“A perennially killer event” – The Village Voice
In 2003, in preparation for her debut novel THE LONG HAUL, native New Yorker Amanda Stern approached local bars and asked about readings. Happy Ending, a Chinatown “massage parlor” turned bar, offered Stern their space for a series of her own.
“There’s simply no reading series better or more consistent than Happy Ending.” – Joshua Ferris
A former comic, Stern wanted to build something to showcase the hidden aspects of personality, and decided on a formula combining live music, comedy and risk. The first event on September 3, 2003 starred A.M. Homes, Mary Gaitskill, Nelly Reifler, Dan Zanes and gave Rick Moody’s band, The Wingdale Community Singers, their first break. The premiere was so crowded, David Byrne couldn’t get in the door.
“A local staple” – Time Out NY
The format worked, and the series became increasingly popular. From 2003 to 2005 Stern produced a show every week. Word spread, audiences doubled, and the pool of interested performers tripled, outgrowing the small Chinatown space. In 2009, Happy Ending relocated to Joe’s Pub, part of the Public Theater, where it spent four happy years before going on a short hiatus. In 2014, the series built a secret theater inside the corporate office of Salon and held two massive events.
The series that began on a lark has become a NYC institution.
“Amanda Stern…impresario helping to keep downtown, NY alive.” – the New York Times Magazine
The show, running for nine years now, has welcomed over 700 artists. Among them: Lena Dunham, Zadie Smith, Lucius, Andrew Solomon, Leslie Jamison, Laurie Anderson, Sarah Jones, Aimee Mann, Colson Whitehead, James Salter, Etgar Keret, Vampire Weekend, Moby, Karen Russell, A.M. Homes, John Cameron Mitchell, Jennifer Egan and Shantell Martin.
The series has found a new home. Announcement forthcoming….
“Stern curates the most vital authors’ series in NYC….always excellent.” Time Out NY