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?
WHOM WANTS TO CRY. We love grammar, memes, & incorrectly using words. And, of course, crying.
Who founded the series, and who runs it now?
Blair Beusman, Jess Bergman, Amanda Arnold, & Kyle Lucia Wu. We shall never give up control.
What genres or mediums does the series include?
We are accepting of any and all genres and mediums, so long as the piece has moved the reader to tears. At our inaugural reading, Deirdre Coyle read a mash-up of three different fiction pieces, Nicholas Mancusi read the children’s book I Love You Forever, and others read from novels or essays.
What is the format of the series?
There are six readings, each of which is approximately six minutes long. If, during the course of the readings, an audience member cries, we buy them a pickleback. At the break and afterward, the talk tends to be quite tender, because the release of emotions makes us all a little more open and in love with each other.
Where does the series take place?
At HiFi Bar in the East Village, a spacious bar with dim lighting that makes everyone beautiful, both in pictures and in person, and where it’s easy to enter or exit late. There is also a photobooth.
When and how often is the series performed (and is it seasonal)?
Once a month, until we stop having things to cry about. (So forever)
How long has the series been active?
March 2017 was the inaugural edition!
Where can people find information about series on the web?
whomwantstocry.tumblr.com & following the series founders on social media.
Do you take submissions, solicit material, or a combination?
We have reached out to readers for the first two editions but would love to hear from anyone who would like to be involved.
Did you set out with specific goals when the series was launched and have they changed over time?
The reading began as a lighthearted attempt to acknowledge the fact that the literary world, and the world in general, has felt very downcast as of late (understandably). Events weren’t as sparkly, they were full of anguish, and we all seemed to be trying not to talk about the events that wouldn’t leave our minds. We thought by acknowledging the fact that yes, we all want to cry, a lot of the time, we could try to find laughter and comfort and time for picklebacks. Even though a lot of the material is sad, the readings are often humorous (or, at least, cathartic), and we love a big group of people being vulnerable together.
What distinguishes the series from others?
The readers don’t read their own work–even though our readers are all extremely talented, it’s exciting to see which pieces they choose and connect with. It’s also fun for the readers to perform something they haven’t written and which they purely enjoy. We want the series to be open to all different worlds and art forms so it doesn’t feel exclusive or intimidating. Also, we drink a lot at our readings, we are famously great party throwers, and we would go into hiding if any of them were not the best event you’d been to that week.
The next Whom Wants to Cry will be Wednesday, April 19, 2017, at 7:30 p.m., at HifI Bar and features Jon Baskin, Ben Fama, Chelsea Hodson, Jo Linvingstone, lauren Oyler, and Bijan Stephen