The New Yorker Festival

High art meets lowbrow entertainment at the venerable magazine's annual fall fest. An expert walks us through the culture-filled weekend.

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  • The Social Network

  • The Vampire Revival

  • Paul Reubens

  • Neil Gaiman

  • Live from New York

The Social Network

"It's The New Yorker in 3-D, but without the funny glasses," says David Remnick, editor-in-chief of The New Yorker, of the magazine's signature festival. Over the course of a weekend, 47 events—in which staff writers and editors for the magazine interview movie stars, authors, musicians and more—will take place. Some difficult decisions must be made, and quickly; start by checking out our five favorite events.

The Social Network
This screening of David Fincher's new film about the launch of Facebook (see our review) will be followed by a talk with stars Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake, plus screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, led by senior editor Nicholas Thompson. "To actually have human contact and see each other close-up—and maybe have a conversation on the fly or from the audience—is a great two-way process," says Remnick. We're guessing that many will be eager for even a shred of human contact with J-Tim, and would enjoy hearing him reprise "Dick in a Box" in front of an illustrious crowd such as this. Place a request during the Q&A. Fri 1 at 6pm.

The Vampire Revival
Dance and television critic Joan Acocella moderates a panel on sexy, bloodsucking vampires in pop culture, featuring Stephen King, Melissa Rosenberg (she penned the screenplays for the Twilight films), Matt Reeves (director of Let Me In, the American adaptation of the beloved indie Swedish vampire film Let the Right One In) and CUNY philosophy professor Nol Carroll. "The whole idea of the festival is that it should embody what the magazine is, week to week: There's the reporting element, there's the fiction element, there's the poetry element, the long-form journalism, investigative, humor, art," says Remnick. "Those are the basics. That's the ribs and skull and skeleton of the thing." He forgot the blood. Sat 2 at 1pm.

Paul Reubens
Susan Morrison will sit down with Reubens, who can be seen on Broadway this fall (wearing his little gray suit) in The Pee-wee Herman Show (Stephen Sondheim Theatre, 124 W 43rd St between Sixth Ave and Broadway; peewee.com/broadway; Oct 26--Jan 2). Hopefully Morrison will dole out at least one barbed insult so that Reubens might be remembered as the dude who smiled a shit-eating grin and screeched "I know you are, but what am I?" in response to the articles editor of The New Yorker. We asked Remnick about what pairing he thinks is the most surprising, hoping he'd reference this one. "It's never predictable," he retorts. "It's all in the doing." Sat 2 at 7pm.

Neil Gaiman
The prolific, supergoth author of the Sandman series, Stardust, Coraline, and dozens of other YA and adult tomes chats with staff writer Dana Goodyear, who penned a "Life and Letters" profile of Gaiman this past January. "I think there's a level of strangeness when they encounter each other again," says Remnick of this kind of dynamic—subject and reporter reunited, months after the story comes out. "There's that extra little zing that comes along with it." Given Gaiman's oeuvre, this one is sure to be dark and delicious regardless. Sun 3 at 1pm.

Live from New York
Remnick moderates a talk with Seth Meyers, Fred Armisen, Andy Samberg and Kenan Thompson from Saturday Night Live. "The format is to be funny," says Remnick. "I think it'll be war stories and behind-the-scenes stuff." We assumed that this was Remnick's biggest get so far, but it appears he's still holding out for somebody else. "I don't know why Philip Roth always says no to me," Remnick laments. "We're actually friends, and he just makes it clear to me that he'd rather be on Jupiter than be interviewed in public. But I swear one day I'll get him." Who would he pair the novelist with? Says Remnick, "I think a conversation between Lady Gaga and Philip Roth is my goal. Would you go to that?" Sun 3 at 4pm.

THE TALK OF THE TOWN! The New Yorker Festival: Location, time and price vary; visit newyorker.com/festival for details. Fri 1--Sun 3. Ten percent of each event's tickets will be sold at the SVA Theatre (333 W 23rd St between Eighth and Ninth Aves) Fri 1 noon--4pm.

WIN TIX! Click here for a chance to win tickets to three New Yorker Festival panels.

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