The Smart Set is a weekly feature, compiled by Lauren Cerand, that usually 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 lauren [at] maudnewton.com by the Thursday prior to publication, with the eventÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s date in the subject line.
First, a Public Service Announcement: My petite confections, there are so many things in life we must experience for ourselves to fully appreciate their depth — travel, heartbreak, the opera, Daniel. However, I can spare you the intense boredom of Marie Antoinette! I barely made it halfway through.
MONDAY, 10.23: Stephen Elliott celebrates his latest, My Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me Up, with a reading with his pal Nick Flynn (Another Bullshit Night in Suck City) at The Strand. A brief interview with Steve, conducted via email and exclusive to The Smart Set:
Lauren Cerand: What’s sexy about fall?
Stephen Elliott: Clothes are sexy. Breezes. And darkness that comes earlier.
Lauren Cerand: Who’s the sexiest living writer you’ve never met?
Stephen Elliott: This is an impossible question to answer. Do you know how much trouble you could get me in? Ah right, that I’ve never met. Because I’ve [met] some incredibly sexy writers. I’ve never met Mary Gaitskill, but I’ve talked to her on the phone. I’ve met her husband. I didn’t tell her husband, hey, I’ve read your wife’s books, all of them, and sometimes I pick up Because They Wanted To and start again. So yeah, off the top of my head, Mary Gaitskill. You write stories that well you will always be beautiful.
Lauren Cerand: Where is the sexiest place in New York?
Stephen Elliott: A certain mistress’ dungeon near Battery Park. Either that or Stephen Sherrill’s studio in the village.
7:00pm at The Strand, FREE. Highly recommended. I’ll be there!
TUESDAY, 10.24: “An Evening with Esopus” At the Kitchen. “For its first event at The Kitchen, Esopus presents an evening of readings and performances whose themeÃ¢â‚¬â€creative collaborationÃ¢â‚¬â€is approached from four different angles by four different groups of collaborators. In “Autographs,” an audio-visual presentation recorded exclusively for this event, actor/filmmaker Jennifer Jason Leigh reads a series of short poems by Vincent Katz, accompanied by projections of never-before-seen drawings by his father, artist Alex Katz… Film production designer ThÃƒÂ©rÃƒÂ¨se DePrez (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Happiness) and cinematographer Ellen Kuras (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Unzipped) discuss with critic Amy Taubin the process of working together to create the look and tone of films like Mary Harron’s I Shot Andy Warhol and Spike LeeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Summer of Sam. Playwright Christopher Durang (Beyond Therapy, Miss Witherspoon) stages and co-performs with actress Alma Cuervo a reading of a short parody of Medea that Durang co-wrote with the late Wendy Wasserstein (whose plays often featured Cuervo in starring roles). The evening ends with a set of guitar, loops, piano and vocals from Charles Bissell and Kevin Whelan from acclaimed indie band The Wrens. In keeping with the evening’s theme of collaboration, their performance will include a song for which they will ask audience members to join them onstage to contribute single-note drones on extra guitars. Free admission.” 7:00pm. And, at the Borders on Park and 57th, perhaps the perfect venue, “Twenty-five bestselling and award-winning female writers explore the emotional minefield of mother-nanny relationships. Join book editor, Gina Hyams, with contributing authors: Katharine Weber, Marina Budhos, Caroline Leavitt, Anne Burt, Susan Cheever, Pamela Kruger, and Roxana Robinson, as they read selections from Searching for Mary Poppins [Full disclosure, as always: Katharine is one of my clients]. 7:00pm, FREE.
WEDNESDAY, 10.25: “Heralded by CBS NewsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Mike Wallace as ‘an extraordinary story, for the depth of its scholarship and the lure of its style,’ Joshua Wolf ShenkÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s book LincolnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness reveals how the 16th president harnessed his depression to fuel his astonishing achievements. Drawing on seven years of his own research and the work of other Lincoln scholars, Shenk joins Andrew Solomon (author of The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression) and Harold Holzer (author of The Lincoln Family Album, Lincoln at Cooper Union and many other books about Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War) in a panel discussion examining LincolnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s depressive symptoms, which included mood swings and at least two major breakdowns, and how he found the solace he needed to deal with the nationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s worst crisis.” The Cooper Union, The Great Hall, 7 East 7th Street b/w 3rd and 4th Aves. Highly recommended. 6:30pm, FREE.
THURSDAY, 10.26: At downtown art gallery jen bekman [full disclosure, as always: where I am the PR director], artist Holly Lynton discusses her current solo exhibition of photographs, Solid Ground, with art critic (and Art Fag City blogger) Paddy Johnson. 6pm – 8pm. “There will be wine + beer, the talk starts around 7.” FREE. And, “Colin Channer reads from his story in Iron Balloons (called “a tour de force” by the New York Times) and K.E. Silva reads from her debut novel, A Simple Distance.At Bluestockings … post-reading reception with Jamaican Red Stripe beer for all.” 7:00pm, FREE.
FRIDAY, 10.27: Andrea Haenggi/AMDaT performs Friction at Dance Theater Workshop: “As the audience is invited to peer down a narrow hallway, corridors form, dissolve, and reÃ¢â‚¬â€œform, veering out into infinity. The stage becomes fluid, as Swiss born/New York based Andrea Haenggi mixes live feeds from hidden cameras with stunning projected films that are layered over dynamic, serene yet brutal live dance. Haenggi promises to once again explode artistic boundaries with her unique vision of dance, visual art and technology in this provocative world premiere” praised by Gay City News as “Exceptional… raw, powerful and sexy.Ã¢â‚¬Â 7:30pm, $20.
SUNDAY, 10.29: At KGB, Harper Perennial authors (and out-of-towners) Sarah Hall (Haweswater), Heather O’Neill (Lullabies for Little Criminals) and Emily McGuire (Taming the Beast) read from their work. Recommended. 7:00pm, FREE.