Agenda Newsletter - October 9, 2007

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Great storyteller tells another one … and another …
Like You’d Understand, Anyway
Jim Shepard; Knopf; $23; Buy it
We’re not going to call Jim Shepard a “writer’s writer,” because the novelist, whose Project X fictionalized Columbine better than any other treatment, knows more about pacing and primal emotions than almost any best-selling author out there. His new stories gave us joyful dizzy spells, painting the inner thoughts of characters from a Roman centurion to a pair of Texan football players—most in first-person narratives as perfectly tuned as the best work of Michael Chabon and David Mitchell.

Talk hotter than a Times Square Rolex
James Carville and Dan Rather
  Carville and Rather should bring plenty of folksy bile to this consideration of the presidential election; expect insights you wouldn’t hear from them on TV. And bring a flask—we have a drinking game. When you hear a down-home idiom—“hotter than a Times Square Rolex,” say—down a slug. Before Rather even begins talking up his lawsuit against CBS (will he “beat them like a rented mule”?), you’ll be drunker than a skunk drownin’ in bathtub of moonshine. 92nd Street Y
October 14
7:30 p.m.
Tickets  »      

R. Kelly does…something…again
“Real Talk” Behind the Scenes   And today’s Indieist pick is … an R. Kelly video? We’re not sure how to characterize the singer’s latest bit of left-field genius: It’s a no-budget production—shot entirely in a small studio; the cigars and bottle of Patron were surely just lying around—in the Indiest vein, but with a startling meta twist at the end that’s totally Aesthete. The song itself, Kelly shout-singing his side of bad argument over the phone, is wrenching, in spite of its lulling Populist beat. Contrary to what the hopeless snarks are saying, it’s no joke. R. Kelly
Play it

Mega miniseries properly canonized
Roots: The Complete Collection   Without Roots, the African-American genetics-genealogy business might not be booming, the entire big-budget miniseries genre might be dead, and LeVar Burton might never have played a robot on the Starship Enterprise (or hosted Reading Rainbow!). Thirty years later, this set collects the 37-times-Emmy-nominated masterpiece and its two sequels, reminding us why Roots became the most influential miniseries of its generation—and, less encouraging, how little quality work was later awarded to stars Louis Gossett Jr., Leslie Uggams, and Cicely Tyson. Warner Home Video
On sale today
Buy it  »      

Get the fear of God into you
Shalom Auslander
  Christopher Hitchens crows about his atheism, but in his memoir, NPR contributor Auslander hates on a God he actually believes in. Foreskin’s Lament is a dark, hilarious story of leaving the fold in Orthodox Monsey, New York, where Auslander was raised. What does it say about a writer that his acknowledgments page implores God not to bless his supportive friends but to consider punishing them instead of Auslander’s family? Tonight, perhaps, he’ll devote his radio-honed comic timing to elucidating that idea. Barnes & Noble, 675 Sixth Ave.
7 p.m.
Interview  » More info  »      

Prep her for the bike parade
Art-Bike Workshops
  The first Lower East Side Children’s Bike Parade is coming up on Saturday, and pimped-out bikes and trikes will be de rigueur; she won’t feel out of place if she’s an UWS kid—if her bicycle is properly decorated. The Children’s Museum of the Arts is holding workshops today, tomorrow, and Wednesday for kids who emulate bikers as cool (and varied) as the Times Up! Crew, fixed-gear-riding hipsters, and lowrider aficionados. The Children’s Museum of the Arts
October 10–12
More info  »        

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October 9, 2007

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Agenda Newsletter - October 9, 2007