Since everyone cool/loaded has left the city for a summer get-away and you’re still here, what better way to pass these lazy days than by learning to battle the Illuminati, showing off your mad fanboy language skillz or getting acquainted with Emperor Augustus.
Thursday August 21
Julie Schumacher + Ethan Rutherford
Dear Committee Members, Julie Schumacher’s eighth novel, is an epistolary satire of academia that has been earning—as the title of a Slate review puts it, “Strongest possible endorsement.” Made up of letters of recommendation written by a beleaguered literature professor (whose promising career in fiction is now just a fading memory), the book is a bitingly witty portrait of a dying English department and the embittered man who dwells in its decomposing innards. As Professor Fitger writes his oft-counterproductive endorsements, his letters slowly become more unbalanced and autobiographical, giving the reader glimpses into his past. Praised as a “mordant minor masterpiece,” by NPR, it sounds like the sort of book you should perhaps hurry up and finish during the summer—when the worn-out cynicism of the letter-writing professor seems more removed from the reality of your everyday working life. Schumacher will be joined in discussion by Ethan Rutherford, author of The Peripatetic Coffin and Other Stories.
7pm-8pm, Strand Book Store (828 Broadway), Buy a copy of Dear Committee Members or a $15 Strand gift card to attend the event
Saturday, August 23
How to Overthrow the Illuminati
I almost wish that we could take this one at face value, and learn in earnest how to combat the shadowy organization that is (obviously!) slowly infiltrating the upper echelons of government, business and media in order to implement a new world order through a complex system of signs and symbols. Sadly, that’s not the case. Despite what you might have heard about the nefarious Illuminati connections of Jay-Z, Beyonce, Obama, and Kim Kardashian, The Base is not here to help us take the mofos down. Instead, the leftist community organization believes that “Illuminati theory helps oppressed people to explain our experiences in the hood.” So they’ve put together a pamphlet redirecting attention to ways in which citizens can tackle the very real issues of oppression and exploitation. Come along, and channel your abundant conspiracy theory energy into thinking about social change.
4:30-6:30pm, The Base (1302 Myrtle Ave), FREE
A Game of Words
Do you read far too many genre books? Do you have impassioned arguments about which was the best language in the Lord of the Rings (Ent, amiright)? Do you know what a “Southron turncloak” is? If the answer to any of the above is Yes, then this event is my gift to you. WORD Bookstore invites all nerdy fanboys/girls to a multi-fandom spelling bee. The competition will be moderation by Geoffrey Golia of A Trivia of Ice and Fire, and spellers can sign up for either the Swords (including epic fantasy vocabulary) or Space (including science fiction vocabulary) preliminary round; finalists will go head to head in an all’s-fair-in-fandom face-off. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up; spaces limited for spellers, studio audience members welcome. Prizes will be awarded.
5pm, WORD Bookstore (126 Franklin Street), FREE
Monday, August 25
Daniel Mendelsohn and Adrian Goldsworthy On Emperor Augustus
If ancient Rome is more your bag than medieval fantasy/sci-fi, then allow us to recommend this pow-wow on Emperor August (nee Gaius Octavius), featuring the inimitable Daniel Mendelsohn—whose expansive critical capacities have bent upon both the Odyssey and Mad Men. Mendelsohn will be discussing Augustus, the third of Stoner author John Williams’ great novels. Published in 1972, the book has recently been reissued with an intro by Mendelsohn. The novel, largely epistolary, follows the life and career of the first emperor of Rome—and was praised by the Financial Times for its “extraordinary range” and “extraordinary minuteness.” Mendelsohn will be joined by Adrian Goldsworthy, whose biography Augustus: From Revolutionary to Emperor has just been published by Yale University Press.
7pm, McNally Jackson (52 Prince Street), FREE
Tuesday, August 26
Film screening: We Don’t Like Samba
Brazil’s meteoric rise as a success-story of the developing world—its shooting-star status as one of the BRIC states—imploded just before the global community turned its eyes to the country during the 2014 world cup. Rioting in the streets, vehement protest art, and police crackdowns went underreported, as the soccer frenzy kicked in. We Don’t Like Samba, which unofficially premiered recently at the Fusion Festival, tracks the protest movement that began in June 2013, after the costs for public transportation rose. That mass movement has inspired hundreds of other, smaller demonstrations: workers on wildcat strikes, women protesting the Papal visit, residents combating urbanization projects. “We are not samba dancers” say the striking garbage workers known as “Garis” in one interview. “We are rebels”.
9pm-11pm, The Base (1302 Myrtle Ave), FREE
Thursday, August 28
Award-winning storyteller Leslie Goshko (Huffington Post, Manhattan Monologue Slam Champion) hosts this monthly storytelling show, which invariably follows the same format. Goshko invites three top writers and storytellers to join her in sharing true, bizarre tales about their lives for ten minutes apiece. Four challenging trivia questions are asked, and one lucky audience member will receive a portion of “Sideshow Sauce” (aka a delectable bottle of Trader Joe’s vino). This particular evening’s line-up will include stories from Ryan Britt (The New York Times, Gotham Writers’ Workshop), David Crabb (The Moth, Bad Kid), and Gail Thomas (Funny or Die, Tribeca Film Festival).
7pm-9m, KGB Bar (85 E 4 Street), FREE