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Martha Plimpton Joins the Cast of Selected Shorts on April 11


Martha Plimpton joins the cast of Selected Shorts: La Vie Bohème/Boho Brooklyn on Wed, Apr 11 at 7pm.

Martha Plimpton (Raising Hope) reads from Jersey girl Sylvia Beach's memoir about opening Shakespeare & Company bookstore in Paris in 1919, at Symphony Space's April 11 Selected Shorts. The evening is devoted to literary life in Paris in the 1920s-40s and in Brooklyn today.

Plimpton joins actors Gbenga Akinnagbe (The Wire, Nurse Jackie), Sarah Steele (Please Give, Russian Transport) Kaneza Schaal (The Select,The Sound and the Fury), John Shea, and performer/writer David Rakoff (This American Life), who will be reading the work of James Baldwin, Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, and Brooklynites Helen Phillips and Haley Tanner.

"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.

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