"One day I told him I thought the world should have a book of everything he knows."
September 1, 2011 9:51 AM   Subscribe

Sheila Heti and Misha Glouberman started Toronto's Trampoline Hall, a non-expert lecture series. Heti has recently written a book entitled The Chairs Are Where The People Go, a 72-chapter long interview with Glouberman, whom some of us know as ManInSuit.

The 72 chapters are six dozen related essays, covering such topics as teaching people how to play charades, NIMBYism, the best way to arrange chairs at a literary reading, starting a neighbourhood association, and why he wears a suit.

And MetaFilter gets a mention.
posted by ricochet biscuit to MetaFilter-Related at 9:51 AM (23 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

Here's an Amazon.com link. (above is .ca)
posted by Jahaza at 10:13 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's an excerpt: Harvard and Class as published in the Paris Review.
posted by vacapinta at 10:23 AM on September 1, 2011


This would've made an excellent FPP on the blue....
posted by slogger at 10:40 AM on September 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Chairs Are Where The People go is an excellent, thought-provoking book. Trampoline Hall is always a good time. I gave a lecture there back in April 2003, when it was still held at The Cameron House.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 10:55 AM on September 1, 2011


This would've made an excellent FPP on the blue....

I thought about that, but I figured it would have been kind of thin; I couldn't see a whole lot to put in it besides a link to the book and "MeFi's own..." (and maybe a link to Trampoline Hall, but that is sort of peripheral). I did a quick search for excerpts but missed the one vacapinta brings us. If you want to put something up on the blue, feel free.

I enjoyed the book quite a lot, partly because Glouberman and I have a fair bit of overlap in experiences. Once or twice he refers to a book he is reading (but no title or author) and I am able to instantly divine what book it is, and I know it too. In the chapter on starting a residents' association, he says, "Just around the time Margaux and I moved in, our neighborhood was changing from a strip of mostly art galleries and refrigerator stores into a neighborhood of trendy martini bars." Anyone who has lived in Toronto in the last decade can tell you where he means, and I was chuffed when he mentions the intersection a few paragraphs later to have pegged it to within a block.

I imagine some people enjoy fiction because the author can convey what it feels like to be a senator in the Roman Republic or a tavernkeeper in 19th-century Scotland. I enjoyed this for similar reasons.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:24 AM on September 1, 2011


Oh, wow. I read a newspaper article about this book a couple weeks back, and now it turns out the author is a member here. Mefites are everywhere!
posted by Kevin Street at 11:27 AM on September 1, 2011


This is really neato. Thanks for calling it out.
posted by Miko at 11:46 AM on September 1, 2011


So can someone describe the "non-expert lecture series?" How do people get the chance to do a talk, how do they decide what's it on, and are they really non-experts as in knowing nothing about the topic, or do they know a layperson's amount of something and just have a passion?

Is there booze? Food?

I love shit like this.
posted by Miko at 11:47 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Miko: Here is a clipping from 2002 about the series. I have never even been to one; I am sure there are other mefites who can talk about it more authoritatively.

And yes, I am aware of the odd position of holding out for an expert to talk about a non-expert lecture series. Oh, the irony.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:09 PM on September 1, 2011


Am I the only one who is disappointed that Trampoline Hall isn't a giant gymnasium stuffed full of trampolines and those pits full of foam to fall into.

Sorry. It's late and I'm really tired.
posted by TooFewShoes at 8:55 PM on September 1, 2011


TooFewShoes: You want the Trampoline Park
posted by vacapinta at 3:19 AM on September 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Vacapinta that is a beautiful, beautiful place.
posted by TooFewShoes at 6:32 AM on September 2, 2011


Thanks for the mention, Ricochet Biscuit!! Glad you liked the book!

There are a lot of excerpts online for those who want to look for them, including a series of sort of easter-egg ones on the front page of the book's web site (each little square links to a little mini-excerpt).
posted by ManInSuit at 1:28 PM on September 2, 2011


> So can someone describe the "non-expert lecture series?"

Here are a bunch of articles that describe it. I think the ones from the Toronto Star and the Varsity do a pretty good job of getting across what the show is like. (Of course, like anything like this, you sort of have to be there to really know what it's like...)


> How do people get the chance to do a talk,

Each show has a sort of curator who choses three lecturers. We do it this way because we figured out a long time ago that we often prefer to have at least some people who are a little hesitant about speaking, as opposed to just people who volunteer themselves to speak.


> how do they decide what's it on,

The lecturers and the curator work together, and come up with an idea they both like. Sometimes it comes from the lecturer, sometimes the curator. Sort of the way, say, a magazine editor and writer might work. (I am guessing - having very little experience with magazines...)


> and are they really non-experts as in knowing nothing about the topic, or do they
> know a layperson's amount of something and just have a passion?

It really varies. Sometimes they are non-professional experts - people with lifelong passions or or interests. More typically they are not - sometimes they sort of assign themselves a research task. Sometimes it's something they've been thinking about a lot recently, or want to figure out.

> Is there booze?

Yes.

> Food?

Not now. In Toronto, our current venue, the Garrison, doesn't usually serve food. Our previous venue, Sneaky Dee's, did.

We also tour occasionally to other cities. When we do, we usually play in a bar. But not always.

> I love shit like this.

:)
Me, too.
posted by ManInSuit at 1:38 PM on September 2, 2011


(Link in my post above is broken: "lot of excerpts online for those who want to look for them")
posted by ManInSuit at 1:40 PM on September 2, 2011


Sheila Heti is on MetaFilter, too, but not so visibly as me.
posted by ManInSuit at 1:48 PM on September 2, 2011


Here's an excerpt: Harvard and Class as published in the Paris Review.

On the one hand, I thought this was a very well-written piece. On the other hand, I think he let the fact that we ate in cafeterias blind him to or at least distract him from some of the spectacularly interesting stuff going on at Harvard while we were there.

I will buy this book.
posted by escabeche at 4:14 PM on September 2, 2011


escabeche,

For sure - there was a ton of amazing stuff going on at Harvard at the time. I hope the Paris review piece doesn't make it sound like I'm denying that. (Of all the things that happened around the publication of the book - that excerpt in the Paris Review was a real mixed-bag thing. It was great that they chose to do that, but I think that chapter really feels different in the context of the book than as a free-standing essay.)

I will buy this book.

Yay! I hope you enjoy it.
posted by ManInSuit at 4:29 PM on September 2, 2011


I know there was a ton of interesting stuff going on at Harvard at the time, because you and I are from the same class, ManInSuit. I was in Adams House and I'm still waiting for someone to write the definitive book about that era. Probably Mr. Lauderdale should write it.

I will also buy this book.
posted by vacapinta at 1:27 PM on September 3, 2011



I know there was a ton of interesting stuff going on at Harvard at the time, because you and I are from the same class, ManInSuit.

!!
Geez, this whole thread is a college reunion. I did not know that MeFi's midnight moderator was a classmate. More proof that Harvard people run the world.

I will also buy this book.
Yay!

(Wait. Did you mean my book, or the hypothetical T. Lauderdale book? I'd like that book, too...)
posted by ManInSuit at 2:36 PM on September 3, 2011


I was in Adams House and I'm still waiting for someone to write the definitive book about that era.

You know Prozac Nation came out almost 20 years ago, right? (Kidding, kidding....)

I too will buy the T. Lauderdale book. Did you guys know China Forbes had to have vocal surgery?
posted by escabeche at 6:56 PM on September 3, 2011


Thanks, ManInSuit and ricochet biscuit. I bought this on a whim after seeing this thread and it's a great read. It made me want to live in Toronto, but I suspect that was the intended effect…
posted by yaymukund at 8:13 AM on September 8, 2011


I bought this on a whim after seeing this thread and it's a great read

Very glad you liked it!

It made me want to live in Toronto, but I suspect that was the intended effect…

Definitely! Toronto is pretty nice.
posted by ManInSuit at 2:33 PM on September 8, 2011


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