9 Park Slope BBF Events (And What to Eat Before You Go)

9 Park Slope BBF Events (And What to Eat Before You Go)

photo via agentcarlywatters

The Brooklyn Book Festival is upon us, and while the main event isn’t until Saturday, there’s a week’s worth of official “Bookend” events leading up to the big day. And unsurprisingly — we are, after all, the capital of literary Brooklyn as much as Prospect Heights would like to think otherwise (kidding!) — there’s enough going on in Park Slope alone to fill your week several times over. But even in the face of so much excitement, one must keep up her strength! Which is why we’ve put together a handy guide to eating and drinking the Book Fair. We considered 9 of the neighborhood events (check out the full schedule here), and paired them with thematically-appropriate nourishment. And so:

The Park Slope Stoop Guide to Eating the Fest


Small Demons and The Graphic Canon Double Bill, The Bell House, 7pm, Free

Experience the new visual index for books, Small Demons! There are prizes involved! Also join Seven Stories Press as they celebrate the first and second volumes of The Graphic Canon, an anthology of world literature adapted by graphic artists and illustrators.

Classic lit gone graphic calls for dinner with a twist. You need the reinterpretation of a classic. You need something that transcends genre. You need Talde. Kick off your evening of boundary-breaking with their famous pretzel pork-and-chive dumplings — New Yorker claims they’re the “love child of a Hong Kong hawker stall and a New York hot-dog cart,” which is pretty much the best hybrid there is.

One Teen Story Launch Party and Homecoming Dance, Littlefield, 8pm, $25

One Story magazine launches One Teen Story, its new young adult publication, with a homecoming dance (for adults ages 21+). Relive your teenage days with a homecoming court of YA authors, photographs, and a homecoming king/queen raffle. Take part in the festivities—which include dancing and homemade desserts—with the One Story staff!

As we know from all sitcoms ever, teenagers hang out at the local pizza place. Sure, Pizza Plus is a totally earnest family joint, but with out-of-date trivial pursuit cards on every table, cheap Brooklyn Lager, and vegan/whole-wheat/gluten-free options, it doubles as the perfect place to ironically channel your inner Jessie Spano.


How to Publish Book Reviews & Features, Park Slope Barnes & Noble, 7pm, Free

This lively, informative talk features book editors John Reed (Brooklyn Rail), Monica de la Torre (Bomb), David Propson (WSJ Book Section) and Rob Spillman (Tin House) spilling the secrets of how to break into book reviewing, profiling authors and discussing the future of book criticism. Moderated by NBCC board member Susan Shapiro.

Presumably, you’re here because you’ve got literary ambitions. Steep yourself in the grand literary tradition of stoically gazing a good, strong drink. Hemingway did it! That dude’s got nothing on you. The Sackett does liquor like nobody else in this beery hood — where else are you gonna get a decent Sazerac?

Pitchapalooza, Brooklyn Public Library, 7pm, Free

The Book Doctors and a panel of publishing pundits are giving aspiring writers the chance of a lifetime—one minute to pitch their book. Winners get introductions to an agent or publisher. The Book Doctors have helped hundreds of writers get published, so don’t miss this big opportunity. Brooklyn Public Library is offering the runner-up a chance to publish with its new Espresso Book Machine.

*Please arrive early to sign up. Names will be randomly picked to participate.

If you’re about to go pitch the next great American novel/memoir/self-help guide, you need to fortify yourself. This is no time for messing around with takeout burgers and oily boxes of bodega noodles: you need fuel. Also, you need an ego boost, because if we’ve learned anything from Mad Men, it’s that pitching is all about confidence. After a gluten-free, vegan, raw dinner at Sun in Bloom, you’ll feel energized! Or at least, you will feel virtuous!

Then post-pitch, head to The Chocolate Room and undo it all — you deserve it. If you win, it’s a celebration! If you lose, well…is there a better reason for flourless chocolate cake?

OPERAtion Brooklyn, Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, 7:30pm, $20

AOP and Opera on Tap presents OPERAtion Brooklyn, a concert of progressive new works by young Brooklyn composers and performers. Songs will feature texts by some of New York’s best writers, including Jonathan Lethem, Fiona Maazel, Neil Gaiman and Rick Moody, among others. Part of the inaugural BEAT (Brooklyn Emerging Artists in Theater) Festival.

How often do you get to go to an all-Brooklyn night of “progressive” literary opera? (On second thought, if you’re a contemporary classical music buff, maybe all the time?) Pair it with something else new for an entirely hit-or-miss evening. It could be the best ever! It could also not be. Maybe some gored-gored at Ghenet? The sashimi deluxe for two at Oshima? Go upscale with calf liver Veneziana at al di là?


Debut Lit presents “New On Tap: Featuring Debut Authors,” Pacific Standard, 7pm, Free

A showcase of debut poets, novelists and memoirists that features up-and-coming writers, many of whom are New York- or Brooklyn-based. Join these new authors, including Austin LaGrone (Oyster Perpetual), Laren McClung (Between Here and Monkey Mountain), Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan (A Tiger in the Kitchen), Greg Gerke (There’s Something Wrong with Sven) Hugh Sheehy (The Invisibles), and Ralph Sassone (The Intimates) as they read original short work on the theme of “new on tap” to go with the microbrew pub atmosphere. Co-hosted by Debut Lit founder and writer Rebekah Anderson and PitchKnives & Butter Forks bloggers Jason Leahey and Shannon Dunlap.

Miriam does mezze, which is basically the culinary equivalent of New On Tap: you get to sample a whole bunch of things, and you’ll probably like at least some of them. Will it all be good? Who knows! Maybe you’ll discover you’re totally obsessed with the meatballs in pomegranate sauce/the work of Greg Gerke?

Librarian Olympics, Union Hall, 7pm doors/7:30pm show, $5

David Rees (How to Sharpen Pencils) hosts a night of bare-knuckled bookishness that will test the mental and physical endurance of librarians. Help Rees and Dan Wilbur (How Not to Read) judge contests like “Sharpest Pencil” and “Name that Novel.” Special guest, author Carmela Ciuraru (Nom de Plume) leads a round of “Guess the Psuedonym.”

There aren’t a ton of Park Slope restaurants that specialize in jokes, nor do I particularly want there to be. Still, we’ve got a few contenders that might qualify as appropriate opening acts for the Librarian Olympics. Pork Slope? It’s called Pork Slope. Alternatively, there’s Fornino’s meatball-centric sister shop, Polpette — the chalkboard outside’s got a seemingly endless supply of meatball puns (“try our balls!”), and that’s got to count for something.


Fashion Illustration: The Look Book Presented by the Brooklyn Public Library, 1pm to 6pm, Free

Before looks hit the runways, fashion illustrators render designers’ visions in two dimensions. Learn the history and current applications of fashion illustration, see a fashion show, and hear readings by children’s author Selina Alko (Everyday Dress Up) at 2:00 pm, and Rosemary Torre (20th Century Fashion Illustration: The Feminine Ideal) at 4:00 pm.

Macarons are basically the chicest and most feminine food there is. They are of the moment. They are dainty. They are gorgeous. They are completely impractical and totally extravagant. They make a fabulous Saturday afternoon snack, and they are available at Trois Pommes.

The Comics Crowd, Bergen Street Comics, 8pm, Free

Comics fans will delight in this graphics-heavy event. Creators read from their work, accompanied by projections. Participants include Gabrielle Bell (When I’m Old), Julia Wertz (Drinking at the Movies), Bob Sikoryak (Masterpiece Comics), Lauren Weinstein (Girl Stories), Lisa Hanawalt (I Want You), Aaron Diaz (The Tomorrow Girl) and Michael Kupperman (Tales Designed to Thrizzle). Laughter guaranteed!

Comics aren’t necessarily for kids. Neither are hot dogs, as the many devotees of the city’s fancy hotdoggeries will have you know. Bark — conveniently, mere steps from Bergen Street Comics — offers versions of the All-American classic that are decidedly adult-approved, and it’s cheap enough to justify some serious comic-shopping.

Bonus points: Brooklyn Reading Works — the baby of Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn’s Louise Crawford — is hosting Young Writers Night at Old Stone House Thursday night at 7 (check out our coverage here). Once you’ve taken in the next generation of literary lights, treat yourself to Culture of another kind. (Specifically, the frozen yogurt kind.)


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