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).
Daphne Merkin may have achortle-inducing last name, but her often painfully personal articles for publications like The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine tended to be more mortifying than mirthful. Subjects like her battle with depression, her spanking fetish, and her years of therapy have made up a good chunk of Merkin’s oeuvre, a fact belied by her latest book, The Fame Lunches. Lunches deals in less sensational Merkin material: 45 examples of her cultural writing stretching back to the 1980s. Billed byKirkus Reviews as “Essays that go down like candy but nourish like health food,” the book has also been praised by Woody Allen for it’s “strikingly original take on the human condition.” Merkin will be in conversation with newyorker.com’s literary editor, Sasha Weiss.
Things you can learn at this weeks stellar readings and talks.
Thursday, August 28
That’s When the Knives Come Down with Dolan Morgan
Greenpointer Dolan Morgan will read on home turf for the Brooklyn launch of his debut collection That’s When the Knives Come Down. A surrealist glance at cities, relationships and lives gone awry, the stories are billed as simultaneously “absurd, harrowing, and inimitable.” According to Catherine Lacey, “Dolan Morgan queers the every day and leaves a sinister domestic scene behind.” He’ll be joined in discussion by B.C. Edwards (The Aversive Clause) and Chelsea Hodson (Pity the Animal). 7pm, WORD Books (126 Franklin St, Greenpoint), FREE, Facebook RSVP here More →
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 ofStoner 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.
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. More →
Learn about the rise and fall and rise of hallucinogenic mushrooms, the fight for tenant rights in Poland, and re-appreciate the street art you no longer notice, with this week’s worthy readings and talks.
Thursday, August 14
Mmmmmmmushrooms (Photo courtesy of Flickr)
Psychedelic drugs reaching a hallucination-drenched, kaleidoscopically patterned saturation point in the 1960s and 70s, during the zenith of American and European counterculture movements. Sadly, peak-mushroom was unsustainable. More →
Time again for Word Up, our weekly roundup of readings and talks worth getting up and out of the house for.
Thursday, July 10
Emily Gould and Elif Batuman
Gawker blogger turned memoirist Emily Gould’s new novel, Friendship, is about (you guessed it) a young Brooklyn blogger whose boyfriend happens to keep a studio in Greenpoint’s Pencil Factory. “Amy loved visiting Sam there, seeing all the other artists in the hallways and on the roof,” Gould writes. “It was so cheering to know that there were still people who made their living by creating physical things—even if some of them were commercial illustrators and graphic designers. Well, Sam wasn’t, anyway! He was just a guy who made giant oil paintings of Cuisinarts.” She’ll be discussing fiction and friendship with Elif Batuman, who has written for the likes of The New Yorker and n+1, and is the author of The Possessed. 7pm, McNally Jackson Books (52 Prince St). FREE. More →