It's Wednesday, which means the Silent Reading Party is tonight.
Two cool pieces of news:
1. The *special guest* tonight is novelist Richard Chiem!
2. For regulars who want to support the party and support The Stranger and don't feel like re-entering their payment info each week, we now offer a one-month pass that gets you into every party in August.
Crosscut attended the party in April, and Brangien Davis wrote: "It’s packed! But in cyberspace, everyone gets a seat. Having previously attended the SRP in person [at the Sorrento], I tried the new Zoom version and discovered that it really does create the sort of community we’re all craving right about now."
The New York Times attended the party in May, and Gal Beckerman wrote:
My silent reading party begins the same way every week, promptly at 6 p.m., with the now very familiar initiation of a Zoom call. A piano player’s hands appear in close-up among the gallery of boxes on my screen. His set list, a mix of Eric Satie and Radiohead instrumentals, will be the only sound. Like the windows of a New York City apartment building at night, other boxes soon come to life. People are in their homes, on their couches or in bed, all with a book...
One week, I counted five cats, nine dogs and 22 glasses of wine. Inside one unforgettable box was a woman lying on her red leather couch, her book resting on her chest and her eyes closed — she’d fallen asleep. This lasts two hours. It’s mesmerizing, found performance art.
Tonight's special guest delivered this morning's Message to the City on The Stranger's website.
In it, Richard gave a reading of one of his short stories, but he also shared some questions he's been asking himself almost every day in quarantine—questions we should all be asking ourselves:
What fight have you been fighting? What have you been training for your whole life? Where do you get your powers? Where did you get your powers before the pandemic? Where do you get your powers now? Do you still love the way you want to love? How are you using your creativity to save others? How are you saving yourself? Are you resting? Are you listening? Are you drinking water? What are your intentions today? If your life was a movie, and you took a moment to watch, would you be happy? How are you helping Black lives today?
You can see more of Richard's message here.
As for the reading party, it is all-ages and family friendly and surprisingly fun, given that almost nothing happens. Paul Matthew Moore's piano music is profoundly beautiful.
And it's a party you don't have to wear a mask to!