Fort Greene

BAM, Greenlight conclude 4th season of Unbound Lit series

Lena Dunham, John Cleese, Herbie Hancock, Daniel Kehlmann Present New Works

November 12, 2014 By Samantha Samel Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Lena Dunham delivers an intimate reading of her new book, “Not That Kind of Girl,” at the BAMCafe. Photos by Beowulf Sheehan, courtesy of BAM
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Wrapping up its fourth season, Unbound — a unique literary series presented by Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and Fort Greene’s Greenlight Bookstore — most recently featured famed comedian John Cleese, who spoke with writer John Hodgman on Nov. 5. 

Cleese’s new memoir “So, Anyway” takes readers on a tour of his ascent in the entertainment world from his humble beginnings in an English town and his early comedic days at Cambridge University (with future Monty Python partner Graham Chapman), to the founding of the landmark comedy troupe that would propel him to worldwide renown.

Cleese’s and Hodgman’s conversation entertained an uproarious crowd, who listened to the two discuss an array of topics, including sports and why jokes are funny. 

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“This Unbound season was memoir-focused and there was an incredible energy behind all of these book launch events,” BAM publicist Baha Ebrahimzadeh told the Eagle. 

Indeed, the events that preceded the final discussion last week were equally inspiring. On Oct. 21, Brooklyn-based star Lena Dunham appeared to discuss her new book “Not That Kind of Girl,” a humorous, poignant collection of essays in which Dunham candidly recalls and reflects upon her path to adulthood. She spoke at BAM with friends Jemima Kirke (who co-stars in Dunham’s HBO hit TV show “Girls”); Zadie Smith, a renowned writer; and also spotlighted her talented friends, including her boyfriend, musician Jack Antonoff, and comedian Mike Birbiglia.

At this season’s opening event on Sept. 21, Daniel Kehlmann, author of “Measuring the World,”  discussed his new book “F”— a tragic and comedic novel about three brothers whose father takes on the occult — with Zadie Smith at the Brooklyn Book Festival.

And on Oct. 29, 14-time Grammy Award-winning musician and composer Herbie Hancock launched his memoir “Herbie Hancock: Possibilities.” Joined by The New Yorker music critic Sasha Frere-Jones, Hancock spoke about his extraordinary career as a jazz pianist and composer.  

The Unbound series originated in 2012, when BAM and Greenlight — two Fort Greene institutions devoted to the arts — were looking to expand their collaboration. Violaine Huisman, director of humanities at BAM, told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle last year that the BAM staff hoped to expand on the success of their “Eat, Drink & Be Literary” series, another literary program that runs during the spring.  

In its first season, Unbound hosted critically acclaimed authors Gary Shteyngart, Nobel Prize-winner Orhan Pamuk and Andrew Zolli. Last year, the series featured renowned authors Jonathan Lethem and Richard Dawkins.   

Fans of the series — and those who missed out — can look forward to the spring season of Unbound, which is slated to begin in late January and run through March.


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