Chase Public is very excited to host a reading by Cincinnati native Brandon Harris from his new book Making ‘Rent in Bed-Stuy: A Memoir of Trying to Make it in New York City.’
The Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in New York City has long been a vital hub of African-American culture, in many ways Brooklyn’s equivalent to Harlem in Manhattan. Bed-Stuy was home to Lena Horne and venues frequented by Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, and Count Basie; in more recent years, it’s served as inspiration to Spike Lee and Jay-Z, the latter of whom grew up in the housing projects in the area. But as gentrification creeps to every part of the city, the rich culture there is at risk of being eroded, as the people who made the neighborhood what it is struggle to afford to stay there.
In MAKING RENT IN BED-STUY: A Memoir of Trying to Make it in New York City, filmmaker Brandon Harris tells a funny, sometimes painful story of a place and a generation. Through anecdotes of his own adventures trying to make enough money to live in a notoriously expensive city, he captures the way that Millennials live today: job hopping, pontificating, weed smoking, social media worshipping, and protesting. As Harris and others struggle to find affordable housing, their youthful idealism collides with the stark reality of adulthood.
Harris is unflinchingly honest in his approach to the neighborhood where he’s made his home. In addition to the rich heritage that’s been a part of Bed-Stuy, he examines the drug and gun culture that took root in the projects, and the cultural, economic, and political forces that allowed it to flourish. A fascinating examination of the “serious, life-threatening process” of gentrification, MAKING RENT IN BED-STUY blends objective reporting with personal narrative to explore the disappointments and ironies in Millennial life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brandon Harris, originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, has worked in the world of American independent film as a critic and programmer, producer and director, screenwriter and educator. His writings about cinema, politics, culture, and the intersections between them have appeared in The New Yorker, The New Republic, Guardian, VICE, Daily Beast, Variety, n+1, New Inquiry, Brooklyn Rail, In These Times, Hammer to Nail, and Filmmaker magazine, where he is a contributing editor.
“Brandon Harris’s first book is a wide-ranging meditation on race, poverty, bohemia, and film history. It’s the introduction to American letters of a brilliant, funny, antic voice-and a rebuke, in a form newly discovered, to the people James Baldwin once called our ‘morally bankrupt and desperately dishonest countrymen.’”
—Keith Gessen, a founding editor of n+1 and the author of All the Sad Young Literary Men
“Fascinating… This memoir provides hard-won insights into the divided loyalties of middle-class African-Americans, and a convincing description of a 21st-century New York City where only the rich can thrive.”
“A thought-provoking examination of the millennial black experience in the first decade of the 21st century.”
“There were passages that made me burst out laughing, paragraphs that made me want to scream, and pages that made me want to take Brandon by the collar and simply shake him to his senses. Clever and powerful. Everybody interested in discovering how Millennials are living will find Making Rent in Bed-Stuy fascinating.”
—Julianne Malveaux, economist and author of Are We Better Off?: Race, Obama, and Public Policy
1569 Chase Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45223
Thursday, Dec 28th
Free, Donations encouraged
BYOB, respectfully. Disrespectful B will be shunned with great contempt. **CP will provide some B**