Press Release

Brooklyn Public Library Announces Spring 2019 Season

Brooklyn, New York
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Highlights Include:

  • South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg in conversation with New York Times columnist Frank Bruni about his new book, Shortest Way Home
  • Whitman at 200, a weekend-long festival across Brooklyn celebrating one of the most influential American poets
  • Musician Esperanza Spalding and award-winning author Mitchell Jackson discuss Survival Math, Jackson’s new book about growing up in a drug-ravaged neighborhood in Oregon
  • Albert Woodfox discusses his critically acclaimed book, Solitary, with New Yorker writer Jelani Cobb, about surviving four decades in solitary confinement in Louisiana’s notorious Angola Prison
  • Author Nathaniel Rich discusses his new book Losing Earth based on his New York Times Magazine full-issue feature on climate change
  • 50th Anniversary Golden Man Booker Prize-winner Michael Ondaatje shares his latest work, Warlight, about a family torn apart in the aftermath of World War II
  • BPL’s Katowitz Radin Artist-in-Residence Kameelah Janan Rasheed presents special programming for her immersive exhibition Scoring the Stacks
  • The second edition of LitFilm, BPL’s six-day literary film festival featuring documentaries and films on Lorraine Hansberry, Margaret Atwood, Pablo Neruda, Wole Soyinka, Maya Angelou, and Samuel Beckett
  • The 12th season of Classical Interludes, full-length classical concerts free of charge on Sunday afternoons.

Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) today unveiled its 2019 spring season of cultural programming. The season continues to redefine libraries as centers for ideas and exploration by connecting leading authors, scholars, and artists to Brooklyn and the greater New York Community. Combined with essential library services like English classes, tech workshops, and citizenship groups, BPL is dedicated to providing high-quality educational, economic, and artistic enrichment to the 2.6 million individuals who make Brooklyn home.

“This spring season, library patrons will have unparalleled access to the great thinkers and artists working in our community and around the world,” said Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library. “From Albert Woodfox, who spent four decades in solitary confinement on what it means to be human; to Michael Ondaatje, one of the most eloquent writers of our time, on the lasting impact of war; to Walt Whitman, whose work reminds us of Brooklyn’s inclusive spirit and our potential for perpetual reinvention.”

The spring season will include the second annual LitFilm, BPL’s week-long international literary film festival, featuring 16 documentaries and films from the ’60s to today, focusing on writers such as Lorraine Hansberry, Margaret Atwood, Pablo Neruda, and Pete Hamill and Jimmy Breslin; the 12th season of BPL’s Classical Interludes series continues in February, providing free access to professional-caliber chamber music including Min Xiao Fen and members of the Alan Chan Orchestra, PUBLIQuartet, JP Jofre, Martin Katz and the Brooklyn Art Song Society, among others.

BPL will celebrate the 200th birthday and legacy of American author Walt Whitman during a weekendlong, borough-wide festival, Whitman at 200.

Brooklyn Public Library events are free and open to the public. For more information on events and ticketing, please visit: https://www.bklynlibrary.org/bpl-presents

BROOKLYN PUBLIC LIBRARY2019 SPRING SEASON

* Please note these events and programs are part of Brooklyn Public Library’s season of arts and culture events for adults all taking place at its Central Branch in the Dweck Center, unless indicated. *

From Score to Speculative Lit, Part of Scoring the Stacks Programming

Tuesday, February 12, 6 – 7:30 p.m. 

This creative writing workshop, led by BPL Katowitz Radin Artist-in-Residence Kameelah Janan Rasheed and writer/Afrofuturist Anaïs Duplan, begins with fragments of text from scores, or language-based artworks, made by public participants from the BPL exhibition Scoring the Stacks. From these fragments, participants will endeavor to collaboratively write prose, poetry, and flash fiction.

The Review Panel

Wednesday, February 13 at 7 p.m.

Lee Ann Norman, Nancy Princenthal, and Jonathan Santlofer join David Cohen to discuss: R. H. Quaytman: + x, Chapter 34 at the Guggenheim Museum; Brenda Goodman: In a Lighter Place at Sikkema Jenkins & Co.; Dana Schutz: Imagine Me and You at Petzel Gallery; and Shahrzad Changalvaee: In Absentia, In Effigie at The Chimney. Presented in association with Artcritical.

Senegalese Dancer Griot Lamine Thiam: Youth and Family Program

Saturday, February 16 at 1 p.m.

Lamine Thiam is a master Senegalese dancer who comes from a long lineage of griots. As a dancer, he shares with audiences the deep connections of dance and music to everyday life in his home country of Senegal. In this special family program, Lamine and the Bousso Ensemble will perform Senegalese traditional dances and songs while inviting the audience to dance along. 

Classical Interludes: BPL Chamber Players

Sunday, February 17, 4 – 6 p.m.

Featuring BPL’s Chamber Players Muneko Otani and Michael Roth (violins), Ah Ling Neu (viola), Roberta Cooper (cello), and Peter Weitzner (double bass). The program features Mozart’s Divertimento in F Major and Dvořák’s String Quintet in G Major, Op. 77, as well as selections by Lev Zhurbin.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg in conversation with Frank Bruni

Monday, February 18 at 7:30 p.m.

Pete Buttigieg, the 36-year-old Democratic mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has improbably emerged as one of the nation’s most visionary politicians. First elected in 2011, Buttigieg left a successful business career to move back to his hometown, previously tagged by Newsweek as a “dying city,” because the industrial Midwest beckoned as a challenge to the McKinsey-trained Harvard graduate. Whether meeting with city residents on middle-school basketball courts, reclaiming abandoned houses, confronting gun violence, or attracting high-tech industry, Buttigieg has transformed South Bend into a shining model of urban reinvention. He discusses his new book, Shortest Way Home, with New York Times columnist Frank Bruni.

Classical Interludes: Donald Sinta Quartet 

Sunday, February 24, 4– 6 p.m. 

The Donald Sinta Quartet, First Prize Winner of the Concert Artists Guild Competition, has earned praise from audiences and critics alike for its virtuosic performances, compelling recordings, and distinctive repertoire that range from commissions by today’s emerging composers, to standards from the saxophone quartet literature, to transcriptions by master composers. The program will feature Franz Schubert, Christopher Evan Hass (b. 1993), Samuel Barber, and Antonín Dvoràk.

Score Goes Pop! Part of Scoring the Stacks Programming

Thursday, February 28, 6 – 7:30 p.m.

This workshop, led by BPL Katowitz Radin Artist-in-Residence Kameelah Janan Rasheed and guest artist Morgan Bassichis, interprets found text from the exhibition Scoring the Stacks into song lyrics arranged and performed at the end of the session with Bassichis on piano. 

Mitchell S. Jackson on Survival Math, in conversation with Esperanza Spalding

Wednesday, March 6 at 7:30 p.m. Co-Presented with Greenlight Books

Jackson discusses his new memoir, Survival Math. The book takes its name from the calculations Mitchell and his family made to keep safe, and to stay alive, in their community, a small black neighborhood in Portland, Oregon blighted by drugs, violence, poverty, and governmental neglect.

From Score to Choreography, part of Scoring the Stacks Programming

Sunday, March 10, 1:30 – 3 p.m.

Central Library, Trustees Room. RSVP required.

This text-to-dance workshop, led by BPL’s Katowitz Radin Artist-in-Residence Kameelah Janan Rasheed and guest members of brASS burlesque, interprets found language from the exhibition Scoring the Stacks into a series of movements. Participants perform the dance they create for themselves as the culmination of the workshop’s finale. All bodies are welcome.

Classical Interludes: PUBLIQuartet

Sunday, March 10, 4 – 6 p.m.

PUBLIQuartet’s genre-bending programs span the classical canon and feature open-form improvisations that expand the techniques and aesthetic of the traditional string quartet.

Bridgett Davis and Tyehimba Jess on The World According to Fannie Davis: My Mother's Life in the Detroit Number, in Conversation with Lisa Lucas

Tuesday, March 12 at 7:30 p.m.

Bridgett M. Davis joins Tyehimba Jess and Lisa Lucas to discuss her new work inspired by her mother, Fannie Davis. In 1958 in Nashville, Tennessee, the young mother Fannie Davis borrowed $100 from her brother to run a numbers racket out of her tattered apartment on Delaware Street, in one of Detroit’s worst sections. Part bookie, part banker, mother, wife, granddaughter of slaves, Fannie became more than a numbers runner: she was a kind of Ulysses, guiding both her husbands, five children, and a grandson through the decimation of a once-proud city using her wit, style, guts, and even gun. 

Asia in the World: Geocultural Conversations with Vishakha Desai – Extreme Wealth in Asia 

Wednesday, March 13 at 7 p.m.

Desai will lead discussions on wealth and in equality in the region.

Classical Interludes: JP Jofre

Sunday, March 17, 4 – 6 p.m.

The award-winning bandoneon player and composer performs original pieces.

LitFilm 2019: A BPL Film Festival About Writers

Monday, March 18 – Sunday, March 24All screenings are free but require reservations. Full lineup to come.

In the second edition of LitFilm, BPL’s popular film festival, audience members will get an inside look at the private lives and artistic processes of the world’s best writers and literary figures. Featured this year are films about Lorraine Hansberry (Sighted Eyes, Feeling Heart); Margaret Atwood (You Have Been Warned); Pablo Neruda (Pablo Neruda: Presente!); Wole Soyinka (Child of the Forest); Pete Hamill and Jimmy Breslin (Deadline Artists); Samuel Beckett (Waiting for Beckett); Maya Angelou (And Still I Rise); and more, through inspiring documentaries and films ranging from the 1960s to now. The weeklong event will also see appearances by filmmakers Tracy Heather Strain (director, Sighted Eyes, Feeling Heart); Jonathan Alter, John Block, and Steve McCarthy (Deadline Artists); as well as writers like Mark Eisner and more. 

Artist Walk with Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Part of Scoring the Stacks Programming

Saturday, March 23 (Rain date March 30) 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.Starting location: Front steps of Brooklyn Museum’s Plaza on Eastern Parkway. Please note that participants will be required to walk approximately half a mile during this program.

Join the Brooklyn Museum and the Brooklyn Public Library for a community walk with BPL Katowitz Radin Artist-in-Residence and educator Kameelah Janan Rasheed. The walking group will visit the Brooklyn Museum and BPL to forage for texts and images in both places as a departure point for learning activities and conversations among participants. Participants will move between the institutions, both which currently house Rasheed’s public artworks, and will consider movement among space and language to draw on Rasheed’s concept of “an ecosystem of ideas.” This joint program coincides with Brooklyn Museum’s yearlong public art activation, Something to Say, featuring Brooklyn Hi-Art! Machine, Deborah Kass, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, and Hank Willis Thomas (October 3, 2018 – June 30, 2019) and Brooklyn Public Library’s exhibition, Kameelah Janan Rasheed: Scoring the Stacks (January 11 – April 7, 2019).

Philosophy for Kids

Sunday, March 24 at 2 p.m.

BPL invites budding intellectuals to explore some of life’s biggest questions at Philosophy for Kids, returning for a third year with an all-new vision. Thinkers specializing in philosophical practices with children will lead a series of workshops on themes built around this festival’s edition: inclusiveness, openness, and acceptance of differences. This year adults will also be invited to engage in conversations related to family and parenting.

Classical Interludes: ETHEL

Sunday, March 24, 4 – 6 p.m.

A presentation of devotional music from around the world and throughout history. 

90-Second Newbery Film Festival 

Saturday, March 30 at 1 p.m. 

The eighth annual 90-Second Newbery Film Festival returns—a yearly video contest that invites child filmmakers to create short movies that tell the entire stories of Newbery award-winning books in 90 seconds. This year’s screening is hosted by children’s authors James Kennedy (The Order of Odd Fish) and Torrey Maldonado (Tight).

Albert Woodfox on Solitary, in Conversation with Jelani Cobb

Thursday, March 27 at 7:30 p.m.

New Yorker staff writer Jelani Cobb interviews Albert Woodfox on Solitary, Woodfox’s unforgettable life story of a man who served more than four decades in solitary confinement—in a six-by-nine-foot cell, 23 hours a day, in notorious Angola prison in Louisiana—for a crime he did not commit. That Albert Woodfox survived was, in itself, a feat of extraordinary endurance against the violence and deprivation he faced daily. That he was able to emerge whole from his odyssey within America’s prison and judicial systems is a triumph of the human spirit and makes his book a clarion call to reform the inhumanity of solitary confinement in the U.S. and around the world.

The ACLU At Library Podcast

Wednesday, March 28 at 7:30 p.m.

The popular podcast returns to BPL following its live taping at the third edition of A Night of Philosophy and Ideas in February. More details will be announced at a later date.

Classical Interludes: Theo Bleckmann and Endless Field

Sunday, March 31, 4 – 6 p.m.

Jazz vocalist and composer Theo Bleckmann is joined by bassist Ike Sturm and guitarist Jesse Lewis, highlighting their latest album Endless Field.

The Review Panel

Tuesday, April 2 at 7 p.m.

Leading art critics Nickolas Pappas, Martha Schwendener, and Alexi Worth join moderator David Cohen in lively debate about current exhibitions around the five boroughs. Presented in association with Artcritical.

Kameelah Janan Rasheed: ‘This is Not an Artist Talk’ and Reflections on Scoring the Stacks

Thursday, April 4, 6:30 – 8 p.m.RSVP required, reception to follow.

The culminating event to the participatory exhibition and public program Scoring the Stacks, Katowitz Radin Artist-in-Residence Kameelah Janan Rasheed reflects on what the project has produced and how radical pedagogy, play, and learning are an integral part of her artistic practice. Rasheed discusses how the process of the project is cumulative and iterative, and poses the question of how the design of an exhibition can be responsive and agile when audience interaction is its guiding force. The program includes a conversation between Rasheed and Cora Fisher, BPL’s Curator of Visual Art Programming. 

Classical Interludes: Carnegie Hall Citywide: Spektral Quartet

Sunday, April 7, 4 – 6 p.m.

Spektral Quartet reveals the hidden nuances of the classic string quartet repertoire while opening the door to the visionary music of our day. Presented in partnership with Carnegie Hall Citywide, bringing free concerts across the five boroughs.

Nathaniel Rich on Losing Earth 

Tuesday, April 9 at 7:30 p.m.

Nathaniel Rich’s groundbreaking account of the human failure to stop the effects of climate change—and how tantalizingly close we came to signing binding treaties that would have saved us all before the fossil fuels industry and the Republican Party fully committed to anti-scientific denialism—is already a journalistic blockbuster after being featured in a full issue of The New York Times Magazine. In the book Losing Earth, Rich is able to provide more of the context for what did—and didn’t—happen in the 1980s and, more importantly, is able to carry the story fully into the present day and wrestle with what those past failures mean for us in 2019. 

Danielle Sered on Until We Reckon: Violence, Mass Incarceration, and a Road to Repair 

Wednesday, April 10 at 7:30 p.m.

Marlon Peterson’s DEcarcerated Podcast comes to BPL with author Danielle Sered. Widely recognized as one of the leading proponents of a restorative approach to violent crime, Danielle Sered asks us to reconsider the purposes of incarceration and argues persuasively that the needs of survivors of violent crime are better met by asking people who commit violence to accept responsibility for their actions and make amends in ways that are meaningful to those they have hurt—none of which happens in the context of a criminal trial or a prison sentence. Sered launched and directs Common Justice, one of the few organizations offering alternatives to incarceration for people who commit serious violent crime, and which has produced immensely promising results. 

Poetry Café

Thursday, April 11 at 7 p.m.

The center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College presents an evening of poetry, celebrating 2019 National Poetry Month. With Willie Perdomo, author of the Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle 2014 Finalist for Poetry and the forthcoming The Crazy Bunch; and poets Nicole Sealey and Rico Frederick.

Silent Movie Matinee: Diary of a Lost Girl

Sunday, April 14 at 12:30 p.m.

This 1929 German drama starring American actress Louise Brooks is widely considered a classic. It is based on the 1905 novel Tagebuch einer Verlorenen by Margarete Böhme. Directed by Georg Wilhelm Pabst, running 112 minutes.

Classical Interludes: PhiloSonia

Sunday, April 14, 4 – 6 p.m.

Two larger-than-life works inspired by scripture, spiritual freedom, the nature of time and redemption from suffering: Osvaldo Golijov’s The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind and Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time.

Puppet Play Premiere: Sofi’s Magical Adventure

Saturday, April 27 at 1 p.m.

Sofi’s Magical Adventure is based on the bilingual children’s picture book by Raquel M. Ortiz, Sofi and the Magic, Musical Mural. Families are invited to join Sofi on a magical adventure exploring art, imagination, and Puerto Rican cultural traditions. This musical puppet production incorporates Spanish words and songs and includes interactive demonstrations of how to sing and dance the Puerto Rican national music, plena.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar, 50th Anniversary Golden Edition

Sunday, April 28 at 11 a.m.

The Hungry Caterpillar car and costume tour celebrating the 50th anniversary of this popular children’s book comes to Brooklyn Public Library.

Classical Interludes: Martin Katz and Brooklyn Art Song Society

Sunday, April 28, 4 – 6 p.m.

A program of Eduard Morike.

The Review Panel

Wednesday, May 1 at 7 p.m.

Leading art critics join in lively debate about current exhibitions around the five boroughs. Presented in association with Artcritical.

Poets Tina Chang, Ilya Kaminsky, and Brenda Shaughnessy

Thursday, May 2 at 7:30 p.m.

In partnership with the Brooklyn Poets, renowned poets Tina Chang, Ilya Kaminsky, and Brenda Shaughnessy come together to discuss their timely and stirring examinations of mixed-race identity, violence, and history, skillfully rendered through the lens of motherhood.

Warlight, a Novel by Michael Ondaatje 

Tuesday, May 7 at 7:30 p.m

After receiving the special Golden Man Booker Prize for The English Patient in 2018, Michael Ondaatje comes to BPL to discuss his new novel Warlight. In a narrative as beguiling and mysterious as memory itself, we read the story of 14-year-old Nathaniel and his older sister Rachel. In 1945, just after World War II, they stay behind in London when their parents move to Singapore, leaving them in the care of a mysterious figure named The Moth. A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all that he didn’t know and understand in that time, and it is this journey—through facts, recollection, and imagination—that he narrates in this masterwork from one of the great writers of our time.

Asia in the World: Geocultural Conversations with Vishakha Desai—Influence on Asian Artists and Authors

Wednesday, May 8 at 7 p.m.

Desai will lead conversations on the role of authors and artists in shaping perceptions of Asia and the Middle East.

Classical Interludes: Daedalus Quartet with Romie de Guise-Langlois, Clarinet

Sunday, May 12, 4 – 6 p.m.

Since winning the top prize in the Banff International Spring Competition in 200, the Deadalus Quartet has impressed critics and listeners alike with the security, technical finish, interpretive unity, and sheer gusto of its performances. The program will feature Vivian Fung’s Clarinet Quintet Frenetic Memories; Laurie San Martin’s Six Cuts for String Quartert; and Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet.

Whitman at 200, A Weekend Festival

Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19

Join us for panels, talks, lightning lectures, debates—and a beard contest—for Walt Whitman’s 200 birthday with Tina Chang, Vijay Seshadri, Harmony Holiday, Martin Espada, and more. Co-presented with Poetry Society of America.

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About Brooklyn Public Library

Brooklyn Public Library is the nation’s sixth-largest library system and among the borough’s most democratic civic institutions. We offer 65,000 free programs a year for people from all walks of life—immigrants learning a new language, students preparing for college, older adults seeking companionship, aspiring entrepreneurs launching their dreams, children discovering the world, and people of all ages exploring arts and culture. And we provide patrons 3.9 million opportunities to enjoy one of life’s greatest satisfactions: the discovery of a good book. Learn more at bklynlibrary.org

 

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