We Had the Best Time!

Thank you to our readers/performers– Ashley Byler & Laurel Atwell, Jacqueline Jones LaMon, Marie Myung-Ok Lee, and Phillip Lopate– for an incredible night of art and some FPP-style togetherness.  The night began with a tour through some of Stacy Parker Le Melle’s photographs of Harlem, full of rich color and striking angles.  Ashley Byler then presented her dance composition, “Accumulation: Variation No. 1 (a re-imagining of Trisha Brown’s 1971 work with Beyoncé Knowles as prescriber of pedestrian movement),” a deadpan mash-up of modernist repetition, sequined hot pants, and “Run the World (Girls).”  Jacqueline Jones LaMon read a series of poems, some from her collection, Last Seen, a haunting portrayal of long-term missing African-American children in the US.  We were particularly moved by her poems written this summer about the Rockaways and Coney Island, places now missing or wounded themselves.  Marie Myung-Ok Lee read a comic excerpt from her forthcoming novel, Firstborn Son, which details the vociferous protests a Korean-American doctor receives from his friends when he announces his plans to return to North Korea with Doctors Without Borders.  And Phillip Lopate treated us to razor-sharp political poems leading to a wry personal essay about his youthful ventures into politics and one particularly hilarious, (unintentionally) all-white Black Panthers Rally.  We also collected $238.27  in our Occupy Sandy collection box and donated here: http://interoccupy.net/occupysandy/.  Thanks for your generosity!  And thanks to performers and audience, alike, for giving us a memorable night!

FPP Harlem Reading this Monday: Let’s Get Together and Feel Alright…

What a crazy week–a hurricane, its aftermath, a cancelled marathon,
an election, a nor’easter–these changes in routine brought New
Yorkers together in new ways. Join us at Shrine for more drama and
togetherness next Monday.

Ashley Byler will start things off with a performance to Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls),” followed by readings from Jacqueline Jones LaMon, Marie Myung-Ok Lee, and Phillip Lopate.  We can’t wait to hear their work. As always, our event is FREE, though we will be collecting donations for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. (An added bonus: Stacy Parker Le Melle, one of “us,” will share some of her Harlem photographs.  Her images are featured in the FPP event posters, like the one above.)

See you at 7:00pm!

Phillip Lopate on Film Adaptations

We’re thrilled to have Phillip Lopate on our line up for our November 12th reading at Shrine.  Check out his article in this summer’s Bookforum: “Adapt This.”  The essay reinvigorates the conversation about the notorious difficulty of turning novels into films.  He offers a list of artful, worthy, even “sublime” film adaptations, and examines the approaches successful (and unsuccessful) directors or screenwriters have taken to their source material—Hyper-Naturalism, Avant-Garde Stylization, and intentional Infidelity.  Most illuminating for us is his objection to the argument that “films can’t think”—they can show us many things, but they can’t “depict consciousness” or render metaphor on the screen.  He asserts, instead, “when I am in thrall to a sublime film masterpiece, such as Ophuls’ The Earrings of Mme de or Mizoguchi’s Ugetsu (both, by the way, literary adaptations), I experience it as a continuous flow of consciousness—observant, melancholy, detached, worldly, commenting…thought.” And as a bonus: we have a new “Must Watch” list.

Announcing the Lineup for Our November 12th Reading!

The next event in the First Person Plural Harlem reading series will be November 12th at Shrine.  Authors Jacqueline Jones LaMon, Marie Myung-Ok Lee, and Phillip Lopate, and dancer/choreographer Ashley Byler will be reading and performing work responding to the first person plural theme.  We can’t wait to see what this exciting group of artists brings to the First Person Plural stage!

Jacqueline Jones LaMon is the author of two collections, Last Seen, a Felix Pollak Poetry Prize selection, and Gravity, U.S.A., recipient of the Quercus Review Press Poetry Series Book Award; and the novel, In the Arms of One Who Loves Me. A finalist for the 2012 NAACP Image Award in the category of Outstanding Literature: Poetry, she lives in New York City and teaches at Adelphi University.   www.jacquelinejoneslamon.com.




Photograph by Miriam Berkley

Marie Myung-OK Lee is one of the few Americans who have ever been allowed into North Korea; she was a guest of the DPRK Government in 2009. Lee is an alumnus of Brown University, where she taught creative writing until 2011, and now teaches at Columbia University. She has also been a Fulbright Fellow (the first recipient of a creative writing Fulbright to South Korea), a judge for the National Book Awards and the RFK Book and Journalism Awards. Her nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, Slate, Salon, The Atlantic, Guernica, her fiction in The Kenyon Review, Guernica, FiveChapters, and many other publications. She has been awarded fellowship residencies to Yaddo, MacDowell, and Ledig House, and was the recipient of the MacColl Johnson Fellowship and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Fiction Fellowship, and is currently one of the nominees for the United States Artists Fellowship, awarded for an “extraordinary vision.”


Phillip Lopate was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1943, and received a BA from Columbia in 1964, and a doctorate from the Union Graduate School in 1979.  He has written three personal essay collections—Bachelorhood (Little, Brown, 1981), Against Joie de Vivre (Poseidon-Simon & Schuster, 1989), and Portrait of My Body (Doubleday-Anchor, 1996); two novels, Confessions of Summer (Doubleday, 1979) and The Rug Merchant (Viking, 1987); two poetry collections, The Eyes Don’t Always Want to Stay Open (Sun Press, 1972) and The Daily Round (Sun Press, 1976); a memoir of his teaching experiences, Being With Children (Doubleday, 1975); a collection of his movie criticism, Totally Tenderly Tragically (Doubleday-Anchor); an urbanist meditation, Waterfront: A Journey Around Manhattan (Crown, 2004); and a biographical monograph, Rudy Burckhardt: Photographer and Filmmaker (Harry N. Abrams, 2004.)  In addition, there is a Phillip Lopate reader, Getting Personal: Selected Writings (Basic Books, 2003).  His most recent books are Two Marriages (novellas, Other Press, 2008),  Notes on Sontag (Princeton University Press, 2009), and At the End of the Day: Selected Poems (Marsh Hawk Press, 2010), and the forthcoming Essay Love (personal essays) and To Show and To Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction (both to be published by Simon & Schsuter, March 2013).  www.philliplopate.com/


Ashley Byler was born in Rocket City, U.S.A. She received a BA in Music and Psychology from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and an MFA in Dance from Sarah Lawrence College. Her work has been seen as part of Dance Theatre Workshop’s Studio Series, The Field’s Uptown/Downtown, Movement Research at the Judson Church and as commissioned by Ketchikan Theatre Ballet. She is an arts educator at The Eliza Frost School and dances with Sara Rudner. Her recent concerns as an artist hover around reclaiming the term pedestrian from the post-modern dance tradition, redefining it through popular social dance movement and applying rigorous compositional techniques associated with some heroes of the Judson Church in the 1960’s.




Shrine World Music Venue
(in Black United Fun Plaza)
September 10, 2012 @ 7pm
2271 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd.