The Smart Set is a weekly feature, compiled and posted 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 Ms. Cerand at lauren [at] maudnewton.com by the Thursday prior to publication. Due to the volume of submissions, events cannot be considered unless the date appears in the subject line of your message.
MON Jan 28: “Jeffrey Marsh continues to blur gender-identity lines using dignity and patience with the help of his musical partner Rick Sorkin. Their two man show, described as ‘Late night talk show meets Sonny & Cher meets Kurt Weill,’ blends traditional 20th century French and German cabaret, musical theater selections, pop music deconstruction, comedy, and audience interaction.” Tonight’s show features special guest Clay McLeod Chapman, the most mysteriously underrated writer-performer in New York. At La Mama Experimental Theatre Club. 8PM, $15. Also, Brooklyn Writers Space Reading Series presents Paula Bernstein, Elyse Schein, Edmund Lee and Dominic Preziosi, downstairs at Union Hall. 7PM, FREE. Noted, with fascination: Bernstein and Schein recently co-wrote Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited.
TUE Jan 29: Romania is enjoying a much-deserved cultural moment. Riding the crest of Times’ critic A.O. Scott’s magazine-length feature, “New Wave on the Black Sea,” is Christian Mingiu’s 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, playing this week at IFC Center.
WED Jan 30: Debut author Toby Barlow reads from Sharp Teeth, which charts the necessarily chaotic events that unfold when “an ancient race of lycanthropes has survived to the present day,” at 192 Books. 7PM, FREE.
THU Jan 31: “Les Figues Press and editors Christine Wertheim & Matias Viegener, to celebrate The noulipian Analects, an alphabetical survey of constrained writing by some of todayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s most innovative writers. Hosted by: Robert Fitterman With readings by contributors: Christian BÃƒÂ¶k, Vanessa Place, Brian Kim Stefans, Rodrigo Toscano, Matias Viegener, and Christine Wertheim.” Says the press, “We do not see ourselves as gatekeeper, but gate, providing a portal for literature that is difficult, demanding or otherwise unacceptable to an increasingly risk-averse publishing industryÃ¢â‚¬â€literature whose existence is vital for a thriving culture.” Smash your preconceptions at the The Merc. 7PM, FREE.
FRI Feb 1: At Bluestockings, “Join contributors to WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly, as they share selections from the new issue, Activisms, exploring ‘how women (and men) struggle individually and collectively for social justice and gender equity, particularly in the global south. This issue includes photo-essays about U.S. and South African performance art, an interview with renowned human rights activist Charlotte Bunch, and a discussion forum on eighteenth-century British feminist and philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft. Articles, fiction, and poetry examine how art, humor, protests, detective novels, and transÃ‚Ânational networks promote progressive agendas.’ This event is also a celebration of the dynamic, vital and innovative publishing of the Feminist Press.” Highly recommended. 7PM, FREE. And, Paragraph hosts an evening with short story writers Matthew Klam and Nam Le, followed by a reception. 8:30PM, FREE.
SAT Feb 2: The sexy-now-that-it’s-sold-out Association of Writers & Writing Program (AWP) Conference will be open to the public on Saturday. Don’t miss your chance to make out with a poet. (Thanks to Richard for the tip!).
SUN Feb 3: Yesterday I stumbled into Bowne & Co. Stationers, a part of the South Street Seaport Museum but also a fully functioning shop, and it’s a bibliophile’s dream. The printer showed me a limited edition letterpress reproduction made for a Dublin artist of a poster advertising the sale of the contents of Oscar Wilde’s home; I also found the perfect Walt Whitman cards, and some others with all manner of literary quotes (Zelda Fitzgerald on love!), Melville poetry, and an exquisite hand-printed book of Emily Dickinson poems that took my breath away.