Something’s Funny at Franklin Park
1. Emma Straub with Michael Fusco, who is a devoted husband (to Straub), graphic designer (he designed the cover of Straub’s book), and tennis fan (these are their game faces!). 2. Crowded house! Lit fans sat on the ground almost all the way up to the podium.
Last night began, for me, an intense week of LITERATURE. The Brooklyn Book Festival is this weekend, a.k.a. the lit world’s answer to Fashion Week. And what better way to start this whirlwind of words than at Franklin Park Reading Series, with the theme this month being “Funny People.” I mean, who doesn’t like to laugh? Well, I mean, besides goths.
Apparently a lot of people agreed with me, or maybe it’s just people who are 25 to 35-years-old and living in Brooklyn are obsessed with Michael Showalter. Either way, Franklin Park was packed last night. And I mean packed. Penina Roth, the series’ curator and host, told us that the bar was more crowded than at the DJ events on Fridays and Saturdays. Only in Brooklyn.
1. Eliza Snelling, already reading like a pro. 2. Seth Fried, who managed to be funny while writing about science.
The readings went like this…
- Eliza Snelling, who is an MFA student at Brooklyn College and the recent finalist of L Magazine’s Literary Upstart short fiction competition, read her story, “On the Eighth Day,” which was about the New Realism aesthetic movement in heaven. Ridiculous (in the best way) and true, all at once.
- Seth Fried, who wrote The Great Frustration, read “Eldred,” which used the word “flagella” a lot (I like this word), and also recognized the fact that scientists are generally unattractive (which reminded me of this diagram).
- Emma Straub, author of Other People We Married, read an abridged version of the essay “Teenage Dream,” which was published in Tin House. We heard about her recent experience at a Joey McIntyre concert (of New Kids on the Block fame), and hilarity ensued.
1. Michael Showalter. (I may or may not have brought our online editor, Ben, along with me to take this picture, just so he could shake Showalter’s hand. “He’s my Joey McIntyre,” he may or may not have said.) 2. Tiphanie Yanique: She’ll make you laugh, she’ll make you cry.
- Michael Showalter, author of Mr. Funny Pants, read an excerpt from his book that talked about how his life has been a lot like the feeling one would get when an adorable puppy pops a boner. That is, how it is has been an awkward existence, to say the least. Awkward — whatever, who cares — it’s really, really funny. I love laughing at another person’s misery.
- Tiphanie Yanique, author of How To Escape From A Leper Colony, read a section of the book called “Street Man,” which was told in the voice of a street man (surprise) who was into foreplay. More specifically, he was into foreplay with a certain college girl whom he happened to fall in love with. This section managed to be both funny and touching.
Anyway, good times were had by all, and FP delivered on their promise: these people were funny.
Good for: People who like smiling and laughing and Wet Hot American Summer and/or The State.
Bad for: Those with highly sensitive auras and/or social anxiety disorder.
by Seth Fried
by Emma Straub
by Michael Showalter
by Tiphanie Yanique
– Julia Jackson writes fiction and is the editor of Electric Dish. She has an MFA from Brooklyn College.