Attention friends in New York and the surrounding environs: I hope you’ll join us for Nerd Jeopardy tonight at McNally Jackson. Come for the wine and the literary trivia, stay for the surprise guests (and the wine refills). There will be fierce competition, boisterous heckling, and maybe even some words in French.
Above: the board for Round 1 from the fifth Nerd Jeopardy.
We hope our friends in New York will join us tonight for a special National Poetry Month installment of the FSG Reading Series. Rowan Ricardo Phillips (The Ground) and Glyn Maxwell (One Thousand Nights and Counting) will read at the Russian Samovar. I’ve had the privilege of hearing Phillips read before, and I highly, highly recommend experiencing it live.
The Russian Samovar
256 W. 52nd St
We’re bringing back everyone’s favorite literary trivia night to McNally Jackson.
What Is Nerd Jeopardy?
Nerd Jeopardy is just like a certain famous game show, except there are no commercial breaks, no giant cash prizes, and all of the categories are about books.
You can compete in a team of three* against two other teams; the winners will earn the respect of your peers, which we know is impossible to get anywhere else. You can also hang back as an audience member, heckling with abandon. There are assorted prizes either way.
You will leave the event vindicated for majoring in 19th-Century Russian Poetry — and because of the free drinks, you will also leave the event slightly tipsy.
Hosted by Ryan Chapman. All are welcome.
*If you’d like to compete, grab two friends, give yourselves a literary moniker, and drop your name in the hat at the start of the program. We’ll select three teams around 7:10pm. If yours isn’t chosen, don’t fret. You can still participate in the audience quiz at intermission and find solace in the free wine.
From an interview with WIll Hermes, author of Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Five Years in New York That Changed Music Forever:
Q. One thing that, for me, was really striking about [the early 1970s] was that everything was happening underground, as you were saying, but also in the context of a total decline in living standards in New York City, economic decline, the city going bankrupt, the theme you keep going back to of buildings burning down for the insurance money, crime everywhere. What’s the relationship between this pretty grim atmosphere and the explosion of creative, wonderful music at the same time – is there even a connection?
Will Hermes: In some ways it’s a perfect storm of things. Part of the result of the economic collapse of the city during those years was cheap rent, and cheap rent in former manufacturing districts which meant loft spaces that were large enough to rehearse in and for lots of people to live in for very little rent. That was certainly one factor. I think another factor was that the ‘60s had happened, because while people sometimes look at punk or disco or whatever as being complete breaks with the ‘60s, I try to make the point in the book that these movements were direct offshoots of the ‘60s. The first disco parties that David Mancuso and Nicky Siano threw in the early to mid ‘70s were largely fueled by LSD, they were very specifically about peace, love, tolerance, equality. There were mixed crowds, gay, straight, black, white, which was very much coming out of a ‘60s aesthetic sensibility and ideology, although it evolved from there. Punk rock too – Patti Smith and Television, Tom Verlaine, talked about their indebtedness to ‘60s artists whether it be the Doors, Jimi Hendrix, or the Stones, who Patti and Lenny Kaye were championing and sort of bowing down to. Television were huge fans of Coltrane and Albert Ayler and even the Grateful Dead – Tom Verlaine has mentioned that he knew some songs, particularly “Dark Star,” and was very intrigued by that even though he wasn’t a fan of some of their other stuff.
So yes, I think it was part low rent, part the creative ferment of the ‘60s still fermenting, and the other factor is probably just New York – New York is always a magnet for talent and people coming from all over the world to get up on the New York City stage and make an impression, so I think that’s a constant theme of the city.
How New York Pay Phones Became Guerrilla Libraries
An interview with the creator
The concept, sponsored by Locke’s imaginary Department of Urban Betterment, is that New Yorkers will pick up unfamiliar titles while running their errands and then, perhaps, replace them the next day with favorite books of their own. That’s in an ideal world. Of the twoguerrilla libraries that the artist has fashioned, one has been used properly while the other has had its entire collection repeatedly ganked by sticky-fingered pedestrians. Its shelves were also stolen.
But Locke has many more libraries planned. With plywood consoles that slip over payphones as neatly as aprons, these sidewalk objets are endlessly replicable. (No doubt they’ll feature in his 2012 Columbia course, “Hacking the Urban Experience.”) I caught up with Locke over the weekend to ask him about what was and wasn’t working with these literary outposts, as well as why he started the project in the first place.
More at The Atlantic
This is an incredible idea. I’m going to try and find one pronto.
The weather in Brookyn.