Selected Shorts: La Vie Boheme/Boho Brooklyn
Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Symphony Space
Performers: Martha Plimpton (Raising Hope), David Rakoff, Gbenga Akinnagbe (The Wire; Nurse Jackie), Sarah Steele (Please Give; Russian Transport), Kaneza Schaal (The Select;The Sound and the Fury), and John Shea.
"Opening bookshop in Paris. Please send money." Sylvia Beach cabled her mother in New Jersey. She got the cash together, and in 1919, when Beach opened the doors of Shakespeare and Company, at 8, rue,Dupuytren, the Paris bookstore quickly became a hub of literary activity rivaling Gertrude Stein's salon on rue de Fleurus. Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene was as eagerly embraced when it opened by the writers and readers in the neighborhood, and today the borough is at the heart of the New York book scene, with Word, Book Court and Community Bookstore flourishing and attracting an established and up-and-coming crowd of writers and many transplants from elsewhere drawn to the (sometimes) cheap rents, cozy bars and cafes. Paris in the teens and twenties was all about experimentation in poetry and prose and Brooklyn today is where lots of daring young writers are testing out new ways of telling stories.
This evening pairs selections from Stein's Paris -- a chapter from Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, Gertrude Stein's inventive rhythmic prose-poem about Picasso, Sylvia Beach's tale of setting up shop in a Paris that welcomed artists of all kinds, and a James Baldwin essay about seeking peace and artistic freedom in the city of light. After intermission, the program presents tales from some of the most inventive young writers in Brooklyn, including the imaginative fabulist Helen Phillips (whose brand-new story is part of the Selected Shorts Commissioning Project), and Haley Tanner, whose sad, funny, true Vaclav and Lena is set in the Brighton Beach immigrant community.