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.
Since Argos puts out great looking chapbooks and was founded by a trio of “poet-translators,” makes sense they’ve got some of their brightest poets lined up to read, all of whom happen to be women. Among them are Safiya Sinclair, Marina Blitshteyn, and Amber Atiya.
Sinclair is the author of Catacombs, published by Argos Books in 2011. The Jamaican-born poet is currently completing her PhD at USC and has won a number of prizes for her work, including the Prairie Schooner Book Prize for her first published collection of poetry, Cannibal (2006). She writes lyric poetry, sometimes with an overwhelming sense of sea-worn weariness to it (as in the poem, “Hands“).
Marina Blitshteyn is the author of Russian For Lovers. Argos put out the hand-sewn chapbook back in 2011, and it’s currently marked as “sold out.” It’s no wonder, really. The book sounds like a fascinating take on the trouble with translation. Based on Blitshteyn’s own attempt to teach her “beloved” basic Russian, the work deals in the difficulties that arise from things that simply cannot be translated, as well as the shifting relationship between Blitshteyn and the mother country as she is forced to break down things as complex as culture and language into simplified forms.
A Room Full of Teeth
Thursday, Nov. 19, 8 pm at Regina Rex, 221 Madison Street in Chinatown
Check out Regina Rex tomorrow night for an event where oral presentation meets performance art. The Chinatown gallery is hosting A Room Full of Teeth, in which visitors will be greeted by four people sittin’ pretty and awaiting your inquiry. If you’re not afraid of the implications that come along with so many teeth, then ask away– it’ll be like pressing a button at one of those natural history museum exhibits, except we’re guessing slightly more lively (though no less weird). When you activate said person, they’ll turn into an oracle of sorts and begin to convey a piece of art that’s been passed to them by participating artists Johanna Flato, Marc Buchy, Kristina Cordon, and Tatiana Chaumont.
All of the transmissions are original, “largely intangible” works that “have been generated by the artists outside of a studio or traditional institutional context.” Each contributing artist seems to be working in pretty disparate areas, so expect some serious variety.
Marc Buchy implements micro-rebellions through work like “To be or not to be,” in which he erased the famous line from copies of Hamlet and put them back on the shelf: “Innocent readers will acquire a copy freed from the quotation, a quotation already present in their mind before and after the reading.” How do you show a work like this, one might ask? Well, in Buchy’s case you install the bit of rubber that crumbled off the eraser in the process of line stealing.
In many ways, Johanna Flato’s work couldn’t be more different from Buchy. Rather than disrupting the natural order of things, Flato sculpts seemingly natural landscapes into surreal formations that dance along the edge of design: astroturf female forms bloom out of a lawn and pillows are made out of well-known landscape paintings like Manet’s Luncheon on the Grass.
Thursday, Nov. 19, doors at 6:30 pm/ talk begins at 7 pm at the Museum of Food and Drink (MoFAD), 62 Bayard Street in Williamsburg: $10
In the words of my friend getting her nerd certificate in Food Studies, the Museum of Food and Drink (MoFAD) is “sort of?” worth it, but we figure if you shell out some bucks for a lecture and then sneak off to check out the exhibitions it’ll move up to “definitely” worth it. And hey, not all of us are food experts, so unless you’re also gonna be a doctor in foodstuffs or whatever, there’s a good chance you’ll be goo goo gah-ing over much of it.
Before you settle down for Flavor Lab, wander around and scope MoFAD’s gadgets. One exhibit, “Flavor: Making It and Faking It,” has machines that allow you to smell different artificial flavors. (Artificial banana is still my personal favorite, even if that whole Gros Michel thing has been debunked, sigh.)
As for the lecture, Flavor Lab will be led by Jack Fastag, a flavor chemist here to learn you on the subject of artificial flavor engineering. (He’s also the dude to ask about the Gros Michel!) Here are some sample questions to get your wheels spinning: Movie theater popcorn has such a distinct taste, it’s gotta be fake as hell, right? Has the flavor industry gotten any closer to everlasting jawbreakers? Will this give me cancer?
And fear not, this will be nothing like college chemistry class, you’ll actually get to do hands-on fun stuff instead of getting yelled at for planting weed in the biology teacher’s terrarium (true story, not me but this guy I know) and losing your lab privileges. MoFAD’s not only gonna let you sample some artificial flavors, they’re setting it up so you can make flavors of your own.
Taylor Antrim & Robert Caro
Sunday, Nov. 22, 7 pm – 9 pm at KGB Bar, 85 E. 4th Street in the East Village
Taylor Antrim, a senior editor at Vogue and novelist to boot, is most recently the author of Immunity, which he’ll be reading at KGB bar this weekend, part of Sunday Night Fiction. The book is a sort of post-apocalyptic thriller in which New York City now acquires anew its excessive crime problems of yore. The Times compared Antrim’s imagining as a 1980s Gotham: “The cocaine is plentiful, the streets dangerous, and an inexplicable, incurable virus haunts every interaction.”
Sounds kind of like 2014 and the bowling alley Ebola scare– in which millions of New Yorkers forgot all the actual suffering happening in West Africa to be totally self-involved germaphobes for a few days– if only Dr. Craig what’s-his-face had defecated on his fellow Meatball Shop diners. Only in this case, the virus is called TX, as in Texas. As in, the big one.
No big deal, but Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Robert Caro will be on hand as well. His last published behemoth, The Passage of Power, presents an intensely-researched snippet of LBJ’s life– just five years between 1960 and 1965, from just before the start of his tenure as Vice President through the first two years of his Presidency. Bill Clinton actually reviewed the book for the Times. No hint as to what he’ll be reading at KGB, though we’re guessing it’ll fall more into the fiction category given the night’s theme.