The Smart Set is a weekly feature, compiled 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.
MONDAY, 2.21: The Algonquin attempts to return to fashion with a reading series, which will be inaugurated with Marion Meade’s Bobbed Hair and Bathtub Gin: Writers Running Wild in the Twenties, a book that I thoroughly enjoyed. Actresses will be on hand to bring to life the intertwined stories of Dorothy Parker, Zelda Fitzgerald, Edna Ferber and Edna St. Vincent Millay. Cocktails from six on (cash bar, just like the ’20s!), the reading starts at 7:00pm; FREE. [via The Dorothy Parker Society of New York]
WEDNESDAY, 2.23: If you live in New York, you know How to Kick People. Tonight, one of my favorite reading series boasts the totally killer comic line-up of Eric Drysdale (The Daily Show), David Rees (Get Your War On), cartoonist Karen Sneider, and Evan Dorkin (Milk & Cheese, Space Ghost Coast to Coast). 8:00pm, $7. Elsewhere (and also very highly recommended), Maxine Swann (Serious Girls) and One Story editor Hannah Tinti (Animal Crackers) read at Open City’s series at KGB. 7:00pm, FREE.
THURSDAY, 2.24: I try to give back at least as much as I get out of New York’s vibrant cultural scene, which is quite a lot. Zoo Theatre is a brand new theater company started by some charming young friends of mine that I’ve been advising lately (this week’s tip: “Start a blog!”). Tonight, Zoo kicks off a four-day run of its latest production, a revival of Maria Irene Fornes’ classic American story, Mud, which “is a dark comedy that offers a biting comment on poverty in America. Fornes introduces audiences to a world where an object as simple as a book can bring salvation.” But you already knew that. 8:00pm, $20. Also on the short list for Thursday is an “an evening to celebrate Sri Lanka,” which sounds lovely and funds a good cause, although typing that makes me feel like a socialite. Nonetheless: “Filmmaker Sam Holt will screen scenes from his documentary, ‘Haro Hara: Pilgrimage to Kataragama,’ about religious devotees making the 200-mile journey, on foot, to sacred sites in southern Sri Lanka. Writer Tom Beer, a 2004 New York Foundation for the Arts fellow in fiction, will read from his story collection, set in Sri Lanka. Proceeds to benefit ICES, a Sri Lankan not-for-profit group doing post-tsunami reconstruction.” Classy. At The Drawing Center. 7-9pm, $20 suggested.
FRIDAY, 2.25: Cupcake, the reading series for New York’s best women writers (that I co-direct), tonight presents a special event, featuring rock critic Ann Powers in conversation with journalist Katherine Lanpher. Powers will discuss her work and her latest book, Tori Amos: Piece By Piece, which she co-wrote with the singer (who – hold your fairy wings right there – will not be in attendance). 7:30pm, FREE.
SATURDAY, 2.26: “The Freedom Tower? The West Side Stadium? New York architecture needs a swift kick in the ass. This February, Les Freres Corbusier finally puts the punk rock back into urban planning…[with] Boozy: The Life, Death, and Subsequent Vilification of Le Corbusier and, More Importantly, Robert Moses.” 8:00pm, $15. Through March 5. Also at the Ohio Theatre, Mike Daisey’s new show, Monopoly, portends an electrifying end to the evening with its exploration of “Tesla, Edison, Microsoft, Wal-Mart and the War for Tomorrow.” 10:30pm, $15 (or see both shows for $25).
SUNDAY, 2.27: I can attest to the fact that the new Tim Hawkinson show at the Whitney is truly a popping, whirring, clicking spectacle of fantasy, wonder, and delight. Best of all, his Signature (1993) installation — “A machine that signs my name onto a roll of paper, chops it off, and drops it into a pile” — deftly sums up the lesser glories of the writer’s (or touring author’s) life. Through May 29. Sunday hours: 11am-6pm, $12.