The New York City Reading Series Census is an ongoing project to catalogue the contemporary literary scene. Any reading series curator in the New York area can take the survey here.
What is the name of the series, and what is the significance or meaning of the series name?
Cool as F***. That name is a mission statement. We believe that literary readings can be fun as well as challenging. We have seen writers we admire who can’t read for a damn’. We have seen other writers who rock the stage as well as the page. Cool as F*** is about gathering the good writers and performers in one place.
Who founded the series, and who runs it now?
Bill Lessard (McSweeney’s, NPR, Prelude) and Bud Smith (The Rumpus, Hobart, Vol. 1 Brooklyn) started it. We recently added Melissa McDaniel (Heavy Feather Review, Witch Craft Magazine, Necessary Fiction) to help us keep track of everything and prevent us from setting fire to ourselves.
What genres or mediums does the series include?
Reading + Music + Storytelling + Comedy
What is the format of the series?
Every reading has something in the middle to break things up. That could mean music, a standup set, or a fashion show.
Where does the series take place?
Pete’s Candy Store, Brooklyn
When and how often is the series performed (and is it seasonal)?
We do the fourth Tuesday of every month.
How long has the series been active?
This is only our second month. But we are quickly building up a following. We have been covered by NY Mag and About.com.
Where can people find information about series on the web?
Unknown Press — www.unknowneverything.com
Pete’s Candy Store — www.petescandystore.com
Do you take submissions, solicit material, or a combination?
Combination. We have been strict about whom we showcase. But we are open to suggestions.
Did you set out with specific goals when the series was launched and have they changed over time?
Our only goal has been to kick ass. That goal hasn’t changed.
What distinguishes the series from others?
We showcase great writers letting their hair down. Last month Stu Watson, editor, Prelude, rocked out with his band No Sky God. We also featured Alexandra Kleeman playing ukulele and singing—something she had never done in public before.
The next Cool as F*** reading is scheduled for tonight, February 23, 2016, at 6:30 p.m. at Pete’s Candy Store and features Diana Hamilton, Josef Kaplan, and Andrew Durbin.