The Smart Set is a weekly feature, compiled and posted by Lauren Cerand, that usually appears Mondays at 12:30 pm, 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, MAY 25: Make a mix tape. Mine’s 27 covers of Jolene.
TUE, MAY 26: NYC’s finest punk band Japanther, en route from Alabama to Spain, and London-based “weird fiction” pioneer/Marxian theorist China Mieville take the stage for the third anniversary edition of “Upstairs at the Square” with host Katherine Lanpher. At the Union Square Barnes & Noble, 6pm doors, 7pm show, FREE [Full disclosure, as always: I am very involved with this series]. In Brooklyn, New Yorker editor Ben Greenman discusses his new novel, Please Step Back, and his recent story collection, Correspondences, with Guilt & Pleasure editor Shelly Salamensky at WORD in Greenpoint, which has chosen the book as its monthly pick. 7PM, FREE [Full disclosure, as always: Ben is one of my PR clients].
WED, MAY 27: The Beatrice series (I would propose, as Lord Byron suggested, “The reader is requested to adopt the Italian pronunciation of Beatrice, sounding all the syllables.”) wraps up its spring season downtown, at the Slipper Room to hear Sarah Rainone and Rakesh Satyal read from their debut novels, Love Will Tear Us Apart and Blue Boy — with special performances by members of the Bushwick Book Club, who have written original songs based on those novels. Every first Tuesday of the month songwriters get together at Goodbye Blue Monday in Bushwick to perform original songs based on works of literature like Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being or Raymond Carver’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. This evening’s performance marks the first time that Bushwick Book Club members have written songs based on newly released novels, and there’s also a very strong likelihood that Sarah will be playing bass on one of those songs, AND that Rakesh can be persuaded to show us his skills as a cabaret jazz singer.” 7PM, FREE.
THU, MAY 28: Rudy Wurlitzer makes an extremely rare, nearly unfathomable public appearance (he wrote about his disinclination towards all that in a guest essay for Maud Newton here) in conjunction with Two Dollar Radio’s reissue of his counterculture classic debut, NOG, along with his friend Gary Indiana, whose new novel, The Shanghai Gesture, is also out from the same press [Full disclosure, as always: I publicized Wurlitzer’s most recent novel, The Drop Edge of Yonder]. At 192 Books. 7PM, FREE, “Seating is limited, please call 212.255.4022 for reservations.” In Brooklyn, Mickey Hess reads from his charming diatribe against the day job blues, Big Wheel at the Cracker Factory, out on the greatly underrated Garrett County Press, at Pete’s Candy Store with J. Robert Lennon. 7PM, FREE.
FRI, MAY 29: If you’re going to Book Expo America, please join me and a couple of bottles of wine or sake or similar at 3PM at Two Dollar Radio’s booth for Happy Hour. At 4:30, I’ll be speaking and presenting some thoughts on inspiration as part of 7x20x21.
WEEKEND: On Saturday, Michael Muhammad Knight, Cristy C. Road and Andrew Zornoza read at “THE ENCLAVE XXII: THE FESTIVAL OF PUNK LITERATURE.” At Cake Shop. 3PM, FREE. The big event Saturday night is at the Highline Ballroom as McSweeney’s, SMITHMAG and The Rumpus Present: YOU’RE NOT ALONE, with Comedy by Todd Barry and Eugene Mirman, Music by Matthew Caws of Nada Surf, Readings by Anthony Swofford, Amy Tan and new McSweeney’s authors Jessica Anthony & James Hannaham + The Six-Word Memoirists. Hosted by author and Rumpus editor Stephen Elliott. Highly recommended. Sunday, nap, or maybe check out some photography or something. It’ll be the first (and the last) weekend I’ll be in town for a while, so probably: nap.