Favorite Music of 2016

It would be laughable to present a “Best of 2016” list, given my nodding acquaintance with most new music. Instead, here are 15 songs that looped through my headphones and dreams this past year. Enjoy.






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Nerd Jeopardy! at Lit Crawl NYC


It’s back! Everyone’s favorite literary trivia game returns for a booze-fueled and heckler-filled competition between authors, readers, and the occasional barfly. Based on a certain long-running game show, Nerd Jeopardy! is for anyone who’s wanted to drunkenly yell “Who is Proust?” Audience participation is duly rewarded, with glory and prizes distributed indiscriminately.

Nerd Jeopardy! at Lit Crawl NYC
Saturday, Oct. 1, 8pm
KGB Bar, 85 E. 4th St., NYC (map)

I’ll be hosting, joined by special guest Mitchell S. Jackson (The Residue Years) and friends from BOMB and the National Book Foundation. See you there.

Facebook event | Full Lit Crawl Schedule

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A Summer 2016 Playlist

If I had a Jeep Wrangler, these are the songs I’d blast out of it while cruising the neighborhood.

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The BOMB Gala & After-Party & Pancake Breakfast


If you’re the kind of person who likes to hobnob with artists and actors, who likes to bid on contemporary art, and who has a fair bit of discretionary income, then come out to the BOMB Gala on Friday. It’s the only place in town where you can get a Wade Guyton print and take a selfie with Wallace Shawn.

Of course not everyone can make the Gala. For the rest of us, there’s the first official After-Party. (Maybe not the first. Paul Morris may have hosted one back in the day.) We have everything a proper after-party needs:

  1. Free champagne
  2. Tiki decor
  3. DJs playing 100% vinyl. And what DJs! We have Damian Manire, Lanny Jordan Jackson, & Jessi Olsen.
  4. Confetti cannons
  5. Cheap drinks
  6. Bathroom mural of the Wu-Tang Clan

The whole thing is hosted by Cy Gavin, Lindsay Howard, Mieke Chew, & Andrew Durbin, in a secret space under Tropical 128 in the LES (map). Tickets are only $10, with the catch that you have to pay in advance. So get a ticket, put on your best outfit, and we’ll see you Friday night.

Buy tickets | Facebook event | Full details

For the true believers who make it to 4am, maybe an IHOP run?

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Favorite Books of 2015

My year in reading was one of empathy. The voices and narrators behind these books enlarged my world in the way only books can do: permanently and with the bighearted force of being alive in in the world today. (NB: Most of these are 2015 releases, with a couple from previous years.)


Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
Smarter people than I have dozens of pieces about this one. (Go read them.) To the awards, hosannas, and bestseller lists I would only add: every American teenager should read this.

The Argonauts, Maggie Nelson
Monique Wittig blew my mind in college; Nelson put it back together again. If only we could all be as trenchant, honest, and intelligent about love and family. Have you ever underlined every sentence in a book?

Treasure Island!!!, Sara Levine
There are plenty of comic novels about self-destructive monsters, but none of them have used classic literature as a cudgel against the millennials’ post-college doldrums. Someone in Hollywood should hand Levine a big check to do whatever she wants.

A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall, Will Chancellor
An adventure novel with a dead-on parody of the art world. Ulysses, water polo, Baudrillard, and Iceland collide in Chancellor’s wonderful story of an errant father and son shedding former lives for strange new ones.

Counternarratives, John Keene
A perfect fictional pairing with Coates’s book. Keene is flat-out brilliant, reinventing short fiction with the flair and maturity of the late David Foster Wallace.

The Following Story, Cees Nooteboom
Kundera’s always left me cold, but I warmed to his spiritual Dutch cousin. This novella is reminiscent of Charlie Kaufman’s best work, where giddy experimentation gives way to serious inquiry into death and memory. Plus it’s funny.

Making Nice, Matt Sumell
Everyone who reads Jesus’ Son wants to write like Denis Johnson, and no one can. Except for Sumell.

Monastery, Eduardo Halfon
A globe-trotting Guatemalan Jew picks at the seams of modern identity. Our Latin American Geoff Dyer.

The Miraculous, Raphael Rubinstein
I can’t think of one person who wouldn’t enjoy this book. The only problem with these campfire tales about contemporary art is they don’t continue for a thousand pages.

B & Me: A True Story of Literary Arousal, J. C. Hallman
This comes practically swaddled in red flags: A book-length love letter to Nicholson Baker? Why? Really? Yes. And it’s great fun. Hallman charges ahead as the world tries to ruin his literary project, his relationships, and his life.

The Maintenance of Headway, Magnus Mills
The bus driver novel you didn’t know you needed. With a light touch Mills shows us the beauty and comedy of London’s transit system, while reminding us bureaucracy is, at the end of the day, socially acceptable derangement.

The “I’m Getting to It” Pile
I’m reading Paul Beatty’s The Sellout. It’s amazing, but I doubt I’ll finish it before 2016.

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BOMB’s Winter Party!

First, watch Touching the Art.

Amazing, right? Good news! Casey Jane Ellison is hosting BOMB’s big end-of-the-year blowout. And! Magik Markers is playing. Oh man. When “Body Rot“first appeared I had it on repeat for six months.

Putting this together has been the best part of my job lately. I’m so damn excited. The full details:

BOMB’s Winter Party
Friday, December 18
Pioneer Works
Hosted by Casey Jane Ellison
Music by Magik Markers
DJs Chances with Wolves
Cocktail Hour Hosts Jem Cohen, Lynne Tillman, Ben Lerner, & David Grubbs
Videos by Kalup Linzy & Handbag Dynasty


Get a ticket! It comes with plenty of free drinks. And since the party’s a fundraiser to pay our writers and artists, the whole thing’s tax-deductible. Make your imaginary accountant proud.

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See You at the Texas Book Festival

Every year friends return from Austin gushing about the great bbq and great programming at the Texas Book Festival. (I imagine every panel comes with ribs and wet-naps.)

You can imagine my excitement, then, about going to TBF this weekend. If you’re around, let’s clink Shiners. Here’s my agenda:

Saturday, 11:15am-12:15pm: Born on Tumblr panel with Maris Kreizman, Mary Laura Philpott, & Rachel Fershleiser (Capitol Auditorium Room E1.004)
I’ll be talking about Conversations Sparks‘ journey from blog to bookstore and high-fiving Maris on the publication of Slaughterhouse 90210.

Saturday, 8:30-9:30pm: Nerd Jeopardy with Sloane Crosley, Viet Thanh Nguyen, & Austin Grossman (North Door, 502 Brushy St.)
Literary trivia returns to LitCrawl Austin with a truly stellar lineup of authors. There will be heckling, audience prizes, and a considerable amount of beer drinking. Full details in the Facebook event.

Sunday, 12:00pm-1:00pm: Let’s Do the Genre Warp Again with Carola Dibbell & Colin Winnette (Capitol Extension Room E1.026)
I’m moderating two excellent authors from Two Dollar Radio on how they use, abuse, and redefine genre with their novels. Carola Dibbell is the author of The Only Ones, and Colin Winnette is the author of Haints Stay.

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