Comedy is not a pursuit for the faint of heart, and that goes for audiences and comics alike. Lately, there’s been a widespread and mercilessly drawn-out public debate over what exactly counts as “offensive,” and how that may or may not be something quite separate from old-fashioned hate– you know, the classics, like racism, misogyny, homophobia. Meanwhile the term “safe space” has become so common, so misused and abused, that invoking it comes with some seriously heavy baggage that makes it almost impossible to use without infuriating some people and inspiring others to swoon.
The Doulas NYC Launch Party
Monday, November 21 at Bluestockings, 7 pm: FREE.
Bookstore, cafe, and activist space Bluestockings is fittingly the space for the NYC release event of The Doulas: Radical Care For Pregnant People. The book was written by Mary Mahoney and Lauren Mitchell, founders of The Doula Project, a NYC-based organization founded in 2007 that works to provide care and support to pregnant people “across the spectrum of choice,” meaning they will be there for pregnant individuals “whether they face birth, miscarriage, stillbirth, fetal anomaly, or abortion.” Their new book acts as a history of the organization’s work thus far through individual anecdotes chronicling the decision-making that typically goes on behind closed doors, as well as a “guidebook for the future.” The event will feature readings from the book by the authors, and is co-sponsored by a variety of women’s and reproductive health organizations based in New York and elsewhere. Such an evening is unfortunately timely as the future of reproductive choice and health becomes more and more unclear, so there is no time like the present to familiarize yourself with workers and organizations such as this, while you still can.
James Andrew Miller in Conversation with Andrew Ross Sorkin and David O’Connor
August 9, 7 pm at Barnes and Noble-Union Square
With his new book Journalist James Andrew Miller, who also moonlights as a media consultant, delves into the world of the Creative Artists Agency, a secretive conglomerate which controls the vast majority of the entertainment industry, whether it be music, television, or films. In Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency, Miller explores the origins of the CAA and its rapid rise to power.
Nadja Spiegelman presents I’m Supposed to Protect You from All This in conversation with Molly Fischer
August 2, 7:30pm at Greenlight Bookstore, 686 Fulton Street at South Portland Ave, Brooklyn.
Nadja Spiegelman will be presenting her memoir I’m Supposed to Protect You from All This, which charts three generations of women in Spiegelman’s family and their struggles and perseverances, with the traumas experienced in a Nazi-occupied France constantly in the background. Speigelman is the daughter of Art Spiegelman, the cartoonist most known for his graphic novel series Maus. Spiegelman junior has also published graphic novels, although their audiences have been younger. Her first memoir explores the relationship between herself and her mother, The New Yorker art director Françoise Mouly, and in turn delves into Mouly’s own upbringing, and her complex relationship with her parents. Spiegelman will be joined in conversation with New York magazine’s Molly Fischer (from The Cut), and there will be a wine reception afterward to celebrate the launch.
The Open Mic Roast of Riley Soloner
August 1 at Over the Eight, 594 Union Ave, Brooklyn. This show is free and starts at 9:30 p.m. More info on the event page.
Comedian Riley Soloner is hosting an open mic in which he will let anyone in the audience—including complete strangers—roast him in any way they want. Soloner is an improviser and comedian probably best known for his appearances on The Chris Gethard Show, but if you’re unfamiliar with him, that’s fine. He still would like you to roast him. In what the event page describes as “a truly bold and stupid move,” Soloner crowd-sourced this show via Facebook, where people requested that it be “a roast” and “sad.” Please don’t let him down—say something vile to his face.
Ed Gross presents: The Fifty-Year Mission
July 7, 7pm at Word Bookstore, at Villain LLC at 50 N 3rd Street.
Trekkies, this one’s for you! Word Bookstore and the event space Villain LLC will be hosting a launch party to celebrate the release of Ed Gross’s The Fifty-Year Mission: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek: The First 25 Years, which diligently tracks the history of the Star Trek franchise and offers behind-the-scenes peeks at the show’s production and its impact on current pop culture. With Star Trek-themed cocktails such as the Romulan Ale or Klingon Blood Wine, Trekkies and newbies alike are sure to have an enjoyable evening. Ed Gross will be joined in conversation by the science fiction critic Ryan Britt, who is the author of Luke Skywalker Can’t Read: And Other Geeky Truths. Tickets are $5 and can be used toward the purchase of the book.
The Idealist: Aaron Swartz and the Rise of Free Culture on the Internet
Tuesday, January 12 at 7:00 p.m. at The Strand, 828 Broadway
When 26-year-old computer prodigy Aaron Swartz committed suicide in 2013, the tech community was shocked. A founding developer of Reddit and the Creative Commons, Swartz was an important figure for those who supported open information online over an increasingly atomized and commercial internet model. In the aftermath of his death, Slate’s Justin Peters traces the history of the Internet free culture movement and examines Swartz’s legacy as a “data moralist.”
Book Launch: When We Fight, We Win!
Tuesday, January 5 at 7:00 p.m. at The Powerhouse Arena, 37 Main St, Brooklyn. (DUMBO)
The past year was filled with updates on the Black Lives Matter movement and a long-overdue Supreme Court victory for the LGBTQ movement. To take stock of the social movements shaping our world, turn to Greg Jobin-Leeds’ new collection. When We Fight, We Win!, a collaboration with AgitArte, profiles the successful activists and artists making waves behind the headlines you’ve seen flying by of late, from the fight to end mass incarceration to steps forward on immigration rights and environmental protection. The book launch will feature a conversation between Jobin-Leeds and AgitArte’s José Jorge Díaz, as well as remarks from activist leaders from the book, including Rachel Schragis, Felipe Sousa-Rodríguez, Isabel Sousa-Rodríguez, Che Gosset, Manissa McCleave Maharawal, Lily Paulina. RSVP at RSVP@powerHouseArena.com
Join a pair of bold woman who aren’t afraid to take on two modern atrocities women face every day: fattism and manspreading. Cassie J. Sneider is the author of an XOJane article about how to deal with out-of-bounds knees (spoiler alert: she sits on them with her bony butt. Twelve of them by the time she wrote on article. She might be on to something — she didn’t get shoved or yelled at once!) Virgie Tovar is a BuzzFeed contributor, fat activist, and editor of Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion. Together they’ll discuss body image and give some tips for how to love yourself in a world full of manspreading haters designed to make you inwardly scream at every lurch of the L Train.
For those who only discovered (and promptly binge-watched) the show just a few years ago on Netflix, it’s a little weird to think the book that spawned Emmy-winning Friday Night Lights was actually first published in back in 1990. The classic account of the Permian Panthers follows the high school team’s 1988 season in Odessa, Texas. Says the blurb on Amazon: “Odessa is not known to be a town big on dreams, but the Panthers help keep the hopes and dreams of this small, dusty town going.” It’s good to know that the book is just as earnest as the show. Themes like racial and social divides in America’s small towns still hold up today, so snag a copy of the 25th anniversary edition (with updates on where the team members are now) and hear author Buzz Bissinger in conversation with the book’s editor, Jane Isay.
Tuesday, Sept. 8, at 7 p.m. Strand Book Store, 828 Broadway (Noho).
Don’t miss a night of readings from Finding Masculinity, a new collection of essays from scientists, teachers, fathers, veterans and artists who share how being visible as the masculine humans they identify as has developed, changed, and evolved their sense of masculinity. The book focuses on the many facets of life that are affected by transitioning to a transgender man, including one’s career, emotional and spiritual life, family, medical community and relationships.
Meet the faces behind some of your favorite TV shows at Real Characters, a regular series hosted by Andy Ross (contributor to The Onion and writer and performer of the one man show “Melancomedy”) featuring some of New York’s best humor writers, stand-ups and performers. This month’s lineup includes Bruce Eric Kaplan (Girls, The New Yorker, author of I Was a Child: A Memoir), Allison Silverman (The Colbert Report, Portlandia, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Issac Oliver (Ars Nova Theater, author of Intimacy Idiot) and Sandi Marx (The Moth).
Wednesday, July 22 at 7 p.m. McNally Jackson Independent Booksellers, 52 Prince Street (Soho).