Lydia Davis, David Means, and flavored vodka have far too many fans to fit on the second floor of the Russian Samovar. This was the lesson of last night’s Farrar, Straus, and Giroux reading.
The show was scheduled to start at 7; by 7:05, Samovar proprietor Roman Kaplan had placed a velvet rope at the stairs to the entrance. The reading was full, he insisted: No one else would be permitted to enter. Not even to stand! Fire codes! He looked fearsome and smoked a cigarette.
Would-be guests seemed baffled.
“It’s like a club,” said one rebuffed girl.
A club with a tough door. Chantal Clarke of FSG, who had organized the event, reported that novelist Donald Antrim and n+1 editor Marco Roth were among those turned away.
“They took it very good-naturedly!” Clarke said in an email.
For all those who didn’t make it in: Means read “The Blade,” from his recent collection The Spot, and Davis read a sampling of new and unpublished work. It included pieces based on dreams, errors, Flaubert’s correspondence, and cows.