Look, Book: Brooklyn Book Festival Kickoff at Paper Box

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Welcome to Look, Book, our weekly (or so) column on the literary happenings of Brooklyn. 

What was it?

The Brooklyn Book Festival’s Kickoff Party, hosted by a whole slew of new media bookster places. Which means: Tumblr, Electric Literature, Buzzfeed Books, and also the excellent PEN America Center. Also, Kickstarter and Black Balloon Publishing were involved? Anyway, that meant that there were free drinks for a while, and the party was held in the Paper Box in East Williamsburg, which is the kind of place that usually hosts metal shows and shows like the upcoming Dub Champions Festival, not readings really. Creative graffiti on the bathroom stalls, bouncers, that kind of thing. There was a DJ who played Purple Rain and an open backyard where it was hard to really see anyone’s face, and a photographer that roamed about and snapped people talking together.

Who was there?

Lots of people from the New York literary Twitter land, and folks who work at any of the outfits mentioned above. Isaac Fitzgerald, the editor of Buzzfeed Books, had a sandwich bag full of stickers that said stuff like “LOL” and “FAIL” and “TRASHY” that people stuck to their chests. Kickstarter publishing specialist Maris Kreizman, who also runs the mash-up blog Slaughterhouse 90210, MCed a couple rounds of Knausgaard Mad Libs, in a side room, which leads to…

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What was the best thing that happened?

Right, My Struggle Mad Libs + free beer. What happened was Kreizman would put a passage from the book on the screen behind three contestants (a smattering of literary types like Tumblr publishing specialist Rachel Fershleiser and Electric Literature editor-in-chief Halimah Marcus, plus a couple recruits from the audience for one round) and ask for them to fill in the blanks. “A chore not meant to be done by a very serious writer,” for example, got “scrubbing the toilet.” An “emasculating chore” got “cleaning grout with toothbrush in underwear.” Sense a theme here? For one round, most of the answers were related to the word “anal.” The anti-Knausgaard front is strong here.

What was the best thing anyone said?

Kreizman: “Do you want to see what the actual passages from My Struggle are?”

Crowd: “Noooooooooo”

Follow Margaret Eby on Twitter @margaretebyGot a tip for Look, Book? Email margaret@northsidemedia.com.

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