This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001


jim gaffigan

Barnes & Noble Union Square
33 East 17th St. between Broadway & Park Ave. S.
Monday, October 20, free, 7:00

“What are my qualifications to write this book? None, really,” comedian Jim Gaffigan writes at the beginning of Food: A Love Story (Crown Archetype, October 21, $26), the follow-up to his 2013 bestseller, Dad Is Fat. “So why should you read it? Here’s why: I’m a little fat. Okay, to some I might not be considered that fat, but the point is, I’m not thin. If a thin guy were to write about a love of food and eating, I’d highly recommend that you do not read his book. . . . First of all, how do you know they really feel passionately about food? Well, obviously, they are not passionate enough to overdo it. That’s not very passionate. Anyway, I’m overweight.” The stand-up comic and married father of five, who has appeared in such films as The Love Guru and on Broadway in That Championship Season and has publicly shared his desire for Hot Pockets and bacon, among other edibles, will be at the Union Square Barnes & Noble on October 20 at 7:00 to read from and discuss his new book, which features such chapters as “Not Slim Jim,” “The Buffet Rule,” “Cup of Gravy,” “Salad Days,” “Kobe Beef: The Decadent Meat,” “French Fries: My Fair Potato,” and “Hot Pockets: A Blessing and a Curse.” Seating will begin at 5:00 on the fourth floor, with priority given to those who have purchased a copy of the book; the event will conclude with a signing.


Walt Frazier will discuss poetry and hoops in City Lore fundraiser

Walt Frazier will discuss poetry and hoops in City Lore fundraiser

City Lore Gallery
56 East First St. between First & Second Aves.
Thursday, October 16, $40, 7:00

“I began announcing nine years after I ended my playing career, and I had to catch up with some new terminology,” New York Knicks basketball legend Walt “Clyde” Frazier wrote in the afterword to the 2010 edition of his 1974 book, Rockin’ Steady: A Guide to Basketball & Cool. “‘Dishing’ was passing off. So in time I would add ‘swishing.’ ‘Dishing and swishing’ became one of my trademark calls. Then came ‘wheeling and dealing,’ and ‘believing and achieving.’ The blackboard was now generally called ‘the glass,’ and so when there was an exceptional rebound pulled down, it was ‘splendor on the glass.’” The Hall of Famer, who practiced saying such words as ubiquitous, tenacious, and mesmerizing in the mirror after seeing them used in articles on arts and entertainment, will be at City Lore on October 16 for the special program “The Poetry of Basketball,” a fundraiser for the organization whose mission is to “document, present, and advocate for New York City’s grassroots cultures to ensure their living legacy in stories and histories, places and traditions.” The Atlanta-born Frazier, one of the all-time-stylish New Yorkers and captain of the Knicks’ 1970 and 1973 championship teams, also uses such phrases as “hustling and bustling,” “bounding and astounding,” “posting and toasting,” “shaking and baking,” and “hacking and whacking,” is as cool and smooth away from the arena as he is in it, and opinionated as well, so get ready for plenty of “moving and grooving,” “stopping and popping,” “dancing and prancing,” and maybe even some “draining and paining.”


Thousands of writers and readers will gather in Brooklyn for annual book festival on Sunday (photo courtesy of Brooklyn Book Festival)

Thousands of writers and readers will gather in Brooklyn for annual book festival on Sunday (photo courtesy of Brooklyn Book Festival)

Brooklyn Borough Hall and Plaza
209 Joralemon St.
Sunday, September 21, free, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Woody Allen, Isaac Asimov, Paul Auster, Margaret Wise Brown, Moss Hart, Joseph Heller, Ezra Jack Keats, Norman Mailer, Arthur Miller, Henry Miller, S. J. Perelman, Maurice Sendak, Wendy Wasserstein, and, of course, Walt Whitman — those are only some of the many writers who were either born and/or raised in Brooklyn or spent important, formative years living in the world’s greatest borough. So it should come as no surprise that the annual Brooklyn Book Festival is a major event, with nearly one hundred talks, signings, discussions, readings, and other presentations with hundreds of authors, taking place in and around Brooklyn Borough Hall, and it’s all free. Below are only some of the many highlights. (For a list of bookend programs scheduled for September 18-22, go here.)

This Changes Everything: A Conversation with Naomi Klein, presented by The Nation, with Naomi Klein and Betsy Reed, Mainstage, 10:00 am

The Hilarity of Death and Deadlines, with Roz Chast and Robert Mankoff, moderated by Hillary Chute, St. Francis College Auditorium, 11:00 am

It’s the Little Things that Count, with Annie Baker, Owen Egerton, Sam Lipsyte, and Rivka Galchen, moderated by Rob Spillman, Brooklyn Historical Society Library, 12 noon

Eat Drink and Prosper, with Steve Hindy, Matt Lewis, and Renato Poliafito, moderated by Carlo Scissura, Brooklyn Historical Society Library, 1:00

Thurston Moore in Conversation with Lewis Warsh and Anne Waldman, St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church, 2:00

Storytelling and the Black Experience, with Greg Grandin, Herb Boyd, and Ilyasah Shabazz, moderated by Marlon James, Brooklyn Historical Society Library, 2:00

Influence of the Real, with Francine Prose, Paul Auster, and Joyce Carol Oates, moderated by Hirsh Sawhney, St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church, 3:30

Virtuosos: Comics Creators that Defy Classification, illustrated discussion with Charles Burns, Eleanor Davis, and Paul Pope, moderated by Lisa Lucas, St. Francis College Auditorium, 3:00

Comedians as Authors, with Bob Saget, John Leguizamo, and Susie Essman, moderated by Sara Benincasa, Mainstage, 4:00

Jonathan Lethem and Jules Feiffer in Conversation, moderated by Ken Chen, St. Francis College Auditorium, 4:00

A Sense of Place: Writing from Within and Without, with Joseph O’Neill, Amit Chaudhuri, and Assaf Gavron, moderated by Dave Daley, Borough Hall Media Room, 5:00

The Writer’s Life, with Salman Rushdie, Siri Hustvedt, and Catherine Lacey, moderated by Steph Opitz, St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church, 5:00


taste talks

Multiple locations in Brooklyn
September 12-14, free - $90

The Brooklyn culinary explosion continues with Taste Talks, three days of special meals, panel discussions, book signings, the Future Food Expo, and other food-related events featuring more than one hundred chefs and speakers, presented by Mario Batali and curated by Daniel Bowien of Mission Chinese. Below are only some of the highlights of this foodie feeding frenzy.

Friday, September 12
Mother of Pearl Dinner, with Island Creek oysters, wine-pairing cocktail hour, bread from Tartine, cheese from Cypress Grove Chevre, fluke with spicy coconut, pork sung, and cashews from Jamie Bissonnette of Toro and Coppa, fire-roasted tomato soup with sourdough and basil from Sean Rembold of Reynard, maltagliati with clams, butter beans, almonds, and sorrel from Camille Becerra of Navy, stuffed peppers with mussels, pancetta, and eggplant with Prosecco aioli and trout roe vinaigrette from Zahra Tangorra of Brucie, and tapioca pie with Concord grapes from Sarah Sanneh of Pies ‘n’ Thighs, Villain LLC, 50 North Third St., $90, 7:00

Saturday, September 13
Chicken and Waffles, brunch with specialty cocktail, Colossal Media, 85 Wythe Ave., $20, 10:00 am

Do Restaurant Reviews Matter? with Ruggy Joesten of Yelp, Sam Sifton of the New York Times, Sonia Kapadia of Taste Savant, Jocelyn Mangan of Open Table, and Carlo Mirarchi of Roberta’s, moderated by Adam Sachs, Kinfolk Studios, 90 Wythe Ave., $10, 10:30 am

Demo Lab: Tosi and Bowien Create Delicious from Dollar Store Ingredients, with Christina Tosi of Momofuku’s Milk Bar and Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese, Wythe Hotel Private Dining Room, $10, 3:00

Dinner Lab at Taste Talks Brooklyn, five-course menu by chef Eric Bolyard, with charred figs & smoked yellow tomato, ajo blanco & white anchovy, skate wing & charred corn, beef cheek & gilda, and ricotta & stone fruit, secret location, $90, 7:00

Saturday, September 13, and Sunday, September 14
Future Food Expo, with approximately twenty-four booths, including Legally Addictive, Ohneka Farms, SideChef, Sud de France, Poached, Little Boo Boo Bakery, Raaka Virgin Chocolate, and Farm to People, and Greenlight Bookstore signings by Gabrielle Hamilton, Jamie Bissonnette, Ivan Orkin, Sara Moulton, Sarah Zorn, and Dan Pashman on Saturday and Eli and Max Sussman on Sunday, Colossal Media, 85 Wythe Ave., free with advance RSVP, 12 noon – 6:00 pm

Sunday, September 14
All-Star BBQ, with porchetta “PRA Prow” tigelle from Action Bronson and Michael White of Osteria Morini, grilled blue whale oyster from Matt Rudofker of Ssam Bar, boar collar meat from Andy Ricker of Pok Pok, veggie burgers from Brooks Headley of Del Posto, grilled duck hearts from Ivan Orkin of Ivan Ramen, grilled chicken kebab from Max Sussman of the Cleveland and Eli Sussman of Mile End, pig head salad from David Santos of Louro and Jonathan Wu of Fung Tu, barbecue duck from Rob Newton of Wilma Jean and Oliver Strand, smoked char sui Long Island eel from Will Horowitz of Ducks Eatery, and Texas hot gut sausage from Daniel Delaney of Delaney BBQ, cash bar, East River State Park, $40, tasting periods from 1:00 to 4:00 and 5:00 to 8:00


Crowds keep getting bigger and bigger every year for New York Comic Con (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Crowds keep getting bigger and bigger every year for New York Comic Con (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
655 West 34th St. (11th Ave. between 34th & 39th Sts.)
Thursday, October 9, $35, 12 noon - 7:00
Con continues through October 12; New York Super Week runs October 3-12

New York Comic Con continues to get more and more popular every year, with bigger and bigger guests and longer and longer lines. Tickets for the ninth annual event, running October 9-12 at the Javits Center, are already sold out for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and the organizers haven’t even announced the full slate of activities for any of the days. So your only chance for getting in will be to go on Thursday, when there will be appearances by such spotlight guests as Giancarlo Esposito of Breaking Bad, Hollows series author Kim Harrison, and Kristian Nairn (Hodor) and Natalia Tena (Osha) of Game of Thrones and such featured guests as Jason David Frank of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Ben Templesmith, Bob McLeod, Dustin Nguyen, Jimmy Palmiotti, Peter David, Stuart Moore, and Terry Moore, and dozens of special guests as well. In conjunction with NYCC, New York Super Week runs October 3-12 at various locations throughout the city, consisting of related events, including a thirtieth anniversary screening of The Karate Kid at the 92nd St. Y with Ralph Macchio, William Zabka, and Martin Kove; metal monsters X Japan at Madison Square Garden; Neil Gaiman as the subject of host Ophira Eisenberg’s “Ask Me Another” live show at the Y; “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog Sing-Along and Whedonverse Party” at Union Hall; “The First (and Probably Last) Annual New York Feline Film & Video Festival for Humans” at Galapagos Art Space; a “Dr. Who Trivia and Costume Contest” at the Way Station; “Cure You or Kill You: 19th Century Medical Science and Quackery” at the Museum of Morbid Anatomy; and “Rave of Thrones,” a DJ set by Nairn with special guests Zedd Stark and Trance Rayder at B. B. King’s.


forty six candles

Union Hall
702 Union St. at Fifth Ave.
Friday, August 22, $8, 8:00

John Hughes was one of the architects of our teen years, showing us the possibilities of what life and love have to offer in such seminal coming-of-age flicks as Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Some Kind of Wonderful. For us, it wasn’t WWJD but WWDD (What would Duckie do?) Although it’s probably best that writer, director, and producer Hughes, who died in 2009 at the age of fifty-nine, never revisited these teen characters (although there were multiple editions of Vacation and Home Alone), we occasionally wonder what might have happened to Sam Baker, Ted the Geek, Claire and Bender, Blane, Gary and Wyatt, Watts, and, of course, Bueller . . . Bueller . . . Bueller. Well, we can find out August 22 at Union Hall in Brooklyn when Emily Flake, Rupinder Gill, Todd Hanson, Lux Alptraum, Liam McEneaney, and host Joe Garden gather together for “Forty-Six Candles: An Evening of Fiction in Which John Hughes Characters Grow the F&ck Up,” sharing their tales of where they all are today. Here’s hoping we don’t find out what happened to Curly Sue.



Visitors are encouraged to move around rocks in Patti Smith installation in Rockaway Beach (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Fort Tilden and Rockaway Beach
Thursday - Sunday through September 1, free, 12 noon - 6:00 pm
rockaway! slideshow

Both MoMA PS1 director Klaus Biesenbach and multidisciplinary artist Patti Smith had close ties to the Rockaways prior to the destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, each having homes there that were affected by the disaster. As part of the continuing recovery effort, the two have teamed up with the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, the Rockaway Artists Alliance, and the National Park Service for the free public arts festival “Rockaway!” Held in conjunction with the reopening of Fort Tilden, a former U.S. Army Coast Artillery Post established nearly a century ago and a place that Smith visited often with Robert Mapplethorpe back in the 1970s, “Rockaway!” consists of several projects spread throughout the vast acreage. In the military chapel, which is undergoing restoration, Janet Cardiff has installed her delightful audio piece “The Forty Part Motet,” which has previously been shown at MoMA PS1’s home base in Long Island City and at the Cloisters, the first contemporary artwork ever presented at the Met’s medieval-themed outpost in Fort Tryon Park. “The Forty Part Motet” consists of forty speakers on stands arranged in a circle, each speaker playing the voice of one of the forty members of the Salisbury Cathedral Choir as they perform Thomas Tallis’s sixteenth-century choral composition “Spem in Alium Nunquam habui,” the English translation of which is “In no other is my hope,” a title that is particularly appropriate given the location. First walk around to hear each unique voice, then sit in the middle and let the glorious full music envelop you. “The Forty Part Motet” is on view through August 17; the rest of the show is up through September 1.

Patti Smith

Patti Smith’s “Resilience of the Dreamer” creates a kind of fairy tale in middle of decimated building (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

In another building, Smith and her daughter, Jesse, pay tribute to one of Patti’s heroes, Walt Whitman, with the short film The Good Gray Poet, in which Patti reads the New York-born writer’s “Country Days and Nights,” “Mannahatta,” and “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” (“Flood-tide below me! I see you face to face! . . . On the ferry-boats the hundreds and hundreds that cross, returning home, are more curious to me than you suppose”) while wandering through the Camden cemetery where he is buried. The film also includes shots of other places related to Whitman’s life, and there are various historical items in a display case and a bookshelf where visitors are invited to read more by and about the Bard of Democracy.

The centerpiece of the exhibition is Smith’s “Resilience of the Dreamer,” a gilded four-poster canopy bed positioned in the middle of building T9, a former locomotive repair facility that has been filled with junk and detritus since Sandy. The piece, which calls to mind the destruction of so many homes along the beach, their facades ripped away during the storm, exposing people’s lives, has been decaying since its installation in June; the canopy is ripping, the sheets turning yellow, dirt collecting on the bed as the elements lay waste to it through the broken windows and battered roof. In a heavily graffitied side room, Smith has collected white stones and placed them in a large birdbath, where people are encouraged to pick one out and place it somewhere else — there are rocks in virtually every nook and cranny, from light switches and windowsills to holes in the wall and floor — or even take one home as a memory. In addition, in the sTudio 7 Gallery, Smith is displaying more than one hundred small-scale black-and-white photos primarily of possessions of friends, colleagues, and influences as well as gravesites. Among the images are Robert Graves’s hat, William Burroughs’s bandanna, Virginia Woolf’s cane, Mapplethorpe’s star mirror, and the Rimbaud family atlas, as well as beds belonging to Woolf, Victor Hugo, John Keats, Vanessa Bell, and Maynard Keynes and the tombs and headstones of Susan Sontag, Herman Hesse, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Jim Morrison. There is also a stage in the room where musical performances are held on Sunday nights; the next one will be the Jammin Jon Birthday Concert Bash on August 17 at 6:00, with fusion trio Dream Speed and experimental guitarist and Brooklyn native Jammin Jon Kiebon.

Patti Smith

Granite cubes throughout Fort Tilden are part of Patti Smith tribute to Walt Whitman (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Scattered throughout Fort Tilden, which is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, are five granite cubes on which Smith has put Whitman quotes (“O madly the sea pushes upon the land, with love, with love”; “Passing stranger! You do not know how longingly I look upon you”) in addition to a dozen small mud-and-straw nests from Adrián Villar Rojas’s “Brick Farm” series, which evoke both home and protection. There’s a map to help locate these objects; wear long pants and closed-toe shoes because several of the passageways are laden with poison ivy. And be sure to walk to the top of the battery for a spectacular view, then make your way down a winding path to the beach. “Rockaway!” is a not only an exciting artistic venture but a terrific exploration of the past, present, and future of the area, so decimated by Hurricane Sandy but even more determined to rebuild its way of life.

Janet Cardiff

Janet Cardiff’s captivating sound installation continues through August 17 (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

(The exhibition is supplemented by a satellite show of works by more than seventy artists — from Marina Abramović and Ryan McNamara to Michael Stipe and Laurie Simmons, from Doug Aitken and Olaf Breuning to Olafur Eliasson and Ugo Rondinone — at Rockaway Beach Surf Club. There are several ways to get to Fort Tilden, all of which involve multiple modes of transportation. You can take the $3.50 Rockaway ferry from Pier 11 downtown to Beach 108th St., then get on the Q22 bus, or take the A train to Broad Channel, switch for the shuttle, then get the Q22 at 116th St. None of the options are quick and easy, but the ferry ride does go past Coney Island and the Statue of Liberty and under the Verazzano-Narrows Bridge. Yes, it’s a hassle, but it’s well worth it.)