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.
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
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).
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).
Overcoming the past is a key theme in young authors’ Edan Lepucki and Mira Jacobs debut novels, both published last year to great acclaim, so it seems natural that they would celebrate their paperback release with a discussion on the topic. Lepucki’s California tells the story of a couple living in the ruins of a dystopian America who must choose between freedom and security when they discover they are expecting a child. “Lepucki conjures a lush, intricate, deeply disturbing vision of the future,” said Jennifer Egan (Welcome to the Goon Squad). Jacob’s The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing is about a daughter who returns to her childhood home to help with her unwell father, only to find herself confronted with strange looks from the hospital staff and a series of puzzling items buried in her mother’s garden. “When her plot springs surprises, she lets them happen just as they do in life: blindsidingly right in the middle of things,” said the Boston Globe.
Tuesday, July 14, at 7:30 p.m. Greenlight Bookstore, 686 Fulton Street (Fort Greene).