0 8 min 10 yrs


In the steady hum of chatter, banter, debate, cheers, jeers and sneers roaring toward the Presidential election, Strathmore commemorates this time to talk, listen and form opinions with a cadre of cultural icons who compel audiences to look at themselves and their world in unconventional ways, with Music Center appearances by satirist Fran Lebowtiz, prolific politics and culture writer Frank Rich, humorist David Sedaris and acclaimed poets Billy Collins and Mary Oliver. Mere weeks before Election Day, A State of the Union Conversation: Fran Lebowitz and Frank Rich dissects the race for the White House on Friday, October 19, 2012 at 8 p.m. Best-selling author David Sedaris reads selections of his favorite works, divulges engaging recollections and answers audience questions on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at 8 p.m. Prolific poets former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins and Pulitzer Prize winner Mary Oliver share personal favorites and iconic writings from their award-winning collections, and celebrate Oliver’s upcoming release A Thousand Mornings, on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 3 p.m. A Thousand Mornings will be released shortly after Oliver’s Strathmore appearance, and will be on sale to audience members before its public release. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (301) 581-5100 or visit www.strathmore.org.


A State of the Union Conversation: Fran Lebowitz and Frank Rich

Famously outspoken and unapologetically opinionated New Yorker Fran Lebowitz has mastered the art of the “extreme statement.” She has amassed a devoted following with her sardonic wit and pointed views on everything from gender, race, gay rights and media to her stifling decade-long writer’s block, which she recently broke working on her new novel, Exterior Signs of Wealth. Lebowitz arrived on the New York literary scene in the 1970s when Andy Warhol hired her as a columnist for Interview magazine. Her first collection of essays, Metropolitan Life, was published in 1978, followed by a second collection, Social Studies, in 1981. They have now been collected in the Fran Lebowitz Reader. She has made recurring appearances onLate Show with David Letterman and Law and Order, and was named one of the most stylish women byVanity Fair. Funny and wise, chic and candid, Lebowitz has established herself as a legendary New York writer. A documentary film about Lebowitz, Public Speaking, directed by Martin Scorsese, premiered on HBO in November 2010.

Frank Rich joined New York magazine in 2011, writing monthly on politics and culture, and editing a special monthly section anchored by his essay. Rich joined the magazine following a distinguished career at theNew York Times, where his Sunday OpEd column helped inaugurate the expanded opinion pages that the paper introduced in 2005. Before writing his column, Rich served as The Times’s chief drama critic. Rich served an advisory role in revamping The Times’s daily and Sunday cultural report in 2003-2005 and also was a front-page columnist for the Sunday Arts & Leisure section as part of that section’s redesign. Rich’s published books include The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth in Bush’s America, his childhood memoir, Ghost Light, and a collection of drama reviews, Hot Seat: Theater Criticism for The New York Times, 1980-1993. Rich is an executive producer of HBO’s Veep, a comedy series satirizing Washington, starring Julia-Louis Dreyfus.


An Evening with David Sedaris

One of America’s preeminent humor writers, David Sedaris is the author of such bestsellers as Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim and When You Were Engulfed in Flames, and is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and National Public Radio. His most recent work, The New York Times bestseller Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary, was published in 2010. Sedaris mines poignant comedy from his peculiar childhood, bizarre career path and his move with his lover to France. One of six children in a second generation Greek family, Sedaris grew up in North Carolina. He dropped out of Kent State University to hitchhike around the country. Aside from working as an elf, he has worked a number of quirky odd jobs such as a house painter, apple picker, aide in a mental hospital, creative writing teacher and an apartment cleaner. Sedaris made his comic debut recounting his strange-but-true experience of being a Macy’s elf, the Santaland Diaries, on NPR’s Morning Edition in 1992.


Billy Collins & Mary Oliver

Poet Billy Collins has published nine collections of fiction and has been featured inThe New Yorker, The Paris Review and The American Scholar. His available works include Questions About Angels, The Art of Drowning, Picnic, Lightning ,Taking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes, Sailing Alone Around the Room: New & Selected Poems, Nine Horses, The Trouble With Poetry and Other Poems and Ballistics, and most recently, Horoscopes for the Dead. His last three collections of poems have broken sales records for poetry. He is a Guggenheim fellow and a New York Public Library “Literary Lion,” and has also been awarded the Oscar Blumenthal Prize, the Bess Hokin Prize, the Frederick Bock Prize and the Levinson Prize. In 2004, Collins was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Mark Twain Award for Humor in Poetry. Collins was United States Poet Laureate 2001-2003, and New York State Poet Laureate from 2004-2006.

Known for her clear and poignant observances of the natural world, Mary Oliver has received countless accolades for her works, including a Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award for Poetry, The Lannan Foundation Literary Award, the New England Booksellers Association Award for Literary Excellence and the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Award. Her voluminous output began in 1965 with the work No Voyage and Other Poems. At Strathmore, she will read from her latest project, A Thousand Mornings, being released shortly after her appearance at the arts center. Audience members will be able to purchase A Thousand Mornings before its public release. Born in Ohio in 1935, Oliver studied at Ohio State University and Vassar College. She lived for several years at the home of Edna St. Vincent Millay, one of her idols as an early writer, in upper New York state, companion to the poet’s sister Norma Millay.

A State of the Union Conversation: Fran Lebowitz and Frank Rich

  • Tickets: $45–$70 (Stars $40.50–$63)

An Evening with David Sedaris

  • Tickets $48–$58 (Stars $43.20–$52.20)

Billy Collins & Mary Oliver

  • Tickets $45–$75 (Stars $40.50–$67.50)

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