NYC ‘Moby Dick’ Marathon Starts This Friday

How often have you had your lover read you classic novels about whaling in bed and thought: “This is great, but I wish it was happening in a public place with more people and also maybe some clothes on”? Zero? Okay, but regardless, come out and hear some performers and writers (including yours truly) read aloud Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, or, The Whale in its blubbered entirety over the course of this coming weekend at three different bookstores. There will be clam chowder.

The party begins at WORD, in Brooklyn, on Friday evening, then moves to Housing Works in SoHo, then to Molasses Books and finally back to Housing Works, taking about twenty-five hours in all. Some later monologues will be acted out by pros; meanwhile, Paul Dano, whom we last saw dying a gruesome time-travel-related death in Looper, is taking the reins for the famous opening lines.

What could go wrong? Little besides the catastrophic mispronunciation of an odd and archaic word—the kind Melville was so fond of. The event’s organizers, in fact, have offered a list of tricky terms we’re likely to stumble over: these include “isinglass,” “grampus,” and “catarrh,” all of which clearly need to come back into popular use immediately. If nothing else, we can surely resurrect the art of scrimshaw—amazing how that’s not a hipster fad already. 

Follow Miles Klee on Twitter.

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