Saturday, March 06, 2010

Happy Birthday, Franklin Park Reading Series!

What else can I say about the Franklin Park Reading Series--I love it! I went for the first time last June and I was hooked. I didn't miss one until last month, and as the lady can avow, I was deeply distraught when I discovered I couldn't make it. On March 8, salonista supreme Penina Roth celebrates her first anniversary as host of the best Monday night in Crown Heights with cupcakes, $4 well drinks, and $4 Krusovice. But that's not why you should come.

You should come because the Reading Series strikes a perfect balance between serious literary endeavor and open, friendly community event. It's not pretentious, but people will get quiet and listen when readers are sharing their latest work. It brings in big names (check out this month's lineup), but it always makes an effort to showcase local talent. Each month's experience is wildly different, equal only in the satisfaction you'll take away from attending. In short, this is the reading series you always dreamed of attending but never did, because you were worried it would turn into a giant in-joke that you didn't get. It won't. Come.

Readers for this week's bash include (the blurbs below stolen from Facebook):

STEPHEN ELLIOTT is the author of seven books, including the memoir The Adderall Diaries, which was named the best book of 2009 by Time Out New York, a best of 2009 in Kirkus Reviews, and one of 50 notable books in the San Francisco Chronicle. His novel Happy Baby was a finalist for the New York Public Library's Young Lion Award, and was named a best book of the year by, Newsday, Chicago New City, the Journal News, and the Village Voice. His writing has also been featured in Esquire, The New York Times, The Believer, GQ, Best American Non-Required Reading 2005 and 2007, Best American Erotica, and Best Sex Writing 2006. He is the editor and founder of The Rumpus, an online cultural magazine.

“Blending memoir and true-crime reportage, Elliott’s first book of nonfiction digs into depression, a fraught father-son relationship, a high-profile Bay Area murder case and the thorny complexities of storytelling itself… the author, with a nod to Joan Didion, weaves his disparate subjects into an emotionally intense and fiercely intelligent work of art.”

VICTOR LAVALLE is the author, most recently, of the novel Big Machine, which was named one of the ten best books of 2009 by Publishers Weekly, a 2009 favorite fiction book by the Chicago Tribune, and one of 2009’s best science fiction books by the LA Times. His previous novel, The Ecstatic, was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and he has also released a highly acclaimed short story collection, Slapboxing with Jesus. He has received numerous awards, including a Whiting Writers' Award, a United States Artists Ford Fellowship, and the key to Southeast Queens.

"Gabriel Garcia Marquez mixed with Edgar Allan Poe, but more than that. Big Machine is like nothing I've ever read, incredibly human and alien at the same time."

MATTHUE ROTH is a writer, performance poet and Orthodox Jew at large. He is the author of the memoir Yom Kippur a Go-Go and three novels, including Losers, which has just been named to the American Library Association's 2010 Rainbow List. His screenplay 1/20 is currently in post-production as a feature film, and he's now at work on his next novel. He keeps a secret diary at

MAURA KELLY writes a dating blog called "The Year of Living Flirtatiously" for Marie Claire and her essays have appeared all over the place, from The New York Times to Penthouse.


  1. Wow--I had no idea this series even existed, so thanks for the heads-up! Would love to hear Victor Lavalle read on Monday. I don't know if you review books, but my novel (set in Crown Heights) just came out last month. If you're interested, let me know and I'll have my publicist send you a copy... zettaelliott at yahoo dot com

  2. I love your blog! I just discovered it today and can't wait to look at all the cool stuff happening on my avenue!

    You should also write about the Red Lotus Room! Okay, so it's not ON franklin, but rather just off it. still, they have some GREAT parties there. Dances of Vice always holds many of their events at that space/gallery.

  3. I was so inspired by your post, I was going to hit up last night's series. Then, of course, we got an email saying that it had been moved.

    Quite ironic that the anniversary of the FRANKLIN PARK reading series was not at Franklin Park, but at a competitor's bar. Ah well. Guess it's all this drama with the C/O. I wonder when it will be ironed out...

  4. @ Julia - I don't know about Red Lotus Room, and googling hasn't turned up too much. Tell me more!

  5. Yea there isn't anything on it. It looks like a garage door, but when you go inside, it's beautiful!

    893 Bergen (between Classon and Franklin)

    I don't think it's open for people to just walk in, it's just for parties.

    Here are some future parties there (copied and pasted from dances of vice):

    EVENT: "Mood Indigo" Harlem Renaissance Retrospective
    TIME & DATE: March 20, 2010 @ 9PM
    LOCATION: The Red Lotus Room, 893 Bergen St, Brooklyn
    ADMISSION: $15 Adv, $20 Doors ($15 for Wonderland guests)

    Featuring: Adriel Azure & His Dream Indigo Orchestra, the dapper MC Dandy Wellington, burlesque beauty and chanteuse Dulce de Leche, and tap sensation Jen Minsky of The Minsky Sisters. More TBA.

    EVENT: "The Dada Revue"
    TIME & DATE: April 17, 2010 @ 9PM
    LOCATION: The Red Lotus Room, 893 Bergen St, Brooklyn
    ADMISSION: $15 Adv, $20 Doors

    Featuring: BudZillus, The Flying Fox, Muffinhead the Exclamationist, Medianoche and more TBA.

    Shanghai Mermaid also does alot of parties there. Two weekends ago, they had a big Chinese ball/festival.

    I went to a cool party called BONZAI and it was EPIC. Awesome artwork, awesome performances.
    I tried to search flickr, but all I could find was this dark, don't tell you much, photo

    Erm, thats all I can say for now, it's REALLY underground.(as you can tell) Wish I knew more!

  6. OH. if you search around on that guys flickr, you can see more pictures of the space. :]

  7. I was going to post the same thing as Nick: google turned up nothing.

    This is very interesting...thanks for posting about it!

  8. I get emails for Shanghai Mermaid and they ask that none of the info get reposted to public boards. They really do want to keep the space word of mouth and underground.

    Just saying.