This Friday music, poetry and prose comes together to celebrate the creative forces that thrive in the Classic City, and remember a native Athenian and fellow artist.
New Town Revue is a hybrid invention drawing equally on the worlds of readings and musical performances.
The series of performances takes place twice a month putting on display the arts of Athens in musical and literary form.
The latest installment features the work of local poet Caroline Young, prose writer Johnny Damm and musician Peter Alvanos.
“A friend of mine and I were speaking about how in Athens we’re known for our music scene, but there are also a lot of writers,” said the series’ co-founder Deirdre Sugiuchi, a local writer. “We wanted more people to be aware that there were writers, but we also wanted to make something that was uniquely Athens, too.”
Ultimately the decision to create a hybrid reading and performance series wasn’t hard, Sugiuchi said.
“We just wanted to make our own intimate series here that incorporates the best of Athens, that incorporates the writing but also the music as well,” she said.
Young, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Georgia, is looking forward to having a new audience for the poems she plans to recite.
“I’ve only read these poems to my dogs,” Young said. “That’s normal, but I normally don’t get out and do a reading of something that nobody has heard but me and my dogs.”
Young drew on her 14 years of experience in the advertising world for inspiration.
“The manuscript is two long poems that intersect and cross a span of 40 years,” Young said. “There’s one poetic sequence from 1973 called ‘The Price is Right,’ and then [another] sequence from 2013. It’ll bounce back and forth through time connected by advertising copy, as if they’re on two different channels.”
Fiction writer Damm, also a Ph.D. candidate at UGA, will read some of his work that’s in tune with Young’s experimental flair.
“I’m going to be reading from a multimedia project. The words that I read will be accompanied by images cut up from old comic books,” Damm said. “They’re old, classic illustrated comic books, so it’s actually gonna be [about] sad old authors in an apartment accompanied by images of the adaptations of their texts.”
Alvanos, frontman of Fabulous Bird, will perform at New Town Revue as well.
Alvanos, who has previously played with Casper & the Cookies, The Sunshine Fix, and is drumming for Elf Power, will be including a tribute to Craig Lieske, who died on Jan. 18.
Lieske, a well-known musician in Athens, previously managed the 40 Watt Club and once worked at Avid Bookshop. He was also merchandise seller for Drive-By Truckers, and would occasionally join them onstage during performances.
Even people not accustomed to such brazen creative expression will find something to enjoy, Young said.
“I think people have the idea that readings are very stuffy and they feel very socially awkward around them,” Young said, “but this is a bookstore. And they mix it up with poetry, prose and music, so it has something for everybody’s comfort zone.”
Sugiuchi, organizer of all previous New Town Revue events, never ceases to be amazed at the talent there is to be found in town.
“Every single one of them,” she said, “every time I’ve done it, it’s bowled me over.”
NEW TOWN REVUE featuring Caroline Young, Johnny Damm and Peter Alvanos
WHEN: Feb. 8, 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Avid Bookshop