THROWN TOGETHER: Tsunami Benefit Reading
Sun., Jan. 23
If you still haven't cut a check to one of the 200 NGOs now operating in areas affected by the tsunami, here's your chance to sugarcoat the good deed. Tonight's benefit reading features high-powered author-journalists Adam Goodheart, Ayun Halliday, Suketu Mehta, Bob Morris and Daniel Asa Rose. The bar is cash, but the hors d'oeuvres are complimentary. All proceeds go directly to tsunami charities-and no poetry will be read, guaranteed.
Jefferson, 121 W. 10th St. (betw. Greenwich & 6th Aves.), 212-255-3333; 6-9, $15.
Great Collaborations | Weds., Jan. 19
If you don't feel like paying $20 to look at a bunch of paintings you saw the first year you lived here, MoMA has something for the more budget conscious. The museum's new discussion series, "Great Collaborations," lets the audience eavesdrop on a conversation between coworkers. But instead of, "Could you forward me that e-mail?" or, "That's not my job," Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor actually have something interesting to talk about.
The two cowrote this year's cinematic critical obsession, Sideways; their three previous screenplays include Citizen Ruth, Election and About Schmidt. To be fair, only Citizen Ruth was an original screenplay; perhaps MoMA should invite authors Tom Perrotta, Louis Begley and Rex Pickett to sit in. But even working from a blueprint, Payne and Taylor don't make it easy on themselves. The pair is known to fashion their scripts on a single computer-with laptops so cheap, they may as well be pounding it out on a Royal with a missing "S." Payne, who also directed the film, used to room with Taylor. That could explain the computer sharing. However they do it, it works. Payne and Taylor share numerous writing awards and nominations, including a Golden Globe for About Schmidt.
On loan from The New Yorker, Adam Gopnik will moderate the discussion. Known for his "Letter From Paris" column and insistence on referring to enjoying food as "gastronomy," Gopnik probably adored Sideways. The movie, about two middle-aged friends on one last road trip, is sautéed in gourmet food and paired with wine. In between Gopnik's questions, expect film clips and a few scene readings. Actor Paul Giamatti's musings on the similarities between life and pinôt are sure to be a hot topic, not to mention an Oscar clip.
The Great Collaborations series began on Jan. 10 with a discussion between Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman; hang out with Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater on Feb. 28. At $10, it's half the cost of MoMA's inflated admission.
Roy and Niuta Titus Theater I, MoMA, 11 W. 53rd St. (betw. 5th and 6th Aves.), 212-708-9400; 8:30, $10, free for members.
It's cruel what Merrill Feitell does. It's what the best short story writers do, really-she makes you want to try it yourself. But then you realize that it takes insight, self-control and a talent for balancing situation and characters so that the one does not overwhelm the other and, well, fuck it. By that point you just want to hole up and read more. Feitell writes deliciously about city people who are somehow, whether they know it or not, always out of town. Catch her tonight at KGB, where she'll be reading from her debut short-story collection, Here Beneath Low Flying Planes with John Reed.
KGB Bar, 85 E. 4th St. (2nd Ave.), 212-505-3360; 7-9, free.
Bhagavan Das | Sat., Jan. 22
In 1963, at age 18, Bhagavan Das left his home in Laguna Beach, CA, to wander India in search of God. He found Him, of course, and along with Be Here Now author Ram Dass-then-LSD-toting former Harvard Prof. Richard Alpert-formed the catalyst which turned the West on to Eastern mysticism. A master of nada yoga, the sacred science of sound vibrations, and devotee of the same guru who introduced the Beatles to transcendental meditation, Bhagavan Das returned to America to become the first mystic-guru-rockstar.
He recorded the classic "Ah" in 1972 at Electric Ladyland studios with the help of Allen Ginsberg and soon began organizing "be-ins" around the country. Thirty years and countless groupies and misadventures later, the six-foot-five, dreadlocked Das is still rocking-even finding the time to collaborate with Beastie Boy and yogi Mike D.
"Now" fuses the ecstatic devotional chanting known as "Kirtan" with trip-hop, which Das hopes will inspire the electronic generation to "get into yoga and vegan diets, and realize how high they can get without drugs.
Tonight, in his only New York appearance this winter, Bhagavan Das returns to the Integral Yoga Institute.
Integral Yoga Institute, 227 W. 13th St. (betw. 7th & 8th Aves.), 212.929.0586, 8, $25.
Fri., Jan. 21
If you can't beat 'em, you might as well party like it's your last night on earth. Such is the thinking behind the Anti-Inauguration Ball at Judson Memorial Church, which will ring in Bush II with enough downtown performance art to send the entire North Korean army running for its life. If standing in the DC rain getting frisked and fingerprinted after having your "Not My President" sign forcibly pried from your fingers doesn't appeal to you, consider a night of burlesque, acrobats, singers, protest dance brigades, DJ's, ranters, nude comedians and "more." Sort-of famous people on the line-up include Lucy Sexton, the Wau Wau Sisters, Mike Iveson, Julie Atlas Muz and John Ashcroft.
Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Sq. S. (Thompson St.), 212-477-0351; 8:30, free.
The History of Drinking in New York
tues., jan. 25
In 1626, Peter Minuit and his cronies were so pleased with themselves that when the deal was completed, they went back to their ships and got completely tanked off more Heineken than anyone in this hemisphere had ever seen. Later that night, no one could be bothered checking out the new digs. They instead got all bored and fidgety in their drunkenness until someone finally piped up, "Damn, Pete. What the fuck happened to all our trinkets? We had like 24 bucks worth of stuff here!" Thus, it began. Tonight, it continues with food maven Arthur Schwartz's evening dedicated to Booze and the City. A copy of Schwartz's new Arthur Schwartz's New York City Food, is included with admission.
Stony Brook Manhattan, 401 Park Ave. S. (28th St.), 631-632-9404, res. req.; 6:30, $85.