In his first children’s book, The Blue Hair Club and Other Stories, actor Dan Lauria collects made-up stories he’s been telling his godson, Julian Farnsworth. The book is the first in a new series called “The Godfather Tales”; Lauria collaborated on the text (the book also includes “The Boy Who Built a Bridge Our of Carrots” and “The Story of the Sun”) with Julian’s mother, L.A.-based photographer Cathryn Farnsworth; the playful illustrations are by Brandon Morino. The Brooklyn-born Lauria, who starred as grumpy father Jack Arnold in The Wonder Years and is about to reprise his role as narrator Jean Shepherd in A Christmas Story: The Musical, running at the Theater at Madison Square Garden December 11-29, will be at the Society of Illustrators on December 16, in conversation with Star-Ledger theater critic emeritus Peter Filichia, discussing his long career onstage, on television, and in the movies, as well as the book. Also on hand will be the famous leg lamp from the show, along with members of the cast of the musical, who will perform excerpts from the book, followed by a signing. In addition, there will be fudge and a cash bar. Proceeds from sales of the self-published book ($21.73) will go to the nonprofit Front Door Agency, whose mission is “to offer support and provide services to assist individuals and families in their transition from crisis to self-sufficiency,” focusing on the needs of single moms and their children. Advance RSVP with the number of books you’d like to reserve is required.
Saturday, November 30, free
“Now is the time to be a superhero for independent bookstores,” bestselling author Sherman Alexie (The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian) wrote in an open letter to “gorgeous book nerds” on September 1. “I want all of us (you and you and especially you) to spend an amazing day hand-selling books at your local independent bookstore on Small Business Saturday (that’s the Saturday after Thanksgiving, November 30 this year, so you know it’s a huge weekend for everyone who, you know, wants to make a living).” And he set out a plan as well: “We book nerds will become booksellers. We will make recommendations. We will practice nepotism and urge readers to buy multiple copies of our friends’ books. Maybe you’ll sign and sell books of your own in the process. I think the collective results could be mind-boggling (maybe even world-changing).” Hundreds of bookstores around the country are participating in the one-day event; here in New York City, more than two dozen authors are scheduled to appear at fifteen locations, including LaShonda Katrice Barnett at 192 Books, Amy Brill, Jon Scieszka, and Matt de la Pena at the Community Bookstore, Paul Zelinsky, Michael Buckley, Ayana Mathis, Jeffrey Rotter, and Justin Torres at Greenlight, Jodi Kantor, Emily Jenkins, and Stefan Merrill Block at powerHouse, and Amy Shearn, Jennifer K. Armstrong, Sarah McCarry, Susannah Cahalan, Emma Straub, Tim O’Mara, Jami Attenberg, and Myke Cole at WORD. As Alexie concludes, “So join the Indie First Movement and help your favorite independent bookstore. Help all indie bookstores. Reach out to them and join the movement. Indies First!”
THREE ROOMS PRESS PRESENT THE MONTHLY @ CORNELIA STREET CAFE
Cornelia Street Cafe
29 Cornelia St. between Bleecker & West Fourth Sts.
Friday, November 22, $20, 6:00
Fifty years ago this Friday, the United States, and the world, suffered a tragic loss, as President John F. Kennedy was assassinated as his motorcade traveled through Dealey Plaza in Dallas. For the last five decades, people have been arguing about what actually happened that day. On November 22, 2013, a group of artists will gather at the Cornelia Street Cafe to consider some of those theories for “JFK / NYC / OMG: Examining Conspiracies on the 50th Anniversary of the JFK Assassination.” Part of the ongoing Three Rooms Press series “The Monthly @ Cornelia Street Cafe: A Monthly Blend of Voices in Literature, Art & Politics Exploring Contemporary Ideas,” the JFK presentation brings together poet, novelist, and publisher Charles Plymell (Zap Comix), who was with Neal Cassady and Allen Ginsberg at the time of the shooting; Ginsberg protégé Peter Hale, who will read his mentor’s poem “Thanksgiving,” written the wee after the assassination; X vocalist Exene Cervenka, who, as Christine Notmyrealname posts conspiracy therapist sessions on YouTube; former Hüsker Dü drummer Grant Hart, who will discuss the impact of the JFK assassination on his generation; music journalist Legs McNeil ( Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk), whose next book will be Tomorrow Is Cancelled: The Oral History of the JFK Assassination; and Peter Carlaftes, the codirector (with Kat Georges) of Three Rooms Press and star of the one-man show Lenny Bruce: Dead and Well. The Three Rooms Press series continues December 6 at Cornelia Street Cafe with “The Best Things Come in Threes: Prose! Poetry! Party!” featuring three sets of three writers reading from their works.
Boston-born, New York-based visual artist Sarah Sze creates fragile, intricately constructed architectural environments using such materials as string, bottle caps, colored tape, Styrofoam cups, paper, and other items that combine elements of painting and sculpture. Sze, whose “Infinite Line” show ran at Asia Society in 2011-12, is currently representing America at the U.S. Pavilion at the fifty-fifth Venice Biennale with the massive installation “Triple Point,” about which she said in a statement, “Central to the exhibition is the notion of the ‘compass’ and how we locate ourselves in a perpetually disorienting world.” In May 2012, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jennifer Egan (A Visit from the Goon Squad, The Keep) began posting her New Yorker short story “Black Box” on Twitter in paragraphs of no more than 140 characters, weaving together a written narrative that echoes the ones that Sze builds with objects. On November 12 at 7:00, Sze and Egan will be at 192 Books in Chelsea, celebrating the release of the new book Triple Point (Gregory R. Miller / Bronx Museum of the Arts, October 2013, $45), which examines the installation in detail, featuring an introduction by Biennale co-commissioners Holly Block and Carey Lovelace, an essay by curator Johanna Burton, a conversation between Sze and Egan, and the complete text of Egan’s “Black Box.”
2013: A YEAR WITH PROUST
November 8-14, free (some events require advance RSVP)
Earlier this week, Flavorwire posted “50 Incredibly Tough Books for Extreme Readers,” which included such classic difficult favorites as Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, and Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. If you’ve never made it through even the beginning of Proust’s challenging epic, you can now have others do it for you, as the Cultural Services of the French Embassy presents a one hundredth anniversary public reading of Swann’s Way as part of its major celebration 2013: A Year with Proust. “A Nomadic Reading” kicks off November 8 at the Wythe Hotel and continues November 9 at Soho Rep., November 10 at the New York Botanical Garden, November 11 at the Oracle Club, November 12 at Simone Subal Gallery, and November 13 at Le Baron Chinatown before concluding November 14, the actual centennial of the publication of Swann’s Way, at the French Embassy. All programs are free, with some requiring advance RSVP; among the scheduled readers are Ira Glass, Deborah Treisman, Jonathan Galassi, Paul Holdengraber, Judith Thurman, and Mike Birbiglia. Here’s a little amuse-bouche to get you started, from Lydia Davis’s 2003 translation for Viking:
For a long time I used to go to bed early. Sometimes, when I had put out my candle, my eyes would close so quickly that I had not even time to say “I’m going to sleep.” And half an hour later the thought that it was time to go to sleep would awaken me; I would try to put away the book which, I imagined, was still in my hands, and to blow out the light; I had been thinking all the time, while I was asleep, of what I had just been reading, but my thoughts had run into a channel of their own, until I myself seemed actually to have become the subject of my book: a church, a quartet, the rivalry between François I and Charles V. This impression would persist for some moments after I was awake; it did not disturb my mind, but it lay like scales upon my eyes and prevented them from registering the fact that the candle was no longer burning. Then it would begin to seem unintelligible, as the thoughts of a former existence must be to a reincarnate spirit; the subject of my book would separate itself from me, leaving me free to choose whether I would form part of it or no; and at the same time my sight would return and I would be astonished to find myself in a state of darkness, pleasant and restful enough for the eyes, and even more, perhaps, for my mind, to which it appeared incomprehensible, without a cause, a matter dark indeed.
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, November 2, free, 5:00 - 11:00 (some events require free tickets distributed in advance at the Visitor Center)
The career of French fashion designer John Paul Gaultier will be celebrated at the Brooklyn Museum’s November edition of its free First Saturdays program. In conjunction with the opening of the multimedia exhibition “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk,” there will be a curator talk by Lisa Small, an arts workshop demonstrating how to make Gaultier-inspired fashion plates, fashion-related pop-up gallery talks, a lecture on fashion, ethics, and the law by Susan Scafidi, a special performance by Company XIV and Dances of Vice with Miss Ekat and DJ Johanna Constantine, a discussion with photographer Richard Corman about his book Madonna NYC 83, and screenings of Loic Prigent’s 2009 documentary The Day Before, which follows Gaultier as he prepares for a fashion show, and Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element, for which Gaultier designed the costumes. The night will also include live music by Au Revoir Simone, Watermelon, and Tamar-kali. In addition, the galleries will be open late, giving visitors plenty of opportunity to check out “Valerie Hegarty: Alternative Histories,” “Käthe Kollwitz: Prints from the ‘War’ and ‘Death’ Portfolios,” “Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt,” “Life, Death, and Transformation in the Americas,” “Connecting Cultures: A World in Brooklyn,” “Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey,” and other exhibits.
Brooklyn Academy of Music
BAM Harvey Theater
651 Fulton St. between Ashland & Rockwell Pl.
October 30 - November 2, $20-$65
Halloween is quickly upon us, so arts organizations across the city are turning to horror to try to scare the hell out of us this week. Over at BAM, you can catch the frightening “Puppets on Film” series, which includes Godzilla, Aliens, and the terrifying The Great Muppet Caper; Alfred Hitchcock’s Family Plot and The Lodger, the latter with live music by Morricone Youth; and the twelfth annual BAMboo!, a free, child-friendly block party with music, candy, games, workshops, and more. But the strangest of them all is likely to be TR Warszawa and Teatr Narodowy’s multimedia production of Nosferatu, inspired by Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula — which was also the inspiration for F. W. Murnau’s 1922 horror classic, Nosferatu, a film that had to change its title, character names, and plot details because the Stoker family would not authorize the rights. Written and directed by Grzegorz Jarzyna, who brought Thomas Vinterberg’s Dogme 95 film The Celebration to mesmerizing life as Festen at St. Ann’s Warehouse last year, Nosferatu has an original score by John Zorn, with sets and costumes by Magdalena Maciejewska, lighting by Jacqueline Sobiszewski, and video design by Bartek Macias. The cast consists of Sandra Korzeniak, Katarzyna Warnke, Wolfgang Michael, Jan Englert, Jan Frycz, Krzysztof Franieczek, Marcin Hycnar, Lech Łotocki, and Adam Woronowicz. The show runs October 30 through November 2 at the BAM Harvey; on November 1 at 6:00 in the Hillman Attic Studio ($15), New Yorker journalist Joan Acocella will give the related talk “On Vampires.” In addition, Film Forum is showing Werner Herzog’s remake Nosferatu the Vampyre through November 7, with a bonus screening of Murnau’s original on November 4 at 7:30.