Acclaimed “Upstairs at the Square” Series Celebrates Three Years of Innovative & Eclectic Events with Three Blockbuster Shows
NEW YORK, NY – MAY 4 – Barnes & Noble, Inc., the world’s largest bookseller, today announced the next three editions of its hit series, “Upstairs at the Square” – recommended by The New Yorker, New York, Time Out New York, The Village Voice, WWD Scoop, Time Out London, and more – which celebrates three years this June, at the Union Square Barnes & Noble in Manhattan (33 East 17th Street at Union Square). Guests, listed in full below, discuss and perform their work in conversation with host Katherine Lanpher. Admission is free, and no tickets are required. Seating is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
THURSDAY, MAY 14, 7PM: Aleksandar Hemon (Love and Obstacles) & Alina Simone (Everyone is Crying Out to Me, Beware)
Aleksandar Hemon (www.aleksandarhemon.com) – winner of a MacArthur “Genius” Grant and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nowhere Man and the National Book Award, for The Lazarus Project – has earned a reputation as one of the English language’s most original and moving wordsmiths. The stories of Love and Obstacles are of coming of age and the complications of growing up in a Communist but cosmopolitan country -- that soon disintegrates -- and the consequent uprooting and move to America in young adulthood. But because it's Aleksandar Hemon, the stories extend far beyond the immigrant experience; each one is punctuated with unexpected humor and spins out in fabulist, exhilarating directions, ultimately building to an insightful, often heartbreaking conclusion. Born in Sarajevo, Hemon arrived in Chicago in 1992, began writing in English in 1995, and now his work appears regularly in The New Yorker, Esquire, Granta, McSweeney’s, Paris Review, and Best American Short Stories.
Alina Simone ( www.alinasimone.com) was born in Kharkov, Ukraine and came to the U.S. at a young age as the daughter of political refugees after her father refused recruitment by the KGB. Simone’s new album, Everyone is Crying Out to Me, Beware (2008, 54º40′ or Fight!), covers the music of Russian cult icon, Yanka Dyagileva, a Siberian punk-folk singer who drowned under mysterious circumstances in 1991, and received widespread critical acclaim from The New Yorker, BBC, Spin Magazine, NPR, USA Today, New York Magazine and Pitchfork. Alina Simone’s next album, Make Your Own Danger, will be released later this year. She is also writing a collection of humorous essays about Russia, family, and the tragic-comic struggle to make it in indie rock, to be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2010.
TUESDAY, MAY 26, 7PM: China Miéville (The City & The City) & Japanther (Tut Tut Now Shake Ya Butt)
With The City & The City, praised by Neil Gaiman as “fiction of the new century,” New York Times bestselling author and “weird fiction” pioneer China Miéville delivers an existential thriller of a new order. With shades of J.G. Ballard and H.P. Lovecraft, Blade Runner and 1984, The City & The City is a murder mystery taken to the extreme of life as we know it now, and possibly mapping the terrain of what’s next. China Miéville is the author of King Rat; Perdido Street Station, winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the British Fantasy Award; The Scar, winner of the Locus Award and the British Fantasy Award; Iron Council, winner of the Locus Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award; Looking for Jake, a collection of short stories; and Un Lun Dun, his New York Times bestselling book for younger readers. He lives and works in London, where he is active in political life.
Described as a “Performance Galaxy” by Vanity Fair and “Super hard, incredibly fast and overall inspiring” by Thrasher, Japanther (www.japanther.com) has always been a band apart, running the gamut from performance art to punk rock and back again. Current projects include Japanther in 3-D, a New York State Council on the Arts-funded book and film companion to the band’s interactive rock opera, commissioned for the PERFORMA 07 biennial and premiered with a sold-out run at P.S. 122, plus a collaboration with Dan Graham for Beyond, his first American retrospective, on exhibition at the Whitney this summer. Tut Tut, Now Shake Ya Butt (Wantage USA) is an album of punk songs and poetry expanding on Japanther’s work with legendary Crass co-founder Penny Rimbaud as they set off on a wild sonic romp 'round Africa, the Bronx, San Pedro and Brooklyn, complete with faeries, bicycles and a few cans of spray paint. Japanther's infectious, free spirited trash hasn't let up a teeny bit – it’s gotten more focused and rad somehow, while Rimbaud's churning, clever, degenerate cadence is an oddly fitting balance for Japanther's two-minute blasts. On a special note, this record features a sleeper cover of Portland's New Bad Things' "The Dirge!” Japanther has performed at Automotive High School in Brooklyn (a community benefit to save students’ imperiled production of Guys and Dolls from budget cuts), on street corners, in people's bedrooms, in historic concert halls, on boats, and the Williamsburg Bridge. Japanther is a party band that brings much more to the show.
TUESDAY, JUNE 16, 7PM: Carlos Ruiz Zafón (The Angel’s Game) & Las Rubias del Norte (Panamericana)
From Carlos Ruiz Zafón (www.carlosruizzafon.com), comes The Angel’s Game – the much-anticipated follow-up to the international phenomenon, The Shadow of the Wind – which will be officially launched in the United States at Barnes & Noble’s “Upstairs at the Square.” Zafón sketches in bold strokes, another dark, gothic universe that unfolds in an abandoned mansion at the heart of Barcelona, where a young man, David Martín, makes his living by writing sensationalist novels under a pseudonym. Zafón’s work has been translated into more than forty languages and published around the world, garnering numerous international prizes and reaching millions of readers. He divides his time between Barcelona and Los Angeles.
Brooklyn-based Las Rubias del Norte (‘The Blondes of the North’) (www.lasrubiasdelnorte.com) play boleros, cha-cha-cha, cumbias, huaynos, lieder, and cowboy songs. Fronted by classically trained singers Allyssa Lamb and Emily Hurst, the band mixes musicians from the U.S., France and Colombia who all look back to the Latin motherland most of them never had. Their latest album, Panamericana (Barbès Records), featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition and Studio 360, draws inspiration from across the Americas and plays like a dreamy soundtrack where cha-cha-cha and boleros mix with classical harmonies and cowboy music. The result is a collection of thirteen songs, each of which is a "sparkling gem.” (The New Yorker).
Katherine Lanpher (www.katherinelanpher.com) is an award-winning print and broadcast journalist. Springboard Press published Leap Days, her debut collection of essays, in 2006.
“Upstairs at the Square,” which celebrates three years this June, has paired authors such as William Gibson, Tom Wolfe, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, David Lynch, Anna Gavalda and Min Jin Lee with musicians including Duncan Sheik and members of the cast of Spring Awakening, Badly Drawn Boy, Sondre Lerche, Au Revoir Simone, Aimee Mann, Craig Finn and more. An archive of recordings is available on Barnes & Noble.com ( www.bn.com/upstairs), where “Upstairs at the Square” is enjoyed by listeners around the world in addition to its live audiences.
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Official Website: http://www.bn.com/upstairs
Added by LACerand on May 4, 2009