Curtain Call: Summertime Blues

Written by Charles Arrowsmith

Posted on June 12, 2015

Filed Under: Blog | Shows

House of SpeakEasy - June 2015


Hey, so it hit ninety degrees this week in New York City. That’s right: the sort of temperatures that mean you have to wear two, maybe three outfits a day. After six months of winter, sure, you think, why not? Until you get on the subway. Or have to move quickly between two different places in midtown. Or start to genuinely consider buying an e-reader because carrying Henry James around in this inferno is just like way too much. Do you have the Summertime Blues? We’ve got the cure. Join us at City Winery NYC on Monday, June 15, for another Seriously Entertaining lineup of writing talent. Wanna meet them first? Read on, amigos. (And don’t forget to buy tickets.)

Ian McEwan has called her “a rare find among contemporary novelists: she has intellectual muscle as well as a tender emotional reach.” She’s a philosopher and a novelist. In her novels The Mind-Body Problem and Properties of Light, she borrowed concepts from philosophy and quantum physics to explore our basic instincts. Her books on theology, as well as philosophers like Plato, Spinoza, and Gödel, have earned her a large and devoted following. Rebecca Newberger Goldstein and her husband, Steven Pinker, will be our first “Seriously Entertaining couple”.

When Harold Bloom compiled his controversial/celebrated Western Canon in the mid-nineties, one of the few contemporary voices to make the list was that of poet Edward Hirsch. The book was Earthly Measures, and it was his fourth collection of poetry. Since then, he’s written several more collections, including Special Orders and Lay Back the Darkness, as well as a huge and brilliant reference work, A Poet’s Glossary, and an ode to the joy of reading poetry, How To Read a Poem and Fall in Love With Poetry.

  • Read: our review of Edward’s elegiac Gabriel, “a profoundly moving poem and an extraordinary gesture of intimacy from poet to reader.”
  • Watch: Edward reading an excerpt from Gabriel:

Sarah Lewis is a writer, curator, and academic. Her book The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search For Mastery explores what failure can do for you, even if — with a brilliant career behind and surely ahead of her — it’s not a subject she need worry much about. She sat on President Obama’s Arts Policy Committee, is in high demand on the speaking circuit (see her TED Talk, below), and will shortly be taking up a position as Assistant Professor of History of Art and Architecture and African and African American Studies at Harvard.

  • Read: our review of The Rise, “a splendid work whose sum is a sort of poetics of failure and success, and whose conclusion is that they’re not such strange bedfellows after all.” The Rise is available in paperback.
  • Watch Sarah’s TED Talk on the importance of failure to the creative process:

A hugely popular, sometimes controversial, always brilliant writer, Steven Pinker is the author of some of the most widely read and admired books about cognitive science, evolutionary biology and human nature, including How the Mind WorksThe Stuff of Thought, and of course The Blank Slate. In his 2011 book The Better Angels of Our Nature, he made a compelling argument, against the true avouch of tabloid eyes, that human violence is in decline. His latest, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century, is a guide to writing unimpeachably.

Irvine Welsh‘s debut novel, Trainspotting, was a modern classic. His hilarious latest, though, The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins, couldn’t be further from the smack dens of Leith, tracing the complex relationship between an aggressive personal trainer and an artist with low self-esteem in present-day Miami. Between times, we’ve met the tapeworm living in the guts of a corrupt policeman in Filth, learned The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs, and dipped in and out of some of Welsh’s pet subjects: CrimePorno, and Ecstasy. We’re delighted to welcome Irvine to the City Winery stage.

  • Read our interview with Irvine over at the Lit Hub, where we talk about Charlie Hebdo, music, and social media.
  • Watch Irvine talking about his life as “a self-made drug addict”, “an inappropriate reaction to adverse circumstances at the time…”:

AND don’t forget to buy tickets, of course! See you Monday.

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