Do you know D.C.?
Get our free newsletter to stay in the know about local D.C.
Chris Frantz discussesRemain in Love
The best celebrity memoirs are the ones that don’t pull punches, even decades after the described events transpired. It takes a certain kind of gall to, in your 60s, lay into a former bandmate or ex-lover for something they did when you were both in your 20s, and readers are all the more entertained for it. Entering that illustrious category this week is Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz, who dedicates a fair portion of his new book, Remain in Love: Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club, Tina, to his frustrations with lead singer David Byrne. Among the dick moves Frantz chronicles: Byrne’s attempt to remove his fellow bandmembers’ writing credits, plus a time Byrne shit in a hotel bed to express his displeasure with the service its staff provided. The juicy Byrne anecdotes are woven throughout a book that hits all the touchpoints of an ’80s rock n’ roll story: Frantz and his friends do a lot of drugs, describe their derelict apartments in now-chic New York neighborhoods, and casually hang out with The Ramones. He’ll share these stories, and likely many more, with NPR Music’s Bob Boilen through a virtual author talk facilitated by Politics and Prose. The event begins at 8 p.m. on July 24. Registration is available at politics-prose.com. Free. —Caroline Jones
Sarah Weinman discusses Unspeakable Acts
If you’ve spent quarantine binge-watching episodes of Tiger King and streaming podcasts like Serial and My Favorite Murder, it’s important to question why true crime stories hold so much appeal. Gripping details and powerful narratives can turn the average audience member into a bona fide detective, and going further than nightly news coverage, true crime stories offer deeply personal details of real-life tragedy. A new true crime anthology from editor Sarah Weinman is an excellent way to balance criticism of the genre with the very stories that make it riveting. Unspeakable Acts: True Tales of Crime, Murder, Deceit, and Obsession goes on sale July 28, and it’s already racking up favorable reviews. The 13-story anthology riffs on Weinman’s career as a so-called “Crime Lady,” weaving in famous narratives from authors like Michelle Dean and Pamela Colloff. Dean’s “Dee Dee Wanted Her Daughter To Be Sick”—the story of Dee Dee Blanchard and her daughter Gypsy Rose—has already inspired a TV show, The Act. Colloff’s “The Reckoning,” an account of the 1966 University of Texas tower shooting, has been described as the “gold standard” for forensic journalism. Although neither work is likely new to hardcore fans of the true crime genre, Weinman’s anthology promises to bring together a collection of must-read stories at a time when true crime and its critics are in the spotlight. If you like reading stories that keep you up at night, join the virtual discussion with Politics and Prose right after the launch date. Plus, contributing authors Emma Copley Eisenberg, Rachel Monroe, Sarah Marshall, and Colloff will join Weinman for the discussion. The virtual discussion begins July 29 at 8 p.m. Registration is available at politics-prose.com. Free; donations encouraged. —Sarah Smith
Sarah Gerard discusses True Love
In the first sentences of True Love, Sarah Gerard’s latest novel, the heroine, Nina, navigates irreconcilable differences with her estranged mom, sarcastic phone conversations with her best friend, and scintillating sexts with her editor, Brian. It’s Nina in her full paradoxical glory as a college dropout, writer, cheater, and liar in the pursuit of love—or at least, in the pursuit of feeling worthy of something like it. Gerard will discuss her heroine’s desperate quest for some sign of human life and closeness in an age of disconnection as part of Alexandria’s Old Town Books’ reading club, which, like so many of Nina’s encounters, will be virtual. Gerard wrote her book as a commentary on womanhood and identity in the post-Trump world, though much of her expository, earnest take on the human want for affection feels hyper-relevant in the wake of socially distanced living. In its sadness, witticisms, and humor, Gerard’s novel feels in some ways like a follow-up to her prize-winning essay collection, Sunshine State; it even features the same Floridian backdrop. Gerard also curated a playlist in honor of the debut. It gets at the same cocktail of grit and sweetness as the book, and is appropriately (if obviously) titled “True Love.” (Then again, isn’t true love a little obvious?) Gerard is clearly a crafter of big bang openers: The first song, “Oh Nina,” by the ’90s rock band The Muffs, is just as provocative and affirming as the novel’s first pages. The event will begin at 10 a.m. on Aug. 1. Registration is available at eventbrite.com. Free. —Emma Francois