16 March 2012

Almost Fainting While Listening To Cintra Wilson

Last night I went to a comedy show at Greenlight Bookstore featuring a number of contributors to the Believer, on the occasion of their latest book of advice coming out this week. (Contributor Julie Klausner looked at the cover and sniffed, "I didn't know those were the cars. That's illegal.") The Believer's advice column is short on actual advice and long on wit, if you've never read it, but contributors had enough latitude to add jokes as necessary and I suspected some of those who read last night were ad-libbing at least a little.

I think I was most curious to see critic Cintra Wilson, who read from her forthcoming book about advertising and fashion (and some of her advice pieces, including a very funny one about needlepoint). Wilson has stepped back from the New York Times style section after criticism over this column about J.C. Penney, which was too bad because her Critical Shopper columns had a delightful bite to them that no one else replicates. (That I didn't find the column offensive is neither here nor there, really, but I'm pointing it out anyway.) Wilson has a voice in the Jerri Blank region and climbed up on a store table to read because, as she explained, not only was she short but she also had "totalitarian" impulses.

I took a friend from work who is a Michael Ian Black fan (who isn't?) and who, by chance, had never been to the bookstore, so I felt I had done my good deed by promoting it. Black read from his new memoir YOU'RE NOT DOING IT RIGHT about the first harrowing months of parenting and how they mysteriously seemed to double under the spell of advanced sleep deprivation.

The one regrettable spot to the evening was that it was very warm in the bookstore and midway through Wilson's "Fast Five" review (which I loved) I started feeling unsteady and dizzy and, with none of my adult grace, wobble-kneed it down to the floor for the rest of the reading. I'm not a fainter, but I wasn't the only one who was suffering from the heat. (Astonishingly it was much cooler at floor level and I was able to stare at people's Converse and Danskos and come back to myself.) Greenlight, if you're checking your referrals this morning, please open the door next time as I could probably take about 4 people down with me if I fell and you don't want to be responsible for that kind of carnage.

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