The Year Of James Baldwin Continues Through June

5.2.2014

By Jesse Steinbach

'It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.'

This is The Year of James Baldwin, a city-wide celebration of Baldwin's impact on literature, social politics, and the American milieu. New York Live Arts kicked off the commemoration with James Baldwin, This Time!, a festival which ran from April 23 through 27 and featured a host of innovative panels, performances, and art instillations.

There were many events at James Baldwin, This Time!, including an opening keynote conversation with legendary choreographer Bill T. Jones, alongside esteemed author Jamaica Kincaid, Lawrence Weschler and artist Carrie Mae Weems.

The following day, we had the pleasure of attending After Giovanni's Room: Baldwin and Queer Futurity, a panel that looked to the gay-themed novel as an opportunity to consider a liberating queer future. The discussion, however, veered off in the Q&A, turning into a heated debate about queerness and generational misunderstanding, and less about Baldwin and his work. Nevertheless, James Baldwin, This Time! made us think and ask questions — something Baldwin would have wanted us to do. Here's the list of all the events that took place.

The Year of James Baldwin continued last night with a conversation between Jake Gyllenhaal and Irish novelist and essayist, Colm Tóibín at Columbia University. The next event, on Tuesday, May 6 at 6 p.m., will be “The Key to the Language: James Baldwin and his Muse," a panel on how the music of Harlem shaped Baldwin’s writing.

More Baldwin events will be announced, so check in for updates and (try) to keep your schedule open. In the mean time, why not pick up a classic or two by one of the greatest writers of the 20th century?

Tags: Popnography
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