talks + readings

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Catch Kathleen Hanna in Conversation With Meredith Graves of Perfect Pussy

(Flyer via Talkhouse)

(Flyer via Talkhouse)

If you’ve seen the 2013 documentary The Punk Singer, you know Kathleen Hanna was stuck out at sea for a long time when she was creatively paralyzed and overwhelmed by the day-to-day challenges of Lyme disease. One of the harshest consequences of her illness was profound fatigue, something that severely limited her capacity to write or perform music. At times, she found it difficult to even speak.

Lucky for us– oh, and for Hanna too– she’s doing much better these days, so much so that even though her band The Julie Ruin, like, just released their new album, Hanna is making an appearance this week at a speaker store in Soho, of all places, called Sonos.

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4 Readings: Whingeing About Work, Surveying the Surveillance State, and More

WEDNESDAY

daveDave Isay presents Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work
May 4 at 7:30 p.m. at Greenlight Bookstore, 686 Fulton Street.
Feeling unmotivated at work lately? Find some inspiration in Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work, the new book out by Storycorps founder Dave Isay. Born 13 years ago, the oral-history project’s intimate interviews have grown to be a mainstay of American public life and podcasting. The new book draws upon audio interviews of average Americans toiling in the trenches of the nation’s workforce (public defenders, salmon slicers, science teachers and more) to try to understand what motivates people in their work every day and how they got there. Some of the storytellers themselves will speak at the event.

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TFW, A Reading Series That Welcomes All Genres and All The Feels

Nina (L) and Gabriela (R). (photo: Eli Lehrhoff)

Nina (L) and Gabriela (R). (photo: Eli Lehrhoff)

Ever wonder what your writer friends get up to in their spare time? Do you have some old journal entries or essays collecting dust in a drawer you’ve always secretly wanted to share with the public eye? If so, The Silent Barn could have just the thing for you. TFW is a new monthly reading series co-curated by writers Gabriela Tully Claymore, 22, and Nina Mashurova, 26, that celebrates and welcomes material untried and unexpected: journalists reading their poetry, musicians reading their essays, and so on.

Both of TFW’s curators write predominantly music-centric cultural criticism (Gabriela is an assistant editor at Stereogum and Nina has edited for Impose Mag and written for outlets like Pitchfork). They have both consistently written poetry or prose for years, but found their professional identity as writers could sometimes make it difficult to share that work.

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4 Talks: Learn Your Socialist History and Get A.O. Scott’s Take on Criticism

TUESDAY

singhRanbir Singh Sidhu and Tanwi Nandini Islam in conversation
March 15 at 7 p.m. at WORD Bookstore, 126 Franklin Street
The immigrant narrative is a continually evolving touchstone to American fiction, gaining richness and depth. The debut novels from Ranbir Singh Sidhu and Tanwi Nandini Islam both attempt to re-invent the handling of that cross-cultural narrative using first-generation protagonists that defy stereotypes and expectations. In Sidhu’s Deep Singh Blue, a young man escapes his family by falling desperately in love with an older married woman. But things quickly spin out of his control, culminating in the devastating consequences of racism. Islam’s Bright Lines begins with an orphan’s move from Bangladesh to live with her family in Brooklyn, and follows the new family as they attempt to reckon with their secrets and past.

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4 Talks This Week Span the West Coast, Nigeria, Lebanon and Death

TUESDAY

zyzzyva

ZYZZYVA East Coast Celebration
March 9 at 7:00 p.m. at McNally Jackson, 52 Prince Street
The San Francisco-based literary magazine is flirting with the opposite coast this week, promoting its most recent issue at the close of ZYZZYVA’s 30th anniversary year. ZYZZYVA managing editor Oscar Villalon will emcee the event, which, true to form, includes a mix of writers at different points in their careers. Speakers include: April Ayers Lawson, whose first collection of stories Virgin: Stories and a Novella, is forthcoming; Kristopher Jansma, fresh off publishing his second novel Why We Came to the City; Sonya Cheuse, director of publicity for Ecco Books, who will read a story by her father, Alan Cheuse; and Henri Lipton whose story in ZYZZYVA’s Winter issue marks his first time in print.

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4 Talks and Readings: Well-Read Black Girl, Future of Whiteness, and More

TUESDAY

BetterThanMe pb c.thumbnailBonnie McFarlane + Jim Gaffigan
Feb. 23 at 7:00 p.m at The Strand, 828 Broadway
Bonnie McFarlane has made a career out of opening her mouth when she probably should have kept it shut, making people cringe in places like Last Comic Standing and The Jim Gaffigan Show. Her new book, You’re Better Than Me, follows in the footsteps of the popular genre of female comedian tell-alls (Mindy Kaling etc). With biting and hilarious prose it lays bare “the good, the bad and the ugly” of her life, with chapters covering everything from McFarlane’s childhood as a fish out of water on a Canadian farm, to finding “her people” in comedy. She will be joined by fellow comedian Jim Gaffigan.

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4 Talks and Readings Not to Miss This Week

TUESDAY

The narrow doorThe Narrow Door with Paul Lisicky, Fiona McCrae and Meghan Daum
Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, 126 Crosby Street
Paul Lisicky was 23 when he met the writer Denise Gess in the early 1980s. Even as their paths diverged, their friendship would become a center point his life rotated around until Denise’s death in 2009. This intimate and heartrending memoir of their relationship pays tribute to her life, while also exploring the powerful effects of friendship on our lives even in the face of extreme loss.

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Five Crazy Things I Learned at the Occult Humanities Conference

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

Yep, this is actually a thing (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Last weekend marked a victory for goths, Tarot freaks, and magic nerds everywhere as the second annual Occult Humanities Conference convened at NYU for a sold-out marathon of lectures with names like “Blues Magic,” “Bohemian Occult Subculture in Britain’s 1890s,” and “The Cut in Ritual Psychoanalysis and Art.” And while, yes, in many ways this was an academic-ish conference, organized by Pam Grossman (founder of the esoterica blog Phantasmaphile) and Jesse Bransford (Chair of the Art & Art Professions Department at NYU), the convening of occultists and occult obsessives still managed to keep it real.

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Talks + Readings: Scam Artists, Music Meccas, and Steve Jobs-O-Rama

The Confidence Game

The Confidence Game

The Confidence Game
Tuesday, January 19 at 7:00 p.m. at The Strand, 828 Broadway
New Yorker columnist Maria Konnikova is in her element with a deep dive into the psychology behind the art of the scam. From literature to Bernie Madoff, she examines how charming tricksters manage to so easily weasel through our best defenses and earn our trust — and more importantly, why we almost always fall for their cons. Might come in handy next time you’re trying to figure out if that Tinder date is for real. 

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Talks + Readings: A Cocaine-Sprinkled Outbreak and Post-Poetry Grinding

(Via Argos Books / Facebook)

(Via Argos Books / Facebook)

Argos Books Five Year Anniversary Celebration
Friday Nov. 20th, 7 pm at Wendy’s Subway, 722 Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg
Yassss to readings with a cause for celebration. And, like, the word “celebration” is even right there in the title, so it’s gotta be good. You know for sure there’s gonna be drinks and it’s gonna get loose. Hell, there’s even a lineup of three DJs for dance inspiration. You might even consider leaving your flask at home for this one. Maybe. But for real, Argos Books, the lil Brooklyn-based indie press that could, deserves a congrats-grad affair in proving that it’s not small presses that we have to worry about, it’s the mega-publishing houses that are floundering.

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The Brooklyn Book Fest Is Set to Be a Stunner

Kristin Henderson reads a story with her son Griffin at a previous Brooklyn Book Fest (Photo: Meghan White)

Kristin Henderson reads a story with her son Griffin at a previous Brooklyn Book Fest (Photo: Meghan White)

Great news! Brooklyn Book Fest has now updated its website to include a comprehensive event calendar for the imminent 2014 fest, which means we at B+B are able to supplement our recent rundown of upcoming literary shindigs. Keep Reading »

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Megan Abbot + Chelsea Cain

Who says girls can’t be crime writers? Well, no one actually, because that’s clearly not a valid argument. But just in case some loser out there is preparing his talking points, let me present a succinct rebuttal: Megan Abbott and Chelsea Cain. Abbot is author of recently released The Fever(“a chilling story about guilt, family secrets, and the lethal power of desire” set in a small town whose female teenage inhabitant are in the throes of a mysterious plague), while Cain has produced numerous best-selling books. Her latest, One Kick, is the first in a new series featuring protagonist Kick Lannigan—famously kidnapped as a child, and now called upon to help solve a new missing child case. These ladies are clearly queens of suspense: The Guardian called One Kick “a dark, dangerous journey into evil to find the vanished children, and entirely hide-away-until-you-finish-it gripping,” while the New York Timesfound The Fever “a gripping and unsettling novel.” See the terrible two in conversation at The Strand.