Higher Learning at Happy Endings
Most people have the same reaction when the hear the words, live theater, improv, performance art, and readings. There are hundreds of these types of events happening all over the city, the problem is, there are often hit or miss. And when they miss, they make you never want to attend another one. But once in awhile, some greatness peaks through, and my faith in New York’s literary scene is restored. I first heard about the “How I Learned Series” at Happy Ending from a great local blog, The Lo-Down, which documents all the comings and goings in the Lower East Side. Since then, it’s been getting a ton of press from Time Out NY, NBC New York, and even us. It’s founder, Blaise Kearsley, a writer herself, is the perfect host and handpicks from new and old local talents.
Each event centers around a topic, but the stories themselves are all very loosely connected and never feel limited to an overarching theme. I was lucky enough to grab a seat at last Wednesday’s comfortably crowded event, “How I Learned what Life is Like”. All of the speakers were published authors, and had varying styles ranging from awkward stories of youth, to bedbugs and one night stands. The stand-out star of the night was first time author and comedic writer, Julie Klausner. She read an excerpt from her book, “I Don’t Care About Your Band”, a title I can very much relate to. In most cases, those who can write, do not always excel at public speaking, but as Klausner read, it was as if the whole audience was right there with her, in that dingy bachelor pad in Chelsea, cradle robbing and enjoying not quite every minute of it. Not bad for someone who was still on Novocaine.
Each author was introduced by Kearsley with a preliminary question: “Do you think the best stories come from fact, fiction, or something in between?” The best response by far came from Daniel Nester, author of “How to Be Inappropriate”, when he said, “The place in between fact and fiction- the taint of inspiration, if you will'”is really where all great literature blooms.” Let’s just say he had me at taint. While Happy Ending is usually a spot reserved for drunken debauchery and half-naked photo sessions in the bathroom, it was transformed into a living room type atmosphere where all the funniest people you know have gathered around to tell stories. And to keep the momentum going, there are usually giveaways of the participating authors books to whoever has brushed up on their John Hughes trivia. Here’s a clue, the answer is always Stray Cats. As someone who’s often gets asked if I have Aspergers after I tell a story, I have a great appreciation for those who can effortlessly craft a compelling tale. So if you want to see how the experts do it, be sure to check out the next installment on April 28, for “How I Learned that Once was Enough”.
How I Learned Series
302 Broome St btw Forsyth & Eldridge
Every 4th Wednesday