There was a full house on hand last night at New York's Housing Works Cafe and Bookstore for an Occupy Wall St. panel organized by n+1, Brooklyn's hometown literary journal. The panel was larger than advertised, totaling seven in addition to moderator and n+1 progenitor Keith Gessen. A healthy mix of contributors were on board: there was the earnest, washed-up political wonk who'd been sleeping in Zucotti Park for a month now, the filmmaker who'd been downtown since the very first meeting, the SEIU representative and the education policy activist; there were youngs and olds, students and professionals, seasoned organizers and first time protesters.
The discussion all got started [...]
If you say "Michael Chabon, Michael Chabon, Michael Chabon" in the mirror that [...]
"Action-artist Alexei Plutser-Sarno posted photos on his website of the most recent art-action by his group Voyna ("War")-the spray-painting of a giant cock on the Liteyny Bridge in St. Petersburg, next to the [Federal Security Service] building there. At night the bridges of St. Petersburg are raised, and so on the night of the action a giant cock was raised next to the FSB building. As Plutser documents on his site, young people and couples began to arrive at the bridge to have their photos taken next to the cock."
For starters: I like you. It was fun waving at you last night from my car as I went by!
Now, on to the other stuff.
Here is a very enjoyable video of the young Brooklyn rapper Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire talking about books—it includes him reading an excerpt from his all-time favorite, Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist. Here is a very strange video for a song called "Flight Confirmation" that the Los Angeles producer The Alchemist made with rappers Danny Brown and Schoolboy Q—it includes some material that may not be safe for you to watch at work. Here is a very good essay written by the aphorist James Guida about four recent books written by rappers—it includes the sentence, "By now the Queensbridge duo has several albums to their name, the [...]
Here are some thoughts on the consecutive rise of two Ryans. Ryan McGinley is the young superstar photographer who became famous in the early 00s. Ryan Trecartin, four years younger, began getting attention in 2006 and became art-world famous circa 2009. In their ways and work, the Ryans represent two adjacent micro-generations of gays. Christopher Glazek writes: "McGinley helped to elevate a necrophiliac vision of mute youth into the universal condition of downtown existence…. Now the new Ryan has negated McGinley’s negation, superseding the gym bunny-heroin corpse dialectic entrenched since the 1980s." In light of Trecartin's videos—which are girly, brash, multi-ethnic, screechy and hilarious—McGinley's snapshot-stylized pale [...]
For the first time in history, for one night, both the staff of The Awl and the staff of n+1 were separately having the exact same conversations at the same time. (Actually there was that one other time, back in January, when both publications experienced a simultaneous a craving for chutney.) This is the sad and frightening tale of what it's really like when your server goes kaput.
"After n+1 snuck through three more runs in the third, we knew we had to respond," writes Christopher Cox on The Paris Review's blog, in an account of that publication's recent loss to all the sporty young men of n+1 on the softball field. *HISSES* *THROWS FIT* For this transgression of English I HOLD THE ENTIRE MASTHEAD ACCOUNTABLE, but must single out (ha, sports pun, sorry!) new editor Lorin Stein and managing editor Caitlin Roper. You're dead to us now.
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It seems like Chad Harbach is everywhere right now. His debut novel, The Art of Fielding (the advance for which you probably heard about) is getting great reviews—as well it should. The book, about a college baseball phenom and his season, is a singular, smart, endlessly charming read. I talked with the author and N+1 editor earlier this week; Harbach being a Wisconsin native, we met up at the famously Packers/Brewers/Badgers-centric bar Kettle of Fish in the West Village.
Corban Goble: You got $650,000 for the book. What was the first thing you did?
Chad Harbach: I paid back a lot of the people [...]
Dear The Awl,
I was going to write an incredible piece detailing the exploits of a controversial "hipster conference" on an esteemed university campus. No other journalist would have the guts to write this because of the potential backlash from the Hipster Media Elite. This event was to be held on neutral territory to prevent "New York media gang violence."
I was going to start by detailing the crowd.
"The Basic Problem Here Is That You Are Wrong": The Collected Letters of Tom Scocca and Keith Gessen
Here are the last few thousand words on the topic of a new essay by Mark Greif in n+1. (The piece, On Repressive Sentimentalism, was published last week. I pointed it out to fellow readers while I was still digesting it. Later, Awl contributor Tom Scocca criticized it strenuously. N+1 editor Keith Gessen replied via his Tumblr, which I briefly addressed here.) Among other things, there was some confusion about "us" versus "them": who was a reader of n+1 and who was an Internet barbarian? (Who was both? *Raises hand slowly*) Anyway. And now, a couple of things about what follows, which is an extended [...]