The Allure of Smoking, Sleeping and Infinite Memory

Five lectures at The Standard, East Village during the PEN World Voices Festival
Mar 20 2013

But first, a poem:

They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter. All about them
the cold, familiar wind-

Now the grass, tomorrow
the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf
One by one objects are defined-
It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf

But now the stark dignity of
entrance-Still, the profound change
has come upon them: rooted, they
grip down and begin to awaken –

Spring and All by William Carlos Williams

9th Annual PEN World Voices Festival, April 29th – May 5th
We’re looking forward to the annual PEN World Voices Festival for a few reasons. First off, we love books. Second off, we love book people, in particular the be-speckled lot who come tramping through our doors each year. Third, PEN is to The Standard as daffodils are to the garden – a sure sign that spring has truly sprung.

This year the festival focuses on bravery and will be explored in art, politics and personal life. The Standard, East Village is hosting three salon-style lectures co-sponsored by Standard Talks. The theme is Obsession. Tickets are $20/$15 for PEN members and students.

The “Obsession” Lectures:

Simon Critchley on Memory Theater
Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 9:00pm … Noted philosopher and notorious obsessor Simon Critchley will share his fascination with memory theaters. Ever since reading the wonderful Frances Yates at a tender age, he has been completely obsessed with the classical arts of memory and in particular with various crazy attempts to build a memory theatre, a kind of machine that would permit total recall of the entire sum of knowledge. Tickets available here.

Lewis Lapham on Smoking
Wednesday, May 01, 2013, 9:00pm … Longtime editor Lewis Lapham—who helmed Harper’s for three decades—is also a longtime smoker. He will discuss the virtues of smoking and his love of the act, despite its faults and much-maligned reputation. A psychoanalyst will join him onstage. Tickets available here.

Andrew Solomon on Sleep
Thursday, May 02, 2013, 9:00pm … Author and essayist Andrew Solomon has written on a widely divergent range of topics, including Soviet artists, Libyan governance, childrearing, and the politics of the deaf. For this event, his famously obsessive attention will focus on the topic of…zzzzz. Tickets available here.

Joy Harjo on Time
Friday, May 4, 2013, 9pm-midnight (doors 8pm) … Native American poet, performer, and author of the memoir Crazy Brave, Joy Harjo will discuss her interest in the depth, scope, and passage of time. Tickets available here.

Naomi Wolf on Truth
Saturday, May 5th, 2013, 9pm-midnight. Feminist author and provocateur Naomi Wolf, whose most recent book, Vagina: A New Biography, rocked the 2012 bestseller lists, will now turn her attention (and yours!) toward the topic of truth. Together with a psychologist and neurobiologist, Wolf will discuss the mysteriously wide gap between what the human brain may believe to be true and what is objectively so. Tickets available here.

As a partner of the festival we are offering a discounted rate at either The Standard, High Line or The Standard, East Village when booked with the promo code PEN.