10.18: Poet Wendy Wisner and novelist Selah Saterstrom team up for a reading from their first books at Hunter College. 7:30pm, FREE. Also, arty boozehounds take note: Monday is the inaugural edition of Cocktails with Culturebot!: “a happy hour for artists, art workers, and aficionados alike…” The new monthly gathering includes short performances. 6:30pm, FREE.
10.19: Bryan Keefer, co-author of the New York Times bestseller All The President’s Spin: George W. Bush, the Media, and the Truth [full disclosure, as always: “we’re going steady“] debates White House spokesman Dan Senor as part of a fairly self-explanatory event called, “Flip-Flops, Spin, & Outright Lies: Is honesty possible in politics and which party has a stronger claim to it?”. Come because you’re a junkie for that talking head, current affairs-type stuff; stay to egg on the inevitable catfight when they run out of talking points. 6:30pm, FREE.
10.20: The WYSIWYG Talent Show presents a evening of readings on a topic or two that I think we can all get behind: Psychos I Have Worked For Or Dated (Or Both). The charming line-up features the writers behind many of my favorite blogs, and I’m sure, yours too. With Allison Bojarski, Michael Barrish, Blaise K, Ned Vizzini, Michael McAllister, Todd Levin, and musical guest Chris G. 7:30pm, $7. Like many a girl with a vegetarian boyfriend, I developed a mad, silly crush on Anthony Bourdain after I read his two memoirs. And I love eating steaks at Les Halles with my less herbivorous friends. Wednesday evening, he discusses and signs copies of his new Les Halles Cookbook at the Barnes & Noble on Union Square. 7:00pm, FREE.
10.21: C’mon, get happy, baby, and start looking forward to it as Stephen Elliott (interviewed on this site a few months ago) comes to town for the first of two events this week. Thursday night he reads at The Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. with Andrew Sean Greer and my fellow Marylander David Amsden. 8:00pm, FREE. Also, Jami Attenberg reads at KGB. 7:00pm, FREE.
10.22: Judge for yourself the best book covers at the AIGA National Design Center: “Since 1923, the AIGA 50 Books/50 Covers competition has recognized excellence in book design and production. The entries include books and book covers designed between January 1 and December 31 of the previous year. Categories range from trade, reference and juvenile books to university and museum publications and include limited-edition and special-format books.” Through 11.24. Open on Friday from 11:00am-5:00pm, FREE. [via Michelle]
10.23: Looking Forward to It (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the American Electoral Process) author Stephen Elliott hosts a star-studded reading to benefit Concerts For Change, an organization that funds Democratic voter mobilization efforts in swing states. With three different levels of support — Starving Artist ($10), Literary Democrat ($25), or Media Mogul ($100) — even your broke ass can afford to go. In a perfect world, everyone would get color-coded wristbands so you’d know who to hit up for a drink. No matter what, at least you know you won’t end up unwittingly going home with a Republican. 7:00pm, ticket prices vary.
10.24: Slake your intellectual thirst for “books for culture workers, culture makers & culture lovers from the world’s finest publishers and museums” at artbook@P.S.1, a brand-new bookselling space. Sunday is a good day to go, as the museum fetes its newest exhibitions with a day-long celebration that includes “a performance of Okinawan traditional dance and music by members of the Okinawa American Association of New York (OAANY), as well as the P.S.1 International Studio Program open house.” 12:00pm-6:00pm, FREE. Also, Wayne Koestenbaum reads at Zinc Bar: “Wayne Koestenbaum’s dazzling new novel chronicles a dying polysexual pianist’s obsession with Moira Orfei, a stunningly beautiful circus artiste who may not exist. If Debussy and Robert Walser had collaborated on an opera, it would sound like this.” — John Ashbery. With Jeanne Marie Beaumont. 7:00pm, $5.
And now, a short personal note from me. People always as me if I go to all of the things that are listed; the answer is: sometimes, often, not as much as I’d like. This week I will be in Northern California for a few days, and I will be sorry to miss many of the excellent events in New York towards the end of the week. So do tell me how they were if you end up going, and I certainly hope that you do. Here is a sketchy itinerary with a few possibilities that have me jazzed about my trip: Bryan’s reading in his hometown of Mountain View, the Art of Zines 04 exhibition, Astrid Hadad Y Los Tarzanes at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, an evening of short films about Bolivia at ATA, and maybe catching a reading by Gary Snyder while I’m in town. Any other fabulous happenings Thursday-Sunday in the Bay Area that I should be aware of? If so, please drop me a line.
The Smart Set is a weekly column, edited by Lauren Cerand, that appears Mondays and highlights the best of the week to come. Special favor is given to New York’s independent booksellers and venues, and low-cost and free events. Please submit details to firstname.lastname@example.org by the Thursday before publication for consideration.