Ethan Philbrick curates our 146th Wednesday Poetry Reading with Sophia Giovannitti and Elliot Reed
In this talk
In the fall of 1985 The Birth of a Poet premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Opera House as part of BAM’s Next Wave Festival. Billed as a landmark operatic collaboration between prominent figures of the New York avant-garde (with costumes and sets by David Salle, music by Peter Gordon, direction by Richard Foreman, and a playtext by Kathy Acker), the piece quickly became infamous. Allegedly most of the audience left during the first performance and those that stayed for the curtain call booed aggressively. Artforum referred to the performance as “confusingly incoherent” and an “empty Warholian fart of impotent hooey,” while the New York Times called it “a mess” that “fails decisively.” For this iteration of the Brooklyn Rail’s New Social Environment, the musician and author Ethan Philbrick gathers the artists Sophia Giovannitti and Elliot Reed to revisit this notorious collaboration by staging an informal remote reading of a distilled version of Acker’s libretto before having a conversation about collaboration, performance, politics, and sex.
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