Past Shows: Seriously Entertaining

As of April 2020, Seriously Entertaining has been livestreamed via Crowdcast. Prior to COVID-19, our monthly shows took place on stage at Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater in New York City. We look forward to welcoming audiences back to Joe’s, but until then, we invite you join our virtual shows. Visit us for details on how to register.

 

OCTOBER 2020: NERVES OF STEEL

Our October show asked writers to bear their “Nerves of Steel.” Essayist and musician Melissa Faliveno talked about “No Fear” t-shirt and motto for life and what she found took true bravery, award-winning young adult novelist Lilliam Rivera described how even best laid (birth) plans can go awry and sometimes letting go is the smartest thing to do, playwright and memoirist Roger Rosenblatt shared how he faked it until he made it and that you never get that for which you do not ask, and award-winning author and naturalist Helen Macdonald took us on a past trip to Chile where she had to face her greatest fear and what that revealed about what is really important in life.

Watch the show here.

SEPTEMBER 2020: ALL GOOD THINGS

In our September show, speakers riffed on the theme “All Good Things.” Philosopher Ian Olasov remembered his mom’s best friend Sherry, a true optimist and storyteller, whose life taught him that philosophy can only fathom so much. Nick Flynn guided a meditation on his past five months in quarantine, reflecting on the trauma of the pandemic and racism. Liara Tamani shared a story about a recent summer road trip she and her boyfriend took in Texas, during which she felt the full weight of her grief and accessed the purpose of her art. Michael Ian Black recalled a fateful family vacation in Nantucket when he learned the hard way that he was not as progressive a father as he had previously thought.

Watch it here.

AUGUST 2020: THOSE WERE THE DAYS

In our August livestreamed show, writers contemplated the theme “Those Were The Days.” Rion Amilcar Scott remembered his days of “doorbell ditching” and one particular afternoon when a school janitor chased him and his crew down. Kevin Mattson reflected on his experience during the 1980s, the decade of Ronald Reagan, looming nuclear war, and punk rock. Jeff VanderMeer related how his attempt to be the “fun” stepdad to his stepdaughter and her friends during a trip to Chuck E. Cheese resulted in a fateful run-in with a giant rat. Charles Yu revisited a pre-quarantine day spent with his family last winter at the Oakland Science Center and the sense of “future nostalgia” he felt for his children’s youth.

Watch it here.

 

JULY 2020: ARE WE THERE YET?

House of SpeakEasy’s July livestreamed show featured writers musing on the theme “Are We There Yet?” The show featured New Yorker writer and best-selling author Maria Konnikova, distinguished professor and curator Gretchen Sorin, cultural critic and PEN/Civitella fellow Sameer Pandya, and New York Times bestselling writer and New Yorker cartoonist and children’s book author Drew Dernavich.

Watch it here.

 

JUNE 2020: OTHER SIDE OF REASON

In June, House of SpeakEasy hosted a livestream show where writers’ riffed on the theme “Other Side of Reason.” Professor and political commentator Mark Blyth delved into the paradoxes of the term reason, and how anger defines what we deem is beyond reason. Through a story about her father’s contradictions, critically-acclaimed novelist Marina Budhos explained that doing unreasonable things can be the essence of parenting. Whiting Award-winning memoirist Jaquira Diaz told the story of a mother convicted of murdering her child, and the correspondence they formed over the years. Rona Jaffe Woman Writer’s Award-winning poet Gabrielle Calvocoressi discussed adapting to life in a pandemic and hoping for a hug.

Watch it here.

 

MAY 2020: ALL IN DUE TIME

In May, House of SpeakEasy hosted a livestream show where writers’ riffed on the theme “All in Due Time.” Author and chef Bill Buford  revealed his personal interpretation of the evening’s theme: “All in my own due time, all in my time, overdue.”New Yorker “Comma Queen” Mary Norris matched her family members to their corresponding counterparts in the pantheon of Greek gods. Executive Director of The Art Students League of New York Michael Rips shared the story of his friend Paul, an eccentric vendor at the Chelsea Flea Market. New York Times reporter Jennifer Steinhauer recounted the intimate research that went into her book on the women of the 116th Congress.

Watch it here.

 

APRIL 2020: GOING THE DISTANCE

In April, House of SpeakEasy hosted it’s inaugural livestream show, where writers’ explored the theme “Going the Distance.” Paul Lisicky remembered one summer Carnival in Provincetown, MA, and how a costume mishap revealed something essential about his relationship to the place. Jeff Sharlet told the story of Charly “Africa” Keunang’s life and his death, and mused on how things could have been otherwise. Maternal-fetal medicine doctor Chavi Eve Karkowsky, MD, reflected on one woman’s journey through a very high-risk pregnancy.

Watch it here.

 

MARCH 2020: AS GOOD AS GOLD

Though we were unable to host our March Seriously Entertaining show live at Joe’s Pub due to the coronavirus, we recorded these original stories prepared by our March speakers, tied to the theme “As Good as Gold” and released as a podcast. This episode features Anne Nelson, journalist and author of the book Shadow Network: Media, Money, and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right examining the 2016 election, how it went unpredictably wrong, and what religious radio shows in the Midwest had to do with it; artist, activist, and author of the book Stop Telling Women to Smile: Stories of Street Harassment and How We’re Taking Back Our Power, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh sharing how her art expresses who she is as a woman…a woman who isn’t always polite; and Philip Kennicott,Washington Post art and architecture critic and author of Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning talking about finding Nathan, the greatest dog in the world…except for Nathan’s one significant flaw. This episode features songs “The Royal Telephone” and “City of Gold,” plus a brief portion of “The Goldberg Variations.”

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you listen to podcasts.

 

JANUARY 2020: FEAST YOUR EYES

In January, House of SpeakEasy dipped into the fine arts with the theme “Feast Your Eyes.” Using imagery from her graphic memoir Good Talk, Mira Jacob told the story of her arranged courtship gone awry. Artist Ken Buhler took a trip to London with his son, where unknowingly, they honored the memory of his late wife. Writer Nancy Princenthal looked to the artists of the 1970s to see how they approached and reimagined themes of sexual violence. Artist Rachel Feinstein told the origin story of her tattoo and how it became a testament to femininity, decay, and the cyclicality of life.

View photos from the show.

 

NOVEMBER 2019: FOR GOOD MEASURE

In November, House of SpeakEasy ended the fall 2019 season with an eclectic cast of speakers riffing on the theme “For Good Measure.” Journalist James Geary meditated on the root meanings of our daily metaphors, arguing that “the way we get to the bottom of things is through metaphor.” “We all remember where we were the night of November 8, 2016,” said reporter and author Nina Burleigh, as she recounted her night covering the Republican election party. At age 7, Monique Truong thought if she ate American food, she could become American. So she taught herself, via Fannie Farmer, how to bake the American way. Maggie Paxson is an anthropologist by day and a big band singer by night. In the intersection of these two paths, she learned how to cure her fear of lightning.

View photos from the show.

 

OCTOBER 2019: INTO THE SILENCE

In October, House of SpeakEasy dove “Into the Silence” to explore stories both personal and universal in nature. The evening’s program featured the groundbreaking author of a new superhero series Kwanza Osajyefo, who talked about how, after years of working in the comics industry, he learned to tell the story no one else was telling; award-winning novelist Roxana Robinson dove into the silence of her family history, asking how could decent people have been complicit in slavery; former President of the ACLU Nadine Strossen shared her family’s immigration story, and how it sparked her own crusade against censorship and hate; astrobiologist and Scientific American writer Caleb Scharf looked back in time to the British countryside when he first looked up to the stars in search of answers about the universe.

View photos from the show.

 

SEPTEMBER 2019: NO SLEEP TIL

In September, House of SpeakEasy kicked off its fall season with a special Brooklyn Book Festival-theme “No Sleep Till.” The evening’s program featured Award-winning historian William Dalrymple, who shed light on the first corporate empire: The East India Company; Lambda Literary Award-winning novelist Nicole Dennis-Benn recounted her turbulent immigration story and why she came to America to live and not to die; Brooklyn-born and raised Torrey Maldonado discussed the duality of life living in the projects and his college education at Vassar; and Rona Jaffe Award and Italo Calvino Award–winner Helen Phillips shared how she turned her Achilles’ heel into a superpower.

View photos from the show.

 

JUNE 2019: THE SONG SINGS ITSELF

For our final show of the spring season, House of SpeakEasy took its theme from William Carlos Williams’ line “the song sings itself.” Activist and journalist Michael Bronski recalled his journey to become a historian, observing “history is many things, including how we use the past to inform how we deal with today.” Emmy Award–winning journalist Trish Hall revealed how she dealt with the Twitter rage she got as the Times’ op-ed editor. Novelist and screenwriter John Burnham Schwartz told the story of the Red Daughter (Joseph Stalin’s daughter) who spent her whole life proving that she was not her father’s daughter. Memoirist and novelist Darcey Steinke reflected on going through menopause, and how her research led her to a powerful encounter with a female killer whale.

View photos from the show

 

MAY 2019: THE ROOT OF IT ALL

In May, the House of SpeakEasy’s speakers travelled into the past to try to get to “the root of it all.” Eve Ensler spoke on the power of imagination and compassion as grounding forces in the face of trauma. Boris Fishman asked tough questions of his grandparents, attempting to get to the root of his mysterious family tree. Kevin Young took us back to the road trip at the root of his poetry career. Damian Barr moved through the intersecting histories of the three photographs that sparked the material of his new book.

View photos from the show

 

APRIL 2019: THE STRENGTH OF IGNORANCE

This April, House of SpeakEasy speakers examined “The Strength of Ignorance.” Journalist Max Boot delved into his personal ideological journey sparked by the Trump presidency. Poet Ross Gay highlighted the joys in our daily lives that we often ignore. Novelist Andri Snær Magnason told a magical story of why we can’t avoid the changing world around us. Journalist Vicky Ward separates myth from reality on the Kushners.

View photos from the show

 

MARCH 2019 : SEEING BLINDLY

House of Speakeasy went to the dark side: Journalist Patrick Radden Keefe shed light on a troubled time. Poet Safiya Sinclair shared her voice, unafraid of the consequences. Journalist Aatish Taseer applied logic to magical realism. And novelists and writing partners Elizabeth Keenan and Greg Wands outlined their writing process and how their story and partnership grew from difficult experiences in their lives.

View photos from the show.

 

JANUARY 2019: SECRETS AND LIES

Identity, Revelations, and What We Hide

Lauretta Charlton, editor of the Race/Related newsletter at The New York Times, discussed what we share and what we keep to ourselves. Nora Krug, illustrator and author of Belonging: A German Reckons with History and Home, examined the collective and personal impact the Holocaust has for Germans. Novelist John Wray confronted the lies of war and what inspires one to become a fanatic. And Carl Zimmer, The New York Times science columnist and author of She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity, looked inside to see the secrets of our DNA.

View photos from the show.

 

NOVEMBER 2018: DIVIDED WE STAND

What do Lies, Liars, Identity, and the Internet have in common?

Kwame Anthony Appiah, renowned philosopher and New York Times Magazine’s “Ethicist,” had no qualms tearing into the ties we depend on to bind us together. Screenwriter and novelist Lea Carpenter examined the emotional cost of spying for your country. The New Yorker staff writer Jelani Cobb confronted the role of race in American politics, and Kathleen Hall Jamieson, author of Cyberwar, pulled back the curtain on Russia’s campaign during the 2016 election and the role social media played.

View photos from the show.

 

OCTOBER 2018: FORGET ME NOT

Ghosts, Legacies, and Fraught Heredity, please join us October 16 for “Forget Me Not.”

House of SpeakEasy’s premier literary cabaret delivers another round of unforgettable speakers. Tony Award–winning playwright Itamar Moses delves into the human condition. Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Gregory Pardlo grapples with the ruinous legacy of masculinity inherited from his father. Novelist Joel Rose remembers his co-author and friend Anthony Bourdain, and historian Laura Spinney exposes the fault lines in historical memory.

View photos from the show.

 

SEPTEMBER 2018: THE LONG WAY

Secrets, Faith, and Chasing Hope Every Day, please join us September 18th for “The Long Way.”

House of SpeakEasy’s premier literary cabaret Seriously Entertaining returns from a summer hiatus with a compelling lineup of speakers. Novelist and decorated veteran Elliot Ackerman illustrates how his faith was challenged. Emmy Award-winning journalist and producer Richard Cohen describing the things ones obscure when living with serious illness. CBS Sunday Morning commentator and “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” panelist Faith Salie reveals the lengths she would go for approval. And, far from home, memoirist and “This Alien Nation” founder Sofija Stefanovic becomes obsessed with a culture far different than her own.

View photos from this show.

MAY 2018: NO MAN’S LAND

Revolution, obsession, and taking change by the hand, please join us May 22nd for “No Man’s Land.”

House of SpeakEasy returns with another Seriously Entertaining lineup of writers performing on stage at Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater. Journalist Lauren Hilgers examines the life of Patriot Number One as he discovers that exile can follow you anywhere. Historian Caroline Weber explores the women who made Proust Proust, novelist Meg Wolitzer lights a fuse under feminism and refuses to take cover, and New York Times opinion writer Kashana Cauley tells us exactly what she thinks.

View photos from the show.

 

APRIL 2018: ALSO KNOWN AS

Frauds, jihadists, and the powers one has.

Unleash thrilling powers with screenwriter and novelist Noah Hawley, be dazzled by acclaimed director Barry Levinson, peek behind the mask with YA author E. Lockhart, and explore how two teenage girls joined the Syrian Jihad with Asne Seierstad.

View photos from the show.

 

MARCH 2018: A MATTER OF TIME

Ghosts, crooks, and two lives on the line.

Get spooked by artist Duncan Hannah’s story from the great beyond, delve inside with writer Joselin Linder as she searches for the way to stop a deadly family gene, hear how a life and death situation changed novelist Stefan Merrill Block’s future, and discover the secret international network which perpetrated the greatest financial scandal of all time with New York Times editor David Enrich.

View photos from the show.

 

JANUARY 2018: DARKNESS FALLS

Secrets, politics, and inside the hallowed halls.

House of SpeakEasy kicked off the spring season with a Seriously Entertaining lineup of writers. Explore the inner workings of one’s mind with Sandra Allen, examine the differences that bring us together and pull us apart with novelist Elif Shafak, delve inside the most controversial presidency of the modern era with journalist Michael Wolff, and attempt to find the heart of a puzzle with novelist Christopher J. Yates.

View photos from the show.

 

DECEMBER 2017: CAUGHT IN THE ACT

Theater, justice, and a political pact:

Delve into crime and punishment with law professor James Forman, Jr., explore the sexual history of the 90s with David Friend, tease out the clues with thriller writer Laura Lippman, and examine drama on a global scale with playwright JT Rogers.

View photos from the show.

 

NOVEMBER 2017: FEAR ITSELF

Phobias, terror, and looking in the mirror.

Watch as poet and photographer Rachel Eliza Griffiths reveals a moment of artistic bravery in the face of adversity. Get personal about phobias with The Magicians novelist Lev Grossman. Go beyond the headlines with counterterrorism expert David Kilcullen and plumb the depths of human behavior with journalist Julie Scelfo.

View photos from the show.

 

SEPTEMBER 2017: ONE FOR THE ROAD

For invention, a journey, and a touching ode.

Hear how Adam Begley’s biography of photographer and bon vivant Nadar took to the air, and examine how friendships change over time with bestselling novelist Ann Brashares. Take a trip over bridges and into the future with biographer and journalist Erica Wagner, then let Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III take you on a musical tour.

View photos from the show.

 

JUNE 2017: BY THE LIGHT OF THE MOON

For secrets and tears and toasts at High Noon.

Rumi-nate on the mysteries of love with biographer Brad Gooch, scour the Hollywood Blacklist with author Glenn Frankel, make yourself clear with Sir Harold Evans while journalist Ada Calhoun thinks about wedding toasts she will never give.

View photos from the show.

 

MAY 2017: ALL TOGETHER NOW

Find a unique houseguest with New Yorker staff writer Elif Batuman, debate the historical role of Nixon with writer John Aloysius Farrell, enjoy dinner and a movie with Annabelle Gurwitch, and delve into the past and future with novelist Jason Reynolds.

View photos from the show.

 

APRIL 2017: THE END MY FRIEND

Ancient prophecy told us four great writers would meet at a late-night spot as we take a tour through THE END MY FRIEND.

Lost in a Roman wilderness of pain? #Same. Journalist and Wonkette extraordinaire Ana Marie Cox saw it coming; comedian Travon Free faces it Full Frontal. For poet Brenda Shaughnessy it was always Our Andromeda anyway, while for millennial prophet and Private Citizen Tony Tulathimutte, anything goes.

View photos from the show.

 

FEBRUARY 2017: FAILING UP

Failing to comprehend the failing state of things?

Climb out of your black hole with physicist Janna Levin and kick off The Residue Years with author Mitchell S. Jackson. Novelist and poet Idra Novey will help us all to reappear, while The Daily Beast editor John Avlon takes the Wingnuts off and begins the process of re-assembly. New York’s finest literary cabaret returns for 2017 and a new era.

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DECEMBER 2016: AIDING & ABETTING

Will 2016 Man Booker Prize winner Paul Beatty Sellout and drive a bargain, or will memoirist and chef Gabrielle Hamilton cook up an alibi in the nick of time? Novelist and National Book Award nominee Lydia Millett is set to play havoc with the jury, while author and Olympic fencer Richard Cohen demonstrates his greatest defense.

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NOVEMBER 2016: RAZOR’S EDGE

Poet and Pulitzer Prize finalist Elizabeth Alexander will give us The Light of the World while National Book Award winner Phil Klay reveals the writer’s secret weapon. Best-selling author James Rebanks will give us The Shepherd’s View and Man Booker Prize-shortlisted Madeleine Thien will show us both sides of the blade.

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SEPTEMBER 2016 : THIS IS NOT THE END

Discover not one, not two, but Thirteen Ways of Looking with award-winning novelist Colum McCann. Explore the art of life with biographer and historian Ruth Scurr. Hit the high notes with Queen of the Night author Alexander Chee. And rediscover the meaning of binge-watching with Sense8 and Bablyon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski.

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JUNE 2016: WHEN STRANGERS MEET

Embrace your inner étranger with novelist and essayist Geoff Dyer while exploring life “On the Couch” with novelist Ayana Mathis and special guest host Jessica Strand. For poet-essayist Chris Abani, it may well be written all over The Face, but an encounter with poet-critic Stephen Burt proves that a close call with nonsense can also be a dinner date with the profound. As Frank Sinatra might say: doo-be-doo-be-don’t miss it.

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APRIL 2016: WHILE THE MUSIC LASTS

Let’s be Frank: to miss journalist and filmmaker Jon Ronson would alone be cause for public shame. But we also have theoretical physicist Stephon Alexander putting the jazz back in the cosmos and journalist Bryan Burrough on the sounds of the underground. And before we’re done, we’re changing our major to Tony Award-winning Fun Home playwright Lisa Kron. Being Seriously Entertaining is our forte – join us at Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater for a splendidly uncommon time.

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MARCH 2016: IT’S NOT YOU

For George Hodgman, if it’s not one thing it’s a mother — so come along with this best-selling memoirist for a life-changing trip to Bettyville. Take a revelatory journey through Negroland with Pulitzer Prize-winning critic and memoirist Margo Jefferson, and a walk on the wild side with The Danish Girl author David Ebershoff. Finally, we call in the VICE squad and practice Drawing Blood with artist and memoirist Molly Crabapple. And all of this from the safety and comfort of the House of SpeakEasy’s brand spanking new home in Joe’s Pub. Who’d dare miss out? It’s Not You.

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FEBRUARY 2016: I’LL HAVE ANOTHER

Celebrate two glorious years of New York’s #1 literary cabaret with six shining stars from the cultural firmament.

House of SpeakEasy welcomes special guest host Salman Rushdie and YOU to its second-birthday gala on February 1. You can’t get enough of bestselling nonfiction powerhouse Erik Larson and nor can we. We’d go Bridge or Tunnel to see Tony Award-winning playwright and actress Sarah Jones, and turn 360 for novelist and radio host Kurt Andersen. Are we sated? I’ll Have Another, we cry: the return of Scotland’s finest and SpeakEasy legend Irvine Welsh will do just nicely. But fear not these terrible pawns: Garry Kasparov will keep us in check.

I’ll Have Another — will you?

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NOVEMBER 2015: HAPPY NOW

Say aloha to the Paradise of the Pacific with Susanna Moore and feel your troubles slip away. If it’s the Daydreams of Angels that interest you, then sure — we’ve got novelist Heather O’Neill in the mix. Oh I see, it’s poetry? Then you’ll be more than happy with Pulitzer Prize winner Yusef Komunyakaa. Thanks to physicist Lisa Randall, in fact, we’ve got everything from dark matter to the dinosaurs. We’ve even got humorist Annabelle Gurwitch — don’t tell us that’s not better than dinner and a movie! Happy Now?!

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SEPTEMBER 2015: ALTERED STATES

“We’re going to get very intimate very quickly,” promised the evening’s first speaker, Tony Award-winning playwright Doug Wright, at the House of SpeakEasy’s Altered States at New York’s City Winery on September 22. And he wasn’t wrong. In the company of Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Joe Klein, Emma Sky and Kelly Carlin, SpeakEasy’s latest #SeriouslyEntertaining foray into the world of literary cabaret got up close and personal with obscure Ken Russell movies, Donald Trump’s dangerous experiment in democracy, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the home life of a comedy legend.

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JUNE 2015: SUMMERTIME BLUES

We don’t believe in fate at the House of SpeakEasy but there was something of the pathetic fallacy in last week’s show, Summertime Blues, falling as it did at the start of a gloomily tropical week in New York City. Fortunately, we had all the right ingredients to dispel any seasonal mooning. Our spring/summer finale featured Sarah LewisRebecca Newberger GoldsteinIrvine Welsh, Laura Michelle Kelly, Edward Hirsch, and Steven Pinker, plus a whole lotta painting, philosophy, burger-flipping, poetry, and first dates.

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APRIL 2015: ONE SIMPLE RULE

After hearing from our six guest writers in April on the subject “One Simple Rule”, you might think we’d have some pretty solid advice for you. We don’t. Write what you know? Well, sometimes it’s best not to. Everyone should know CPR? Granted; hard to argue. Back up your work? Phew, yes, we’d all have saved ourselves some stress by following that one. Break all of the rules, always? We don’t like to be too prescriptive here… Well, we’ll leave you to judge, as you enjoy the wit and wisdom of Elif Shafak, Tom Rob Smith, Amber Tamblyn, Lisa Robinson, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, and Beau Willimon.

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MARCH 2015: NO RETURN

The Shroud of Turin. An Ohio ghost story. “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” Basketball with Xenophon and Achilles. Things that should or shouldn’t be done with a Philadelphia Eagles hat. Just five of the things that aliens landing at City Winery last Monday might have taken away from their close encounter with humanity. The House of SpeakEasy welcomed six more amazing writers to discuss the theme No Return: best-selling horrorist R.L. Stine, poet A.E. Stallings, author Ben Yagoda, novelist Ian Caldwell, and comedy writer Meredith Scardino. Special guest host Joan As Policewoman was the quizmaster for this month’s Tip of My Tongue competition.

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JANUARY 2015 GALA: RUNNIN’ WILD

Undeterred by the Snowpocalypse-that-in-any-case-wasn’t, crowds flocked to City Winery on January 28 to celebrate the House of SpeakEasy‘s first birthday and bless its second year of existence. Our guests — Simon Doonan, Stephen Lang, Jim Dale, Susan Fales-Hill, Susan Minot, P.J. O’Rourke, and Dan Stevens — told us tales of their derring-do and their derring-don’ts as we careered between subjects including the Baby Boom, The Devil Wears Prada, what Shakespeare did for us, and the erotic undercurrents of Downton Abbey.

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NOVEMBER 2014: NO SATISFACTION

In a triumphant end to a great first year, the House of SpeakEasy brought you six more writers and performers to muse on the subject No Satisfaction. Writer and comedian Ruby Wax taught us to master our minds; author and journalist Philip Gourevitch examined no-win situations in Rwanda and Abu Ghraib; writer Hooman Majd wondered if there really is no place like home;  Christopher Mason returned to break the internet with a fabulous song about Kim Kardashian; future Oscar-winning screenwriter Graham Moore stopped by to talk genius; and Phineas and Ferb creator Dan Povenmire espoused the benefits of delayed satisfaction in comedy. Last but in many ways not, Hari Dhillon was the quizmaster for The Tip of My Tongue.

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SEPTEMBER 2014: INSIDE THE LIE

As an amber-violet sunset spread across a CinemaScope sky to the west of Manhattan, the House of SpeakEasy returned to City Winery for the inaugural show of its fall season. Almost three hundred guests gathered to listen, to laugh, to share, and to refill their glasses as six writers — Marcelo GleiserNatalie HaynesJohn GuareGary ShteyngartGail Sheehy, and Andrew Solomon — took to the stage to ponder this month’s theme, Inside the Lie. This month’s guest stars? Copernicus, RFK, Oedipus, Sophia Loren’s panties, an uncommon family set-up, a Bavarian porn star…

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June 2014: Falling for Perfection

The curtain rose on a raucous final edition of the House of SpeakEasy’s inaugural “Seriously Entertaining” series Monday, June 23 at City Winery NYC. There were cartoons and Muppets, breast pumps and seaside sex scenes, moonlight and music and love and romance. Our guests — seven of them; our biggest line-up yet — made us swoon, made us cry, made us laugh, made us beg for one more glass of wine. Featuring: New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff; playwright and novelist Adam Rapp; Barnard College president and writer Debora Spar; satirical songwriter Christopher Mason; novelist Emma Straub; poet Jeffrey McDaniel; and Daily Show head writer Elliott Kalan.

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MAY 2014: THE INK RUNS DRY

Borgesian understatement, Nixonian analysis, Putinian philosophy, and a rediscovered Kodak disc camera. The ink, the wine, and the laughs were all flowing at Tuesday May 20th’s Seriously Entertaining show as another smashing line-up of writing talent mused aloud on the creative process and the terror that one day the ink might just dry up altogether. Writers featured: historian Amanda Vaill; journalist and author Jonathan Alter; satirical songwriter Christopher Mason; author David Gilbert; and author and poet Jay Parini.

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APRIL 2014: IN CASE OF EMERGENCY

House of SpeakEasy’s April show, “In Case of Emergency” was a Seriously Entertaining production at NYC’s City Winery featuring the saving powers of Daniel Bergner, J.D. McClatchy, Amor Towles, Maggie Shipstead and Leonard Lopate.

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MARCH 2014: ARE YOU FOR SALE?

“Are You For Sale?” was another Seriously Entertaining production featuring the salesmanship of writer Susan Cheever, author Jeff Kinney, journalist Michael Riedel, Oscar-winning screenwriter Paul Haggis, novelist Kate Mosse and composer Michael Friedman.

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FEBRUARY 2014: THIS IS NOT A MAN

“This Is Not A Man” was a Seriously Entertaining production featuring the wit and wonder of author Dana Vachon, comedian Steve Coogan, novelist Susan Minot, Hollywood superstar Uma Thurman, writer Tom Reiss and musician Anton Sword.

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JANUARY 2014: PLAYS WITH MATCHES

House of SpeakEasy’s sold-out gala evening was Seriously Entertaining, drawing a 380-strong NYC crowd with glamour and gravitas, to hear a star-studded line-up riff on the evening’s theme: Plays with Matches. Featuring: comedian Andy Borowitz; writer and critic Adam Gopnik; author Susan Orlean; historian and writer Simon Winchester; Hollywood superstar Uma Thurman; and singer-songwriter Dar Williams.

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