The Smart Set is a weekly feature, compiled by Lauren Cerand, that usually appears Mondays at 12:30pm 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 send details to lauren [at] maudnewton.com by the Thursday prior to publication, with the eventÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s date in the subject line.
MONDAY, 12.4: The Reader’s Room presents Lynne Tillman (American Genius), Robert Marshall (A Separate Reality) and Shelley Jackson (Half Life), at Mo Pitkin’s [full disclosure, as always: Robert is one of my PR clients]. 7:00pm, FREE. Uptown, Dave Eggers, Chip Kidd, and Milton Glaser discuss “The Art of the Book” with Michael Bierut. 8:00pm, $10-18.
TUESDAY, 12.5: Laila Lounge presents Bluegrass Tuesdays. Also, any excuse to visit the Neue Galerie, my favorite museum in New York, is a good one. In the same neighborhood, the Jewish Museum hosts several excellent exhibitions right now: the achingly romantic “Alex Katz Paints Ada” and two shows on “American Comics.”
WEDNESDAY, 12.6: “Sepulculture will proudly publish DR. SKETCHY’S OFFICIAL RAINY DAY COLOURING BOOK by Molly Crabapple and John Leavitt… a natural cure for boredom, apathy, shingles, gout, sobriety, and erectile dysfunction. It can even buy you Love!… Lovingly illustrated, adorned with dirty humor and black wit, this book is just like James Joyce’s Ulysses, except you won’ t have to fake enjoying it. We will be celebrating at The Slipper Room and you are all invited.” 8:00 – 10:00pm, FREE [thanks to Shin-Pei for the tip!] And: My baby he’s off yeah he’s shootin’ tigers… The Grates, the latest delish Australian pop band that Stephen Lance has turned me on to, play Mercury Lounge. 10:30pm, $10. UPDATED: The Stray Dog Cabaret at The New School. Essential! 6:30pm, $5.
THURSDAY, 12.7: At the Merc, this cruel world of ours is the topic of the hour in “a conversation with author Cynthia Ozick on Henry James’s Washington Square and on the concept of jilting. As Ozick explains, ‘James jilts America by becoming an expatriate; his heroine Catherine is jilted by Morris; later Catherine jilts Morris; Catherine’s father in effect jilts his daughter through the threat of disinheritance; James’s brother William jilts Henry, his near-twin, by marrying. The jilting goes on and on. Even Henry James jilts his thoroughly conventional melodramatic materials by reshaping them. In short: James is a Jilter.'” Highly recommended. 7:00pm, $10. And, “Patchwork Planet is two Brooklynites’ idiosyncratic composite portrait of an urban landscapeÃ¢â‚¬â€unlovable yet much lovedÃ¢â‚¬â€published by Brooklyn publisher Soft Skull Press and exclusively available from BookCourt on 163 Court St in Cobble HillÃ¢â‚¬â€serving books to Brooklyn and beyond since 1981… Kate Milford and Jonathan Lethem have together created a portrait of the “old” BrooklynÃ¢â‚¬â€not the sepia-toned “old” Brooklyn of the Dodgers but rather the five-and-dime downtown Brooklyn of the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties rendered in Milford’s acutely detailed large format photographs of office buildings and intersections, storefronts and shoppers, accompanied by Lethem’s whimsically personal anecdotes of chance encounters with Mad Brooklynites, of lost subway lines, and, yes of great views of the Manhattan skyline.” 8:00pm, FREE.
FRIDAY, 12.8: Show up at 6:30 for the Taylor Mead Show ($6) and stay on as Coffee House Press presents an evening at the Bowery Poetry Club, celebrating new books by poets Elaine Equi (Ripple Effect) and Patricia Smith (Teahouse of the Almighty). Note: “Give the gift of great books and save 30% on all Coffee House Press titles through December 31st.” 7:00pm, FREE.
SATURDAY, 12.9: “La Superette is an annual event, an art sale held usually around the holiday season in December. We organize a temporary store where artists sell functional art in multiples at affordable prices. In addition to the sale we usually schedule musical performances as well as puppet shows, and video screenings to run throughout the day. The project is conceived and organized as a place for artists to meet and collaborate on a specific project. We publish a catalog zine, which distributes contact information of all participating artists, host a web catalog on this site, and produce a video catalog which is screened at the event. Over the past 8 years, La Superette has exhibited the work of hundreds of artists and attracted thousands of visitors and shoppers.”
SUNDAY, 12.10: Sunday Salon presents an evening with readings by David Treuer (The Translation of Dr Appeles), Ronna Wineberg (Second Language), Charles Salzberg, and Katherine Lanpher (Leap Days), plus music from Sophie Herbert. At the sweetly atmospheric Stain Bar. As the kids say, I’m totes there. 7:00pm, FREE. And the Bowery Poetry Club hosts the Single Malt Scotch Holiday Poetry Slam: “This fourth annual event features 6 poets reading descriptions of six single malts as the audience samples the whiskeys. The audience votes on the poets and single malts. Door prizes include the Highlands Tweeds Coastal Single Malt Sport Jacket by Orvis and a one-night stay at the luxurious Equinox Hotel in Vermont.” Highly recommended if you like to get drunk while hearing poetry — yeah, yeah yeah, I know you don’t have to — and really, who doesn’t? [Thanks to Richard for the tip!]. 5:00pm, $20. Plus, Splice.