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Arts and Humanities Local News

Novelist Creates Own Drinking Game at Readings

Louisville author Patrick Wensink has discovered one simple strategy to help people pay attention during book tour readings. He’s made a drinking game out of his.

“I’ve always felt like the worst part of a book reading is the book reading,” says Wensink. “I’m as guilty as anybody. I’ve sort of zoned out in the past and haven’t paid attention to every word.”

Wensink hands out a list of six words before he reads an excerpt from his new novel. Every time he reads one of the key words, everyone (author included) takes a sip.

“I did a reading last month in Portland and I finished two and a half beers in, what, ten minutes? Fifteen minutes, maybe, depending on how fast I read? I suffer for my art, I guess,” he says.

It might be a gimmick, but at least it’s thematically sound. Wensink’s new book, “Broken Piano for President,” is a dark comedy about a loser who tends to black out after a couple of beers.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Surreal Play Introduces Kids to Magritte

Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte was known for his playful use of mystery–men in overcoats and bowler hats floating, an apple or a boulder suspended in mid-air. Sometimes silly, always evocative, he captured the imagination of art lovers of all ages.

Alley Theater for Young Audiences will finish a run of Barry Kornhauser’s “This Is Not a Pipe Dream,” a play that introduces the painter as a child chafing under his skeptical father’s rule, this weekend in the Speed Art Museum Auditorium.

Artistic director Dana Hope says Magritte has a unique appeal for younger audiences.

“It’s so out there. I think kids’ minds are open to that coolness,” says Hope. “I think when an adult looks at Magritte’s work you have to take a moment and think, what is this all about? But a child just accepts it.”

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Looking for Lilith Celebrates 10 Years with Motherhood Play

Louisville’s Looking for Lilith Theatre Company celebrates a decade of productions with a staged reading of a new play, “Becoming Mothers,” and a revue of old favorites titled “10 Years, 7 Stories.” The shows open Thursday and run in repertory at The Bard’s Town through June 10.

Looking for Lilith is a feminist theater ensemble that uses a collaborative process to create original plays based on women’s stories and women’s perspectives on history. The company built their new play “Becoming Mothers” by conducting interviews with several generations of local women on topics surrounding pregnancy, birth and motherhood, from fertility treatments to changes in consumer culture throughout the years.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Strange and Beautiful Ghosts: Tania James’ ‘Aerogrammes’

Two Indian wrestling champions become business and political pawns in “Lion and Panther in London.” A young man looks for hints about his father’s death in handwriting samples in “The Scriptological Review: A Last Letter from the Editor.” A woman applies to be matched with a dead man in “Girl Marries Ghost.”

Author Tania James’ new short story collection “Aerogrammes: And Other Stories” is full of strange and beautiful ghosts—absent parents, a grandfather with dementia, paralyzed limbs, an orphaned chimpanzee. James will read from and sign copies of “Aerogrammes” Wednesday at Carmichael’s Bookstore.

Born in Chicago to immigrant parents from Kerala, a state in southern India, James grew up in Louisville’s East End and attended the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts. Many of the characters in “Aerogrammes” are immigrants or second-generation Indians struggling with generational and cultural divides.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

21C, Flyover Film Festival to Screen Documentary on Performance Artist Abramovic

When filmmaker Jeff Dupre met legendary performance artist Marina Abramovic at a dinner party a year before her groundbreaking career retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, he had a vague idea of who she was (the artist who once walked the Great Wall of China) and a healthy dose of skepticism about performance art. By the end of the night, Dupre says he was smitten with the legendary artist known for pushing the boundaries of her body as the subject, object and medium of her work.

“It was one of those serendipitous moments you hope for as a filmmaker,” says Dupre, a Louisville native who now lives in New York.

A fascinating character and an unprecedented, high-stakes retrospective of performance art at one of the world’s most prestigious museums – Dupre knows when a great documentary is sitting right in front of him.

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Arts and Humanities Byline

Author Pamela Steele and Poet Albert DeGenova Return to Louisville for Spalding Residency

This weekend marks the beginning of Spalding University’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing program’s semi-annual residency. Alumni Albert DeGenova and Pamela Steele are in Louisville as part of the residency, and they joined WFPL’s Erin Keane and Rick Howlett on Friday’s Byline to talk about their work. DeGenova’s book, Postcards to Jack, is a series of poems about traveling and place, some of which are addressed to Jack Kerouac. Pamela Steele’s novel, Greasewood Creek, is a love story, but also a book about loss.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Arts Funding Cut $50,000 in Mayor’s Budget

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s proposed budget includes a reduction in overall funding for arts and cultural organizations. The city budget allocates half a million dollars to 32 arts, cultural assets and parks agencies, down more than $50,000 from the last fiscal year.

The Louisville Ballet took an 80 percent cut in funding from the city. Last year, the organization received $29,000. The organization asked for the same amount this year. Fischer recommended the Ballet receive $5,800.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Speed Museum Independence Exhibit Includes Rare Declaration Replica

Bicentennial Indian, 1975 by Fritz Scholder (American)

Visitors to the Speed Art Museum will get a bonus history lesson this summer. A rare limited edition 19th century copy of the original Declaration of Independence will go on display in an independence-themed exhibit Saturday.

By 1820, the original Declaration of Independence had already started to deteriorate. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams commissioned a copperplate engraving of the handwritten document from William J. Stone, who made about 200 copies on vellum.

Louisville Metro government owns one of 31 known surviving Stone replicas and has loaned the document to the Speed Art Museum.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

‘Hush’ Author Woodson Headlines Spalding Festival of Writing

Acclaimed children’s book author Jacqueline Woodson will speak this week at Spalding University. Woodson is the award-winning author of more than 20 books for children and young adults, which have been honored by the Newbery, Caldecott and Coretta Scott King awards.

As the Diane M. Raab Distinguished Writer in Residence, Woodson headlines Spalding’s Festival of Contemporary Writing, which began Saturday and runs through this weekend. Woodson’s book “Hush” is the university’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing book in common for the spring semester. She will read from and discuss “Hush” and her other works during her talk Thursday in Spalding’s auditorium.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Lambda Literary Foundation Honors Leung

Louisville novelist Brian Leung is the recipient of the Lambda Literary Foundation’s outstanding mid-career novelist award. Lambda is the premiere organization honoring both individual books by and the careers of LGBT authors.

Leung, the director of the University of Louisville’s creative writing program, is the author of one short story collection and two novels. His debut short story collection, “World Famous Love Acts,” was published by Louisville’s Sarabande Books. His latest novel is “Take Me Home,” an historical novel about the Wyoming mining settlements in the 19th century.