This week in New York Keith Gessen and Elif Batuman talk, Guernica has a reading, Joanna Newsom sings and plays harp, Marcel Dzama appears, talks and signs books, The Moth has a Story Slam, Christopher Walken loses a hand and Zoe Kazan gives him one, and Atlas Obscura presents an international celebration of curious and obscure things.
MONDAY 3/15: Elif Batuman and Keith Gessen in conversation. Batuman’s pieces—for n+1, The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, and the London Review of Books— have made her one of the most sought-after and admired writers of her generation. In The Possessed, her latest work of non-fiction, Batuman investigates a possible murder at Tolstoy’s ancestral estate, retraces Pushkin’s wanderings in the Caucasus, and shows us why Old Uzbek has one hundred different words for crying. McNally Jackson. 7:00pm.
Marcel Dzama, an artist known for his dark, fantastical and delicate paintings, drawings and films will be at Book Court. Buy books and have them signed. 7:00pm.
Writing on Human Rights. Join The Daily Beast’s Dana Goldstein, the Nation Institute Investigative Fund’s Gabriel Thompson, and Mother Jones’ Mac McClelland for Writing on Human Rights, a reading, discussion, and Q&A about the crucialness and challenges of human rights coverage. Housing Works Bookstore Cafe. 7:00pm.
TUESDAY 3/16: The All-Around Reduced Personality, aka Redupers. Helke Sander, 16mm, 1977, 98 min. Introduced by Yvonne Rainer, this film presented by Light Industry is a politically astute portrait of a woman, Edda, and of a city, Berlin. The resulting show is a disturbing vision of a city sub-divided by political and economic inequities. Light Industry. 177 Livingston St. $7. 7:00pm.
Sam Lipsyte reads from The Ask. McNally Jackson. 7:00pm.
Rae Armantrout and Norman Fischer at the Poetry Project. 7:00pm.
WEDNESDAY 3/17: A Guernica Reading: Mac McClelland of Mother Jones reads from her debut For Us Surrender is Out of the Question… about Burma. “You know what I’d like to do this St. Patrick’s Day? Learn more about the experience of Southeast Asian ethnic and political exiles. Ohmigosh look! Lolitas!” Lolita Bar. 266 Broome Street. 7:00pm.
Harlan: In the Shadow of Jew Suss. The infamous film Jew Suss (1940), directed by Veit Harlan, and produced under Joseph Goebbels’s Ministry of Propaganda, was the Nazis’ most vicious anti-Semitic film. At the war’s end, the filmmaker was prosecuted for crimes against humanity, but acquitted. Today, his children and grandchildren consider his legacy and the hard questions it continues to pose. Some have changed their name and left Germany. Others claim he was forced to direct the film and deride it as loathsome, crudely-made propaganda. Film Forum.
THURSDAY 3/18: The Moth Story Slam. Theme: Green. 10 stories, 3 teams of judges, 1 winner. Housing Works Bookstore Cafe. $7. 7:00pm. (Arrive early, this show always sells out).
Mary Gaitskill presents Why We Read. Gaitskill, author of Don’t Cry, is one of the many renowned authors asked by the Center for Fiction to examine our fundamental need to create, share and experience fiction. Center for Fiction. 17 E. 47th St. 7:00pm.
Todd Zuniga’s Literary Death Match is back in NYC for another knockdown, dragout literary non-snore-athon that will feature a wonderful cast of judges, including Soft Skull editor Denise Oswald, comedian Eddie Sarfaty and Piper Weiss of My Mom the Style Icon. They’ll take turns judging an excellent foursome of fierce pen-and-ink combatants, including Tin House co-founder and author of Use Me, Elissa Schappell, H.O.W. Journal’s Alexios Moore, hilarity genius Jason Roeder (author of Oh, The Humanity!) and Union Station’s Syreeta McFadden.
The Nose. This opera based on the absurd short story by Gogol in which a Major’s loss of his nose causes an upset in the social hierarchy of nineteenth century St. Petersburg. The production is artfully and cinematically rendered by William Kentridge. If you can’t make it Thursday, there are two more performances left. [Also, see the Kentridge retrospective at MOMA, below] The Metropolitan Opera. 8:00pm.
Joanna Newsom performs with special guest. Town Hall. 8:00pm.
FRIDAY 3/19: A Behanding in Spokane. In keeping with the sudden proliferation on New York stages of narratives involving the search for body parts mysteriously missing, in this play, Martin McDonagh’s first set in America, Carmichael (Christopher Walken) has been searching for his missing left hand for almost half a century. Enter two bickering lovebirds (Anthony Mackie and Zoe Kazan) with a hand to sell, and a hotel clerk (Sam Rockwell) with an aversion to gunfire. Gerald Schoenfeld Theater.
SATURDAY 3/20: Atlas Obscura, A Compendium of the World’s Wonders, Curiosities and Esoterica invites you to join their international celebration of wondrous, curious and esoteric places. Depending on where in the world you’ll be on Saturday, you’ll have different options open to you. In New York, you can drop in to the Private Radio Guy Museum, take a backroom tour of the Vanderbilt Museum, go underground in the Atlantic Avenue tunnel or explore dead horse bay.
SUNDAY 3/21: Melville House authors read at KGB. Join Lore Segal, Tao Lin and Zachary German who will read from their respective contributions to the acclaimed Contemporary Art of the Novella Series. Lore Segal will read from Lucinella, Tao Lin will read from Shoplifting from American Apparel and Zachary German will read from Eat When You Feel Sad. KGB Bar. 85 E. 4th St. 7:00pm.
Ghost Town (2008, China). Directed by Zhao Dayong, this tremendously rewarding film illuminates the alienation and marginalization of the denizens of one of China’s countless remote villages. Divided into three parts, this epic documentary takes an intimate look at its varied cast of characters, bringing audiences face to face with people who were unceremoniously left behind by China’s new economy. MOMA. 12:30 pm.
ART: William Kentridge Retrospective at MOMA. This large-scale exhibition surveys nearly three decades of work by William Kentridge (b. 1955, South Africa), a remarkably versatile artist whose work combines the political with the poetic. Dealing with subjects as sobering as apartheid, colonialism, and totalitarianism, his work is often imbued with dreamy, lyrical undertones or comedic bits of self-deprecation that render his powerful messages both alluring and ambivalent. Best known for animated films based on charcoal drawings, he also works in prints, books, collage, sculpture, and the performing arts.
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Original Notable New York Illustration © André da Loba