Thursday, January 24, 2008

SEPTEMBER 2007: Raconteur Reader; Jack Kerouac; Spider Monkeys; Wrecks

8 PM, SAT. SEPT 8
THE RACONTEUR READER LAUNCH PARTY
Readings/Live Music
The inaugural volume of Raconteur Books, The Raconteur Reader is an anthology of short fiction edited by Alex Dawson and featuring work by Oscar nominated screenwriter Robert Festinger (In the Bedroom); O. Henry Prize winner Douglas Light (East Fifth Bliss); Werner Herzog film editor Joe Bini (Grizzly Man ); pro-skateboarder Chris Pastras (Stereo, with Jason Lee); Nebula Award Winner Kelly Link (Magic for Beginners), whose stories have been called "cross-genre gems," by Time Out New York , "amazing" by New York Magazine and "intoxicating," by Alice Sebold; Whiting Writers' Award and Pushcart Prize winner Jess Row ( The Train to Lo Wu), recently selected as one of Granta's 2007 Best Young American Novelists (alongside Nicole Krauss and Jonathan Safran Foer); novelist/NPR regular Robert Kaplow, whose last book Me and Orson Welles is in pre-production with filmmaker Richard Linklater; memoirist Jeremy Mercer, whose recent reminiscence Time Was Soft There was touted by famed Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and won raves from The New Yorker and The Wall Street Journal; author/essayist Lynn Lauber (White Girls ), whose fiction has been praised by Entertainment Weekly and Newsday and whose essays have appeared in The New York Times; novelist Rich Perez ( The Loser's Club) whose clear-eyed chronicle of the East Village has been cheered by Tama Janowitz, Barry Gifford, Mary Gaitskill, and Poppy Z. Brite; storyteller Clay Mcleod Chapman (The Pumpkin Pie Show), who's been called "hauntingly poetic" by Time Out New York , compared to Faulkner by The Village Voice and described as a "tattletale psychiatrist turned rodeo clown" by acclaimed author Tom Robbins; and more!

8 PM, FRI. SEPT 14
September marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of On The Road, Jack Kerouac's iconic novel. To celebrate The Raconteur presents...
AN EVENING WITH KEROUAC
Featuring The New York Times' JOHN LELAND
Reading/Signing
WHY KEROUAC MATTERS

Having immersed himself in Beat culture while writing Hip: A History, John Leland, a New York Times reporter and the former editor-in-chief of Details Magazine, makes a convincing case that Jack Kerouac's most famous novel has endured for half a century because it's a book about how to live your life. Framing On the Road as a spiritual quest, Leland deftly combines the biographical facts of Kerouac's life with discussions of his literary antecedents in Melville and Goethe, as well as the inspiration he took from contemporary jazz, finding in bebop's rhythms a new way to circle around a story's themes.

Plus a Special Screening of: WHAT HAPPENED TO KEROUAC? A lively and revealing investigation into the personal history and creative process of Jack Kerouac – father of the Beat Generation, author of On The Road and pivotal figure of the fifties countercultural revolution. This portrait shows us what happened when fame and notoriety were thrust upon an essentially reticent man whose influence is still felt all over the world. Features Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, William Burroughs, Steve Allen, William Buckley, Charlie Parker, Neal Cassady, Carolyn Cassady, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Michael McClure and Gary Snyder. FREE!

8 PM, FRI. SEPT 21
THE SPIDER MONKEYS
Live Music
Psychedelic Jazz/Funk

Though some say there is something Mingus-like about The Spider Monkeys, hinting toward the experimental melodies of the Black Saint in full Sinner Lady mode, the sound is oftentimes closer in feeling to the sonic textures of Sun Ra and the mood music of early Pink Floyd. Featuring the silvery fluidity of Zack Leffand's guitar work, The Spider Monkeys combine the strong rhythmic groove of funk with open-ended squeals, wayward horn blats and sound effects from Atari video games. FREE!

8 PM, FRI. SEPT 28
WRECKS: A Staged Reading
By Neil Labute
Featuring Jeff Maschi

The tail wags the scorpion in Wrecks, a slender, prickly tease of a monologue propelled by a poisonous punch line, in which the thoughts of Edward Carr, a cigarette-sucking businessman with a passion for vintage automobiles, are unfolded in conversational stream of consciousness as he stands by his wife’s coffin. To understand LaBute's play, the viewer must first grasp its philosophical background. LaBute's contemporary America is the world Dostoevsky forecasted when he suggested, in The Brothers Karamazov, that if God is dead, there are no ultimate sanctions. And indeed, the raison d'etre of Wrecks is a horrific last-minute revelation that will induce gasps of shock (and perhaps admiration for its having been so neatly and insidiously built)."I think that very few people are completely normal really, deep down in their private lives.” The line comes from NoĆ«l Coward, but it may well be the perfect epigraph for Ed Carr. $5 Suggested Donation.