighting Dems, Veterans running against Republican incumbents in 2006.” 8:00pm, $10-20 sliding scale donation. Highly recommended — no, essential — with advance ticket purchase strongly encouraged. Also, Ken Foster sends word that, “On Monday April 17th I’ll be in New York City reading from my memoir The Dogs Who Found Me at Astor Place Barnes and Noble at 7pm followed by a party and silent auction to benefit the Louisiana SPCA at B Bar, 40 East 4th Street, 8-11pm ($10 suggested donation).” Also highly recommended.

TUESDAY, 4.18: News from New Directions: “Eliot Weinberger’s essay “What I Heard About Iraq,” adapted for the stage by Simon Levy, will have its New York premiere on Tuesday, April 18 at The Annex at La Mama E.T.C. The essay received widespread attention when it was first published in the London Review of Books, and it is included in What Happened Here: Bush Chronicles, Weinberger’s latest book of essays from New Directions. Please join us for this one-night-only performance.” 8:00pm, $15.

WEDNESDAY, 4.19: Phillip Jenkins gives a talk on and signs his new book, Decade of Nightmares: The End of the Sixties and the Making of Eighties America. At The Cooper Union (Wollman Auditorium). This sounds as though it could be quite compelling, even though I did have a huge crush on Alex P. Keaton and a signed photograph of Ronald Reagan on one of my bookshelves, lovingly plastered with “Property of LAUREN” stickers. Ah, the ’80s. 6:30pm, FREE. And, at the Small Press Center’s “Emerging Voices – Writers Published by Groundbreaking Independent Presses” series, Akashic Books publisher Johnny Temple speaks and introduces three Akashic authors: Lauren Sanders, writer of the award winning With or Without You, ‘a wickedly crafted whydunit’; Marlon James and his well-received premiere novel, John Crow’s Devil, detailing the strife of two flawed Jamaican preachers; and Kirsten Dinnall Hoyte with her debut book Black Marks, a powerful exploration of a woman’s search for identity.” 6:30pm, FREE. Also, at The Strand, Senator Gordon Smith discusses his memoir Remembering Garrett: One Family’s Battle with a Child’s Depression, which chronicles the struggle to come to terms with his son’s suicide, and subsequent activism around youth suicide awareness and prevention. Garrett was a good friend of my younger brother’s and a really nice kid. Highly recommended. 6:30pm, FREE.

THURSDAY, 4.20: At Three Lives & Company, “David Mitchell, author of the Booker-finalist and Three Lives staff favorite Cloud Atlas returns to the bookshop to read from his new novel, Black Swan Green, the story of thirteen-year-old Jason Taylor and a year, 1982, in his small Worcestershire village.” 7:00pm, FREE. And, “May Wilson – the woman under whose bed Valerie Solanas stored the gun she used to shoot Andy Warhol – is one of the artists whose work is to be included in ‘Constellation.’ Wilson was also the subject of a 1969 documentary – Woo Who? May Wilson. A small full-color catalog accompanies ‘Constellation’ with essays by Vince Aletti, Peter Frank, Sur Rodney (Sur), Robert M. Murdock and William S. Wilson.” At Pavel Zoubok. [via Living with Legends: The Hotel Chelsea blog; see also:] 6:00 – 8:00pm, FREE.

FRIDAY, 4.21: I’m generally skeptical but the concept, like the couple, intrigues: “Starring Barney and Bjork, who composed the original soundtrack, Drawing Restraint 9 represents the first creative collaboration of two of the most protean, dynamic forces in music and fine art. Set on the Japanese whaling ship Nisshin Maru, the film follows The Guests, two occidental visitors who are taken on board and participate in a bizarre series of rituals. Like Barney’s acclaimed The Cremaster Cycle, Drawing Restraint 9 is a powerful visual and aural experience, a hugely ambitious work of cinema and art.” At IFC Center. Check site for times; $10.75.

SATURDAY, 4.22:After the Deluge” at The Met: “In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, contemporary American artist Kara Walker (b. 1969)—widely recognized for her exploration of issues of race, gender, and sexuality through the 18th-century medium of cut-paper silhouettes—juxtaposes a variety of objects from the Museum’s collection with her own work in order to explore ‘the transformative effect and psychological meaning of the sea’ and the role assigned to black figures represented in art.” The museum’s Saturday hours are 9:30am – 9:00pm, $15 suggested. [Thanks to RW for the tip!]

SUNDAY, 4.23: Stephen Petronio Company performs the final two performances in a week-long engagement at The Joyce: “In the brilliant, transient moment between what is and what is to come, the evocative signature movement of choreographer Stephen Petronio combines with the poetic surge of singer and songwriter Rufus Wainwright to create BLOOM. Wainwright’s original score includes special live guests, the Young People’s Chorus of New York City under the direction of Francisco Núñez. Stephen Petronio Company presents this much anticipated world premiere along with selected repertory. In collaboration with Resident Lighting Designer Ken Tabachnick with costumes by Tara Subkoff/Imitation of Christ.” Sunday’s performances are at Sunday at 2pm and 7:30pm; see site for other times; $40. Highly recommended.


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