2005_05_arts_spalding.JPG Spalding Gray, who committed suicide in 2004, was a beloved fixture of the downtown theatre scene. He cofounded the Wooster Group in 1977 and turned extraordinarily personal monologue performances into a hypnotizing experience for audiences. One of these, Swimming to Cambodia, became a movie filmed by Jonathan Demme and released in 1987, and it propelled his fame beyond the experimental off-Broadway scene (it’s also just been reissued as a book). But it was his friends and fans from that world who have missed him most, and they’re giving a tribute to him tonight at the Union Square Barnes & Noble, at 7pm. Eric Bogosian, Bob Holman, Reno, Roger Rosenblatt and Kate Valk will read from Gray’s work in this free event. If you ever saw Gray perform, or if you just have enjoyed the innovative avant-garde theatre that he nurtured and refined, you should definitely catch what will undoubtedly be both a sad and loving appreciation.

Related: You can catch Eric Bogosian again, a few hours later, at a new series at the Public Library called Late Night at the NYPL. He will be joined by writers John Guare (Atlantic City, Six Degress of Separation), John Patrick Shanley (Moonstruck, Doubt), Stephen Adly Guirgis (Jesus Hopped the A Train, and recent star of Todd Solondz's Palindromes) and editor Jonthan Vankin (DC/Vertigo) in what is sure to be a lively discussion about the state of literature today.
The event begins at 9pm at Celeste Bartos Forum, NYPL, 5th Avenue at 42nd St. Tickets are $10 and available at Smarttix.