One of the more interesting things going on in the Bay Area lit world right now is 1st Person Singular. In a great recent article, founder Joe Christiano explained that he “wanted to host literary events and not have the term feel like an oxymoron.” Having worked for two decades and counting at Pegasus Books, he probably has the right to say this.
Nothing against that excellent place! But readings in bookstores have a rightful stigma to them, and people all over the Bay Area are doing everything we can think of to make live literature as exciting as any other event. 1st Person Singular does this perhaps more open-mindedly than the rest of us.
Christiano explains: “There’s a ton of material on the shelves not getting talked about because we’re locked into this tradition of readings that are very author-driven, that are very commercial, that depend on a new book being released.”
To preview tonight’s free event we thought you might enjoy a clip show of previous highlights:
This reading of Sherman Alexie is a traditional example:
In May, FPS recruited Greil Marcus to read from and talk about his recent biography of Bob Dylan. Check out this 9-minute seminar:
Know about August Wilson? FPS showcased the monologues of Wilson’s Century Cycle, with selections taken from each of the 10 plays (each of which chronicled a decade of black American life in the 20th Century).
A staged reading of “Howl?” It would be hard to get me excited about this. But FPS recruited Josh Kornbluth to do the recitation! If that wasn’t enough, they added Ralph Carney to play brass. Here’s a clip:
Each show is themed and unique. Tonight’s is “Stealing the Leads: Women read Glengarry Glen Ross.”
Think of Glengarry Glen Ross and what comes to mind? Men. Men, men, men, men, men, men, men. David Mamet’s 1984 play is one of the most male-identified works in the repertoire, and First Person Singular will present it in all its furious, brass-balled glory – with a female cast.Stealing the Leads: Women read Glengarry Glen Ross will present seven of the Bay Area’s finest women actors in roles made famous by Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Joe Mantegna, Alan Arkin, Stacy Keach, Alfred Molina, and Jonathan Pryce among others. Is the ruthless competition that drives the play relatable only to the male half of the species, or has traditional casting denied this play its universality? In this (mostly) straight sell, First Person Singular aims to find out.
Start time is 7:30pm at Pegasus Books [1855 Solano Ave, Berkeley]. Wait, FREE? Refreshment-enhanced? Even wheelchair accessible!