PLEASE TAKE ME OFF THE GUEST LIST
1. Diva & Dena, who are friends of Lipez. 2. Joey & Reena, who were killing time before the reading by paging through Time Out New York and BlackBook.
What do you get when you combine one dedicated designer + one member of a famous rock band-slash-photographer + one musician-slash-DJ-slash-bartender-slash-writer-slash-party boy?
At least four book deals, the most recent (Please Take Me Off the Guest List) of which was celebrated last night with a reading and Q&A at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square.
The young, alt, and wearing-pretty-much-only-black crowd was told much different things than say, the crowd of the Franzen reading, which was located at the same spot a few weeks back. Things like, “This is going to be recorded, and everyone knows the camera adds — oh hell, let’s be honest — twenty pounds, so the louder you applaud, the thinner you will look.” The event also started a few minutes late to accommodate the still-arriving crowd, despite the fact that the Facebook invite warned “that this is not a show or Northhampton anarchist potluck or your ‘fun’ uncle’s funeral-IT STARTS AT SEVEN SHARP.”
The designer (Stacy Wakefield), photographer (Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs), and writer (Zachary Lipez) fielded questions by journalist Katherine Lanpher. The interviewees discussed their aesthetics, which are quite different, yet complement each other. For instance, Wakefield believes that good design should be “invisible,” since obvious design tends to date things too quickly. Zinner wants his photography to be unsentimental, and Lipez hopes his writing is “funny but not precious” — which, for him, is easier to achieve with prose than poetry. The interviewees also described the desire to publish a book, explaining the satisfaction of producing something beautiful that one could hold and carry. Maybe the small price and size of Please Take Me Off the Guest List were intentional — Zinner, Wakefield, and Lipez wanted to make something accessible, something that could be given as a gift or read on the subway.
1. Artist Catherine Sieck, whose favorite part of the show was Lipez’s spastic lip-pursing, which seemed to be brought on by the audience’s failure to laugh at his more subtle jokes. 2. Musician/Performer Anna Copa Cabanna, musician Daniel Sheerin, & Catoonist/Blogger/DJ Nate Turbow. Daniel used to live with Lipez. When asked what his worst habit was as a roommate, Daniel & Anna just laughed.
Lipez read three essays, which were accompanied by music played by Wakefield and Zinner. The first essay, “You Can Always do Better,” made me incredibly depressed and sometimes nauseated (which, I admit, may have been the result of outside factors, such as that I was incredibly sleep-deprived). In Lipez’s ponderings about women’s shitty taste in men, he suggested that one might be better off dating Stalin rather than a musician, and (despite being ancient–he’s thirty-five) reveled in/fetishized being wet-the-bed drunk, staying up ’til dawn on coke, and sleeping with decade-younger self-proclaimed “sluts.” But don’t bother criticizing Lipez for any of this, because he’s already beaten you to the punch: He’s quick to admit everything from being a “loser” to being emotionally immature to having questionable literary talent/authority.
We also learned when it is appropriate to drink while on antibiotics: If you’re on a seven-day regimen, it’s okay to drink on day four. If you’re on a nine-day regimen, it’s really just bad form to drink before day five. The final essay, “My Letter of Resignation,” (to The Strand, love Zach), featured Wakefield playing a typewriter as a musical instrument, and moments of this verged on beautiful.
–Julia Jackson is working on her MFA in fiction at Brooklyn College, and is a regular contributor for Electric Dish.