Thursday, January 24, 2008

NOVEMBER 2007: Abraham Awolich; Raconteur Reader NYC; Roadside Graves; Bouncing Souls; Arthur Nersesian; Noelle Kocot

8 PM, FRI. NOV 2
Featuring Lost Boy Abraham Awolich

“My life story begins with me leaving my family in 1988 after government-sponsored militias attacked our village of Kalthok. I went to Ethiopia, then fled another war there and returned to Sudan. In 1992, our camps were attacked so we left on foot running. We settled in a small town east of Kapoeta, southern Sudan. When Kapoeta was overrun by the army, we were forced to flee at night. We lived as refugees in Kakuma camp for nine years before we resettled in America.” Mr. Awolich is now co-director of the New Sudan Education Initiative (NESEI) and is committed to inspiring people—both Americans and members of the Sudanese diaspora—to get involved with development efforts. In 2006 he traveled back to Sudan for the first time in seventeen years, and the devastation convinced him that Sudan needs access to education in order to recover from decades of war. Abraham is working with NESEI to rebuild southern Sudan’s education system. The Raconteur will also be selling copies of What Is the What, written by Dave Eggers. What Is the What is the novelized autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng, from his pre-war life in southern Sudan to his resettlement in the United States. All proceeds from What Is the What go to aiding the Sudanese in America and Sudan. Complimentary food and wine. Admission: TBA. Admission fee will go to NESEI and their efforts to rebuild Sudan.

7:00 PM, FRI. NOV 9
Featuring music by Jeremy Benson and readings by Kelly Link, Clay Mcleod Chapman, Alex Dawson & Robert Kaplow

Many of today's most celebrated and up-and-coming writers have climbed the narrow staircase to the splintered podium at New York City's KGB Bar to share their work. This iconic East Village watering hole, once the expat meeting house of Ukrainian socialists, has grown over the last decade into one of the choicest venues for literary talent. Ricky Moody, Susan Orlean, Michael Cunningham, Robert Bly, Jimmy Breslin, Budd Schulberg, Joyce Carol Oates, Luc Sante, Jonathan Franzen, David Foster Wallace, Jerry Stahl, and Jonathan Lethem have all appeared on its hallowed stage. FREE!

8 PM, SAT. NOV 10
Live Music

We're called The Garden State because our soil is so rich that no matter how much we pave it or waste it, the land still calls to us. These are two of the most gifted and astute bands to get in tune with those echoes. From their doleful dirges to their sweet, romantic blues to their wild American poetry, these bands serve up torchers, scorchers and languid back porchers bursting with woodland wisdom and street corner philosophy. FREE!

6:30 PM, THURS. NOV 15

“I Went For A Walk, and kept on going, around the bend, outside the box and out of this world.” This new children's book explodes off the page with the trippy energy of a psychedelic rock song. Greg Attonito, singer for the nationally known punk band "The Bouncing Souls," has teamed up with his actor/musician wife Shanti Wintergate to create an unconventional picture book for the precocious pre-schooler. Within its pages, you’ll explore a kaleidoscopic ocean, a psychotropic jungle, and a universe that will blow your mind. So, come for a walk, adventure awaits! FREE!

8 PM, SAT. NOV 17

Nersesian's novels, which include The Fuck-Up, Dogrun, Chinese Takeout, The Unlubricated, and Manhattan Loverboy, are sprawling, obsessively detailed portraits of the Lower East Side and of the sweat and toil inherent to the creative act. Neressian was the former managing editor of The Portable Lower East Side, a magazine whose principle political objectives were to publish "work by those who are more than just writers, this is porno stars, musicians, political dissidents, AIDS activists, transvestites, cop killers, and junkies... 'outsider' writing from an insider's perspective." Begun in the mid-1980s as a photocopied and stapled bundle, The Portable Lower East Side also published work by Hugh Selby, Grace Paley, and Herbert Hunucke. Compared to Richard Price and Charles Bukowski, Nersesian's work has been championed by The Village Voice & Time Out New York. FREE!

8 PM, SAT. NOV 24

"Imagine Rilke with a sense of humor, and you're halfway ready to hear 'A chicken cooked under happy circumstances/Is a chicken that lasts forever,' then catch your breath at her prediction that 'false empathy will be wielded/Like a blowtorch through a box of cake mix/Toward the one of us who survives the other.' Though this may be the product of a dramatic streak to rival Sylvia Plath's, she's self-aware enough to note (in Civilization Day) that 'it's easier to say/I have this or that to do instead of simply/I am always in pain.' She can be simultaneously brutal and self-glorifying, too, as when she begins The Maddest Kind of Love with 'Two retarded men are kicking off their shoes,' and ends it 'I want to save the world.' In a year that's seen Franz Wright take the Pulitzer for his limpid, almost simple poems wedding European symbolism and American melodrama, Kocot's melancholy cascades of gorgeous imagery play like Chopin to Wright's Satie." The Village Voice.

She is the author of three books: 4, The Raving Fortune, and Poem for the End of Time and Other Poems . She has received awards from The American Poetry Review, The Academy of American Poets, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Fund for Poetry, among others. Her work has been praised in The Village Voice, The New York Times, and The Boston Review. She teaches poetry at The New School in New York City. FREE!