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  • Writers in The Loft Presents New York Time Best Selling Author: John Hodgman

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    May 07, 2018
    WRITERS IN THE LOFT presents

    New York Times bestselling author
    and host of the Judge John Hodgman podcast

    John Hodgman
    with his hilarious, poignant book

    True Stories from Painful Beaches

    Thursday, May 31, 7pm

    “Achingly funny . . . Sharp, silly, and sensitive, VACATIONLAND is a literary selfie of a concerned citizen storyteller—one in which the oldest slice of the United States does a little inelegant photobombing.” —NPR.org
    “Subtle and profound . . . A strange and very funny book — one that makes comedy out of the anxieties and indignities of middle age.” —The Atlantic

    “This book is genuinely it-will-make-you-laugh funny, it is a wistful and sad examination of the impulse that causes us to move to out of the way places and of what John Hodgman found when he went there, and it is always wiser than it seems. If you do not read it, you will be missing out on something special.” —Neil Gaiman

    “Dazzling . . . Genuine laughs on every page, what a joy!” —Maria Semple

    Ticket package includes book, bar beverage, author presentation, Q+A, and author meet-and-greet/signing

    Portsmouth, NH, May 7, 2018 - On Thursday, May 31, Writers in the Loft hosts New York Times bestselling author and comedic actor John Hodgman. The New-England-native-turned-New-Yorker and former “fake news” practitioner on The Daily Show will discuss VACATIONLAND: True Stories from Painful Beaches, his latest work about his real-life, all true wanderings through New England.  Beyond mere comedy, the book is a poignant and honest account of one human facing his forties, “those years when men in particular must stop pretending to be the children of bright potential they were and settle into the failing bodies of the wiser, weird dads that they are,” says Hodgman. The book and Hodgman’s approach to life and comedy have been heralded by fellow authors Elizabeth Gilbert, George R. R. Martin, Michael Chabon, Neil Gaiman, Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, and Maria Semple, among others.

    The 7pm event includes an author presentation and moderated Q+A, plus a book signing and a meet-and-greet. It will be held at The Music Hall Loft at 131 Congress Street, in downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

    “In VACATIONLAND John Hodgman does something he hasn’t done before - he tells true stories from his own life. The effect is startlingly hilarious - I’m loving this book, and I can’t wait to talk to Hodgman about it and about all he’s up to as a podcaster and New York Times Magazine columnist,” said Monte Bohanan, The Music Hall’s Director of Marketing and the evening’s moderator.  

    From his time on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to his three bestselling books of complete world knowledge, John Hodgman has long been an expert at peddling fake facts. But it seems to have lost its appeal: “Everyone is doing it now,” according to Hodgman himself. So, as we all someday must, he has turned to the truth.

    The latest book follows John’s journeys as a very citified only child nerd, navigating three distinct wildernesses where he does not belong. One, rural Western Massachusetts, where he spent much of his youth; two, coastal Maine, home to the most painful beaches on earth (a place that John is certain will someday kill him); lastly, the metaphoric wildernesses of middle-age.

    In typical John Hodgman fashion, these stories of middle life cover wide and strange ground, such as the the evolutionary purpose of the mustache, which Hodgman decides is a way to tell the world that, with a marriage and two children under his belt, he’s done being attractive to the opposite sex; accepting the fact that he is not an indestructible human whom death will never touch; and why humans should never eat fudge or freshwater clams.

    VACATIONLAND is hilarious, brilliant, and full of the weird and fascinating stories that John Hodgman has become known for.

    John Hodgman is a writer, comedian, and actor. He is the author of three New York Times bestselling books: The Areas of My Expertise, More Information Than You Require, and That Is All. After an appearance to promote his books on The Daily Show, he was invited to return as a contributor, serving as the show's "Resident Expert" and "Deranged Millionaire." He has performed comedy for the President of the United States, at the TED conference, and in a crypt in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. He is the host of the popular Judge John Hodgman podcast, where he settles serious disputes between real people. He also contributes a weekly column under the same name for The New York Times Magazine.

    The ticket package for Writers in the Loft: John Hodgman on Thursday, May 31, at 7pm is $30 ($28 for members). In addition to a reserved seat, the package includes a copy of VACATIONLAND  ($16 paperback), a bar beverage, author presentation, Q+A, and book signing meet-and-greet. Packages can be purchased online at TheMusicHall.org, over the phone at 603.436.2400, or in person at the B2W Box Office at the Historic Theater, 28 Chestnut Street.

    For further information, or to request an author interview, please contact: Margaret Talcott, Producer, The Music Hall, at mtalcott@themusichall.org or Patricia Lynch, Executive Producer, at plynch@themusichall.org

    For images, please see: https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipPG5O4SI9TZ3JGedp1WVICF6uhNGoIXWf-JuTd9ePJYLsPWEiuqAkdYStaVnfOphw?key=LVV1QnZVMTZxb2g0czJka2tSUWNKSmZuWi15SlRB

    About Writers in the Loft
    Akin to The Music Hall’s anchor literary series, Writers on a New England Stage, Writers in the Loft features bestselling authors in a smaller, more intimate space. The series brings audiences today’s top authors, the best of fiction and nonfiction, and award-winners across categories. The evening package includes a reserved seat and bar beverage, author presentation and Q+A, a copy of the book, and a meet-and-greet book signing with the featured writer.

    Series Sponsor:  RMC Research Corporation
    Season Sponsors:  Carey & Giampa Realtors;  Portwalk Place; The River House restaurant
    Contributing Partner:  The University of New Hampshire


    “I love everything about this hilarious book except the font size . . . can a fella get a 16 point Helvetica up in this thing.” —Jon Stewart

    “I am delighted that VACATIONLAND exists, because it will finally prove something to the world that I have known for years: John Hodgman is a seriously great writer. It’s easy to miss this point about John, as his literary talents are often overshadowed by his well-known and much-loved sense of humor. But this is a man whose mind and heart have always been devoted to the craft of writing. These essays demonstrate his rare gift in a volume that is rich with sensitivity, subtlety, grace, and—yes, of course— wit. I absolutely love it.” —Elizabeth Gilbert

    “Outside of these pages, you will not find a more tender irony, a gentler wickedness, a more perfect tone, a regard more unflinching and forgiving. At some point, long after I gave up resisting the near-constant impulse to laugh out loud, I came to the realization that with VACATIONLAND, Hodgman has established himself as a memoirist and, unquestionably, a master prose stylist, of rare power and restraint.” —Michael Chabon

    “‘West of Arkham the hills rise wild, and there are valleys with deep woods that no axe has ever cut. There are dark narrow glens where the trees slope fantastically, and where thin brooklets trickle without ever having caught the glint of sunlight,’ H.P. Lovecraft wrote. He was talking about western Massachusetts. And we all know about Maine, thanks to Stephen King. Rabid dogs, vampires, space aliens, sh*t weasels, and worse things, all hanging around that Castle Rock place. These are terrifying places, awful places, where strange screams echo through the night and the people eat giant aquatic insects they call lobsters. You don’t want to go near them. Fortunately John Hodgman has gone there so you don’t have to, and he has seen it all. Beaches with rocks sharp as knives, sinister cairns, waters cold enough to stop your heart, raccoon feces . . . oh, the tales he tells! It’s all there in VACATIONLAND! Lovecraft warned us, King warned us, and now comes Hodgman with the terrible truth. Oh, the horror, the horror . . . ” —George R. R. Martin

    “Very funny . . . Setting it down, you’re left with the sense that you’ve just finished a long, pleasant trip into the author’s mind. As far as travel destinations go, it’s a welcome one, a warm harbor against cold winds.” —The AV Club

    “Laugh-out-loud funny.” —Buzzfeed

    “An ambitious departure from Hodgman’s previous authorial endeavors. It’s funny, but it’s no joke. The book is a cleverly composed meditation on one privileged American’s life—and, glancingly, on America—at a crucial moment for both.” —Chicago Tribune

    “Wholly profound . . . Deeply poignant . . . VACATIONLAND presents a world worth sinking into.” —Entertainment Weekly

    “Reading the book is a particular pleasure . . . Hodgman has a gift for capturing the modes and mores of New England in a way that is wry and true.” —Los Angeles Times

    “Brilliant . . . the funniest book we’ve read since David Sedaris’s Theft by Finding: Diaries. You’re gonna love it.” —Hello Giggles

    “Equal parts funny and sincere . . . A thoughtful and insightful glimpse inside the mind of one of the funniest writers today.” —Bustle

    “It’s just as funny as his previous books; it’s better than all of them.” —Portland Mercury

    “A treasure . . . [VACATIONLAND] isn’t just funny . . . it’s also sneaky as hell.” —Boing Boing

    “John Hodgman is a literary wizard, an imaginative humorist, and a true man of mystery. Everything he writes is an adventure. VACATIONLAND just happens to be his most fabulous work to date.” —Jonathan Scott, co-host of HGTV’s “Property Brothers”

    “Now I know why John Hodgman was always making up so many facts—the truth of his life is so painful and hilarious. Who can blame him? Get nice and pre-cringed and dive into VACATIONLAND.” —Patton Oswalt

    “This here yarn has everything you want—laughs, love, death, and the obligatory legume-shaped boat. Hodgman’s wide-eyed sense of place is as irresistible as his playful yet unflinching sense of self.” —Sarah Vowell, bestselling author of Lafayette in the Somewhat United States

    “I love this book. I love it unreservedly. . . . It’s the sort of book I get preemptively defensive about: ‘Show me the guy who doesn’t like this book,’ my inner monologue runs. ‘Show him to me, that I may mock him for his lousy sense of humor and his inability to know good prose when he sees it.’” John Darnielle, bestselling author of Universal Harvester and primary member of the Mountain Goats
    “John Hodgman thinks we’re rubes, trying to convince us he’s some unlovable fraud or a post-post Dick Cavett. But his wondrous VACATIONLAND proves the truth: he is a man from the future sent here to save us with comedic metaphors, relishable scoldings, and neoclassic wit.” —Brad Meltzer, bestselling author of The Escape Artist

    “We’ve known for a while now that John Hodgman is a master of invention. It is completely unsurprising—and an absolute joy—to find he is every bit as funny and brilliant when confronting the truth of his own life. Moving, hilarious, and deeply heartfelt, VACATIONLAND is a wonder.” Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, bestselling author of The Nest

    “John Hodgman returns to the page with a humorous, yet sincere look at his time spent on the beaches of Maine and his trek through middle age. . . . With a dry wit and ample amounts of self-depreciation, Hodgman offers a humorous take on adulthood and the harsh, unforgiving beaches of eastern Maine.” —Charleston City Paper

    “Hodgman’s new book—a memoir about fatherhood, aging, travel, and his home state of Massachusetts—is the most (maybe the first) unironic thing in his career.” —The Millions

    “Hodgman is a disarmingly witty storyteller, at once waggish and incisive, droll and tender. Indeed, deep feelings flow beneath the mirth.” —Booklist

    “Readers will be laughing out loud.” —Library Journal

    “Subtle and profound . . . A strange and very funny book—one that makes comedy out of the anxieties and indignities of middle age.” —The Atlantic

    “Achingly funny . . . Sharp, silly, and sensitive, VACATIONLAND is a literary selfie of a concerned citizen storyteller — one in which the oldest slice of the United States does a little inelegant photobombing.” —NPR

    “This book is genuinely it-will-make-you-laugh funny, it is a wistful and sad examination of the impulse that causes us to move to out of the way places and of what John Hodgman found when he went there, and it is always wiser than it seems. If you do not read it, you will be missing out on something special.” —Neil Gaiman

    “Dazzling . . . Genuine laughs on every page, what a joy!” —Maria Semple

    About The Music Hall
    The Music Hall is a performing arts center featuring curated entertainment from around the world in two theaters in its downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire campus - one, a landmark 1878 Victorian theater, designated an American Treasure for the Arts by the National Park Service’s Save America's Treasures Program, the other the intimate Music Hall Loft around the corner,  named "best performing arts venue" by Yankee Magazine and the recipient of the NH AIA award for design excellence.

    With acclaimed signature series including Writers on a New England Stage – a partnership between The Music Hall and New Hampshire Public Radio – and the Intimately Yours music series, we bring top authors and artists to both stages. Also, HD broadcasts from The Metropolitan Opera and the National Theatre of London as well as extraordinary cinema fill both screens almost every night of the year.

    This dynamic arts center urges patrons to Explore + Learn via master classes, post film panel discussions, and matinees for children. An anchor organization in this historic working seaport, The Music Hall is one of downtown Portsmouth’s biggest employers and largest contributors to the regional economy: The Music Hall and its patrons contribute $7.1 million annually to the local economy through show and visitor related spending.

    Innovative in its outlook, the organization is community oriented and committed to making the Seacoast flourish. The Music Hall is a 501(c)3 nonprofit managed by a professional staff with the assistance of a volunteer board. Though global in the scope of its artists and programs, The Music Hall operates independently with the support of 3,000 members, 300 corporate partners and 58 community partner organizations. Welcoming more than 100,000 patrons (including 20,000 children) each year from the tri-state area and beyond, The Music Hall is the region’s center for the performing arts, literature and education…easy to get to, impossible to forget.

    Web: www.TheMusicHall.org | Twitter: @MusicHall | Facebook: /musichall | YouTube: /musichallnh

    “The crown jewel of Portsmouth’s cultural scene”- Yankee Magazine

    “The beating cultural heart of New Hampshire's seacoast” - Boston Globe
    Margaret Talcott, Producer