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.

The “Six o’clock already/I was just in the middle of a dream…” Edition

MONDAY, 6.5: Join contributors to the Best Sex Writing 2006 anthology, including Emily DePrang, Alex Morris, Paul Festa, Mark Pritchard, Jeff Weinstein, and Michelle Orange (note: Michelle’s The Sicily Papers won Hobart’sShort Flight/Long Drive” competition). A brief interview with Michelle, conducted via email and exclusive to The Smart Set):

The Smart Set: What’s sexy about summer?

Michelle: Sugary drinks, salty skin, and all those shoulder blades.

The Smart Set: Who’s the sexiest living writer you’ve never met?

Michelle: Sexy writers are like Big Foot sightings, but James Salter gets my vote anyway, based on the infuriatingly sexy “A Sport and a Pastime” alone. Please God let me never meet him.

The Smart Set: Where is the sexiest place in New York?

Michelle: The back seat of a taxi crossing the Manhattan bridge. Either way.

Highly recommended. At Bluestockings. 7:00pm, FREE.

TUESDAY, 6.6: Richard McCann, author of the seeming cult favorite (People literally recommend it to me all the time), Mother of Sorrows, reads from and discusses his work at McNally Robinson. Highly recommended. 7:00pm, FREE. And, “Finishing up the “Emerging Voices: Writers Published by Groundbreaking Independent Presses” series, Archipelago Books publisher Jill Schoolman, Director of the PEN Translation Committee Michael F. Moore, translator Peter Wortsman, and translator Mark Polizzotti will speak on matters of publishing and international literature. This free event will take place at the Small Press Center, located in The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen at 20 West 44th Street in midtown Manhattan on June 6th, at 6:30 pm.”

WEDNESDAY, 6.7: At Cornelia Street Cafe, “Come hear translations of the Russian twentieth-century poet Osip Mandelstam (1891-1938) read by many translators [including Kevin Kinsella of Languor Management]. Celebrate the release of an anthology of new translations of Mandelstam edited by Ilya Bernstein for Ugly Duckling Presse. Reading hosted by Andrey Gritsman.” 6:00 – 8:00pm, Cover $6 (includes one house drink). Also, at jen bekman, the latest winners of the Hey, Hot Shot! competition exhibit their best work, as selected by an all-star panel of judges, with beer provided by Crumpler (I hear they have a lot of it this week) [full disclosure, as always: I am the gallery’s pr director]. 6:00 – 8:00pm, FREE. And, mag hags rejoice! A stylized little bird, made of laser-cut lace and two kinds of garment-dyed hemp paper, whispered in my ear that AIGA promises a panel discussion guaranteed to have the pretty things a-twitter: “Fresh Dialogue is NEXT WEEK and it’s the last event of the program season…Lisa Farjam, the force behind Middle-East culture magazine Bidoun; David Haskell, editor-in-chief of Topic magazine; and Tod Lippy, creator of the …. biannual arts publication EsopusJames Truman, will moderate.” 7:00pm, $20.

THURSDAY, 6.8: PAGE at the National Arts Club, directed by Wah-Ming Chang and Fran Gordon (Paisley Girl) is easily one of the top five literary series in New York, and this Thursday’s line-up promises to be no exception. Poets Marie Howe (What the Living Do) and Catherine Barnett (Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced) and novelist Pauls Toutonghi (Red Weather) are the featured readers. Highly recommended. Notes: “free and open to the public, open bars and refreshments, jacket requested.*” *My excuse to go buy the top half of a Fafi for Adidas tracksuit tomorrow. 7:00pm, FREE.

FRIDAY, 6.9: It’s Other Press Night at McNally Robinson, featuring Lawrence Douglas (The Catastrophist) and Kara Lindstrom (Sparkle Life). “Other Press is an independent publisher committed to finding authors who are guided by a passion to discover the limits of knowledge and imagination. Lawrence Douglas’s 30-something character, an art historian and war memorial expert, recounts the arc of his own self-destruction. Married, tenured, a rising star at a fictional university, he falls apart piece by piece, beginning with the onset of “prepartum dread” when his wife gets pregnant. He briefly recovers when she loses the baby, but the damage to their marriage is already done, and he proceeds to make a series of personal and professional misjudgments. Kara Lindstrom’s 30-something characters are not friends, but they do move in the same New York film world. Not far into the book, all three seal their romantic fates at the same movie premier party, and the coincidences that bring them together drive their lives – yielding epiphanies, movie deals, and weddings – but never bring them closer emotionally.” Fictionally speaking, the perfect couple! 7:00pm, FREE. And, author and playwright Clay McLeod Chapman (Miss Corpus) explores “the actor’s identity… artistic ideals, celebrity worship, and the media’s exploitation of individuals” in “Stars in Her Eyes” at the Brick Theater’s “$ellout Festival.” Friday’s showtime is 8:30pm (the final performance is on Saturday at 1:45pm), $10.

SATURDAY, 6.10: The ARChive of Contemporary Music presents the Relaxing Record + CD Sale 2006. “As always — lotsa good stuff, New CDs, ol’ LPs, cassettes, posters, books, video PLUS the AstroTurf yardsale featuring great 50s retro kitchenware and the ‘le Chic’ collection of lounge singer dresses and streetware… Boxes and boxes and boxes of LPs for a buck! Per usual — a few signed things by “stars”… Over 10,000 recordings for sale — sealed, mint, used, rare, new, whatever.” 11:00am – 6:00pm.

SUNDAY, 6.11: And news from Sunday Salon, another of the easily top five literary series in New York: “we are celebrating our FOURTH year as a reading series, and would like you to come celebrate with us. But more important than indulging in some birthday cupcakes, we’re keeping it real with a fundraiser for Girls Write Now, a nonprofit organization that matches high school girls from underserved schools with professional women writers for weekly one-on-one mentoring and monthly writing workshops. So get a head start on your summer beach reading by participating on our LITERARY RAFFLE and purchasing your very own Sunday Salon/Girls Write Now T-SHIRT on SUNDAY JUNE 11TH AT STAIN BAR!” With readings by author Bill Gordon (Mary After All) [full disclosure, as always: Bill is a client of mine], spoken word performer Zaedryn Meade, and hosts Nita Noveno and Caroline Berger. A very worthy cause and highly, highly recommended. I’ll be there. 7:00pm, FREE.


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