Sherman Alexie’s work has long drawn on his own experiences growing up on “the rez” in Washington state, perhaps most memorably in his screenplay for 1998’s Smoke Signals. But Alexie has since moved to Seattle, and although the short stories that make up his newest book, Ten Little Indians, are still largely populated by Spokane Indians, the tales all take place in his new home. With a mostly middle-class cast of characters—such as an ambitious political operative, a park ranger undergoing a midlife crisis, and a college student entranced by a mysterious library book—Indians engages the reader in a wry and often hilarious examination of “Indianness” off the rez. Take the desperate couple who try to save their sick infant by casting spells in the hospital ward with a vibrator named “Chocolate Thunder.” Or Estelle Walks Above, who replaces her native spirituality with a laundry list of dubious New Age practices, all while dispensing sex tips to her teenage son. “On the long list of things that I am,” says Estelle’s son, “I’d put Indian at number three, behind bitterly funny at number two and horny bastard at number one.” Lines this bitterly funny show that much in Indians is still vintage Alexie. He reads at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 17, at the National Press Club’s Ballroom, 529 14th St. NW. $5. For reservations call (202) 347-3686. (Mike DeBonis)