Remember that mesmerizing video of New Yorker literary critic James Wood finger-drumming in his kitchen while his children shriek with delight? It went up back in November, when the publishing industry was melting down and nothing good at all was happening anywhere. Well, your chance to see Mr. Wood perform his secret talent live is coming up next week, when he takes to the stage at Bryant Park on July 1, alongside author John Jeremiah Sullivan’s band Fayaway, for an event marking the publication of Heavy Rotation, a collection of essays on music written by an assortment of contemporary writers.
The collection, edited by Peter Terzian and published by Harper Perennial, features an essay by Mr. Wood on the Who and one by Mr. Sullivan on early blues. It also contains a piece by Josh Ferris on Pearl Jam, Benjamin Kunkel on The Smiths, Colm Tóibín on Joni Mitchell, and 15 others.
The Bryant Park event will consist of two sets—one starting at 12:10 and a second at 1:30—bookending a discussion with contributors Mr. Ferris, Clifford Chase, Stacey D’Erasmo and Asali Solomon that will be led by Mr. Terzian.
“John’s been sending me MP3s of his songs for the past couple years, both home recordings and ones he’s done with his band, and they’re just beautiful and heartbreaking,” said Mr. Terzian in an email. “He’s now totally one of my favorite singer-songwriters as well as one of my favorite writers. And anyone who’s seen James’s finger-drumming video knows he’s a virtuoso. From the beginning I wanted to organize a Heavy Rotation event with a musical performance. I never dreamed I’d end up with a supergroup.”
Lorin Stein, Mr. Wood’s editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux, had this to add: “The first time I met James he lectured me on the greatness of Stewart Copeland and Keith Moon. Copeland AND Moon, you know? Both/and, not either/or. That’s the kind of critic he is.”
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