Last night, The Rumpus's "Summer Shakedown" event at Brooklyn's Death by Audio space (which comedian Michael Showalter described as, if we remember correctly, a "blown-out former dentist's office,") was everything we told you it would be and more—but also a little bit less. We saw Neal Pollack read about his adventures in yoga and then do the "alligator" pose onstage. We saw Sara Marcus read from her new history of Riot Grrrl, Girls to the Front, and actually sing some of the passages. We saw Nick Flynn read a chapter from his memoir The Ticking is the Bomb about Rumpus honcho and emcee Stephen Elliott (which involved a dominatrix), and joke about the venue's very dusty fan that was precariously attached to the ceiling by very dusty bungee cords. And we witnessed an intense spoken-word performance by Corrina Bain. But we did not see Hilton Als, at least not before we left. It appeared, as far as we could tell, that he did not show up.
Sunday's Brooklyn Book Festival, photo by Carolyn Kellogg.
Pictures and video from this weekend's soggy Brooklyn Book Festival, and critic David L. Ulin on the fest's "moral mysteries." At one of the marquee events, John Ashbery chatted with Paul Auster about the poet's first job in New York, at the Brooklyn Public Library: "I did so miserably at that job and was so unhappy at it—though loving Brooklyn of course. I had to punch a time clock and almost every day it was red because I was staying out late in New York."
Last week, the Washington Post reported that the Defense Department was negotiating to buy and destroy a 10,000 copy print run of Operation Dark Heart, an Afghanistan war memoir by former Defense Intelligence Agency officer Anthony Shaffer. Now, the book is being sold on eBay, with one copy fetching more than $2,000 yesterday.
Google attempts to eradicate writer's block with Scribe, a predictive typing tool that might just help you finish writing your Great American Novel.
Tonight, the Harry Ransom Center is celebrating its public opening of the David Foster Wallace archive with a reading of the late author's work featuring Elizabeth Crane, Doug Dorst, Owen Egerton, Chris Gibson, and Jake Silverstein. Can't make it to Austin for the event? Watch it on the Ransom Center's webcast at 7pm CST.