Thursday, August 21

’90s nostalgists strike back: Suzanne Vega—she of “Tom’s Diner” and “Luka” fame—is singing meaningfully at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple. Expect all the Fort Greene gals in their mid-30s, they of the Bettie Page haircuts and slip dresses, swaying back and forth with closed eyes. And at Madison Square Garden, skeletal-looking J. Lo hubby Marc Anthony croons en español. For the highbrow lit’ry set: Megan Hustad, comely authoress of How to Be Useful, reads at book mecca McNally Jackson in Nolita. “I don’t want to bore you, but I was actually crying a lot today, real tears,” said Ms. Hustad when we called her up. “I let myself actually make a noise crying. It was like a movie, you know?” She went on to describe her book as “cheap and cheerful. It’s a shoddy summary of success literature. It also walks you through your first job. So it’s a hybrid of self-help, American Studies and memoirs. … I tend to ramble and then I make it hard for people.” Oh, honey, buck up, and tell us how to be useful already! “I think I’m going to refuse to answer the ‘What’s the best piece of advice’ question,” she said. “Everything in me bristles. I wanted to be suggestive and elusive and I love nuance, so I’m going to avoid the question. I’m being a total pain in the ass. I’m sorry.” Bring Kleenex.

[Suzanne Vega, Brooklyn Masonic Temple, http://www.brooklynmasonictemple.com; Marc Anthony, Madison Square Garden, 7:30 p.m., http://www.ticketmaster.com; Megan Hustad at McNally Jackson, 7 p.m., http://www.meganhustad.com]

mbryan@observer.com

Thursday, August 21