New York reading series now emphasize performance

The Ritalin Readings, the Happy Ending Reading Series, and Little Gray Books get a nod from the local rag:

novelists of the recent past seemed to have lacked [a] passion for performance. A typical reading took place “in a library, a bookstore or community center,” with “a polite audience and an extremely unnerved and often inaudible writer,” said John Hodgman, creator of the Little Gray Book series.

The shift toward performance was evolutionary, said Jonathan Ames, who began performing in 1993 as a way to ease a particularly acute case of writer’s block.

(Check out the photograph of hooded Eyeshot editor Lee Klein in the margins. Lee’s first book, Incidents of Egotourism in the Temporary World, is out now. I haven’t read it yet, but you can learn more about it at the official site.)

As for other New York series worth checking out, Amanda Stern, founder of the Happy Ending Series (which is held in a massage parlor turned bar where word has it stalls on the lower floor still offer privacy for illicit activities after hours), was profiled in Maisonneuve recently and said she liked the Cupcake Series and the readings at the KGB Bar and Half King. Michael Ewing’s Barbes series is also good.

More traditional readings at bookstores still abound, from those at Housing Works to Gina Zucker’s newish series at Freebird.