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“Punk is Jewish,” argues author Steven Lee Beeber in the intro to his book, The Heebie-Jeebies at CBGB’s: A Secret History of Jewish Punk. To prove his point, Beeber does what any good Jew would do: He names/outs/profiles famous people who happen to be Jewish. Among the Jewboys in leather, Beeber leads with a hilarious scene of Lou Reed begging a former Knitting Factory honcho into letting him bring his dog to a Seder (“Our dog is really small…and it’s a Jewish dog,” Reed e-mailed the guy). But what mostly comes through is not so funny: Philip Roth–-like tales of repressive parents, the Holocaust, and a persistent uneasiness with their roots. Tommy Ramone provides Beeber with the most moving section, flitting between paranoia and pride, asking Beeber: “Are you trying to out Jews with this book?” and later recalling how he scanned the faces of the Beatles, hoping that one might be Jewish: “You kind of thought Ringo was, with that nose.” Beeber reads from and discusses his work at 8 p.m. at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. $5. (202) 667-7960. —-Jason Cherkis
André Aciman pulls off a hell of a trick in his deeply affecting first novel, Call Me by Your Name: He takes the most shopworn elements of coming-of-age stories——first love, first heartbreak, the messy business of figuring out who you are——and makes them feel brand-new. That Aciman smoothly navigates waters that shipwreck so many first novelists speaks to the depths to which he understands his bright, needy, 17-year-old narrator, Elio. The young man’s parents own a villa on the Italian Riviera, and every summer it’s opened to a young scholar in need of some quietude. This summer’s visitor, Oliver, is a 20-something classics scholar who’s preternaturally self-assured. “He was okay with being Jewish,” Elio notes. “He was okay with himself, the way he was okay with his body, with his looks, with his antic backhand, with his choice of books, music, films, friends.” Oliver’s terminal case of OK-ness is intensely seductive to an ill-at-ease young man, and though Oliver initially dismisses Elio’s attentions, their intellectual and erotic push-and-pull slowly blossoms into an affair. The only problem here is time—Oliver is heading back to New York——but there’s no handwringing over Elio’s jailbait status or homosexuality. In Aciman’s hands, even the ticking clock isn’t much of a crisis——the book’s power, in fact, comes from patient lingering over the men’s smallest romantic obsessions. The novel’s dust jacket coyly avoids naming the gender of the story’s lovers, but describing Call Me by Your Name a gay love story would be rudely reductionist. In its intelligence, pacing, and sensuality, Aciman’s debut perfectly reimagines the moment when adolescents start seeing the world at widescreen proportions. Aciman discusses and signs copies of his work at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, at the Washington District of Columbia’s Jewish Community Center, 1519 16th St. NW. $8. (202) 777-3250; in conjunction with the “Hyman S. and Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival.” —-Mark Athitakis