Common Ground

BAM … And Then It Hit Me

Featuring Karen Brooks Hopkins, Bryan Doerries, Rufus Wainwright, and Jörn Weisbrodt


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

President Emerita of the Brooklyn Academy of Music Karen Brooks Hopkins and Rail Editor-at-Large Bryan Doerries are joined by special guests Rufus Wainwright and Jörn Weisbrodt for a conversation. We conclude with a poetry reading by Nora Claire Miller.

In this talk

BAM … And Then It Hit Me, a new memoir by Karen Books Hopkins, takes the reader on a funny, sentimental, and informative journey encompassing the author’s 36 year career running the Brooklyn Academy of Music, America’s oldest performing arts center. The book is packed with color photos and stories of celebrities, artists, and leaders whose creative energy transformed BAM’s historic venues into one of the most provocative and powerful arts organizations in the world.

More information on the book can be found here →

Karen Brooks Hopkins

A portrait of Karen Brooks Hopkins.
Photo by Bob Klein
President Emerita of the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) Karen Brooks Hopkins worked at the institution for thirty-six years, serving sixteen as its president. As president, Hopkins oversaw the institution’s 230 full-time employees and its multiple theaters and cinemas, ranging from the 2,100 seat BAM Howard Gilman Opera House to the flexible 250-seat Fishman Space. Her widely read book, Successful Fundraising for Arts & Cultural Organizations, is currently in its second edition. Following her retirement from BAM in June 2015, Hopkins recently served as the Inaugural Senior Fellow in Residence at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, board member of the Jerome L. Greene Foundation, senior adviser to and board member of the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, among others.

Bryan Doerries

This is a headshot of Playwright and Director, Bryan Doerries.
Courtesy of Theater of War Productions
Writer, director, and translator Bryan Doerries currently serves as Artistic Director of Theater of War Productions. A self-described evangelist for ancient stories and their relevance to our lives today, Doerries uses age-old approaches to help individuals and communities heal from trauma and loss. Doerries’ books include The Theater of War: What Ancient Greek Tragedies Can Teach Us Today), The Odyssey of Sergeant Jack Brennan, and a collection of his translations of ancient Greek Tragedies entitled All That You’ve Seen Here is God. He has received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Kenyon College, and in 2017, he was named Public Artist in Residence for the City of New York.

Rufus Wainwright

An image of Rufus Wainwright.
New York-born, Montreal-raised singer songwriter Rufus Wainwright has released seven studio albums, three DVDs, and three live albums, including the fantastic Grammy-nominated Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall, and the album Release The Stars which went Gold in Canada and the UK. Wainwright has received Juno Awards for Best Alternative Album in 1999 and 2002 for Rufus Wainwright and Poses, respectively, and nominations for his albums Want Two (2005) and Release the Stars (2008). He was nominated for Songwriter of the Year in 2008 for the latter.

Jörn Weisbrodt

An image of Jorn Weisbrodt.
Jörn Weisbrodt is a German arts administrator and former Artistic Director of the Luminato Festival, Toronto’s annual Festival of Arts and Creativity. He previously served as Executive Director of Robert Wilson’s company RW Work Ltd. and Director of the Watermill Center, where he was responsible for developing inter-disciplinary performances and installations and establishing new partnerships with, among others, the Guggenheim Museum, the Baryshnikov Arts Center, Moscow Biennale, Kampnagel Hamburg, the Donaufestival, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, the Purnati Center for the Arts in Indonesia and Columbia University.

The Rail has a tradition of ending our conversations with a poetry reading, and we’re fortunate to have Nora Claire Miller reading.

Nora Claire Miller

Photo of Nora Claire Miller.
Poet and multidisciplinary artist from New York City, Nora Claire Miller is the author of the chapbook LULL. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Bennington Review, Bat City Review, Washington Square Review, TYPO, Tagvverk, Hobart, and elsewhere. Nora earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a BA from Hampshire College.

❤️ 🌈 We'd like to thank the The Terra Foundation for American Art for making these daily conversations possible, and for their support of our growing archive.