January 2015

Thursday, 1/1

Friday, 1/2

Saturday, 1/3

Sunday, 1/4

Monday, 1/5

Tuesday, 1/6

Wednesday, 1/7

Thursday, 1/8

Friday, 1/9

Saturday, 1/10

Sunday, 1/11

Monday, 1/12

Tuesday, 1/13

Wednesday, 1/14

Thursday, 1/15

Friday, 1/16

Saturday, 1/17

Sunday, 1/18

Monday, 1/19

Tuesday, 1/20

Jake Marmer's Hermeneutic Stomp


6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

co-sponsored by: The Wexler Family Endowed Fund for Programs in Jewish Life and Culture and Creative Ventures
watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen: to an audio recording of this event

Listen to an interview with Jake Marmer and Laynie Browne in anticipation of tonight's program!

Joining poet and performer Jake Marmer for an unforgettable performance will be jazz-klez luminaries Frank London on trumpet, Greg Wall on sax, Uri Sharlin on keys, and Eyal Maoz on guitar.

Jake Marmer is a poet and performer. His first record, “Hermeneutic Stomp” (Blue Thread Music, 2013) has featured jazz-klez luminaries Frank London, Greg Wall, Eyal Maoz, and Uri Sharlin, and brought together diverse poetic traditions, jazz, klezmer, new and ancient improvisation techniques. It was hailed as a “soulful narrative line in counterpoint to… language-drunk abstractions” (The Jewish Week), “experience of mystic pleasures… freshly contemporary” (Shofar), and a “thought provoking debut” (All About Jazz). His poetry collection, Jazz Talmud was published by Sheep Meadow Press in 2012. Currently a doctoral candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center, he lives in Palo Alto with his wife and two children. He frequently contributes to the Forward and Tablet Magazine, and is a co-founder of North America’s first Jewish Poetry retreat at KlezKanada Festival. For more information, see http://jakemarmer.wordpress.com.

Grammy-winning Trumpeter/composer Frank London is the founding member of the Klezmatics, Hasidic New Wave, and has performed with John Zorn, LL Cool J, Mel Torme, Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy, LaMonte Young, They Might Be Giants, David Byrne, Jane Siberry, Ben Folds 5, Mark Ribot, Maurice El Medioni and Gal Costa, and is featured on over 100 cds. His own recordings include Invocations (cantorial music); Frank Londonπs Klezmer Brass Allstarsπ Di Shikere Kapelye and Brotherhood of Brass; Nigunim and The Zmiros Project (Jewish mystical songs, with Klezmatics vocalist Lorin Sklamberg); The Debt (film and theater music); The Shekhina Big Band; the soundtrack to The Shvitz; the soundtrack to Perl Gluck's The Divahn and four releases with the Hasidic New Wave.

Greg Wall is a world-class saxophone and clarinet player, as well as a congregational rabbi. He has performed and recorded with Hasidic New Wave, Greg Wall Trio, The Wall/London Band, Neshama Carlebach, the Hi-Tops, Greg Wall's Unity Orchestra, and has made many session appearances for record dates and film scores.

Based in New York City, the Israeli born Eyal Maoz is a sought after composer, guitarist, and bandleader. He’s a Tzadik, Ayler, Out Now and Piadrum Records artist and a member of John Zorn’s Cobra and Abraxas ensembles. Eyal leads his own bands including Edom (Tzadik Records), 9 Volt with Tim Berne, the Maoz-Sirkis Duet, Hypercolor, and the Maoz-Masaoka Duet (with koto player Miya Masaoka).

Composer, accordionist and pianist Uri Sharlin performed collaborations with prominent artists among which are Antony and the Johnsons, Natalie Merchant, Rosy da Palma, Andres Levin, Avi Avital, Frank London, and Flight of the Conchords. Throughout his career, Uri has been strongly influenced by diverse musical genres. In his albums, Uri's jazz and classical background fuses with balkan Rhythms, Arabic modes and Brazilian harmonies. He is currently leading several groups in including the Cardamon Quartet and the DogCat Ensemble.

Wednesday, 1/21

Speakeasy open mic night

7:30 PM in the Arts Cafe

watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen: to an audio recording of this event

Our Speakeasy Open Mic Night welcomes all kinds of readings, spectacles, and happenings. Bring your poetry, your guitar, your award-winning essay, or your stand up comedy to share. Expect fantastic performances, occasional costumes, and, of course, community members who love writing.

Thursday, 1/22

Mind of Winter

5:30 PM in the Arts Cafe

watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen: to an audio recording of this event

In January of every year, the Writers House Planning Committee embraces the post-holiday doldrums with a celebration of winter's comforts, inspired by Wallace Stevens's chilly poem, "The Snow Man." We gather here at the Writers House, stoke a big fire in the parlor, simmer several big pots of soup and stew, and share our favorite winter-themed readings with one another. Let it snow! Please RSVP to wh@writing.upenn.edu or call 215-746-POEM.

  • Al Filreis on "The Snowman" by Wallace Stevens
  • Nadia Laher, "A Child's Christmas in Wales" by Dylan Thomas
  • Max Wang from Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
  • Amanda Silberling, "Snow and Dirty Rain" by Richard Siken
  • Jack Nessman from The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  • Mingo Reynolds from Bees Make The Best Pets by Jack Mingo
  • Greg Djanikian, "The Curtain" by Hayden Carruth and "Why God Invented the Cold" by Catie Rosemurgy
  • Friday, 1/23

    Saturday, 1/24

    Sunday, 1/25

    Monday, 1/26

    LIVE at the Writers House

    6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

    LIVE at the Writers House is a long-standing collaboration between the people of Kelly Writers House and WXPN (88.5 FM). Six times annually between September and April, Michaela Majoun hosts a one-hour broadcast of poetry, music, and other spoken-word art, all from our Arts Cafe onto the airwaves at WXPN. LIVE is made possible by generous support from BigRoc. For more information, contact Producer Alli Katz (katza@writing.upenn.edu).

    David Gambacorta is a staff writer at the Philadelphia Daily News. He covers police corruption, crime and other bizarre things that happen in the city. He’s written investigative stories that have led to a crooked cop quitting the police force, and to the state closing a crooked charter school. Most notably, though, an attorney once called him “John Stamos” outside of a federal courtroom, although to this day he’s still not sure if it was intended to be a compliment. He studied journalism at Temple University, but admittedly spent most of his time eating bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches in various school lobbies. Most days, David can be found in a coffee shop somewhere in the city, feeding a thriving coffee addiction that will either lead him to live another 100 years, or go prematurely blind.

    Bill Bender has been a reporter at the Philadelphia Daily News since 2007, where he’s written a little bit about crime, a little bit about politics and a lot about the intersection of the two. He enjoys digging into a juicy public corruption story or exposing one of the city’s many colorful/fraudulent characters – whether that be a con man aspiring to public office, a wannabe hit man who duped the Dr. Phil Show or the operator of a wax museum that doesn’t exist. Bill graduated from Drexel University’s journalism program after his plan to become a mechanical engineer fizzled out when he failed to grasp even the most rudimentary calculus concepts, ultimately walking out of a final exam in disgust and cursing under his breath. It was a cathartic experience. Bill also writes the occasional review of the city’s best food truck for the Daily News and philly.com. This is basically a scam that enables him to expense large quantities of food, which is occasionally necessary, because he doesn’t earn an engineer’s salary.

    Erica Palan is a life-long Philadelphian, a crazy cat lady and a lover of tacos and Bruce Springsteen. She currently lives in Fishtown and spends her days creating social media strategies for philly.com, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News. In past lives, she's been an editor at Philadelphia Magazine and Philadelphia Weekly.

    Matt Soniak writes about science, history and Bruce Springsteen for magazines and websites like Mental Floss, The Week, Slate, Men’s Health and others. He’s covered the bias against ugly animals in conservation funding, Civil War soldiers that glowed in the dark, the science behind scratch-and-sniff stickers and the many weird ways that animals try to eat each other and/or avoid getting eaten. He lives in Fishtown with his fiancee, two chubby cats and a large collection of whiskeys.

    Molly Eichel is the local gossip columnist at the Philadelphia Daily News and a staff writer for the AV Club, the arts and entertainment branch of the Onion. She grew up in Ardmore, PA, where she spent a lot of time in darkened movie theaters and sitting far too close to the television set. What some would call an unhealthy obsession with popular culture has turned into a not-so-lucrative, yet creatively fulfilling career. She loves Bruce Springsteen with all of her heart and will always be proud to say she learned how to save money from an episode of Friends.


    TJ Kong & the Atomic Bomb

    Since the release of their first full length album, "Idiots" in the Spring of 2010, TJ Kong and Co. have spent most of their time touring the country and becoming more or less a machine of soulful joy. In that time they have released two full length albums and an EP and have been invited to perform at POP Montreal, South By Southwest, CMJ Music Marathon, Denver GABF, Truck America and O Positive festivals and have opened for bands such as Mercury Rev, Yarn, J Roddy Walston and the Business, Phantogram, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Here We Go Magic, White Rabbits, Dax Riggs, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, Langhorne Slim and many more.

    TJ Kong's solo performances are a mad cowboy diatribe through the American songbook as read by a man tearing out pages as he goes along. His music has been described as "A cross between The Mountain Goats, Tom Waits and the ghost of Captain Beefheart serenading the crowd at a drunken rodeo."

    Tuesday, 1/27

    Suppose an Eyes

    A poetry reading

    6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

    watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
    listen: to an audio recording of this event

    Suppose An Eyes is an ongoing workshop for poets sponsored by the Kelly Writers House. Formed in 1999, the group meets two evenings per month, providing a workshop for poets to explore, share and improve their work as part of a supportive community of writers. Though often full, the group is open to anyone interested in writing poetry — any type of poetry, from traditional forms to "found" poetry, flarf, and even computer-generated work. In addition to workshop meetings, Suppose an Eyes participates in readings at various locations in the greater Philadelphia area.

    Wednesday, 1/28

    Boxing in Philadelphia

    A lunch talk with Gabe Oppenheim

    12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

    RSVP: wh@writing.upenn.edu or (215) 746-POEM
    watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
    listen: to an audio recording of this event

    Boxing in Philadelphia is about a once-great American industrial city and the culture of hands (of pride in what a person could with his hands) it engendered. It's about the boxers who rose from these streets and what happened to them when the economy collapsed, the center caved in and the city became its own unique type of wasteland (dotted with the brick factories that had formerly made America's Baldwin locomotives, its dentures, its Stenson hats). It's about the hardest workers in a hard city -- the fighters -- and their efforts to survive. And it's about the city's -- and the fighters' -- current attempt to come back.

    Gabe Oppenheim has written a novella, as well as several short stories and screenplays. Born and raised in New York, he spent his college years in Philadelphia and continues to maintain a special bond with the City of Brotherly Love.

    In Grain: Prints

    Brodsky Gallery Opening for work by Samantha Mitchell

    6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

    watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
    listen: to an audio recording of this event

    The Brodsky Gallery is an art gallery integrated with the ground floor of the Writers House. Up to six exhibitions take place during the academic year from September through May. Openings feature a reception for the artist and an accompanying program; examples include panel discussions, poetry readings, film screenings, and technique demonstrations by the artist. Through exhibiting a diverse array of art media and cross-disciplinary programming, the Brodsky Gallery at KWH seeks to engage Penn students and the broader Philadelphia community with the interrelationships between literary and visual arts. Thanks to the generosity of Michael and Heidi Brodsky, whose support makes our gallery space possible, the Brodsky Gallery is a permanent project of Kelly Writers House.

    Samantha Mitchell (b. 1986, New York City) is an artist who lives and works in Philadelphia. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2008, and lived and worked in Illinois, Utah, California, and Oregon before enrolling in the MFA program of Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, graduating in 2012. Mitchell is primarily a drawer and printmaker who seeks to investigate the relationship between order and chaos through different processes of mark-making. Her work has been exhibited at the International Print Center (New York), the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery (Washington, DC), Grizzly Grizzly (Philadelphia), the Woodmere Museum (Philadelphia, PA), the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Projekt Gallery (Berlin), and at the David Hotel (Tel Aviv). She is an editor at Title Magazine, a Philadelphia-based online arts magazine, and a contributor to The Brooklyn Rail. Mitchell works as an adjunct professor at Delaware County Community College and an arts educator at the Center for Creative Works. In February, she will begin an artist's residency at Caldera Center for the Arts in Sisters, Oregon.

    Thursday, 1/29


    6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

    watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
    listen: to an audio recording of this event
    listen: to an interview with Joshua Cohen conducted by Donald Antenen (C'15) in the Wexler Studio

    Writer Joshua Cohen was born in New Jersey in 1980. He is the author of four works of fiction: A Heaven of Others, Cadenza for the Schneidermann Violin Concerto, Witz (Best Book of the Year 2010, Village Voice), and Four New Messages (Best Book of the Year 2012, The New Yorker) — and one work of nonfiction, Attention! A (Short) History. He is the New Books critic of Harper's Magazine, and has won a Pushcart Prize, and the 2013 Matanel Prize for Jewish Literature. Another novel, Book of Numbers, will be published in 2015, by Random House. Cohen lives in Brooklyn, NY.

    Friday, 1/30

    Saturday, 1/31