Spring Reading: Top 5 Book Events of the Week


Julia Solis
Spectacle Theater
Thursday, 8pm, $5
There aren’t any actual deaths in the ghost story Solis tells, but it’s still mighty chilling. In her new photography collection Stages of Decay (Prestel), she chronicles the fallen grandeur of abandoned theaters across America and Europe, affectionately depicting stadiums once–literally–full of life, now succumb to decomposition. While it’s hard to imagine the same grisly fate for, let’s say, the just recently Jay-Z-launched Barclays Center, the empty spaces she scouts are haunting mementos of everything’s inevitable downfall. Tonight she’ll read and present a slide show at Spectacle–a theater successfully resisting decay–to remember stages of yesteryear, previous hosts to the Marx Brothers, Mae West, Johnny Cash, and the Who. She’ll be joined by militant theater revivalists Lazar Kunstmann and Jon Lackman, of Les UX, who salvage ruined spaces to create underground cinemas.

Mason Currey
Book Court
Friday, 7pm, Free
Here’s the short version of what a work day at the Voice is like: write, make coffee, write, check mail, write, check weather report, write, check weather report again in case it changed, write, walk about aimlessly, write, write, write. What we mean is, we get what Currey is referring to in Daily Rituals: How Artists Work (Knopf). His new book is all about the part of the artistic process that no one ever talks about, mainly, all the idiosyncratic stuff we do before/in between/instead of actually making the art in question. Tonight he’ll share anecdotes about the often strange, self-imposed work habits of successes like Tom Wolfe (writing on top of the refrigerator whilst masturbating, no less) and Jean-Paul Sartre (essentially, doing lots and lots of drugs). Share your own personal habits at this reading and release party.

Ben Greenman
Franklin Park
Monday, 8pm, Free
“If Emma Bovary had lived in the ‘burbs, she would have left a story like this in her wake,” says fellow scribe Emma Staub about Greenman’s new novel The Slippage (Harper Perennial). His small town tragicomedy tackles the well tread, backyard BBQ-studded territory of the modern, suburban American marriage, replete with emotional up-shoots, downfalls, and dark secrets. For us Brooklynites, the patio at Franklin Park is about as close as we’ll come to lawn culture, but that’s fine, because Sam Lipsyte, Touré, and others of the local lit-crowd will be joining Greenman in the beer garden at this release party. Arrive early for giveaways and $4 pint specials.

VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV’s First Wave

PowerHouse Arena
Tuesday, 7pm, Free
Oh the VJ, such a short-lived but dearly loved breed. When MTV first aired in 1981, Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, Martha Quinn, and the late J.J. Jackson were the first of their kind. During the network’s golden age, you know, back When It Was Still About the Music, these five were in their glory days, rubbing elbows (and more) with the likes of John Cougar Mellencamp, Cyndi Lauper, David Lee Roth, and everyone else who happened to traverse the ’80s music scene. Before long it was just Carson Daly and his weird painted nails trying to stave off the coming of YouTube, but we’ll never forget the first brood–especially now that they’re telling all in VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV’s First Wave (Atria Books). The four will reunite and dish the dirt with Rolling Stone editor Gavin Edwards tonight at this reading.

Jessica Wapner

Tuesday, 8pm, $10
Philadelphia gave us a lot of things–Will Smith, Constitutional rights, cheesesteaks done up good, and the most excessively violent sports fans this country has ever seen. But few know that it’s also the place responsible for modern cancer research. Wapner, being one of those few, explains the landmark 1959 discovery of a mutant cell in her new work of scientific journalism The Philadelphia Chromosome (The Experiment). The genetic breakthrough brought about the first ever successful treatment of a lethal cancer, and many more life-saving treatments after that, so alright, maybe we turn the other cheek the next time an Eagles tailgate devolves into madness. Wapner will read, sign, and present an illustrated lecture with microscopic slides.