Whole Lotta Love: the Next FPP Lineup Enjoys Critical Acclaim

It seems every time we blink there’s another rave review or fascinating new article out on Kiese Laymon, Lacy M. Johnson, and Tiphanie Yanique, our First Person Plural Lineup at 7pm on Tuesday, September 30th at Shrine in Harlem.

the other sideThe Wall Street Journal Online writes of Lacy M. Johnson’s “incandescent” memoir: it is “written with both fury and restraint. The reader feels pulled onto a fast train, in a compartment with a narrator telling an intimate and terrifying tale.” Kirkus Review calls The Other Side, “Ferociously beautiful and courageous, Johnson’s intimate story sheds light on the perpetuation of violence against women.” You can read a fantastic interview with Lacy at The Rumpus, which says, “Johnson’s memoir is an extraordinary document, and she herself holds an important place in a movement to stop violence against women.”

 

Long DivisionKiese Laymon published not one but two books in 2013. His novel Long Division was on the “Best of 2013″ lists at The Believer, Buzzfeed, Guernica, Salon, and many other publications.   Roxane Gay writes in the The Nation, “[Long Division] is the most exciting book I’ve read all year.  There’s nothing like it, both in terms of the scope of what the book tackles and the writing’s Afro Surrealist energy.”  Essays from his collection How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America have appeared in the Best American series, the Best of Net award, and the Atlantic‘s Best Essays of 2013. The Rumpus writes of the collection, “[I]n this very un-post-racial world, Laymon picks up where Baldwin left off, surviving and living to tell the tale….How does he kill himself and others? By fighting, by loving too much or not enough, by eating too much, by quitting, by writing or not writing, and by continuing to push forward despite opposition.

Land of Love and DrowningTiphanie Yanique follows up her award winning short story collection with the stunning debut novel, Land of Love and Drowning, about which Publisher’s Weekly writes, “Through the voices and lives of its native people, Yanique offers an affecting narrative of the Virgin Islands that pulses with life, vitality, and a haunting evocation of place.” Flavorwire calls the novel “sublime,” Huffingtonpost writes, “Yanique’s debut novel bursts with imagination and intoxicating atmosphere, and the deeply felt characters at its heart demand to be heard,” and TimeOut writes, “How rare to encounter a dauntless and complex novel that convincingly melds true history with magic, but Tiphanie Yanique’s debut—a rich seascape about family and legacy, beauty’s clout and the variable waves of race and class on the twentieth-century Caribbean islands—accomplishes just that.”

We feel unbelievably privileged to welcome these three authors to the same stage next Tuesday night.  These are the voices that will be shaping the conversation for years to come.  See you at Shrine at 7pm September 30th!

Join Us for a Night of Screenings and Readings at Hyperplace Harlem

Hyperplace PromoThe First Person Plural Reading Series is proud to partner with Hyperplace Harlem to co-host a night of screenings and readings at Maysles Cinema from 6pm-10pm on Monday October 6, 2014.  The evening will feature work by Albert and David Maysles, Carolyn LazardDirk de BruyneteamJenny GräfJoão Enxuto & Erica LoveLaTasha N. Nevada DiggsRandall Horton,Stacy Parker Le Melle, and Zefrey Throwell.  Maysles Cinema is located at 343 Lenox Blvd, between 127th and 128th.  Take the 2/3 to 125th.  Admission is free.

About Hyperplace Harlem

Our contemporary notions of place have shifted and expanded as technology and mobility touches the lives of local and global communities. Virtual environments, GPS signals, gentrification, psycho-geography, local ecology, and urban decay are some of the themes artists traverse while navigating their relationships with Place.

In this light, we are excited to present Hyperplace Harlem, a three-day festival, on October 4-6.

Hyperplace Harlem’s program will feature media and visual artists, readings, performances, workshops, and discussions. Hyperplace Harlem seeks to bring together artists and audiences from various backgrounds and to foster engagement, sparking new discoveries and conversations.

For more information, check out Hyperplace Harlem’s site here.

A New Season Begins: First Person Plural Premieres on Tuesday, September 30th

We are delighted to announce that the opening line-up of the third season of the First Person Plural Reading Series will feature authors Lacy M. JohnsonKiese Laymon, and Tiphanie Yanique and includes special DJ sets by Lady DM.  We are proud to showcase these artists, especially given the stellar new work they have gifted the world. Plan to join us at 7pm on Tuesday, September 30th at Shrine in Harlem, 2271 Adam Clayton Powell between 133rd and 134th.  We know this will be a night to remember.

About our participants

1653407_10152073317113692_1189887351_nLacy M. Johnson is a Houston-based artist, curator, teacher, activist and author of The Other Side (Tin House Books, 2014) and Trespasses: A Memoir (Iowa, 2012). She is co-creator of the location-based storytelling project [the invisible city], and her work has appeared in Dame Magazine, Tin House, Creative NonfictionPoets & Writers, Gulf Coast and elsewhere. She teaches interdisciplinary art at the University of Houston.

 

Kiese-Laymon-photoKiese Laymon is a black southern writer, born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. Laymon attended Millsaps College and Jackson State University before graduating from Oberlin College. He earned an MFA from Indiana University and is the author of the novel, Long Division  and a collection of essays,  How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America. Long Division was named one of the Best Books of 2013 by a number of publications, including Buzzfeed, The Believer, Salon, Guernica, Mosaic Magazine, Chicago Tribune, The Morning News, MSNBC, Library Journal, Contemporary Literature, and the Crunk Feminist Collective. Both of Laymon’s books are finalists for the Mississippi Award for Arts and Letters in the fiction and nonfiction categories. Long Division is currently a finalist for Stanford’s Saroyan international writing award. Laymon has written essays and stories for numerous publications including Esquire, ESPN, Colorlines, NPR, Gawker, Truthout, Longman’s Hip Hop Reader, The Best American Non-required Reading, Guernica, Mythium and Politics and Culture. Laymon is currently at work on a new novel “And So On” and a memoir called 309: A Fat Black Memoir. He is an Associate Professor of English at Vassar College.

 

TiphAuthorPhoto-2Tiphanie Yanique is the author the novel Land of Love and Drowning, published this July 2014.  BookRiot has listed it as one of the best books of the summer. BookPage has listed her as one of the 14 Women to watch out for in 2014.  Her writing has won the 2011 BOCAS Prize for Caribbean Fiction, Boston Review Prize in Fiction, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers Award, a Pushcart Prize, a Fulbright Scholarship and an Academy of American Poet’s Prize. She has been listed by the Boston Globe as one of the sixteen cultural figures to watch out for and by the National Book Foundation as one of the 5 Under 35. Her writing has been published in Best African American Fiction, The Wall Street Journal, American Short Fiction and other places.  Tiphanie is from the Virgin Islands and is a professor in the MFA program at the New School in New York City.

 

Podcast ladydm_useWith roots stemming from the legendary musical island of Jamaica in the Caribbean, Mackenzie Largie a.k.a. Lady DM describes herself as a ‘musical expat’, an apt description for her fearless take on crossing genres of dance-able music.  Lady DM’s story begins in 1995, in NYC as a host on FIT’s radio station, by day; and avid regular at parties like Theo Parrish’s SugarBabies by night. Two years later, she begins her ascent of the city’s DJ circuit proper, a regular at venues like the Limelight, Orchard Bar, and The Cooler. While based in Europe from 99’-10’, Lady DM regularly hosted radio shows in Zurich, and Berlin, while jetting around entertaining crowds at legendary parties like Amsterdam’s Mazzo Club, Zurich’s Lethargy festival, Milan’s Cox 18, Munich’s Muffathalle, and Berlin’s WMF. In Berlin, Lady DM also curated events, with Berlin’s then up-and-coming artists, including Peaches, Dixon, Jamie Lidell, & Gonzales.  She now calls NYC home.

Join FPP at Silvana in Harlem, Tomorrow at 4pm!

FPP 4x6 for WebJoin us tomorrow afternoon at Silvana *a new location* in Harlem at 4pm for a reading of Karinne Keithley Syers’s My Address is Still Walton: a Play for the Set of Charlie Rose.

Immediately following the play, writers Randall Horton and Nicole Cooley share their work to wrap up our final event of the season. Silvana is located at 300 W 116th St. (at Frederick Douglass) in Harlem. As always, our events are FREE.

The FPP Interview: Randall Horton

FPP spoke with poet and writer Randall Horton about giving shape to the unseen, the intersections between poetry and prose, and the exhausting digging and wallowing required by writing a memoir. Randall reads with us at the FPP season finale on March 9 at Silvana in Harlem.

Bio Pic GtownYour poetry seems quite public, that is, interested in the social realm, in the institutions that rise up in and around communities.  You zero in on the exchanges among people and systems that we might observe, rather than focusing largely on interiority.  Can you tell us about your approach to writing about real or invented characters?

I think you are correct in terms of looking at the structures within society, and how these structures dictate human exchange. When looking at characters, I’m trying to figure out what society is doing to them. I think society invents characters. I love to look at that process.  To read the rest of the interview, go here.

The FPP Interview: Nicole Cooley

candidphotoFPP spoke with poet and prose writer Nicole Cooley about the searing imagery of post-Katrina New Orleans, the glory of dollhouses, and the joy of being a poet’s daughter.  Nicole Cooley reads with us at The First Person Plural Reading Series season finale on March 9 at Silvana in Harlem.

In your book of poems, Breach, we move through terrains physical and emotional as we imagine your New Orleans before and after Hurricane Katrina. What did you feel most drawn to thinking and writing about in those days?  Which images stick with you still?

I wanted to write the poems because of the images–what I saw when I went to New Orleans three months after the hurricane and what I saw when I went to Mississippi a year after the storm. The front steps that lead to no house. The houses that looked fine until you saw–or my mother pointed out–the thin black waterline on the outside that meant the water rose inside the house and it was ruined.  Read the rest of the interview here.

The Grand Finale of the FPP Season – Sunday, March 9 at Silvana in Harlem!

Please join us for an afternoon of arts both literary and theatrical in the downstairs performance space of Silvana in Harlem at 4:00pm on March 9, 2014.  We will begin with a staged reading of Karinne Keithley Syers’ My Address Is Still Walton: A Play For The Set of Charlie Rose, directed and performed by Johanna McKeon, Caleb Bark, and Lacy Post, then we will hear poetry and prose writers Nicole Cooley and Randall Horton.  For this season finale, we will be in a new space, at the relatively new Silvana cafe and bar at 116th and FDB, across from Harlem Tavern.  Plan to eat delicious Israeli food and drink whatever suits!  As always, admission is free.

n_cooleyNicole Cooley grew up in New Orleans and now lives outside of NYC. She has published four books of poems, most recently Breach(LSU Press) and Milk Dress (Alice James Books), both in 2010, and a novel. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review, The Feminist Wire, The Nation, and Poetry among other venues. She is currently working on a non-fiction book, My Dollhouse, Myself: Miniature Histories, as well as a new collection of poems, Of Marriage. She is the director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation at Queens College-City University of New York.

Bio Pic GtownRandall Horton is the recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award, the Bea Gonzalez Poetry Award and most recently a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Literature. Randall is a Cave Canem Fellow, a member of the Affrilachian Poets and a member of The Symphony: The House that Etheridge Built. Randall is Assistant Professor of English at the University of New Haven. An excerpt from his memoir titled Roxbury is published by Kattywompus Press. Triquarterly/Northwestern University Press in the publisher of his latest poetry collection Pitch Dark Anarchy. He currently lives in NYC.

karinne-300x163Karinne Keithley Syers is an interdisciplinary artist and publisher of plays and performance texts. Her work spans dance, writing, sound, animation, essay, video, and projection, and has been seen in and out of New York since 1995. Recently her solo show Another Tree Dance premiered at The Chocolate Factory Theater in Long Island City after a workshop performance at Mount Tremper Arts. Her chamber operetta/museum installation Montgomery Park, or Opulence, won a Bessie Award for Outstanding Production in 2011, after its 2010 run at Incubator Arts Project. Her work has also been seen at Danspace Project, Dixon Place, La MaMa E.T.C., Tonic, innumerable installations of Catch, several Little Theaters, The Ohio Theater’s Ice Factory festival, Surf Reality, and Ur, and has been supported by residencies and workshops at the MacDowell Colony, Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, St. Ann’s Warehouse’s Puppet Lab, Silo, and Mount Tremper Arts. She has collaborated as a performer with David Neumann, Young Jean Lee, Paul Lazar and Annie-B Parson, Chris Yon, Sara Smith, Melanie Rios Glaser, Paul Matteson, and Yoshiko Chuma, as a sound and video designer with Big Dance Theater, Sibyl Kempson, Kate Weare, Ivy Baldwin, Chris Yon, Melanie Rios Glaser, Monica Bill Barnes, as a choreographer with The Civilians, Talking Band, Johanna McKeon, and Theater of a Two-Headed Calf, with whom she has also been a librettist. She founded 53rd State Press in 2007, and now co-edits it with Antje Oegel. They recently published their 19th book of performance scripts. She studied the dark (playwriting) arts at Brooklyn College with Mac Wellman, and is spitting distance from completing her Ph.D. in English at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her long-running audio serial The Basement Tapes of the Mole Cabal can be found on fancystitchmachine.org, along with her treasury of ukulele covers and stop motion animations.

walton

Postponed Due to Snow: My Address is Still Walton

photo 2The snow started coming down early here in the city, so tonight’s reading of My Address is Still Walton: a play for the set of Charlie Rose is postponed.

We are working on setting a future date, and we will post the updated information as soon as we have it.

In the meantime, here is a little Robert Hayden to warm you on this cold day:

Snow

Smooths and burdens,
endangers, hardens.

Erases, revises.
Extemporizes

Vistas of lunar solitude.
Builds, embellishes a mood.

The FPP Interview: Karinne Keithley Syers

karinne-300x163Karinne Keithley Syers’ play My Address is Still Walton: a play for the set of Charlie Rose, directed by Johanna McKeon, will be performed Tuesday, January 21st at Shrine in Harlem.  2271 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. Doors open at 6:30 pm.  As always, our events are free and open to the public.

Syers talks with us about the dramatic function of the interview; what space exists between a question and it’s answer; and how choreography informs her writing.

Can you tell us a little bit about My Address is Still Walton, to give us a sense of what we might expect from the piece?

The subtitle is “A play for the set of Charlie Rose.” It’s a series of interviews in four parts, constrained by a few simple parameters: the interviews take place seated at Charlie’s round table, and everything that is said is either a question or an answer, except for one interview that also includes a translator. (Charlie Rose is not a character, just his set.)  Read the rest of the interview here.

Meet the Company of “My Address is Still Walton” at FPP on 1/21

Our first event of 2014 takes place at Shrine on Tuesday, January 21st!  We are so excited for this event as it is the first time we are hosting a staged reading of a play.   The work for the night, My Address is Still Walton, is written by the inimitable Karinne Keithley Syers and is directed and performed by Johanna McKeon, Caleb Bark and Lacy PostMy Address is Still Walton is an interview play, a dynamic argument that journalism is an equally dramatic context for the distillation of thoughts and lives as narrative storytelling.

The reading begins at 7pm.  Zubetei will open the evening with a set of digital music at 6:30 pm.  Shrine is located at 2271 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. in Harlem, New York.  We hope to see you there for another one-of-a-kind evening!

Karinne Keithley Syers is an interdisciplinary artist and publisher of plays and performance texts. Her work spans dance, writing, sound, animation, essay, video, and projection, and has been skarrineeen in and out of New York since 1995. Recently her solo show Another Tree Dance premiered at The Chocolate Factory Theater in Long Island City after a workshop performance at Mount Tremper Arts. Her chamber operetta/museum installation Montgomery Park, or Opulence, won a Bessie Award for Outstanding Production in 2011, after its 2010 run at Incubator Arts Project. Her work has also been seen at Danspace Project, Dixon Place, La MaMa E.T.C., Tonic, innumerable installations of Catch, several Little Theaters, The Ohio Theater’s Ice Factory festival, Surf Reality, and Ur, and has been supported by residencies and workshops at the MacDowell Colony, Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, St. Ann’s Warehouse’s Puppet Lab, Silo, and Mount Tremper Arts. She has collaborated as a performer with David Neumann, Young Jean Lee, Paul Lazar and Annie-B Parson, Chris Yon, Sara Smith, Melanie Rios Glaser, Paul Matteson, and Yoshiko Chuma, as a sound and video designer with Big Dance Theater, Sibyl Kempson, Kate Weare, Ivy Baldwin, Chris Yon, Melanie Rios Glaser, Monica Bill Barnes, as a choreographer with The Civilians, Talking Band, Johanna McKeon, and Theater of a Two-Headed Calf, with whom she has also been a librettist. She founded 53rd State Press in 2007, and now co-edits it with Antje Oegel. They recently published their 19th book of performance scripts. She studied the dark (playwriting) arts at Brooklyn College with Mac Wellman, and is spitting distance from completing her Ph.D. in English at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her long-running audio serial The Basement Tapes of the Mole Cabal can be found on fancystitchmachine.org, along with her treasury of ukulele covers and stop motion animations.

johanna Johanna McKeon’s directing credits include Tokio Confidential (Atlantic Stage 2), I Have Loved Strangers (Clubbed Thumb), Comedy of Errors, Schmoozy Togetherness (Williamstown Theatre Festival), The Rise and Fall of Annie Hall, Much Ado About Nothing, The Taming of the Shrew, Cymbeline (Vineyard Playhouse), The Moscows of Nantucket (Nantucket Theater Workshop), Semi-Permanent (NY Fringe Festival Award, Outstanding Solo Show), Functional Drunk (Ontological-Hysteric Theater), Hatful of Rain (ITS Festival, Warsaw). Associate Directing Credits Broadway: American Idiot, Grey Gardens. Upcoming: Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Broadway Tours: American Idiot, Rent. Recent Musical Development Workshops: Golden Motors (Derek Bermel and Wendy S. Walters), Rosie! (Music by Larry Gatlin), Biederman’s Match (Book by Beau Willimon). Guest Faculty: Bard College, Strasberg Institute. Fellowships: Drama League, Boris Sagal and Fulbright. MFA, UT Austin.

Johanna has been reading this play aloud with Lacy and Caleb for the past year.

Caleb Bark is an actor, filmmaker and comedian living in Bushwick, Brooklyn.  He is a member of the sketch comedy group Olde English, and recently appeared in their film THE EXQUISITE CORPE PROJECT.  Caleb is also working to expand arts education in the Harlem Children’s Zone TRUCE program.  BA Theater, Bard College.

IMG_2028Lacy Post is director/actress based in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Recent work: The Hungry Ghosts, Dixon Place; Seymour’s Fat Lady: A Free adaptation of J.D. Salinger’s Franny & Zooey, NYU Graduate Acting, Freeplay Festival; The Mike and Morgan Show, Access Theater. BA Theater, Bard College.

Music composed by Steven Lighty.